The North Warren Board of Education met on June 12th in an atmosphere of festivity a
gratitude as they celebrated the end of another year.
At times, the meeting resembled an awards ceremony, with many winners in many categories. Certainly, there was no shortage of happy news.
First, the board celebrated the top 10 graduates of the class of 2023. The seniors were off on their senior cruise, but the board gave them a round of applause nonetheless.
Next, Dr. Jeanene Dutt presented staff recognition awards.
She began the presentation by teasing the teachers present that she would post the awards to social media– “Because I know teachers really love that,” she added to a chorus of knowing laughter. “They really don’t, which is what makes this so awesome because they don’t do this for the recognition, but we feel like they really do deserve the recognition.”
The staff recognition awards were given to staff who had worked at North Warren for 10,
15, 20, and 25 years of service.
The presentation culminated with two proclamations. The first went to Gerhard Woyzichowsky, North Warren’s Educational Services Professional of the year 2023. Dr. Dutt commended Woyzichowsky for his 12 years of service filling a vast array of needs at the school: as a soccer coach, as a teacher, and as a lead replacement teacher for a period of several months.
The second proclamation was for Kelly Beam, North Warren’s Teacher of the Year for 2023. Dr. Dutt cited Beam’s 23 years of teaching at North Warren and her leadership in “a wide variety of student clubs and activities, including drama, band, soccer, cheerleading, robotics, middle school class advisor, and middle school team leader.”
The board also commended three students for winning the prestigious Freddy Awards, which honor achievement in high school musical theater productions in three counties across Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Three North Warren students won Freddy Awards this year. As board member Jessica Wood-Rosso said, in terms of recognition for high school theater productions, “The Freddy Awards are huge– like the Tonys.”
he next segment of the meeting saw North Warren itself completing a major achievement: the final approval of its five-year strategic plan for 2023 – 2028. The approval marks the completion of a months-long process spent gathering extensive community feedback and distilling that feedback into concrete goals and action items.
The final result condenses the school community’s input into five priorities: academic development, finance, school facilities, community engagement, and communication.
The meeting ended with a mention of several happenings around the school in its last month of the school year: a senior prank that was “a little bit chaotic” while also bringing some innocent fun to the school day, the volunteer program that has already seen student soccer teams signing up to help spruce up school grounds, a multicultural fair, Field Day, a moving Voices of the Veterans event, and, of course, graduation.
A comment from Wood-Rosso captured the tone best: “This was a truly awesome senior year for these kids.”
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.