EDISON — School officials, students and state and county government officials celebrated the designation of Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence at a ceremony today at the school.
“This is the most prestigious award that any school can receive in the United States of America,” said Brian J. Loughlin, superintendent of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, praising the past and present students of the academy for more than living up to the vision of the county and school district officials who established the school 13 years ago on the campus of Middlesex County College.
“I feel like you are my children and I have bragging rights,” Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios told the students. “I’m sure you will all succeed in your future endeavors.”
“I look out in the audience and I see the future Edisons, the future teachers and doctors and engineers … and I know the world will be a better place because of you,” said Freeholder Charles E. Tomaro, liaison to the MCVTS Board of Education.
“This is a great day,” said Board of Education President John F. Bicsko Jr., who presented a plaque commemorating the Blue Ribbon designation to Rios.
Bicsko noted that ground was broken for the school early in 2000 in a partnership between the county freeholders, the school board and Middlesex County College. He praised former Superintendent of Schools Joseph Colombo, who was present, and the late Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel for their foresight.
Assemblymen Patrick J. Deignan Jr., chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, and Upendra J. Chivukula presented a resolution of congratulations to Bicsko.
Dr. Linda Russo, principal of the academy since February 2012, said all 167 “lucky students who were chosen to attend” the school and its 22 staff members share in the honor. “I congratulate them all for going that extra mile each and every day,” Russo said.
“This school means something different to every one of us,” said student speaker Prathm Juneja of Edison, president of the junior class, noting that some students will be the first in their families to go to college, while others might be “the 20th in a line of engineers.” “We’re a family because we want everyone here to succeed.”
The Middlesex County Academy was one of six New Jersey high schools among 286 schools nationally to be awarded Blue Ribbon status in 2013. It was recognized as “an exemplary high-achieving school.”
This was the second year in a row that an MCVTS school was named a national Blue Ribbon School, with the honor going last year to Perth Amboy Vo-Tech in recognition of its progress in student achievement.
Earlier this year, the Academy was recognized by U.S. News & World Report with gold-medal status as one of the Top 500 public high schools in the United States, ranking sixth among New Jersey public high schools. It consistently is ranked at the top of New Jersey public high schools in academic achievement, college and career readiness, graduation rate and college acceptance.
Junior Katrina David of Sayreville recited the Pledge of Allegiance, while seniors Nicole Vaynshtok of Old Bridge and Kipsy Quevada of Iselin sang the National Anthem, accompanied by the Academy’s student orchestra. Junior Anton Nelson of Metuchen, a Boy Scout who is seeking his Eagle award, raised the Blue Ribbon flag.
The colors were presented by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department Honor Guard. A reception afterward was catered by culinary arts students from Perth Amboy Vo-Tech.
The Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first county vocational school district in the nation, has seven schools on five campuses, in East Brunswick, Edison, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge. The district will mark its centennial in 2014.
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