Pasack Valley School District Celebrates Exceptional Student Achievements and Honors Outstanding Educators

In a recent Pasack Valley School Board meeting, an atmosphere of triumph and celebration prevailed as the district recognized exceptional achievements from its students, showed appreciation to outgoing student representatives, and honored outstanding educators and staff.

Leading the pack of academic and extracurricular accomplishments, six students emerged winners of the STEM League Challenge, where they demonstrated their ingenuity by designing buoyant boat hulls. The board’s tudent representatives detailed other noteworthy achievements, such as PV students outshining their rivals in the CyberStar America competition and the New Jersey Governor’s Surf Fishing Tournament.

Further highlighting the accomplishments, Christine Back, a Valley photography teacher, was awarded a significant $23,000 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, signaling a vibrant arts scene within the district. The 2022 “Metamorphosis” issue of the Pascack Hills Echoes literary magazine, steered by teachers Catherine Donahue and Danielle Garretson, bagged first place in the American Scholastic Association’s contest. In the spirit of fostering leadership and service, Caitlyn Lynn Murphy, a math teacher, was named a Desmos returning fellow.

The Eisenhower Leadership Award, given by the West Point Society of New Jersey, went to two exceptional juniors, Talawani Bocetti of Pascack Valley High School, and Samantha Freed of Pascack Hills High School. Steve Kalish, presenting the award, commended them for “excellence in leadership, character, academics, athletics, community service, and citizenship.” Karina Shaw, a senior at Pascack Valley High School, was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Certificate of Merit.

PV’s theater, chess, and various cultural clubs had their share of the limelight too. The PV Theater secured two awards at the first annual Bergen Pac Awards, and four Metros Awards nominations. The PV girls’ lacrosse team’s stellar performance helped them clinch the NJIGLL American North League Title. Pascack Hills High School’s boys’ track and field team secured a third-place ranking at the NJSIA North One Group Two Championship.

During the meeting, the board paid a heartfelt tribute to the outgoing student representatives. One board member highlighted the representatives’ contributions, stating, “I love how you focus on the totality of the school… you really give such a broad picture of all of the cool events that are happening in our buildings.”

The board’s appreciation extended to various teachers and support staff who made significant contributions to the schools. Lori Saanage and Michael Sherman, teachers of Physical Education and Video Production respectively, were recognized as Teachers of the Year for their respective high schools.

The meeting also marked a heartfelt farewell to retiring educators, including Deborah Alt, Stephanie Debrune, James Devaney, John Dinky, Frank Euphema, and Vicki Schultz. Their relentless service to the district won them numerous accolades and brought much-needed positivity to the school community.

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