The Mount Laurel Board of Education recognized student accomplishments and retiring staff members at its regular meeting on May 24.
To begin the session, the board cited Robert Watker Jr., school business administrator, for receiving the 2022 New Jersey Association of School Business Officials Distinguished Service (NJASBO) Award.
To be considered for the award, nominees must be active members of NJASBO as of Sept. 30 of the school year in which they are nominated, have a reputation deserving of recognition, be regarded as a leader or resource for others, have 15 years of experience as a school business administrator and work for one school district for at least five years. Nominees cannot be current members of the NJASBO executive committee,
School Superintendent Dr. George Rafferty noted that each year, winners are a select few in the state. He explained the importance of the recognition and commended Watker for his work in the district.
“Only six recipients in the New Jersey Association of Business Officials received such an award in the state and Mr. Watker was one of those,” Rafferty noted. “The purpose of this award is to recognize the long-term continuous exemplary service of school business officials in the various regions of our state.
“Tonight, we want to take a moment to recognize Mr. Watker for not only what he contributes to the district, but also for his leadership in the region, throughout Burlington County and in the (NJ) Association of Business Officials,” Rafferty added.
Watker expressed his gratitude for the award and cited his staff and family for assistance and encouragement during the school year.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people. My staff throughout the years, they’re the ones that make me look good.
“I also want to thank my family, because they’ve been my biggest supporters and they’ve always been there for me.”
The board awarded students in Mount Laurel schools for contributions to organizations and clubs:
In the New Jersey Math League contest, eighth grade individual winners were Michael Zhang, first place and also first place in the region and third place in the state; Colette Serenbetz, second place; and Owen Boyle, Nelin Chen, Xtusti Patel, Finnean Waldorf and Jessica Yao tied for third place.
Seventh grade individual winners were: Gwendolyn Teske, first place, Morgan Croly and Vivaan Talreja tied for second; and Shelby Croly and Andrew Maggio tied for third.
Battle of the Books awards went to Ethan Baum, Weilin Chen, Samuel Gagliardi, Nidarshan Norbert, Akanksha Prakash and Harleen Walia.
Coriell and Delaware Valley Science Awards: Nithilan Rengapragash, Best of Engineering Award; Coriell Science Fair, first place Computer Science; Coriell Science Fair, first place Computer Science-Delaware Valley Science Fair. Rengapragash will advance to the Broadcom Masters, a program of the nonprofit Society for Science organization.
Jessica Yao, Aanya Chanda, Prisha Parekh, won second place in the team category; Coriell Science Fair, Honorable Mention Team Category; Delaware Valley Science Fair, Karolina Wisniewski, Participant; Coriell Science Fair.
SeaPerch and MATE ROV competitions: SeaPerch, Avisa team; Yasha Asokaraju, Kuwar Raj Singh Bakshi, Sia Bhanot, Shubh Kapadia, Lauryn Pugh, Aditi Ramachandran, Anirud Sriram, Kedar Vipin Kartha. Aquastars team; Nathan Carn, Jeongwoo Kwon, Malia Marchlik, Rut Patil, Akanksha Prakash, Christina Soule, Samyak Surana, Kristin You, Harleen Walia, Karolina Wisniewski.
Ranger team; Krithik Alluri, Shahood Alvi, Amogh Biradar, Aanya Chanda, Prisha Parekh, Akanksha Prakash, Nithilan Rengapragash, Akshaj Sama, Colette Serenbetz, Gabriel Sobol, Samyak Surana, Nikhil Venkatachalapathy, Harleen Walia, Karolina Wisniewski, Jessica Yao, Kristin You. Scout team; Yasha Asokaraju, Sia Bhanot, Shubh Kapadia, Akhil Nalamalapu, Aditya Patel, Anirud Sriram, Vivaan Talreja.
The board also presented awards of recognition to several school district retirees and staff members who have served for more than 25 years. A complete list of the staffers can be found on the school district website.
The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 14.