James Caldwell High School Advocacy Club advisors Robin Keil and Melissa Hart join, from left: President, State Board of Education, Arcelio Aponte, club members Evan Lamarca, Sarah Smith and Rachel McNamara, Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education David Hespe, club member Josh Turbiak, Caldwell-West Caldwell Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg, club member Alexis Spina, club advisor Robin Keil, club member Brittany Setaro, club advisor Melissa Hart and Essex County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Zarra
Accompanied by the executive county superintendent, local school officials, family and friends, the students were recognized for academic success as well as leadership qualities and volunteerism both at school and within their communities. The educators were recognized for outstanding professional achievements. Keil and Hart were joined at the ceremony by Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg and six of the club’s members, Evan Lamarca, Rachel McNamara, Brittany Setaro, Sarah Smith, Alexis Spina and Josh Turbiak.
James Caldwell High School senior Josh Turbiak works with sixth grader Zeyad Elfatatry
Keil has been working with the group for several years.
"We work with the club members,
and the club members work with other students,
to help them learn to identify their weaknesses
and how to focus on their strengths,
creating awareness of their strengths and weaknesses
by advocating for themselves amongst their
teachers, peers, and family members,” said Keil.
“Over time, these students build confidence and leadership skills
necessary to be successful in and outside of school.”
James Caldwell High School graduate Marissa Caponera poses with Wilson School fifth grader Helana Harris at Bonnel Field, West Caldwell
Credit: Christine Corliss
The club also participates in a grant-funded, literacy-based, Student-to-Student Mentoring Program in which high school students are matched with students from the district’s elementary schools, acting as mentors to younger students who experience similar learning challenges.
Members from the Advocacy Club also attend the “Each One Teach One” conference at Millburn High School and the “Dare to Dream” conference at Montclair State University each year, and have presented to the middle and high school faculty on learning disabilities.
James Caldwell High School
265 Westville Avenue
West Caldwell, NJ