WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi spoke in front of a full house on Tuesday at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, where he delivered his State of the Town Speech at the 42nd Annual West Orange Chamber of Commerce Breakfast. Aside from providing the audience with fiscal thoughts, information on higher taxes for 2016, and redevelopment details, he also recognized some “exemplary” students, named the “Citizens of the Year,” honored the “Employee of the Year,” and made some other announcements.

Parisi started his speech by honoring a “special” group of 2016 West Orange High School Mountaineers. “These impressive young men and women remind us of what is possible when you combine hard work and an honest commitment,” he said. 

The students honored for their achievements included class valedictorian Brianne Attamante, salutatorian Mythill Managala, and fellow students Krista Dong, Josh Stauss, Samantha Jacobs, Henry Gardner, Liam White, Dasha Temniy, Zachary Horan, Brian Crann, Joel Paku, Matthew Eng and Rushil Garala. Their achievements included Grade Point Averages (GPA’s) no less than 4.0. Attamante’s 4.7 and Managala’s 4.69 GPAs drew an audible gasp of appreciation from attendees. Their successes also included AP and Honors classes, national recognition by many organizations and extensive public service accomplishments.

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Mayor Parisi said, “They inspire each of us, they inspire their classmates and teachers and they have provided us all a small glimpse into the very bright futures that lie ahead for each of them.”

Parisi also recognized the West Orange Elks as the “Citizens of the Year” for their extensive contributions to the town. Lodge 1590 was established in town in 1932, and the mayor cited the group’s numerous work efforts in supporting veterans, children with special needs, numerous organizations and causes as well as their sponsorship of PAL and Mountaintop teams.

Parisi also thanked them for being “steady supporters of our Memorial Day ceremony and the anchors of our traditional Veteran’s Day ceremony each November.”

The mayor concluded that the Elks rarely say, “No,” to helping people in need, adding, “like a trusted old friend, they have been a loyal and steady force in this community since they first established their charter and it would be hard to imagine civic life in our town without them.”  

Parisi also highlighted the 100th Anniversary of West Orange Boy Scout Troop 2, which was established in 1916. He singled out the three people with the longest tenure in the organization: Jim Michael, with 60 years as a scout and leader, and Ron Panuska and Doug Perry, with 50 years each.

Health Department Registrar Denise Urso was then honored as the “Employee of the Year” for her 30 years of service to the township.

Mayor Parisi also announced that John McElroy, president of the Downtown Alliance and longtime downtown business Fire Captain Brian Aker and Police Lieutenant Michael Keigher will be the Deputy Grand Marshalls for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

In addition, the mayor welcomed the newly-formed West Orange Hispanic Foundation, headed by Deputy Mayor Rodolfo Rodriguez. He lauded the group’s immediate contributions to the township in many areas.

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Cut Liine for photo of the students honored at the meeting: From L-R front: Brianna Attamante, Samantha Jacobs, Krista Dong, Brian Crann, Mythili Kanagala, Josh Strauss, Henry Gardner and Mayor Robert Parisi. From L-R rear: WOHS Principal Hayden Moore, Matthew Eng, Zachary Horan, Dasha, Teminy, Liam White, Rushil Garala and Joel Poku.