WEST ORANGE, NJ - Turnout was big at Tuesday night's West Orange High School PTA meeting, where parents heard an enthusiastic report from Principal Hayden Moore and a presentation by Catalyst, an SAT prep 'Bootcamp'.

PTA co-presidents Wanda Maragni and Debi Zarro shared information about upcoming events, particularly fundraising efforts for Project Graduation.  Funding has dropped since last year and it costs about $45,000 to run the event, which is held at the Funplex in East Hanover the night of WOHS graduation, offering students a safe, drug and alcohol free alternative to celebrate with their friends.

Principal Moore highlighted some student accomplishments over the past few months, notably Poetry Out Loud,the national recognition of the Chinese language program, recognition of National Merit Semi-finalists, Commended students, and  students accepted into the North Jersey Symphonic Band, Orchestra and Chorus. Additionally, he noted the winner of the Hispanic Leadership Network  was a WOHS student, the Gold Medal win of WOHS students at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America National Leadership Conference.

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Nicole Ianucci, Director of School Partnerships for Catalyst, then spoke to parents about the Boot Camp, scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 9-1, and Sunday, March 3, 9-1. Catalyst was formed in 2005 after its founder, Jared Friedland, a former comedy screenwriter, was looking for ways to make some extra money.  He began teaching SAT prep to students and his new approach, laced with humor and contemporary cultural and social references, became incredibly popular.  Catalyst now has offices on both the East and West Coasts.  Instructors themselves take the SATs to recognize question trends and help students learn how to take the test better.  The camp is taught like a college style class and has an interactive format.  The average increase in SAT scores after taking the Catalyst Bootcamp is 150 points.

Ianucci, herself a teacher for over ten years, explained how the Bootcamp works.  Day one will focus on critical thinking and grammar, and day two will focus on essay writing and math.  It is usually held a week before or so before the SAT. Three diagnostic tests are given and results returned within the week to parents. They offer support to students with questions after they attend Bootcamp.

Flyers will be mailed to parents of Sophomores and Juniors and priority given to West Orange High School students and relatives.  If registration is low, it will be opened up to other high school students.

The cost for the two day Bootcamp is $165.  The fee includes the Catalyst book and a light snack.  Catalyst will also give the WOHS PTA a small portion of the cost back. February 28, 2013, is the deadline to register.


You can call or go online to register: 1-800-235-0056 www.catalystprep.com.

Please email Wanda Maragni at wamaragni@verizon.net or Debi Zarro at dzarro@woboe.org with any questions.