Verona Students Recognized for Their Hard Work at Jan. 31 Board of Education Meeting

Dr. Anthony Lanzo, Luisa Hirsch and Superintendent of Schools Rui Dionisio stand with the four students who presented their Spanish class projects. Credits: Megan Spinelli
Assistant Principal Thomas Lancaster, Superintendent of Schools Rui Dionisio and Principal Joshua Cogdill pose for a picture with the four Verona High School Students of the Month. Credits: Megan Spinelli

VERONA, NJ - Several Verona students were recognized at a recent board of education meeting for their hard work in school.

Students from both F.N. Brown Elementary School and Verona High School were in attendance at the Tuesday, Jan. 31 Verona Board of Education meeting to show off their achievements to the board members and the community. F.N. Brown students presented projects they have been working on in school, while high school students were presented with Student of the Month awards.

First, F.N. Brown School Principal Dr. Anthony Lanzo and Spanish teacher Luisa Hirsch took to the podium to explain the importance of learning a foreign language at an early age.

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“Studies have shown that exposing a child to a foreign language at an early age will result in much easier and better fluency than if they learned later in life because children are receptive and their minds are more open to hearing and reproducing sounds,” Hirsch said before introducing her students.

The four students presented snowmen they made and read a paragraph about themselves in both English and Spanish, saying some of their favorite things are ice cream, baseball, football and soccer.

The children’s presentations were met with many cheers and applause from friends and family in the audience.

The praise then continued as Verona High School Principal Joshua Cogdill announced the latest students of the month and awarded them each a plaque. The decision on which students to choose for the honors, though, was not an easy one, Cogdill noted.

“It’s picking up such steam amongst the staff that there’s vigorous debates over who should win and each one of you had very strong, passionate teachers pulling for each one of you,” Cogdill said. “So understand that maybe it’s not the most descriptive, but behind closed doors they’re fighting tooth and nail for their nominee.”

Rebecca Siclari was awarded the Student of the Month title for the freshman class for earning an A+ in choir, a class that meets during zero period.

“For a teenager, getting up at that time is impressive,” Cogdill said.

Siclari also earned an A- or greater in all of her classes and has not been late to school once.

For the sophomore class, Diana Ednie was given the Student of the Month award because of her growth and commitment to academics, Cogdill said.

“Diana is a student who has grown,” teacher Josephine Schiff said in Ednie’s nomination. “I would love for her to be a mentor to younger students.”

Michael Daggett took home the award for the junior class after earning a B- or greater in all of his classes, including A grades in physics, Spanish 3 and algebra 2, Cogdill said.

Teacher Christine Sepcie nominated Daggett for the award.

“Mike Daggett is one of the hardest working students that I have. Last month he tied with another student out of 50 for a near perfect grade,” Sepcie said of her nominee, adding that the grade was earned through consistently working hard rather than a last minute study session.

For the senior class, Mia Corbett was named Student of the Month for earning a B or greater in all of her classes. Corbett received the nomination from Marie Meyer, who said that Corbett’s dedication to her academics is what makes her stand out.

“Not only is she an exemplary student, enthusiastic about her work and supportive of her peers, but she is an invaluable member of the band and theater communities,” Meyer said in her nomination. “Mia brings the classroom to life with her energy and zest for learning and for her genuine empathy and compassion for her peers.”

Both Board of Education President John Quattrocchi and Board Member Michele Bernardino congratulated the Students of the Month and expressed their pride for the four students.

“While I love to hear about all the A’s and academics,” Bernardino said. “I really love to hear about ‘works well with others’ and ‘helps others’ and the mentoring and compassion, so I think that speaks to the whole student.”

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