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Community Members Recognized for Sandy Relief Efforts

Students, staff and other members of the school community were given certificates of appreciation for volunteering and helping others in Hurricane Sandy relief.

The Wall Board of Education meeting began with Superintendent Daniel Simon’s recognition of certain students, staff members and other members of the school district who made “outstanding contributions” to the community in the past month.

“It’s times like this in this past month in what we experienced and what we went through that that you really see the embodiment of community and what your community really values and what’s important to them,” Simon said before handing out certificates of appreciation.

First up were ten Wall High School students— Brendan Brady, Ryan Sullivan, Russell Lorusso, Michael Cusack, Conor Nichols, Stephen Graves, Scott Van Glahn, Christopher Quinlan, Philip Shields and Bryan Cusack— who had spent time assisting resident Brian Pringle, whose house was heavily damaged in the storm. Pringle sent a letter to the mayor, which Simon then read at the board meeting.

“These kids spent almost an entire day lugging wet sheet rock, carpet, furniture, insulation, shelving and anything else you can imagine in a finished basement that was damaged by five feet of water. The debris they collected was five feet high and 50 feet wide. The amount of work they did in one day would have taken me over a week to accomplish alone,” the letter read. 

The Wall girls soccer team was also recognized. Team members held a pasta party for the Manasquan Girls Soccer Team, which Pringle’s letter said his daughter was invited to. Some of the Wall team members and their coaches also spent two days helping a staff member clean up from the storm. Those who were recognized at the board meeting were coaches Jenna Rafetto and Jamielynn Silva, along with team captains Colleen Knier and Ariana DeBlasio.

Four other Wall High School students were recognized as a group. Vasilla Tsoukalis, Madison Berardo, Casey Sussman and Sarah Liguori organized a “Go Wall, Help Squan” T-shirt sale, the profits of which went to the Manasquan Fire Department’s Hurricane Sandy Fund.

Also recognized were Wall Township Education Association (WTEA) members Bill Chiese, Gail Maher and Aimee Bramley for the WTEA’s collection and distribution of food, cleaning supplies, batteries and toiletries for storm victims.

Simon also turned his attention to people who made individual efforts, including student D.J. Harvey, who volunteered playing and teaching preschool students music at Wall Primary School in order to give them some entertainment after Sandy. 

“I was actually able to be there to see it, and it was just such an incredible uplifting experience,” Simon said. “The students were completely enthralled, doing all the hand gestures and singing right along with him. It was great.”

Also given a certificates of appreciation were custodial supervisor Jim Matthews, an employee at Wall High School who “in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy went above and beyond” in his efforts to help people all around the district; and Chief of Police Robert Brice for “excellence in communications and leadership, and for making the safety and security of Wall Township students a top priority.”

Brice accepted his certificate, but said he did so on behalf of other district public service employees and officials who have been helping with Sandy relief and cleanup efforts. 

According to Simon, recognizing members of the Wall school district community is a new tradition at board meetings. In addition to those recognized for their efforts relating to Superstorm Sandy relief, a teacher at West Belmar School was also given a certificate of recognition for her organization of a Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. Sally Foley designed and sold pink T-shirts to district staff, which they all wore on Oct. 26

Michael Ferrell November 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Not to take away from any of the effort and work, but there are many unsung student heros from Wall schools who participated in helping during and after Sandy. It is a shame that not all of them are mentioned, or will be receiving certificates and recognition. I saw many helping at the Circle Outlets distributing food, ice and water to those who needed it for days after the storm. Kudos to those mentioned above. Kudos to those who volunteered without the recognition... that service is just as significant.
Tom Coyle November 28, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Way to put a wet-blanket spin on such a thoughtful outreach to the community by our Board of Education, Mr. Ferrell. How about just being happy that this Board is bringing a positive feeling back to our schools as we leave the previous boards behind?
Disgusted in Wall November 29, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Mr. Coyle, take off your board bashing blinders! Many past boards have worked hard to recognize a wide range of students and staff for their accomplishments.
CC November 29, 2012 at 07:30 AM
I'm happy that the BOE recognized those mentioned in the article above! I only wish I knew to when and where to submit names to the Board for recognition. There were a few boys from the Wall High School Hockey team that volunteered their time for a few days in Belmar during their time out of school, helping cleaning out homes and handing out ice and water to those in need. I agree with Mr. Ferrell ... I am happy that the students above received recognition and certificates for their efforts - Good job! Your parents must be very proud of you! However, there are many other students who volunteered their time as well. Congratulations to everyone who helped their friends, neighbors and strangers during this difficult time! This is not meant as a slam against anyone. It is simply meant to say Thank You! to those who remain anonymous in their efforts :)
CalmToil December 02, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Dear Disgusted, Don't be. Mr Coyle has continued his tantrum and grudge over the personal affront he claims to be had to the WB community as if he is Mr. WB himself - bigger than life - all omnipotent. Just another day - another post or two to three or thirty for him. It is so old it garners sympathy from many for him. This community knows how these boards -past and present - have supported its students. It goes without saying. But know that If you continue to upset him, he will just try to 'meet you for coffee'. Let him be.
CalmToil December 02, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Geez, I hope I don't get invited for coffee now or scolded (I mean encouraged) to go to a board meeting. What is disturbing is how many times that 'invitation' has been made by Mr. Coyle. Newsflash -- It's not his meeting to invite others - not his town - he's not a leader here . But maybe he could run for the board because it seems like he has a good amount of time on his hands. What the heck am I saying, Mr. Coyle can just be a fulltime blogger. He is very good at it. We all need a talent. If it defines him, let's let him have his keyboard.
VERYDISAPPOINTED December 03, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Somethings never change. Just like all the other public schools. They only recognize, support or see who they want in everything that is done through the schools. They are not even looking into the other kids direction.

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