Haddonfield schools are known for their ability to excel in academics and athletics, and Haddonfield Memorial High School was commended for both at the Haddonfield Board of Education meeting last week. English teacher Kimberly Dickstein’s Shakespeare class gave the BOE a Shakespearean performance and spoke about making Shakespeare more accessible within the community, and HMHS was once again the winner of the ShopRite Cup for its success in athletics during the 2015–2016 year.
“We really are an outstanding school system in about every area,” Superintendent Richard Perry said.
Last year, after Dickstein took her students to a Shakespearean reading of “Titus Andronicus,” her class wanted to do something similar. Readings bring in the community, making Shakespeare more accessible, which is the whole point of the class, according to Dickstein. Many of her students didn’t have much experience with Shakespeare before, but felt it was helpful to hear the words aloud for better understanding.
In collaboration with Revolution Shakespeare in Philadelphia and Inkwood Books in Haddonfield, students read “King John” at the local bookstore to the community. On the same day, the Haddonfield students helped orchestrate readings at five other locations throughout the tri-state area. They dubbed the collaboration “King Me.”
“It was really a community effort and it all started with our Haddonfield students,” Dickstein said.
Her students then read a portion of “King John” to the board and public in attendance and received a thunderous round of applause. Perry too showed off his Shakespearean reading skills by reading some monologues from “Hamlet” and “Romeo and Juliet.”
Dickstein said the goal this year is to bring more Shakespeare to the community with at least three more public readings. She said to stay tuned for more collaborations.
Also during the meeting, athletic director Lefty Banos announced HMHS was the winner of the ShopRite Cup for the 13th year in a row, since the cup’s inception. The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association and ShopRite team up together to present this award.
Six cups, one per group, are awarded at the conclusion of athletic competition for fall, winter and spring based on points earned during state championship competition and sportsmanship. HMHS this year earned 97 points, earning more than 10 titles and points for no disqualifications during the fall and winter spring season. HMHS is the only school in Group II to have won the award.
“Ms. Dickstein, that was amazing. You have proven that, as many of us know, the Haddonfield school district is not only unbelievable on the field, but just a gem in the classroom,” ShopRite representative Sean Rabbitts said.
“It is not just about athletics. Sportsmanship does play a factor in capturing the cup; so they have been great sportsmen throughout the entire program,” NJSIAA assistant director Bill Bruno said. “Incredible job by the entire community.”
In other news:
• Assistant Superintendent Michael Wilson gave an update on enrollment. From September 2015 to September 2016, the district has an additional 37 students in grades pre-K to 12. The board talked about possibly needing a future discussion to look at enrollment projections and where to get more space.
• The district is looking into creating a communicators group or a community advisory board, where leaders and members of the community would come together and learn more about what is going on in the schools and spreading the word to the community.
• In reference to the upcoming bond referendum, school architect Steve Becica told the board more than 150 schematic drawings have been finished and submitted for cost estimators to work up confirmed costs so they can be reconciled with the budget and work on the more detailed drawings of construction documents. The hope is to have everything done so the district can go out to bid in January 2017.
• Board members Robert “Bob” Little and Matt Ritter both attended their first BOE meeting. Ritter was chosen to fill the rest of Carlton Chin’s unexpired term, and Little was chosen to fill the rest of Joshua Drew’s unexpired term.