Honors and Awards 2016-2017

Honors and Awards

2016 - 2017 School Year


RHS Interact presidents Hayley Chelak  and Christian Seremetis, received the Walter  W. Head award from the AM Rotary for their service.


A record number -- 148 -- of RHS French students took the National French Exam, with 52 receiving Honorable Mention certificates, 28 ranking among the top percentiles in their respective levels, and one -- in a first for RHS -- earning the platinum award.


RHS students in Spanish levels III, IV, and V participated in the National Spanish Exam, with 33 achieving either Gold, Silver, or Bronze national status. Brianna Patek received first place in  the state for Classroom Experience, and Maria Esteve received first place in the state for Out- side Experience, for the Level V exam. Anika Tsapatsaris and another student (name withheld) achieved second and third respectively for Level IV Class- room Experience.


RHS seniors Kathryn Kearney and Mary Lane won scholarships from the 200 Club of Bergen County and the Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Program. Mary   won   a   scholarship award       from   the   Kinnelon   Education Association.


RHS senior Kumail Raza won  the  Rensselaer  Medal  and  Scholarship Award for his outstanding academic achievement in math and science.


RHS Maroon Award winners have been announced. Those with media permission to be named are Maria Aono, Ireland Horan, Jack Simpson, Hannah Rigdon, Kavita Patel, Ana McDade, Grace DiModugno and Jean Horton.

RHS sophomores Lindsay Kaul and Emily Choi received honors in the Scholastic Art and Writing Award Regional Competition. Lindsay was awarded an Honorable Mention for her artwork. Emily was awarded three Gold Key awards and one Silver Key Award for her painting. Additionally, Emily’s painting “Another Night in the City,” also received a Silver Award at the national level of the competition. Both girls are students in Kellie Conforth’s AP Studio Art I.

painting Lindsay Kaul's "Lazy Days"

painting Emily Choi's "Another Night iin the City"

The RHS History Bowl Team earned the title of Varsity Middle Bracket Group Champions at the National History Bowl and Bee Championship in Washington D.C. Team members with media permission to be named are Ben Amos, Kumail Raza, Bruce Zhang and Philip Terman.


Ridgewood Crew excelled at the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association’s City Championships, carrying 11 crews into finals in 10 events. Of the crews in finals, eight came away with medals. In total, the team won four bronze medals, three silver medals, and the varsity girls double of Claire Callaghan and Jordan Wittmaack came away with gold.


The RHS girls golf team came in second place in the Bergen County Golf Tournament. Three of the girls were ranked among the top 12 players with two tied for sixth place and one at twelfth. Those with media permission to be named are Alyssa Soma and Kelly Reckuki.


Ridgewood Crew traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the Fifth Manny Flick Regatta on the Schuylkill River. The team had a strong showing from all varsity and junior varsity boys’ and girls’ teams. The teams will be traveling next to Pennsauken on the Cooper River to compete in the finals.


The RHS DECA chapter attended the International Career Development Conference in April in Anaheim, CA. The students competed in role-play events, testing, and business presentations.

One student placed top 10 in Principals of Marketing and made the final round of competition. Kumail Raza and Chris Otterstedt made the final round of competition and placed top 10 in the nation for Marketing Management Team Decision Making Event. Kathryn Zhou placed, made finals, and placed top 10 in the nation for her Accounting Event. This is Kathryn's second time placing top 10 at ICDC.

In addition, RHS Assistant Principal Jeff Nyhuis was awarded the NJ DECA Administrator of the Year award, and Karen Mendez was honored as an Advisor Scholarship for all she has done for the DECA organization.


American Legion Post 53, Ridgewood, NJ, is sponsoring five RHS students to attend the 2017 sessions of the Boys State and Girls State program in June. Those with media permission to be named are Kelly Syz, Kumail Raza and Spencer Campbell.

American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State are the premier programs for teaching how government works, while developing leadership skills and an appreciation of the rights and responsibilities of Citizenship. Participants run for office, learn public speaking, draft and debate legislation, and actively participate in all phases of creating and running a working government.


Each year the Ridgewood Board of Education and the district Home & School Associations honor one teacher from each school, nominated by parents and staff members and selected by a committee representing each group.  The honored teachers receive a stipend to fund an instructional initiative of his or her choice.  

This year’s recipients are: 
Hawes: Becky Catanzaro
Orchard: Ellen Scott
Ridge: Nicole Dorn
Somerville: Elizabeth Fischetti
Travell: Alicen Marchioni
Willard: Tara Hutchison
BFMS: John Fiocchi
GWMS: Suzanne Simone
RHS: Meredith Yannone

Education Services. Michele Eng

On Tuesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. the honored staff members will receive their recognition awards at the Education Center, 49 Cottage Place. The reception, open to the public, acknowledges the contributions of all the past recipients and celebrates the profession of teaching.


Congratulations to the following RHS orchestra students who were accepted to All-State Ensembles:

2017 New Jersey High School All-State Orchestra
Violin: Christy Chang (9), Ryan Rhew (9)
Viola: Daniel Son (9), Jodie Suh (10)
Cello: Eugene Park (9)  

2017 Honors Chamber Orchestra
Cello: John Mondi (9)

This month the Ridgewood High School Latin students, under the direction of Stefanie Gigante and Jay Lucci, competed in "Certamen," a quiz bowl-style game of classical knowledge. The upper level team, comprising AP students, took home first place in the northern division, and the Latin II team also took home first place honors. The winners will be moving on to the state level of competition at the convention in April.


The RHS cheerleading squad won First Place in their division at the national championship in Virginia Beach. In addition, Alex Alberta won the High School Scholarship Award over hundreds of other contestants.


Ninety-five DECA students attended the DECA State Conference in Atlantic City over February break. RHS students did well in the preliminary rounds and came in third place behind two larger schools. In each role play event, the top six students/teams, and the top five students/teams in papers will now go to ICDC in Anaheim, CA, with over 30 students qualifying to move to the national competition. In addition, Rusluan Diaz was also elected as an NJ State DECA officer for the 2017-2018 school year.


Ridgewood swimmers this year broke nine previously held Ridgewood High School records. Senior Jessica Chau achieved records in four events, the 200 IM, 100 Backstroke, 100 Breast and the 100 Butterfly. Six others also set records in individuals and relays. Six RHS swimmers qualified to race at the NJSIAA Individual State Meet in Gloucester. Both the boys and girls dominated the Big North Freedom division, capturing first place finishes at the championship meet.


Seven Benjamin Franklin Middle School student musicians have been selected for Region I Choir, including: Francesca Alvidrez (Soprano 1) TOP SCORE; Sydney Strauss (Soprano 2); Maeve Marron (Soprano 2); Sophie Hartstein (Alto); Nikki Bernabe (Alto); and Georgia Young (Alto).

The Ridgewood Ski Team competed in the Ridgewood Alpine Ski Team against Ridge, Morristown-Beard, Highpoint, West Milford, Jefferson, Newton and DePaul. The girls’ team finished in first place: Individual results (top 10): Meg Devir (1st), Kaitlin Devir (2nd), Jane McKinley (4th), Vanessa D’Angelo (8th) and Sarah Pilson (9th). Girls are now 17-3 and have qualified for States. Boys’ team finished in 2nd place: Individual results (top 10): Sloan Ruhl (2nd) and PJ McKenna (5th). Congratulations to all the skiers.

BFMS Orchestra Director Ms. Carol Sharar reports that six BF string players have won placement into the prestigious Region I Intermediate Orchestra for 2017. They are: Catherine Park (8th grade Violin) ; William Stewart (8th grade Bass); Ashley Kim (7th grade Violin); Isabella Harelick (7th grade Violin); Ludia Kim (7th grade Viola) and Karis Han (7th grade Viola).
RHS alumnus David Madden hosted the National History Bee and Bowl at Ridgewood High School for the 8th consecutive year in January. Twelve teams comprised of over 50 Ridgewood students competed against students from over 65 high schools. Four RHS Varsity teams and one JV team made it to the playoffs, with two of those teams advancing to the second round. These students** have now also qualified to compete in the National Championship in Washington D.C. in April: Varsity Team: Ben Amos, Matthew Zachem, Joonho Jung JV Team: Philip Terman, Cameron Blaire.

Karla MixonGirls Lacrosse Coach Karla Mixon received the William Corcoran Service to Youth Award at the 51st Annual Greater Bergen County YMCA Sports Award Banquet held in November.  Karla is pictured here with YMCA CEO Glenn MacAfee. Karla teaches science at BFMS.

Eleven RHS band students have been selected to perform in the 2017 All Bergen County Band. More than 300 students auditioned yesterday for 85 positions. Congratulations to:Katlyn Tagliabue, principal bassoon* (10); Joshua (Jaehyeok) Yang, clarinet (11); Tony (Jongyun) An, clarinet (9); Colleen Duffy, clarinet (12); Kieran Corcoran, tenor saxophone (9); Chris Morse, principal baritone saxophone* (10); Jonathan Negron, trumpet (11); Teddy Trent, trumpet (12); Stefanie Haas, trombone (9); and EthanGlenning, principal euphonium* (12).The All County Band will perform in January.
In addition, two students have been selected to perform in All Eastern ensembles that will perform in April. These students have been recognized as among the top performers on their instrument for the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.Congratulations to: Maxwell Caine, guitar (All Eastern Jazz Ensemble) (12); and the other student, an oboe player (11), whose name is withheld pending media permission.
*highest score

The RHS Marching Band performed at their fifth competition of the season in Basking Ridge on October 29 as part of the US Bands competition circuit. The RHS Marching Band placed first in Group VA, with a score of 94.500, their highest score all season. ​


The Ridgewood Crew team competed in their first regatta on October 8, the Tail of the Passaic. The team garnered two first place finishes, including  the Men’s Varsity 1x; and the Women’s Varsity 4x Ridgewood Crew also took home five second place finishes.


RHS  Boasts Four National Merit Semifinalists

The following four RHS seniors have been designated semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition: Katherine Bonfiglio, Rachel Bradley, Sung Min Kim and Ryan Mahtab. Before they can be considered for Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements.  These include having an outstanding academic record throughout high school, being endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and submitting SAT I scores that confirm the earlier PSAT/NMSQT performance and finally, they must have a social security number.

In addition to the four semifinalists, 25 students have been identified as Commended Students in the most recent competition.
Advanced Placement Scholars are Announced 
One hundred thirty six students at Ridgewood High School have been named AP Scholars by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college level Advanced Placement Examinations. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on the students’ performance on AP exams. At RHS: Six students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average grade of 4.0 or higher on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. Twenty-nine students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. Fifty-one students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with grades of 3 or higher.  
About 18 percent of the more than 1.9 million high school students worldwide who took AP Examinations in May 2016 performed at a sufficiently high level to merit such recognition.

Twenty-one award recipients are juniors. These students have at least one more year in which to do college-level work, and possibly earn another Advanced Placement Award.  
Ashby, Tradition of Excellence Winners are Announced
Ashby Winners Sue Wasserman
The 2016 Ashby Award and Tradition of Excellence Award were announced at Staff Convocation on September 1. Two RHS veterans, Assistant Principal Jeffrey Nyhuis and now-retired History Teacher John Domville were co-recipients of the Ashby Award. The Tradition of Excellence Award for support staff went to now-retired RHS secretary Sue Wasserman. Photos: (from L) John Domville, Daniel Fishbein, Jeffrey Nyhuis