WEST ORANGE, NJ - Liberty Middle School celebrated its tenth birthday on Dec. 4.
Principal Bob Klemt, who served as assistant principal under John Vogler, prior to his retirement in 2007, oversees the operations of the school along with newly-appointed Assistant Principal Michelle Martino. Klemt has been with Liberty since its official opening on Dec. 5, 2005.
"Liberty provides a strong support system that fosters academic, social, and personal growth at a time when students are developing more rapidly than at any other time in their lives," Klemt said.
The day's celebrations included a scavenger hunt, a special lunch, cupcakes and an ice sculpture provided by Sodexo, as well as t-shirts for all students and staff.
Liberty Middle School, located at One Kelley Drive on the northwest side of town, is the newest of the 11 West Orange schools, serving as one of two seventh and eighth grade middle schools (Roosevelt Middle School is the other.) Edison Central Sixth Middle School serves all sixth graders in the township.
The school is built on 22 acres and is frequently used for special township events including a mock shooter drill in August of 2013 that helped educate and train first responders, police and security personnel in the event of a school shooting.
In addition to providing academic courses in English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science, the integration of honors classes adds an additional challenge for students, and the school district's commitment to the integration of technology into the classroom provides laptops and Chromebooks for each student.
Klemt said he felt technology would play a large role in the ongoing development of student success.
"To look ahead, I see computer applications enabling real-time data applications to monitor student growth and support struggling learners to be part of the education landscape," he said.
He said he also recognized the need for athletics, arts and community service.
"Students are encouraged to participate in our wide range of courses such as band, orchestra, chorus or art," he said, adding "as well as our after school programs like Student Council, Helping Hands Service Club, Chamber Chorus, Drama Club, STEM Club and Jazz Band.”
Editor’s Note: Interscholastic athletics consist of soccer, cross country, cheerleading, basketball, wrestling, baseball and softball.
"Maintaining the range of extracurricular activities available to seventh and eighth graders, and hopefully expanding upon them, will be important so as to continue to provide experiences that may inspire specific interest later in the students school years," Klemt said.
Students said they enjoyed the relaxed day and activities, and Klemt said he looks forward to the next ten years at Liberty.
"We are excited about the future at Liberty Middle School," said Klemt. "We know that what students experience at Liberty will enhance their lives and provide memories that will last a lifetime."