Cherokee’s accomplishments the focus of Lenape Regional BOE meeting

Orange and white flooded the Lenape Regional Board of Education meeting Jan. 22 as Cherokee High School students and advisors were commended for fall and winter achievements.

Principal Donna Charlesworth and Athletic Director Scott Agnew spoke of the accolades earned by the school’s band, football and cross-county programs in the past five months,  adding to the school’s titles.

“This is truly a Cherokee night with Bonnie Olt swearing-in,” Charlesworth announced, referring to Olt’s board membership. “And I am proud to present to you our student athletes and musicians, who this season reached the pinnacle in their respective sports or marching band.”

Honors first went out to the school’s marching band. Director Mike Lynch guided the group to its third title for the 2019 Tournament of Bands Region I Group III Open Class Championship. Lynch spoke about the students’ willingness to try something new and described them as an army putting together a winning show.

“It is not my goal nor (Earl) Phillips’ goal to win,” Lynch noted, referring to his assistant band director. “We truly believe that if we do what we do, it is the byproduct of what we try to do.

“We win the right way, work the right way and if we come out on top? Outstanding!”

The band’s booster organization was thanked for providing students with the opportunities to compete at state and regional competitions, along with other supplemental support.

The band’s theme was reflections and students performed in front of mirrors with voiceovers in the background featuring a self-portrait of their lives.

Coach Brian Glatz’ football team secured its 11th group title by winning the 2019 Central Jersey Group V title against Kingsway Regional in November. Glatz said the road to the title wasn’t an easy one for the team as the Chiefs had to face four of the toughest high schools in their first four games of the season. But the team “powered through adversity” to success.

Cross-country had a number of things to be proud of — 19 conference championships, nine South Jersey Group IV sectional titles and six state championship titles.

“It’s remarkable and I don’t know of any cross-country in South Jersey being close to that and being a Group IV school,” Agnew remarked. “Those kind of stats are mind-blowing to me.”

Head coach Steve Shaklee said the team has learned ways to keep the momentum going through obstacles they have faced, literally and figuratively.

“That’s the thing I’ll take away from this group more than anything,” he explained, “how determined they were, as if they refused not to not win when it got down to it.” Shaklee said.

Even with the accolades for extracurriculars, Superintendent Carol Birnbohm pointed to the state’s extensive cuts to some of its 580 school districts, and the Lenape region (all of the kindergarten to eighth grade districts and Lenape) is projected to lose approximately $25 million.

The Lenape Regional Community Forum is scheduled Feb. 13, 6:30 p.m., at Lenape High School. The board of education will hold its next meeting Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m., at 93 Willow Grove Road in Shamong.