LIBERTY LINES MARCH 31, 2017 - issue 13

1ST PLACE WINNERS IN THE PROJECT E-NABLE COMPETITION OF PS 5

YOUNG JC FILMMAKER TO SCREEN AT 15TH ANNUAL GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL

"Derek's Friends" - a comedy by Jersey City filmmaker Joseph G. Sexton will screen this weekend at the 2017 Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City. Currently a McNair Academic High School sophomore, Joseph, wrote, directed, and played the lead in this film, which had its world premiere August 2016 at the Oscar-qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival, where the RIIFF jury awarded Derek's Friends the FIRST PRIZE KidsEye International Film Award. Previously, Joseph won accolades for another one of his movies, "The American Dream" a documentary on immigrants, which was awarded second prize in the 2015 C-SPAN StudentCam competition and aired on national television. A longer version of that film screened at Loews Historic Theater, and at the Gala Opening Nite of the 2015 Golden Door International Film Festival. Prior to that, Joseph produced "The Colors of Timothy," a comedic mockumentary which garnered a nomination for Best Regional Short Film, and a personal scholarship for Joseph --all from the Golden Door International Film Festival. More recently, Joseph was the recipient of the James Gandolfini Filmmakers of Tomorrow Award. Derek’s Friends is a narrative about a boy who must let go of ‘peculiar’ friends in order to move onto the next stage in life. The film screens this Saturday, April 1, at the Dante Hall Theater in Atlantic City.

GIRLS IN TECHNOLOGY SYMPOSIUM

A special panel of young Wise Owls from Watters School 24 was selected to attend the 2017 Girls in Technology Symposium held by HCCC on Thursday, March 23. The girls spent the day with successful women working in the technology field. They experienced virtual reality, built small robots, and made binary code bracelets. It was a wonderful experience for all!

GOOGLE FOR EDUCATION CERTIFIED INNOVATOR PROGRAM

Alicia Vilas, 3rd grade teacher at the Dr. Maya Angelou Elementary School #20, has been selected for Google’s prestigious Certified Innovator Program. Vilas is a Level 2 Google Certified Educator and was just one of 36 educators from around the world selected for this program based on her professional experience, passion for teaching and learning, her innovative use of technology and her potential to impact other educators. She will now participate in a year-long professional development program that will begin with an “Innovation Academy” at Google headquarters in Covent Garden, London, UK in April. At the Innovation Academy participants will learn to translate insights into solutions, experiment and develop valuable tools to develop an Innovation Project. Vilas’ project will focus on empathy and will help bring about a shift in education through developing new ways to engage students in complex problem-solving.

JC STUDENTS SHINE AT THE 2017 STEM SHOWCASE

On March 13, 2017, students from across Hudson County gathered together at the Liberty Science Center to present their projects as part of the Jersey City Medical Center/RWJ Barnabas Health STEM Showcase. Seven Jersey City students won gold medals: From McNair Academic, Harshal Agrawal, Justin Gabriel, Mehul Modi, Zain Mughal, Srija Patcha, Wabil Asjad, and Edith Vu; and from Dickinson High School, Usama Mahmood. Sophomore Harshal Agrawal was selected as one of two delegates to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which will be held in California in May. Longtime McNair teachers, Ms. Osoria and Mr. Stanton, prepared students for months in an after-school Science Research class. Ms. Osoria explained that she and Mr. Stanton guided the students and occasionally helped them with the statistical side of the process, but largely “let them do their own thing.” Students balanced hours of research with other after-school activities and homework, sometimes staying at school as late as 9 PM in the weeks prior to the competition. Ms. Osoria emphasized that, although Science Research is a class, it is held after school. This meant that she saw a different side of her students, as their non-academic interests were exposed in a more open, casual setting. Ultimately, McNair students’ diligence paid off. In addition to the gold medalists mentioned earlier, Aurelia Brook, Jeanne D’arc A. Koffi, Devanshi Gami, Sasha Kozlov, Sakthivelan Manikanthan, Xinwei Pei, Manisha Persaud, and Reedah Wahid all received bronze medals; and Kaream El-Adle, Seemal Khan, Hafeya Khokar, Shane Meledathu, Suchita Mistry, Reshma Modi, Anna Prilutsky, Sarwat Siddiqui, Shreya Bhatt, Shaikh Hassan, and Jason Han were honored with silver medals. In addition, Sarwat Siddiqui, Mehul Modi, Harshal Agrawal, Zain Mughal, Shane Meledathu, Anna Prilutsky, Shivani Patel, Tazeen Ali, Shaikh Hassan, Jason Han, and Srija Patcha were presented with special awards. Congratulations to Mr. Stanton, Ms. Osoria, and all participating students for their accomplishments!

FERRIS HS PUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE TO THE TEST

The students of Ferris High School proved that there are real life connections to what they learn in the classroom. On Tuesday, March 21, students from Ms. Tamara Bridgeforth-Goodman’s Financial Literacy classes, with the assistance of Ms. Elizabreth Koumis, Job Placement Coordinator, and Mr. Harold Ramirez, Guidance Counselor, took a field trip to BNP Paribas, one of the largest global banking groups in the world. Teams of students competed against each other in Financial Literacy Jeopardy. The top three teams advanced to Final Jeopardy. The company volunteers, “the Changenators,” visited Ferris High School earlier in the month to conduct financial literacy workshops in preparation for this challenge. The volunteers reinforced skills necessary in setting financial goals, saving and investing money, paying for college, and setting a personal spending plan. The students were well prepared and the competition was fierce. Congratulations to Team Orange on their victory!

PROJECT-BASED LEARNING AT PS 5

JEFFREY BROWN VISITS PS 29 VIA SKYPE

On March 10th, the students in grades 3-5 of PS 29 were able to Skype with the famous author, Jeffery Brown. The students read his newest autographed copy of the graphic novel, Lucy & Andy Neanderthal. They then listened to him explain his love of drawing and writing. He even taught them how to draw Darth Vader!

LATINAS IN STEM CONFERENCE

Six Ezra L. Nolan MS40 students participated in the Second Annual LATINAS in STEM conference at Alexander Sullivan School PS30.

PS 25 RECEIVES VISIT FROM AUTHOR KATHLEEN DIMARIO

Ms. Kathleen DiMario, Child Psychologist Professor, visited Nicolaus Copernicus School - P.S. #25 to share her book, "What Kind Of Dog Am I?". Students learned about Posha, a fun-loving rescued dog on a journey of self-discovery. Posha's story taught students valuable life lessons. Ms. DiMario read her book, discussed her writing process, and presented an activity centered on the importance of self-esteem.

I NEED A HUG PROGRAM

Select Gr. K-2 students at PS #12 have been enjoying Hug Therapy, a newly implemented program designed to give young students an appropriate way to relieve stress. Participants meet with reading specialist, Mrs. Sanders, for 45 minutes each week in a small group setting. Plush, cuddly, stuffed animals, emotion face cards, story books, music, and role-playing activities are the tools used to help build emotional and social skills. Each student is assigned a "pet" stuffed animal to hug and care for while enjoying stories read aloud or while listening to nature sounds (Zen music). Students name their stuffed animal and are encouraged to have conversations with their pet each week. The children also routinely select stories they would like to read to their stuffed animal. These activities provide opportunities for students to express emotions and practice reading fluency in a playful, nonthreatening environment. At the beginning or end of each session, the children like spending time hugging their stuffed animal while sitting or rocking in a HowdaHUG chair. This is a portable slatted seat with adjustable straps that create a cozy embrace or 'hug".

INNOVATION HOLDS ITS 4TH ANNUAL LOTTERY

Innovation High School held its fourth annual lottery in the Michael Gilligan Student Union of NJCU. Over 150 students and their families, filled with anticipation, attended the event. Innovation staff and students spoke with the crowd, giving words of encouragement and sharing highlights of the school. Prospective families were also able to talk with district leadership

WALKING TO SAVE LIVES AT MS 7

MS#7 Power Sharks, led by Coach Stefania McCall and Coach Daria Trivisonno, are walking to save lives! Chosen by UNICEF Kid Power as 1 of the 6,000 schools nationwide to participate in this activity, the Franklin L. Williams MS#7 Power Sharks have been competing to earn points to unlock meals that help feed severely malnourished children and families all over the world. For every 10 points earned by walking 24,000 steps, the Power Sharks unlock meals. We have only just begun but our team has unlocked 55 meals in just 6 days collectively averaging over 180,000 steps a day. UNICEF Kid Power, through a generous grant, has been able to provide our team with trackers known as Kid Power Bands, charging stations and a tablet to sync all of our steps. The Kid Power bands measures physical activity using a pedometer and accelerometer. They have also provided "passports" and encourage us to go on "missions." Our first and current mission is to Nigeria helping mothers feed their children with nourishing food. When mothers visit a UNICEF clinic, UNICEF provides them with a RUTF, a ready-to-use-therapeutic food packet, which we unlock simply by exercising. By making healthy choices and exercising we in turn are helping to save lives as global citizens.

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Created By
Kathy Gacos
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Cover design - Billy Pridgen 

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