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Westfield Chapters of Girls Learn International Attend United Nations Summit

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Students and advisors from the Westfield Public Schools’ Girls Learn International Chapters who attended the United Nations Summit/Speak Out for the International Day of the Girl raise their hands as a symbol of solidarity in support of girls’ education worldwide.  The group stands in front of the Norman Rockwell mosaic called The Golden Rule that contains the inscription, “Do unto Others as You Would Have Them Do unto You.”  Credits: Westfield Public Schools
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Forming one of the largest contingencies in attendance at the United Nations in New York City, a total of 46 students in grades 7 – 12 and their advisors from the Roosevelt and Edison Intermediate Schools and Westfield High School chapters of Girls Learn International (GLI) attended the International Day of the Girl Speak Out on October 11. Left to right in the foreground are Roosevelt students Sofia Toglia, Stephen Handzy, Giovanna Sternberg, and Deanna Hanchuk.  The theme of this year’s summit was Innovating for Girls’ Education, and the event highlighted girls' commitment to improving their communities and provided governments with concrete recommendations based on the global action of girls.  Credits: Westfield Public Schools
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Forming one of the largest contingencies in attendance at the United Nations in New York City, a total of 46 students in grades 7 – 12 and their advisors from the Roosevelt and Edison Intermediate Schools and Westfield High School chapters of Girls Learn International (GLI) attended the International Day of the Girl “Speak Out” on October 11.

The theme of this year’s summit was Innovating for Girls’ Education, and the event highlighted girls' commitment to improving their communities and provided governments with concrete recommendations based on the global action of girls.  Girl presenters told their stories of community change and illuminated how the projects girls are working on affecting more than just girls, but benefit the entire community. 

Several girls from around the world (the United States, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Guatemala) reported on their activism and how they are making a difference in the lives of girls in their countries. The panelists were then addressed by UN representatives and delegates from various government missions who acted as respondents.  Some of the respondents included the Executive Director of UN Women, the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, the First Lady of Peru, and the Ambassador of Turkey.

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Westfield students were moved by the stories told by the young panelists and inspired by their innovative projects.  One girl from Burkina Faso, named Malika, described her campaign to support girls’ education by distributing bicycles to girls in rural villages in her country to provide a safer and more efficient means of getting to school.

Lindsey Sharlow, an 8th grader from Westfield stated, “To see girls our age going through such struggles and then coming back with a plan to change the situation for girls around the world was empowering.”  Eighth grader Nadia Matin stated, “For the first time, I could actually see that the power of young feminists can change the world.” 

All of the presentations at the International Day of the Girl Speak Out at the United Nations were a reminder that through innovation and individual talent, young people can make a difference.  Eighth grader, Giovanna Sternberg noted, “When I looked around during the Speak Out, I noticed that the Westfield Chapters of Girls Learn International made up a good portion of the audience.  This made me aware of the big impact that young people from our very own town can have on the lives of others around the world through activism.”

The event was planned by the Working Group on Girls (of which GLI is a member organization) in conjunction with the missions of Canada, Peru and Turkey. The Working Group on Girls promotes the human rights of the girl in all areas and stages of her life.  This work is done through the inclusion and presence of girls in the United Nations system. 

Accompanying the Westfield students to the event were Westfield GLI advisors/teachers Karen Lust and Dominick Ceccio - Roosevelt; Tamara Yellin and Cecilia Valdes – Edison; and Westfield High School parent Judy Augustino, a chaperone for the event.  Sandra McCarthy, the GLI advisor the High School was unable to attend the Speak Out.

GLI first took root in Westfield in 2003 by its founder, former Board of Education member Lisa Alter.  Today through weekly or bi-weekly after school meetings, Westfield students learn about human rights and gender issues through engaging activities from a curriculum provided by GLI.  Students also communicate and exchange cultural projects with a partner school in a country where girls still lag behind boys in access to education.

The Westfield GLI chapters are partnered with Abdullah Bin Omar School in Afghanistan, and raise funds to support girls’ education initiatives at our partner school, such as covering tuition and purchasing school supplies.   Representatives from Westfield’s chapter network with other chapters around the country through webinars or Student Advisory Board Meetings held in New York City.  Over the past several years, select students from Westfield Chapters have acted as delegates to the United Nations for an entire week during the Commission on the Status of Women and have worked with young people from other countries and nongovernmental organizations to set policy related to women and girls.

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Judge Rules in Favor of Open Ballot in UCDC Chair Election

February 21, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ — Just one day before the Union County Democratic Committee (UCDC) convention to elect a new County chair, Superior Court Judge Katherine Dupuis ruled in favor of State Senator Nick Scutari, who made the case that UCDC bylaws call for an open ballot.

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, the acting chair of the party, advocated the use of voting machines when committee ...

Mayor Brindle’s Update

February 15, 2018

The following are highlights from the update that Mayor Shelley Brindle gave at Tuesday night’s town council meeting.

I first want to congratulate Nick Calello and David Went for their promotions to patrol officers in the Westfield Police Department. I’d also like to welcome and congratulate new Patrol Officer Fortunato Riga, who joins the police department this week upon his ...

Upcoming Events

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Thu, February 22, 8:30 AM

Hilton Garden Inn, Hamilton , Hamilton

Defending Your Independent Contractor & Wage & ...

Business & Finance Education Law & Justice

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Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

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Fri, February 23, 5:00 PM

Catanzaro Dining Hall at Saint Joseph High School, Metuchen

Friday Night Lenten Fish Fry

Food & Drink

Point View's Dietze, Petrides Tell LA Times How to Make Sense of Market's Volatility

February 20, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, along with the firm's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, comment in the Los Angeles Times on mistakes investors should avoid when the market heads south:

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The duo's advice is part of a piece ...

Westfield Police Blotter: DWI Arrest & More

February 15, 2018

February 7, 2018 10:25 p.m.

Officers Natale and Gill arrested Brian Mueller, age 55, of Westfield, NJ for driving while intoxicated pursuant to an accident investigation in the area of Mountain Avenue by Colonial Avenue. Subject was transported to headquarters, processed and released to a sober adult.

 

February 9, 2018 2:21 a.m.

Selena G. Palacios, age 22, of Westfield, NJ was ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Would the Stock Market Affect Your Home Purchase?

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Good News in NJ for Veterans

Beginning in the 2017 tax year, New Jersey will give an additional $3,000 exemption for military veterans. You are eligible to claim this exemption NJ state income tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or before the last day of the tax year.

 

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Sinai or Sanctuary?

 

 

And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

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Westfield Public Schools Celebrate High School and Intermediate Music Honors

Westfield High School sophomore Brooke Walden auditioned and was selected to the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra for a second straight year.  Brooke was the top scoring piccolo player and ranked third on the flute.  She will perform in February with the Wind Ensemble and in November with the Orchestra.

Walden also was among 12 WHS musicians to perform in January with ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 13, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Love Craft Beer But Hate the Tour? State Assembly Moves to Make it Easier for You to Belly Up to the Bar

Good news is a brew for New Jersey craft beer advocates. In February 2018, the New Jersey Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee paved the way for the introduction of Bill A2196, which would remove a current licensing rule requiring breweries and distilleries to provide a tour of their facilities before serving alcoholic beverages to consumers. Currently, breweries holding a ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Is FAANG Long in the Tooth?

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Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...

Obituaries

Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
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5 Injured in Bus Collision with Garbage Truck in Maplewood

February 20, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Five people were seriously injured when a NJ Transit bus and a garbage truck collided head-on around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a press release from Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino of the Essex County Prosecutor's office.

The accident occurred near 1450 Springfield Ave., which is directly in front of the NJ Transit ...