WAMS and MHS student receive recognition for top honors

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Moorestown students received an array of accolades for their achievements.

As lightning flashed outside, the media center of William Allen Middle School was filled with thunderous applause at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting. Moorestown’s top students were honored during the district’s pageant of success for their high scores on a variety of national examinations.

Students who placed in the top tiers of the National Latin Exam, National Spanish Exam and National French Contest were given certificates for their achievements. Students were also acknowledged throughout the night for receiving other academic top honors.

“Tonight, we recognize the hard work, commitment and dedication of our middle and high school students who attain national recognition for excellent performance,” said World Languages Supervisor Roseth Rodriguez as she greeted the families gathered in attendance.

WAMS Latin teacher Deborah Atherholt presented the first awards of the evening to the seventh and eighth graders who sat for the National Latin Exam. She said 31 WAMS seventh graders scored higher than the international average on the exam. Of the 31, 13 seventh graders received gold medals for their scores on the Latin exam.

In eighth grade, 49 students scored above the international average, and 23 of those students received gold medal awards. Eighth-grader Connor Wu earned a perfect score on the examination, while six additional students were one question short of a perfect score.

Moorestown High School Latin teacher Cynthia Allen said 146 MHS students sat for the National Latin Exam. Of those 146, 111 students, or 76 percent, earned awards for their performance. Twenty-two students earned cum laude distinction, 33 received magna cum laude, 30 received silver maxima cum laude medals and 26 received gold summa cum laude medals. The 26 students who earned gold medals were honored at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Maria Heffernen, Annabelle Jin and Ajay Bhalodia achieved perfect scores on the National Latin 2 exam. Julia Shenot, Millen Dang and William Wang were awarded an Oxford Classical Dictionary for achieving a gold medal for four consecutive years on the Latin exam while Anna Mui and Laura Tsai achieved gold medals for the fifth year in a row and received the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature.

MHS French teacher Theresa Montagna said 44 MHS students sat for the National French Exam and 16 received honors. Evan Lis was the sole MHS student to receive a gold medal.

MHS Spanish teacher Lisa Trapani said out of the 77 students in the Spanish honors program who sat for the National Spanish Exam, 70 earned national recognition for their scores. At MHS, 13 students earned gold medals, 10 earned silver, 11 earned bronze and 36 received honorable mention.

WAMS Spanish Teacher Maria Pulcini said 27 students out of the 47 middle students who sat for the National Spanish exam earned recognition. Three students earned gold medals, six earned silver, three earned bronze and 50 were honorable mention winners.

Moorestown High School senior Luciano Gonzalez was congratulated for earning the National Spanish Examinations Study Abroad Scholarship for his achievement on the National Spanish Examination. In July, Gonzalez will travel to Spain along with 23 other winners who will study the Spanish language and culture at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Gonzalez was selected for the program for having ranked in the 97th percentile on the national examination.

Samantha Krasner earned a language arts writing award. Eighth-grade Language Arts teacher Margaret Valora said “Letters about Literature” is a national writing competition sponsored by the Library of Congress where students from each state are invited to write letters to the author of their choosing or alive and reflect how that author has impacted their lives. Out of 2,000 entries in the state, Krasner won distinguished honors for her letter to Anne Frank.

Congratulations were also offered to Heather Hackl who served as principal at South Valley Elementary School at the start of the 2018–2019 school year. Hackl is currently the assistant principal at William Allen Middle School.

Board President Sandra Alberti said she offered Hackl her heartfelt congratulations.

“I am happy for the community. I am happy for South Valley. I am happy for you,” Alberti said.

Hackl said in the year and a half that she’s been in the district, WAMS has quickly become her family, and she thanked the staff at WAMS for being supportive. She said she’s grateful and honored to work with the South Valley community and wants to assure them that she will be working with South Valley’s current principal Leisa Karanjia to ensure a smooth transition.

“This is my dream, my end game,” Hackl said. “This is what I longed to be, and 20 years later, here I am.”

The next meeting of the Moorestown Township Board of Education will take place on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. in William Allen Middle School.