WESTFIELD, NJ – It has been a rewarding year for many student athletes, actors and the members of extra-curricular clubs – something recently recognized by the school board.

Board President Peggy Oster presented the awards to dozens of students June 18, detailing their accomplishments in music, track and field, drama, debate, golf, tennis and the local municipal alliance. Oster led the recognition of drama students with some famous quotes.

“American actor and acting teacher Sanford Meisner said that ‘Acting is behaving truthfully under imaginary circumstances’ while Hollywood legend Bette Davis once emphatically stated ‘Acting should be bigger than life. Scripts should be bigger than life. It should all be bigger than life.’ And it certainly is when our talented drama students take the stage,” Oster said in her remarks.

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The school board honored student actresses in the play “Sweet Charity” who performed as “The Dance Hall Girls.” They are the following students:

  • Katherine Ceraso
  • Emma Herber
  • Talia McRoberts
  • Abigail Painter
  • Lillian Paone
  • Elizabeth Rosenberg
  • Elisa Saint-Denis
  • Julia Salvato
  • Alexandra Sica
  • McKenzie Waddell

Oster also detailed the following accomplishments:

Band & Orchestra

  • Brooke Walden (Piccolo) – All-Eastern Orchestra and All-State Orchestra
  • Tia Lemberg (Oboe) – All-State Symphonic Band and Region II Symphonic Band and Orchestra.
  • Max Tennant (Trumpet) - All-State Symphonic Band and Region II Symphonic Band
  • Aprina Wang (French Horn) - All-State Symphonic Band and Region II Wind Ensemble and Orchestra.
  • Valerie Chang (Oboe) – Region II Symphonic Band

Tia, Max, Aprina, and Valerie also have been selected to perform with the All-State Orchestra in November.

  • Austin Chen (Trumpet) – Region II Symphonic Band
  • Duncan Cook (Trumpet) – Region II Symphonic Band
  • Conor Daly (Trumpet) – Region II Wind Ensemble and Orchestra
  • Ian Gurland (Percussion) – Region II Percussion Ensemble
  • Karl Peter (Trumpet) – Region II Symphonic Band
  • Robert Strauss (Piccolo) – Region II Symphonic Band
  • Kailey Zhao (Bassoon) – Region II Symphonic Band

Track & Field

Samantha Stravach placed first in the Union County Championship and 2nd in the North 2, Group 4 Sectionals in both Discus and Javelin. She placed 4th in the Javelin in the Group 4 Championship, advancing to the Meet of Champions where she placed 6th in the state in the Javelin, advancing again to the New Balance National Outdoor competition on June 16, placing ninth out of all Javelin throwers competing nationwide. She was also first Team All Union County in the Discus.

Julia Csorba placed second in both the Union County Conference Championship and the North 2, Group 4 Sectionals in the 400-meter hurdles. She placed eighth in the Group 4 Championship, again for the 400-meter hurdles, advancing to the Meet of Champions where she placed 10th in the state and qualified for the New Balance Nationals. She went on to compete at New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the Championship race where she finished 34th overall. She was also first Team All Union County in the 400 Hurdles and third Team All Union County in the 4x400 Relay.

Lauren Triarsi placed first in the North 2, Group 4 Sectionals in the 100-meter hurdles. She also finished in first place in the 100 meter hurdles at the Lion Invitational and 3rd in the Union County Championships. She competed in the highly competitive Penn Relays in the 4x100 relay and will run for the University of Vermont next year. She was also third Team All Union County in the 100 Hurdles.

Katherine Hamilton as a sophomore this spring, qualified for the 4x800 relay at the Penn Relays, placed 1st while setting a school record in the 1600 meter at the Lion Invitational and beat her own personal record multiple times. She placed first in the North 2, Group 4 Sectionals in the 800 Meter run, second at that same meet in the 1600 Meters and second as part of the 4x400 Relay, again all at the North 2, Group 4 Sectionals. In the Group 4 Championship, she had a third place finish in the 1600 and 2nd place as part of the 4x800 Meter. And at the Meet of Champions, she placed third in the state in the 1600 Meters and 4th in the State as part of the 4x800 relay. She was also first Team All Union County in the 1600, 2nd Team All Union County in the 4x800 Relay, and 3rd Team All Union County in the 4x400 Relay.

The school board also honored track and field coaches Joe Berardi, John Preston, Sam Haimann, Carine Helwig and Erik Anderson with certificates of recognition.

‘Foxy Award’

The school board also recognized winners of the Montclair State University’s “Foxy Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Acting Ensemble of a Comedy” in the fall production of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” The students are as follows:

  • Eva Boyes
  • Anthony Butera
  • Meredith Case
  • Katherine Ceraso
  • Olivia Ebel
  • Emma Herber
  • Jessie Karlin
  • Noah Lipkind
  • Finn McGurn
  • Talia McRoberts
  • Matthew Meixner
  • Vincent Mora
  • Aishik Palit
  • Lillian Paone
  • Gianni Pizzi
  • Elizabeth Rosenberg
  • Sophia Rossetti
  • Remi Shendell
  • Alexandra Sica
  • Sophie Tananbaum
  • McKenzie Waddell

Talia McRoberts, Remi Shendell and Julia Salvato received for an award from the Bucks County Playhouse “Student Theatre Festival.” All three were recognized at the festival for the “Spotlight Award for Best Student-Directed Production” for “Top Girls.’” Julia Salvato also was honored for “Best Featured Actress in a Drama”.

Boys Golf

The school’s varsity boys golf team ended its season with a win at the North 2 Group 4 sectional tournament by one stroke over rival Watchung Hills.

“The weather, I’m told, was challenging… cold and wet for most of the day,” Oster said. “However, our boys persevered and advanced to the Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2008, where they placed third in the N-J-S-I-A-A Public Group 4.”

The following students, who competed under the leadership of head coach Ryan Daly, received certificates of recognition:

  • Senior George Snell
  • Junior Jason Lee
  • Sophomore Colin Summers
  • Freshman Nicholas Conti
  • Freshman Thomas Smith

Boys Tennis

The Westfield High School Boys Tennis Team won its fifth consecutive sectional title after defeating top-seeded Ridge in the Section 2, Group 4 tournament last month.

“Co-captain Matthew Su was quoted in a local article at the time as saying, while winning five in a row is great for the program, this year’s win was particularly rewarding because the team faced its toughest opponent in a sectional final,” Oster said.

The following students, who competed under the leadership of head coach George Kapner and coach Adam Gerckens, were recognized at the meeting.


  • Matthew Bartok – Co-Captain
  • Matthew Su – Co-Captain
  • Jai Sharma
  • Irving Zhao


  • Nicholas Forno
  • Aaron Hecht
  • Brad Hornbeck
  • Alex Weinberg


  • Benjamin Garceau
  • Aidan Morrison
  • Sebastian Wroe


Municipal Alliance

The school board recognized Jaimie DeDea, who was named “Union County Municipal Alliance Volunteer of the Year” by the Local Advisory Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse or LACADA.

“Jaimie is the president of the WHS Dream Team, which promotes positive decision-making and healthy choices through programs that provide alternatives to underage drinking and drug use,” Oster said.

The LACADA Volunteer of the Year is recognized for exemplary service to the New Jersey Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Program, the largest network of community-based anti-drug coalitions in the nation.

Westfield Intermediate School Debate

The Westfield Debate Team – a partnership of the Westfield Public School District, the Westfield Parent-Teacher Council and the Westfield Area YMCA – also received praise at the meeting.

Last month, two intermediate school members of the Westfield Debate Team took the title in Public Forum Debate, becoming the first-ever New Jersey State Middle School Public Forum Debate champions.

Edison School eighth-grader Matthew Chen and Edison School seventh-grader Tage Mehta accepted certificates of recognition for the accomplishment.

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