The Annual STARS (Support To Academically Raise Standards) Awards Celebration, which is in its 17th year, was held on Sun., May 6 at the George Inness Annex at Montclair High School. The keynote speaker for the occasion was Gary Garrido Schneider, Director of Education for the Montclair Art Museum. In the past nine years in his position, he has continued to foster collaborations, partnerships, and interdisciplinary approaches to making, interpreting and supporting the arts. The STARS program provides academic support to elementary and middle school students in Language Arts and/or Math.
Assistant to the Superintendent Dr. Barbara Weller, who gave the opening remarks, said “We are proud of the students’ efforts and their accomplishments. Our teachers and support staff work diligently to provide appropriate supports. We are committed district-wide to fine tuning our programs so we can proudly promote more and more students up and out of the STARS program.”
The program was sponsored by the Montclair Public Schools Department of Instruction, Parent Coordinator’s Office and the STARS Advisory Board. The Julian Lee Trio and the Premiere Dance Theatre led by Shirlise McKinley-Wiggins, director and choreographer, provided the entertainment for the 225 people who attended including administrators, Board members, parents, caregivers, extended family members, community partners, volunteers and of course, the students who were being honored for their academic achievements this year. The students were recommended for the awards by the principals of their schools in consultation with their teachers. The ceremony also served as an opportunity to thank all the volunteers and community partners (see attached) for supporting students during the 2011-2012 academic year.
“The STARS Awards celebration is always one of the highlights of the year,” said parent coordinator Sylvia Bryant. “It is gratifying to see everyone from administrators to family members, and most of all, our students in one room, celebrating the joy of academic excellence. It is very gratifying that collectively on this particular day, we all come together in support of our children. It truly does take a village to raise a child and here in Montclair we collaboratively do whatever it takes to ensure our students’ academic success.”
Furnari and Bryant presented each student with a certificate for their academic achievements. In addition to their certificates, students were given the opportunity to select a book of their choice Watchung Booksellers as a gift.