School named in honor of Frank J. Cicarell
The Elizabeth Board of Education held a dedication ceremony on Wednesday, September 28 at the new Elizabeth High School’s Frank J. Cicarell Academy, located at 40 Morrell Street, named after the late longtime educator.
Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy, located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza across from Elizabeth City Hall, is a state-of-the-art 183,000 square-foot facility with the capacity to educate 1,280 students in grades nine through twelve.
New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak, members of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, members of Elizabeth City Council, members of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and members of Cicarell’s family joined the Elizabeth Board of Education in formally opening the new school and honoring the legacy of Cicarell.
Cicarell, who was the principal of Thomas Jefferson High School and the renowned head coach of
the football, swimming, and baseball teams, served the Elizabeth Public Schools and the members of the Elizabeth community for over 55 years. He also actively served his community by participating in numerous athletic and educational organizations throughout his career, including the Rahway Board of Education, the Union County Education Services Commission, the North Jersey Board 33 of Approved Basketball Officials Association, and the NJSIAA Basketball Committee.
Joseph Battin School No. 4 Principal Ben Candelino was the keynote speaker, highlighting the characteristics and accomplishments that made Cicarell universally respected and admired in the Elizabeth community.
During the ceremony, presentations to Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy Principal Michael Cummings included a book donated by Senator Lesniak for the school’s library that was signed by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton; a football from the 1970 Thomas Jefferson state champion football team, presented by Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy Principal Michael Ojeda; and the Super Bowl Honor Roll gold football sent to Elizabeth High School by the NFL during the league’s 50th season in honor of former Elizabeth High School student Todd Bowles participating in Super Bowl XXIII, which was presented by Elizabeth Public Schools Athletic Director Judy Finch-Johnson.
The evening also included performances of The Star-Spangled Banner by the Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Chorus, directed by Benjamin Schwartz; Sebastian Yradier’s La Paloma and Jacques Offenbach’s Can-Can by the Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Orchestra Ensemble, directed by Shakura Ismail, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Act III by the Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Marching Band, co-directed by Wayne Dillon and Schwartz.
Elizabeth Board of Education President Charlene Bathelus, recognizing Cicarell’s commitment to service, stated, “When I look at Mr. Cicarell’s accomplishments, I see a man that was moved by giving back to his community… (It is) my hope that the students of Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy, and in all of our schools, embrace that passion Mr. Cicarell demonstrated in serving others.”
Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer noted the district’s leadership and ability to secure new school buildings for the students of Elizabeth Public Schools during the past decade, as Elizabeth High School- Frank J. Cicarell Academy is the ninth new school the Elizabeth Board of Education has dedicated since 2005.
Hugelmeyer also had high praise for the students and team members who now reside in the new Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy.
“Mr. Cicarell’s dedication, work ethic, and positive attitude inspired generations of students and I commend Mr. Cummings and his team for bringing Mr. Cicarell’s spirit into this learning community.,” stated Hugelmeyer.
“I hope that the excellent achievements of the students of EHS over the past several years, by virtue of those same unique traits, will inspire every student who walks into this school to embrace the challenge of building a legacy of excellence here at Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy and that legacy of excellence officially begins here tonight.”
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