The Medford Sun
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The Medford Sun

Medford’s Year in Review Part I

Part I reflects on news in the Lenape Regional High School District.

Alex Steinberg (trumpet) and Jonathan Jones (snare drum) played the National Anthem at Lenape Regional High School District’s Ninth Annual Armed Services Awards Ceremony on May 15.

As another year has come to a close for Medford, it’s time to take a look back at the events that made headlines in 2018. With news in the Lenape Regional High School District, the township and the arts — The Sun’s got you covered.

LRHSD superintendent gives overview of security

In response to the February high school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and more injured, Lenape Regional High School District Superintendent Carol Birnbohm reached out to the LRHSD community in a public message to address school safety concerns.

Birnbohm first noted officers from local police departments serve as school resource officers at each of the district’s schools. This service also includes having marked police vehicles stationed at each school to increase the visibility of a police presence.

In the event of an emergency, police also have the ability to access a school’s live streaming video surveillance system. All schools in the district are equipped with a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week surveillance system monitoring the interior and exterior of buildings.

Exterior doors to the district’s schools are locked and secured during the school day, and office vestibules limit the direct entry of visitors to any school.

Birnbohm encouraged parents to speak with their children about keeping their schools safe.

“On behalf of the administrators and staff of the Lenape Regional High School District, I want to assure you that we have always, and will continue to, take proactive steps to ensure the safety and security of our schools and the health and well-being of your teens who you entrust to our care each day,” Birnbohm said.

LRHSD presents Annual Volunteer Service Awards

Four students and four parents of the Lenape Regional High School District were awarded for their selfless acts of volunteerism at the May 9 meeting.

The student honorees of the Volunteer Service Awards were Ryan McLaughlin from Seneca High School, Jacqueline Wenzel from Cherokee High School, Caroline O’Rorke from Shawnee High School and Samantha Sorid from Lenape High School.

“This award was implemented across the district in an effort to instill in our students civic responsibility and a willingness to service their communities throughout their lives,” said Matt Webb, director of programs and planning.

The four parents honored for their volunteerism were Tracey Lajoie, Karin Wetterau, Kim Manchio and Deidre Woodard.

LRHSD hosts the Ninth Annual Armed Services Awards

Lenape Regional High School District officials continued the annual tradition of honoring senior students entering the military, military academies or college ROTC programs upon graduation.

The event was held on May 15 and Assemblyman Ryan Peters was the keynote speaker for the night. He spoke about his time as a Navy SEAL, where he served on multiple combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“You’re going to have to go through some pretty tough stuff in order to have the poise and confidence it takes to proudly wear the uniform of the most powerful military to ever walk this planet,” Peters said.

Students honored at the Ninth Annual Armed Services Awards Ceremony were:

Lenape High School students Arielle Beauchemin, Aaron Diefenbach, Grant DiDomenico, Ronald Hicks, Kevin Lauer and Jake Steffa.

Cherokee High School students Andre Flamini, Ethan Lacy, Joseph Mikusa, Liana Pacheco, Amanda Riley and Paige Roberts.

Shawnee High School students Christian Iannuzzelli and Matthew Ross.

Seneca High School students Alexa Adams and Shane Brennan.

LRHSD hosts Goodwill clothing drive competition

The Lenape Regional High School District kicked off yet another Goodwill clothing drive for the 2018–2019 school year.

Beginning in 2011, the district decided to organize a friendly competition between the four high schools — Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee and Seneca — to see which could collect the largest amount of clothing donations.

Students, staff and community members are invited to participate in this clothing drive, with Goodwill donation bins located at each high school. The bins were put in place on Sept. 24 and remained on site through Nov. 13.

“One of the Lenape Regional High School District goals from our previous long-range plan was to instill, in all students, civic responsibility and the desire to serve their communities throughout their lives,” Birnbohm said. “Partnering with Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey allows an opportunity for our students to connect with an organization designed to help local residents.”

The winner was announced at the Turkey Bowl game at Cherokee High School, with Seneca High School taking first-place in the competition by collecting 18.21 pounds of clothing per student with a total of 20,392 pounds.

Cherokee High School came in second place collecting 14.92 pounds per student with a total of 31,822 pounds, followed by Shawnee with 11.32 pounds per student and 17,964 overall, and then Lenape with 3.21 pounds per student and a total of 6,026 pounds overall.

Between the four high schools, 79,204 pounds of clothing were collected for donation.

State aid reductions will hit LRHSD

Birnbohm said on Friday, July 13, the district was notified its state aid for the upcoming school year had been reduced by $961,456.

The announcement tied into announcements Birnbohm made at the board’s June 27 meeting, where officials discussed recently passed legislation regarding the state’s Fair Funding Formula.

With the legislation, certain school districts are now labeled as overfunded, including the LRHSD and six of the LRHSD’s eight sending districts.

As Birnbohm previously noted at the July 4 meeting, 22 of 541 school districts previously received more than half of the $8 billion given in state aid, while the other 519 districts had to share the remaining funds.

No educational programs or current staff members will be affected by these reductions for the 2018–19 school year, although it was previously noted there are concerns for how high taxes could be raised and how it could affect school programs in the future.

“We will work collaboratively as an administration and creatively, and we’re going to continue to keep our focus on our high quality education for our students,” Birnbohm said.

Inspirational staff members were recognized by LRHSD

Lenape Regional High School District officials shined a spotlight on staff members who stand as inspirations to others.

The Sept. 12 meeting began with a presentation honoring the district Teacher of the Year, Seneca High School science teacher Dusty Carroll.

“Through conversations and observations through my six years as her supervisor, she has proven herself willing to go the extra mile to raise student achievement in her classroom. She demonstrates the highest level of content mastery and ability to make that knowledge accessible to students,” assistant principal Dave Maier said. “She identifies where students struggle, and her lessons help students push through those struggles and correct prior misconceptions.”

Cherokee High School principal Donna Charlesworth recognized two school resource officers and two security staff members, who worked together to use security technology and the established protocol to identify an individual who tried to enter the high school during the first week of school.

Jammie Clements, Bob Hansbury, Bruce LaCarte and Ben Kozarski were recognized for their efforts. Charlesworth thanked the resource officers and security members involved, stating she is grateful for their expertise and their relationships with the students. She followed by thanking the families in attendance at the meeting.

“To our family members, our spouses in the audience as well as the children, thank you, because I know every day these people make a difference in your life, but every day they come to work they make a difference in our lives and the lives of our students,” Charlesworth said.

Shawnee High School valedictorian and salutatorian reminisce on their high school journey

Academic success came naturally to valedictorian Sharon Pantano and salutatorian Paige Neher. Throughout their time at Shawnee High School, the two kept the mindset of staying self-motivated and trying their best, which led them to the top of their class.

Pantano reminisced on her time spent in marching band, and recalled her most valued memory at Shawnee as the time the band won the state championship in 2016, where she was assistant woodwind captain.

Neher was active in three sports, being captain of the swim team this past season, a cross country runner and being on the spring track team. She was a member of National Honor Society and a part of the youth group at her church, Hope United Methodist Church, located in Voorhees, which she would meet with for two hours every Sunday.

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