NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — In addition to the three eighth grade and three seventh grade students who were named West Essex Middle School “Students of the Month” for April 2020, West Essex Middle School principal Dr. Gina Donlevie announced that she and the teachers agreed that all students should be recognized as April’s Students of the Month for their ability to adapt to their current learning situation.

The six individual Students of the Month were seventh graders Emily Axelrod, Lily Venezia and Priya Marcus and eighth graders Sergio Maestoso, Morgan Perini and Madeline Shih.

In a message to all students, Donlevie commended them for “putting forth such great efforts” and said that the teachers “were so proud of each and every one of [them].”

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She also lamented on the “countless activities that they are missing,” including the annual “right of passage” for the eighth graders who typically visit Washington, D.C. as the school year concludes.

Donlevie took the opportunity to thank members of the staff, including Assistant Principal Lisa Tamburri, the child study team and guidance counselors for all of their hard work and particularly for providing wellness checks to all students and families.

Kudos were also given to Deana Hagel for creating the Instagram account that has been accessed by the students. 

Donlevie concluded that the COVID-19 crisis has reinforced the mindset that the West Essex community is “a family.”

In his own principal’s report last week, West Essex High School Principal Caesar Diliberto commented that “education is not only important, but an excellent diversion” during this time.

He thanked Superintendent of Schools Damion Macioci and members of the West Essex Board of Education for their foresight to provide a day and a half of professional developmental prior to March 16 so that the district could successfully implement distance learning after the governor’s official order to shut down the schools.

He reported that the transition to distance learning was successful across all departments and that staff members are using a variety of platforms in their classes.

Case managers and guidance counselors have also been busy “making phone calls to our most vulnerable and delicate population.”

Diliberto confirmed that Advanced Placement (AP) examinations will be given online inclusive of curriculum that has been presented up until March, and there will be free response questions only. 

Always looking to commend his students on their accomplishments, Diliberto also reported that the “Wessex Wire” received two Student News Online awards for their coverage of the coronavirus, and the West Essex field hockey team has launched a food drive to support local business and provide meals for the local first responders.