January 2018

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

~Edith Lovejoy Pierce


Welcome to January and a new calendar year! I hope it brings many good things to you and your families.


The staff and students of Vernon Township High School will return to school from the holiday break on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. We hope that everyone enjoyed a restful vacation and that it was filled with lots of good memories with family and friends.


The entire VTHS community–and beyond–experienced a great loss as one of our talented and beloved students died on December 18th. Vinny received an honorary diploma on December 16th, fulfilling a dream of the Ventriglia family a they watched their son become the first graduate of the Class of 2018. It was heartwarming to see the outpouring of support over the past few months and I am proud to be part of such a caring community.  As we move forward, there may be addtional tributes and memorials in Vinny Ventriglia‘s honor; I will keep you informed as plans develop.


VTHS bade farewell to a few of our staff members at the close of 2017 as they joined the ranks of the newly retired. Jim Trusa, our beloved assistant principal, Kathie Belli, one of our fine business teachers, Maryann Trovillion, one of our gifted math teachers, and Ed Schneider, one of our hardworking custodians will all be sorely missed.


To fill the vacancies created by these retirements, a number of teachers have been assigned to teach a 6th period class; parents/guardians have received letters if their child’s class(es) have been impacted. During January, we will welcome a new third shift custodian at VTHS as Joseph Raperto joins our staff to fill the custodial vacancy.


We also welcomed Candace Stout, who joined the district’s Child Study Team as an LDTC during December.


Please join me in congratulating Mr. Keith McCotter, who has been nominated as the VTHS Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018 and Ms. Sue Whitman, who has been nominated as the VTHS Educational Services Professional of the Year for the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate one of our fine educators and/or who served on the selection committee. We hope the high school has another district, county or state-level winner!


Congratulations to Elizabeth “Lizzy” Keith, who was awarded a $40,000 art honor scholarship from Montserrat College of Art at the Wallkill High School National Art Honor Society Invitational Art Show. Lizzy is a student in Lisa Hirkaler’s Advanced Sculpture class and we are very proud of her hard work and talent!


We enjoyed a wonderful Winter Choral Concert on Friday, December 8th thanks to the hard work of Kevin Boehm, our Director of Choirs, and our talented students!


Although delayed by a few days due to snow on Friday, December 15th, the 42nd Annual Holiday Concert was exceptional thanks to the dedication of Max Taylor, our Director of Bands, Jennifer Krott, our VTHS Orchestra Director, and our talented musicians!


The Meistersingers joined the Brass Choir and toured throughout the Vernon schools–including the new board office–to sing and play holiday carols for students and staff member. Thank you for doing such a fine job and spreading holiday cheer!


The Meistersingers also performed at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall in NYC prior to the Christmas Spectacular Show on Thursday, December 21st. What a amazing and memorable experience!


Many thanks to the National Honor Society members who collected hundreds of cans of Progresso Chicken Soup for Harvest House. I would like to thank everyone who generously contributed to this drive!


Thank you for your generous response to the Giving Tree fundraiser held to assist your neighbors over the holiday season. Your generosity is greatly appreciated! Thanks, too, for supporting all of the other collections and drives over the past month. Your children are generous with their time and talents because you set such an excellent example for them.


Many of our students will be participating in the DECA Regional Competition on Wednesday, January 3rd. We wish all of them the best of luck during this endeavor!

On Thursday, January 4th, the VTHS SCA will hold its January meeting; the meeting begins at 10:15am. Please be sure to join us!

The SCA will hold a Bingo Night on Friday, January 12th, from 6:00-10:00 pm in the VTHS cafeteria. Please join them for this fundraiser and enjoy an evening out!

On Saturday and Sunday, January 13th and 14th, VTHS students will participate in the Thespian Competition/Festival at Robbinsville High School in Robbinsville, New Jersey. We wish them all the best!

There will be no school on Monday, January 15th to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As you enjoy the long weekend, please be sure to discuss the important contributions of this outstanding civil rights’ leader with your children.

On Thursday, January 18th, the Pre-K students from Walnut Ridge will be spending time at the high school to participate in CTE projects aligned to their Tools of the Mind curriculum. I would like to thank everyone who is working with Mr. Piccirillo to make this activity possible.

A new initiative created by Sodexo will provide some of our culinary students with the opportunity to serve the faculty, staff and students of VTHS on Monday, January 22nd. This will enable our students to gain some “real life” culinary experiences.


The Key Club will be focusing on five issues during January to promote awareness:


Monday (1-22): March of Dimes

  • Wear purple
  • Collect donations throughout lunch periods

Tuesday (1-23): Military Support Day

  • Wear “camo”/camouflage clothing
  • Write letters to soldiers during lunch and/or afterschool

Wednesday (1-24): Hunger in New Jersey

  • Wear orange
  • Donate canned goods

Thursday (1-25): Children’s Miracle Network

  • Dress up as favorite Disney character, superhero, etc. (according to dress code)
  • Paint puff socks for children in hospitals

Friday (1-26): Caring for the Chronically Ill

  • Wear red
  • Bring in Pop Tabs


Please be sure to continue to check the Parent Portal regularly and to communicate with your child’s teachers as necessary. The second marking period will close on Monday, January 29th, so there is still time to make up assignments and raise some grade point averages before the mid-terms begin.


The mid-term schedule has been developed and will be implemented as follows:

Monday, Jan. 29          – Mid-terms for periods 1 and 6

Tuesday, Jan. 30           – Mid-terms for period 2 and 7

Wednesday, Jan. 31      – Mid-terms for periods 3 and 8

Thursday, Feb. 1           – Mid-terms for periods 4 and 9

Friday, Feb. 2              – Mid-terms for periods 5 and “make-ups” and/or PEP Rally

The high school only will operate on an early dismissal schedule for the entire week; students dismiss at 11:20 am each day. We are working with Sodexo to ensure that students are provided with the opportunity to purchase breakfast and lunch items throughout the day, depending upon their testing schedules. It is important to remember that students must remain in school for 4 hours to be considered present for the day; if they arrive late or leave early they will be marked absent due to the shortened days


The deadline to register for this outstanding opportunity has been extended to Thursday, January 4th; please consider having your child sign up:

an opportunity for our students to participate in a 3-day job shadow opportunity at NWAC–right here in    Vernon! Since we were able to secure a grant for this opportunity, the entire cost will be only $25 per               student, which includes equipment rentals and food. It is open to all VTHS students and will be held on         Saturday, January 13th, Saturday, January 20th and Saturday, January 27th. Please have your child visit the               main office at VTHS for a flyer and permission form. There are a few more openings and we would like to fill       all of the spots!

Check out the Vernon Township High School Athletic Calendar and take some time during 2018 to cheer on our amazing athletes!


Please be sure to contact the school directly if you have any questions and/or concerns as we move forward in the 2017-2018 school year. We will be happy to assist you.


Wishing you all the best in 2018,




Pauline F. Anderson