Principal's Corner

March 2017 Update

To continue to promote the successes of Cranford High School the CHS administrative staff has been requesting meetings with families that have sent applications out to other schools to further inform those families of all the great things that Cranford High School has to offer. Additional Rotate and Drop information sessions were added to the calendar one was on February 28. All of the sessions were extraordinarily successful.

The CHS administrative staff presented the Rotate and Drop schedule to the Board of Education on December 12th. This was the culmination of prodigious work that was completed by the teachers, staff, students, custodians, secretaries, and administrative staff as well as the central office administrative staff. This schedule was approved by the Board of Education and is set to begin at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. This schedule is going to reduce student stress, allow for an increase in higher levels of student engagement, allow for more in depth problem solving skills, allow for further enrichment time, and expand the opportunities for students both inside and outside of school.

The past several months at Cranford High School have seen tremendous student and staff success stories. Our students and staff continue to impress, as one outside vendor stated, “I have been in a ton of high schools, and I have never seen such well behaved and focused students.” This all happens based on the efforts of Mr. Gary Sorrentino and Mrs. Barbara Carroll. Both maintain such high expectations for the students both inside and outside of the classroom.

On February 23, 2017 Cranford High School conducted an Infrastructure Practice Test. This test was used to test our newly installed fiber network as well as to expose our students to some of the ELA PARCC test questions. The outstanding results of this test were due to tireless work completed by our Technology staff under the direction of Mr. Mangini, the organization and efficiency of the secretarial staff, the logistical work completed by the custodial staff, the support and preparation by the CST and Guidance Departments, and the attention to detail by the teaching staff and paraprofessionals. The administrative staff could not be more pleased with the work that you all continue to do inside and outside the classroom. Thank you!

Cranford High School took full advantage of the professional development half days on March 9 and 10 by running a mock Rotate and Drop schedule to assist our teachers and students prepare for next year. As the administrative staff walked and observed a number of classes the teachers were taking full advantage of the time to best prepare for the change. Students that I spoke to in the hallways and the cafeteria stated that they enjoyed the time and they were so engaged it flew by. Teachers later that day then reflected on their lessons and prepared adjustments for the future. Testing season is upon us! Students will be reminded to get a lot of rest, relax, focus on setting high expectations, and put together a structured study schedule to best prepare for success.

Student Accomplishments

The CHS Web Team has been developing an idea to honor the CHS staff and also promote the school. The new CHS Spotlight gives a biography and lists the great accomplishments of a new staff member nominated every month by CHS students.

The CHS Choral groups have been very busy performing at various locations in the community, state and most noteworthy Carnegie Hall on January 14. The CHS Orchestra and Choirs Annual Winter Concert on December 22nd was magnificent. It showed off the many prodigious talents of our students and staff.

The CHS Talent Show that occurred on December 7th was exciting and entertaining. Our CHS students and staff continue to thrive in raising funds for their events.

The Dance Academy Showcase on December 8th was as always an enjoyable night that showed off the many talents of Mrs. Emily Donahue and her students.

The winter sports programs had a very successful season. The cheerleading team won the State Championship in their division; the CHS wrestling team won the sectional championship and had four wrestlers place in the state tournament; the girls JV basketball team won the County tournament; Trey Pascual was the Pole Vault Sectional Champion, Mark Lynch and Trey Pascual were Group 3 State Champions in the combined Pole Vault; the Girls Swim Relay placed 7th at Meet of Champions: Emily Wilson, Lauren Byrne, Isabella DeSimone, Margaret O’Donnell, Marina Nunziato. The spring sports season is beginning and promises to be competitive. The team schedules can be found on the CHS website.

In honor of the New Year, Japanese classes at Hillside Avenue School, Orange Avenue School, and Cranford High School learned about the importance of sending nengajou (New Year’s cards) in Japanese culture. Students then participated in making their own original New Year’s cards and a contest was held in each class to see whose card was the most artistic, original, or comical. The winners’ cards will be entered into the Official 2017 American Association of Teachers of Japanese Nengajou Contest to compete on a national level.

Senior student, Grace Chen, entered the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards nationwide competition during 2016. Grace is among a select few who have made it to the National Medalist level after winning a Regional Gold Key award for her memoir entitled "Leaving the Bird's Nest." Grace was also a New Jersey Scholar last year. Grace has also been selected as a Chief State School Officer candidate to represent New Jersey for application to the U.S. Presidential Scholars program. She was chosen based on her high academic achievement and outstanding student accomplishments.

Ten students participated in the Union County S.T.E.P. (Student Training and Enrichment Program) event this month. The program invites students from all Union County high schools to work together and develop civil services projects to help the county.

Over 150 students participated in the first Math League examination. This group is led by Mrs. Maureen Dugandzic and Mr. Michael Schugel, two of our great math teachers. The results of the test have not been released yet, but many of our students on a yearly basis progress through this rigorous process.

Alannah Clarke - NJ State Scholar Nominee

The following students were nominated as potential NJ Governor’s School participants:
Katherine Stochel-Engineering and Technology
Elizabeth Walter- Science

On the weekend of January 6th, the Cranford High School Model U. N. Club participated in the 47th Annual YMCA Model United Nations Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Our delegation of 106 students participated in the conference with approximately 1900 students representing over 30 schools throughout the New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

The following is a list of Model United Nations student accomplishments:

Lilian Rebelo was recognized for Premier Diplomat as a delegate from Mali.
Paul DeBole was recognized as the Outstanding 1st Year Delegate in the World Health Organization.
Kevin Schwartz was elected as Chair for the Nation Building Committee. Burke Jaeger was elected as Vice Chair for the Nation Building Committee. As committee chairs they are now part of the YMCA Model U. N. conference Officer Corps that will be planning next year's conference.
The Cranford High School delegation as a whole was awarded Outstanding Delegation. This distinction is given to schools in the conference for their adherence to program rules, and overall preparation and performance of the student delegates.
The following students were invited to attend the annual YMCA Youth Conference On National Affairs (CONA). Twenty-five student delegates of the approximately 1900 who attend conference are selected for this honor. We have the distinction of having 2 students attending. Those students are: Emma DeBole and Adam Hollanek
The following students were selected as alternates in the Model UN.
Cam Hay
Maryclare King

Led by Ms. Donna Cathcart and Cynthia Keyasko, we are so proud to announce the students who have qualified at the Central New Jersey DECA Conference. A number preceding the name represents a first, second, or third place:

2017 Cranford High School
Blue Division
Regional Qualifiers:

Apparel and Accessories – 3 Emma Lore
Business Finance Series – 2 Olivia Klimko
Food Services Marketing – 1 Kelly Drake, 2 Rebecca Piassek
Hospitality Services Marketing – 3 Shannon Szefinski/Karina Vizzoni
Marketing Communications Services – 2 Ben Bacall
Principles of Business Management - 3 Kerry Pollock
Quick Serve Marketing - 1 Yueqing Chen
Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Individual Series Event - 1 Spencer Pascal, 2 Kevin Schwartz
Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Team Decision Making Event - 1
Patrick Hoey/Owen Mcdermott, 2 Michael Difabrizio/James Nichnadowicz, 3 Matthew Fonseca/Jeremy Hunt

Of the 88 students attending the regional conference, 35 moved on to compete at the NJ DECA Career Development Conference in Atlantic City, NJ in February, 2017. This was an exciting accomplishment for this group of young business people. The following students were finalists (the top 12 in the state) at the NJ DECA State Leadership Conference held in Atlantic City, NJ:
Owen McDermott and Patrick Hoey – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Event
Spencer Pascal – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Individual Series
Kevin Schwartz – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Individual Series
The following students placed in the top 6 in the state which qualifies them to attend the International DECA Competition - ICDC in Anaheim California this April!
Matthew Fonseca and Jeremy Hunt – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Event – 4th place overall
Ben Bacall – Marketing Communication Services – 6th place overall
Kelly Drake – Food Services Marketing – 4th place overall
In addition, the following students won an instructional award in their event, meaning they achieved the highest score in one or two categories:
Kevin Schwartz – Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Spencer Pascal – Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Jeremy Hunt – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team (Written Test)
Ben Bacall – Marketing Communication Services
Kelly Drake – Food Services Marketing
Grace Chen – Quick Serve Restaurant Management
All 31 DECA students who attended the NJ State Leadership Conference are to be congratulated for their achievements – they made Cranford Proud!

Recently under the direction of Ms. Aileen McGuire, Latin teacher, students took the National Classical Etymology Exam. This exam tests a student's knowledge of Greek and Latin roots as well as word derivation skills:
Advanced Level (grades 11 and 12)
Anabelle Malamug - Bronze
Spencer Pascal - Bronze
Grace Varga - Bronze
Intermediate Level (grades 9 and 10)
Ian Baumann - Bronze
Amanda Hogan - Bronze
Mary Grace McNamara - Gold

Grace Chen and Mallory Vollbrecht have moved on the be National Merit Finalists! This is an outstanding achievement by both students. Their collective academic and school accomplishments have placed them amongst the top students in the nation.

This year’s musical , “The Secret Garden”, was staged on March 3rd, 4th and 5th. The actors and actresses along with the technical crew of “The Secret Garden” should be extremely proud of a fantastic show. The set, lights, sound, singing and acting was simply tremendous. There are stars in the making on our stage and behind the scenes.

Jula Flimonczuk, 10th grader, is a member of the Youth Orchestra of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. She will be performing at the National Association for Music Education (NAFME) Eastern Division Biennial Conference on April 6th. This is quite an accomplishment

Congratulations to Rachel Rothchild for becoming a President’s Volunteer Service Award winner given by Prudential Financial.

Christopher Brown recently achieved the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout.

Mary Grace McNamara and Isabella Stoto recently achieved the honor of becoming Gold Award Girls Scouts.

Below you will see the outstanding accomplishments of our two highest ranked students at CHS:
Grace Chen-Valedictorian
Thomas Whitehead-Salutatorian

On Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Princeton University, three CHS students were awarded with NJATJ's (NJ Association of Teachers of Japanese) Japanese Language Study Award. The ceremony was attended by Dr. David Greer, Coordinator of World Languages at NJDOE and Mr. Horiki from the Consulate of Japan. The CHS students were: Aiden Charles, Emma Freeman, and Michael Vicencio.

Staff Accomplishments

The staff held its first Chili Cook Off on December 2nd which was a tremendous success. This event was planned and organized by Mr. Gary Sorrentino.

Robert Ciarrocca and Justin Corazza presented at NCTE National Council of Teachers of English in Atlanta, Georgia on the use of graphic novels in the classroom. This national annual event draws hundreds of educators throughout the country to both present and attend sessions.

On behalf of Cranford High School an enormous congratulations goes out to Joan Weeks on her retirement on January 1. She is a dedicated school counselor who has had a tremendous impact on thousands of students.

CHAPs met Sgt. D’Alessandro on December 16 to hear a talk on how he founded his nonprofit organization, Backpacks for Life. CHAPs has decided to dedicate all of their fundraising efforts this year to this organization. They are also hard at work on community snow shoveling!

The administrative staff would like to congratulate the following teachers that were nominated as Teacher of the Year candidates:
Mr. Keith Carroll
Ms. Barbara Narus
Ms. Elizabeth Sheehan
Ms. Donna Cathcart
Ms. Emily Donahue
Ms. Gabrielle Rendek
Ms. Maureen Dugandzic
Ms. Linda Osborne

The Cranford High School Teacher of the Year is Ms. Donna Cathcart!

Under the direction of Mr. Anthony Rafaniello and amazing support of Lynn Berry, the Performing Arts Supervisor, our concert Choir was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall on January 14th.

The Guidance Department organized a very informative alumni luncheon that invited CHS alumni to return and speak to seniors about the transition from high school to college. One alumni stated, “Cranford High School taught me the habits to be successful in college. I am more prepared than others that did not attend CHS.” Another student commented, “The teachers, collectively, taught me that I can challenge myself and overcome difficult courses because they gave me the tools to do so.”

Under the direction of Mr. David Martinez the Woods Club built cutting boards to raise money for the purpose of donating to the Toys for Tots. The group raised enough money to donate so many toys they would not fit on three tables.

Congratulations to Mr. Rich Bell 2017 NCWIT NJ Educator Award winner. This is award is given to educators that encourage high school women's interest and participation in technology pursuits. Click here - NCWIT NJ Educator awards

University Night organized by Ms. Barbara Carroll, Ms. Susan Turner, and Ms. Jenn Hilborn engaged a substantial crowd that was interested in being apart of a prodigious program at CHS. Students are eager to join such a long standing tradition of excellence at CHS.

The Glamour Gals continued they support in the community by visiting a nursing home Saturday February 11th. They were nice enough to give manicures to the residents there free of charge.

Sophomore, Class of 2019


Robin Melleno

Gregg Caverly

Time Event Info

Freshman, Class of 2020


Mike Mangarelli

Denice Schmidt

Time Event Info