ELIZABETH – The talents of Elizabeth Public Schools’ students and teachers were apparent in the exhibits showcasing countries and cultures from around the world in ONEFEST ‘12. The festival was a showcase of excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts in the number one urban school district in New Jersey. Hundreds of students, parents and community members attended the three-day event from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.
The district’s College Fair for high school and middle school students was the kickoff event on Thursday in the Dunn Sports Center. Over 400 students came out to meet and ask questions of college representatives.
Board President Fernando Nazco, along with Board members Francisco González; Elcy Castillo-Ospina; Paul Perreira; and Tony Monteiro officially opened ONEFEST ‘12 on Friday evening and welcomed special guest Maria Amélia Paiva, Consul General of Portugal in Newark.
On Friday, art and cultural exhibits from every school were on display in the Thomas Edison Career & Technical Academy’s gym. Highlights included Abraham Lincoln School No. 14’s cascading waterfall in Venezuela; living statues in Charles J. Hudson School No. 25’s Greece; and a life-sized automobile in Ronald Reagan Academy School No. 30’s Cuba. Seventy-seven art students from Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy created “El Toro”, a depiction of a Spanish matador and bull in a rolled paper medium known as quilling. Student performers also impressed the crowds both Friday and Saturday with vocal, dance, and instrumental performances highlighting world cultures.
Talented culinary arts students, under the supervision of Culinary Arts Teacher and Chef Paul Conti, prepared Cuisine from Around the World including tres leches cake from Columbia; curried chicken from India; ceviche, a cold fish dish from South America; and caldo verde, a soup from Portugal. The tasty treats were able to be sampled in the Edison Tea Room on Friday night.
In addition to academics and the arts, athletics was also well represented at ONEFEST ’12 on Friday as Elizabeth football fans saw the No. 2 Elizabeth High School football team, led by quarterback PJ Walker, defeat Franklin High School 24 to 7 in the North Jersey, Group 5, Section 2 playoff game at Williams Field. The Minutemen, coached by John Quinn, will now meet Piscataway High School for the State Sectional Championship at Kean University on Dec. 7 in a rematch of last year’s sectional final.
Saturday afternoon, the world showcase and performances continued amid indoor and outdoor activities for children and adults. A petting zoo; a mascot race; soccer matches; and children’s games kept people entertained at ONEFEST throughout the day. The festivities concluded on Saturday evening with a crowd cheering on the contestants in the “Elizabeth’s Got Talent” show. Yvana Romelus, a senior at the John E. Dwyer Technology Academy won the talent show with a beautiful performance of her original song, We’re Going Higher.
Elizabeth Board of Education President Fernando Nazco said, “I am very proud of the many talented students and teachers that work together every day to make Elizabeth Public Schools excel. ONEFEST ‘12 was a wonderful way to involve the entire community in the great achievements in academics, athletics, and the arts taking place in our schools.”
“You could feel the students’ excitement and pride in their work and their schools,” added Board member Elcy Castillo-Ospina. “It was evident that many hours of research and work went into the elaborate displays for each school’s country.”
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