It was a night of honor, recognition and reward.
Tuesday's Rumson-Fair Haven Regional Board of Education meeting opened to a full house as a series of teachers and students were recognized for various achievements within recent months. Seven teachers and one administrator attained tenure, while 11 students were recognized for high standardized test scores.
"This is a very high-powered school and we expect a lot from our students, and we expect a lot from our teachers," Superintendent Peter Righi said, acknowledging the several teachers present at the meeting who were granted tenure.
Those teachers were: Erin Burke, English; Christina Gauss; William Grillo, music; Vincent Mottern, vocal music; Dino Pagano, general woodwork; Jaclyn Toner; and Julie Vaccarelli, math. Christopher Alworth, a former teacher and now current administrator, also became tenured.
In addition to the faculty members who were granted tenure, head football Coach Shane Fallon was commended for being the "winningest" coach in the district's history. Under his leadership, the Bulldogs' 100th win came on Friday, Sept. 7, sealing Fallon's distinction and breaking the long-held record of former longtime coach Joe Rosati, who coached the Bulldogs to 99 wins in his time.
The first student recognized at the meeting was Kristin Liang, who achieved a perfect score on the ACT. A perfect score is 36 out of 36 possible points, which covers all portions of the test. "I'm told that less than one tenth of one percent [of test takers] get a perfect score," Righi said before handing Liang her certificate.
Another student, Monica de los Reyes, also received special recognition. For her outstanding test score on the PSAT, de los Reyes received an Excellence in Academic Achievement award from the 2012-13 National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP).
To qualify for this, students must be at least one-quarter Hispanic and achieve a minimum qualifying test score, which varies by state. In the course of the year the NHRP identified about 5,000 of the highest scoring students from a nationwide pool of 124,000 Hispanic high school juniors who took the PSAT.
Liang and de los Reyes were also two of the 11 students congratulated that evening for their general high scores on the PSAT.
The other nine students recognized for that achievement were: Robert Chan, Laura Courchesne, Amelia DePaola, Sophie Litwin, Kelsey O'Hare, Denis O'Sullivan, Benjamin Sherman, Jessica Yorke and Connor Briggs. Each received a letter of commendation from the board.
Of the approximate 1.5 million students nationwide who take the PSAT each year, about 34,000 receive letters of commendation. Some may also be eligible for certain scholarships because of their scores.