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National Merit Scholars, Honored WOPD Officer in the West Orange Week in Review

Five West Orange High School students recognized in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program

Busy last week and missed all the West Orange news that's fit to be posted?  Here's a quick rundown of last week’s important news:

WOPD Officer Honored for Military Service.  This week, the West Orange Town Council honored one of their finest.  Officer Neuman K. Paye was recognized for his service while a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  Paye, an officer with the West Orange Police Department since 2009, served three tours of duty overseas; 7 months in Iraq in 2003, 1 year in Iraq in 2007 and 1 year in Afghanistan 2010.

West Orange Students Honored as National Merit Scholars.  The highest honor goes to Sai Mandalapu who was named a National Merit Semifinalist. Less than one percent or about 16,000 students nationally, who took the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, were named a Semifinalist. About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 NMSP. Sai will now advance to the Finalist round, where he will be eligible to compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships.  Four students were named National Merit Commended Students. They are Rachel Cooper, Raashmi Patalapati, Anjali Sivendra, and Ethan Blake. These students are recognized for their exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.  They are among a group of 34,000 students nationally being given this honor. Commended students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2013 competition. The National Achievement Scholarship Program announced that Melanie Babi, Yanique Bell, and Tiffany Smith from WOHS were named Outstanding Participants in the NASP. These students scored in the top three percent of more than 160,000 Black Americans who requested consideration in the 2013 National Achievement program when they took the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The National Achievement Scholarship Program was initiated in 1964 specifically to honor academically promising Black American high school students.

.  West Orange Township will save $312,070 in 2013 as part of a series of pension reforms signed into law last year. The cuts are thanks to the reforms agreed upon by the New Jersey legislative bodies and signed into law by Governor Chris Christie in June 2011.  The bill, aimed at increasing contributions to health benefits and pension payments for public employees, makes various changes to the manner in which the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), the Judicial Retirement System (JRS), the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS).  West Orange employees will pay an additional $84,264 into their pension fund next year, while the city's police and firefighters will pay $227,806.  In addition to the extra $312,070 in savings for the employees' pensions, West Orange residents will also save $152,026 from the pensions for employees of West Orange's Board of Education and $11,339 from the West Orange Public Library employees.

Saint Barnabas to Hold Breast Cancer Symposium.   In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Department of Psychosocial Support Services in the Cancer Program at Saint Barnabas Medical Center will sponsor a free Breast Cancer Symposium on Monday, October 29 from 6-9 p.m. in the hospital’s Islami Auditorium.   Richard Michaelson, MD, Chief Medical Director, and a multidisciplinary team of experts will address how to make the most of your doctor visits, lymphedema reduction and innovative treatments, employment and insurance issues and treatment for anxiety and depression.  A light dinner will be provided and free parking will be available in the main visitors’ lot.

Kessler Foundation Mentors Disabled Students .  Lauren Scrivo, the communications specialist at the Kessler Foundation, met with three students from Horizon High School on Wednesday to talk to them about improving their job interviewing skills.  Horizon High School serves students ages 14 to 21 with multiple disabilities.  Scrivo is 26 and recently completed her master’s degree. But she understands some of the challenges facing the students because she also uses a wheelchair and a breathing tube.  She offered tips to Moses Marte, 19, who said he wants to work as a carpenter, after building sets for the school's March production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."  "You should also interview for the theater company," Scrivo said. "You should always keep your options open. Even if you can't build a house right away, its really good to remember for your other interviews to show pictures of what you done."  The event was part of the Kessler Foundation’s “Mentoring Disability Day,” a national day to help disabled persons learn how to find work.

Enter to Win Patch’s Best Halloween Costume in America Contest.  It doesn’t matter if you’re Lady Gaga or Lady Liberty for Halloween—if you have an awesome costume, showcase your creation in our Best Halloween Costume in America Contest.  Last year, the headless boy from Wyckoff, NJ, won. This year, it could be you. Enter our contest for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize!  Adults and children are eligible to enter. Parents can post costume photos of themselves and their families from this Halloween or from years past.  Click here for information and contest rules.  The contest runs from Oct. 15 to Nov. 1. National judges will choose 21 finalists from each Patch state and select one grand prize winner based on who has the most creative and innovative costume (we've combined North Carolina & South Carolina for this contest, as well as Washington D.C. and Virginia). Each state finalist will receive $250 and one grand prize winner will receive $5,000.

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