April 2019

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”      



  • Wednesday, April 3 – Visiting Author; Brendan Kiely for Sophomores
  • Thursday, April 4 – SCA Meeting – 9:15 – 10:15 – Conference Room B
  • Friday, April 5 – Open Mic Night – 5:30 – 8:00 pm – Senior Cafe
  • Monday, April 8 – 9th grade “Chromebook check” for upcoming NJSLA*
  • Tuesday, April 9 – 10th grade “Chromebook check” for upcoming NJSLA*
  • Wednesday, April 10 – BOE Work Session – 7:00 – 9:00 – Lounsberry
    • Aikido class 2:00 – 3:30 pm – Cafeteria
  • Friday, April 12 – SCA Bingo 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm Cafe
  • Saturday, April 13 – Viking Club Pancake Breakfast – 7:00 – 11:00am – Cafeteria
  • Tuesday, April 16 – NJSLA – ELA testing- for 9th & 10th graders***
  • Wednesday, April 17 – NJSLA – ELA testing – for 9th & 10th graders***
    • BOE Public Meting – 6:00pm – 10:00 pm – VTHS Auditorium**
    • Aikido class – 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm – Cafeteria
  • Thursday, April 18 – Spring Pep Rally
    • Clay Club & Empty Bowls Event – 2:00 7:00 pm Senior Cafe
  • Friday, April 19 – Good Friday – District Closed
  • Saturday, April 20 – Passover
  • Sunday, April 21 – Easter and Passover
  • Monday, April 22 – District Closed
  • April 23- 26 – Spring Break School Closed

In addition…


…*the Tech Team will be visiting our freshmen and  sophomores during their Social Studies classes to complete a Chromebook check prior to this month’s standardized testing. If your child is a 9th or 10 grader, please remind your child to bring his/her Chromebook to school on the applicable day.


…**these are date changes; these meetings were originally scheduled for Thursday evenings.


…***the NJSLA  testing will be held on 2 consecutive days this month. Since neither 11th or 12th graders will be testing this year, juniors and seniors need not report to school until 9:05 am, although there will be no special bussing provided for these students. If students who are not testing must arrive at the regular school arrival time due to transportation issues, they will wait in the auditorium until the testing sessions conclude. Testing for Math will be held on May 21st and May 22nd.


…although it is hard to believe, we ended the third marking period on Monday, April 1st and began the final marking period of the 2018-2019 school year on Tuesday, April 2nd.


March was certainly a very busy month! Here are some of the highlights:


…congratulations to our Ski Team–coached by Roger Foco and Kerry Ludeking, our boys earned the following:

  • Kyle Hayes was overall State Champion and first in slalom and giant slalom
  • 1st Team All State – Kyle Hayes (11) and Matt Tavares (9)
  • 3rd Team All State – Nick Zinno (11) and Troy Livoti (11)

The girls earned the following:

  • Martina Brich (9) was second overall in states and third in slalom
  • Tea Brich (12) finished fourth overall in state
  • 1st Team All State – Tea Brich and Martina Brich


…on March 13th, three of our students presented the oral presentations from the second stage of the 2019 CDC Panasonic Challenge. Congratulations to Maverick Brendli, Matthew Catania and Mason Freifelder as they move towards their final performance on April 16th at NJIT to determine the 1st through 3rd place winners. Thank you, Mr. Bruno for all of your efforts with these students.


…congratulations to our marching band directors and musicians who did an exemplary job once again as they marched up Fifth Avenue in NYC during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, the band was given a place of honor as they were scheduled to “step off” at the start of the parade, right after New York City’s Mayor Bill De Blasio and New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo. One of the highlights of the parade was watching Mr. David Freifelder wearing a marching band uniform and proudly marching with his son, Mason. David said that it was one of his proudest moments as he assisted his son, who would have been the only snare drummer.   Our marchers received lots of greetings and accolades as they proudly represented Vernon. Great job!


…congratulations to the VTHS Academic Decathlon Team who had a tremendous showing on the state level of the 2019 ACDEC Competition.

  • Christian Fieldhouse received 4 medals and an Honorable Mention:

Bronze – Science

Silver- Social Sciences

Silver – Music

Bronze – Literature

HM – Economics

  • Sam Dupont earned a Bronze in Speech and an Honorable Mention in Essay
  • David Rusnak received an Honorable Mention in Interview
  • Shane Brennan earned a Silver in Interview
  • Peter Fetz earned a Sliver in Math
  • Dan McKeon received a Bronze in Math
  • Katie Herz received a Bronze in Speech

Overall the team received 9 medals and 2 Honorable Mentions.

We are very proud of this group and their accomplishments!


…earlier this month, members of the Vernon Township High School DECA chapter traveled to Atlantic City for the annual State Career Development Conference.  In total, 59 students competed as individuals and teams in 24 different events within four core career business clusters: Marketing, Hospitality and Tourism, Finance, and Business Management and Administration.  After three days of competition, several Vernon students were rewarded on stage for their accomplishments at the conference.

The following students finished in the Top 6 in the events and will have the ability to compete at the International Career Development Conference in Orlando, FL at the end of April.

  • Public Relations Project: Michael Axiotes, Brielle Eilinger and Katie Smaldone
  • Human Resources Management: Ryan Hainzl
  • Business Finance Series: Daniel McKeon
  • Independent Business Plan: Ryan Hainzl and Altin Ukella
  • Finance Operations Research: Daniel McKeon & Emma McKeon

Additionally, the following student was awarded a medal for making it to the Finalist round in his respective event.  He also earned awards for Outstanding Test and Outstanding Role Play.

  • Financial Consulting: Dylan Shack

During the conference, Vernon DECA received a number of other commendations.  Daniel McKeon qualified for ICDC in the Stock Market Game. After starting with one hundred thousand “dollars”, he grew his portfolio by investing in stocks and bonds in a simulated stock market that mirrored the actual New York Stock Exchange from September to December.  Out of over 1200 teams in the North Atlantic Region, the Vernon team finished in the top 25 for portfolio growth.

Four DECA students were recognized as Certified Guest Services Professionals by the American Hotel and Lodging Education Institute for their outstanding performance on the Hospitality & Tourism Cluster Exam:

  • Natalie Alheidt
  • Ryan Coulther
  • Brielle Eilinger
  • Sebastian Grau

Vernon also earned acceptance to DECA’s Leadership Academy in Orlando by completing a variety of campaigns as a chapter.  David DeGeeter orchestrated the New Jersey Community Service Project by raising $900 to help art supplies for children in hospitals facing treatment for life-threatening diseases.

As a unit, Vernon DECA officers earned more leadership academy spots at ICDC completed three major chapter campaigns:

  • Membership Campaign – 40 alumni and professionals were registered as DECA members.
  • Promotional Campaign – Included an array of events, such as a hypnotist performance, a dodgeball tournament and an apparel sale to increase community awareness of DECA.
  • Community Service Campaign – Vernon DECA partnered with Harvest House, Sussex County’s food bank, on a turkey dinner fundraiser


…a few of our sports’ teams traveled to warmer climates to get ready for the spring season. We would like to thank the coaches for all of their efforts in making these trips a possibility and our athletes for your cooperation. We have heard many accolades about your outstanding behavior and sportsmanship and we are very proud of you!


…many thanks to all of the staff members who encouraged our students to take advantage of Project Self-Sufficiency’s Pop Up Shop! Approximately 15 prom dresses were selected that day and the happy recipients were very pleased with their selections. If there are girls who would still like to look for dresses, they may visit Project Self-Sufficiency at 127 Mill Street, Newton, NJ. Students can visit the shop between 3:00 and 7:00 pm on April 5, 8, 9, 10, and 12, or between 9:00 am and 11:00 am on April 6 and 13. Please help us spread the word! Thank you!


…congratulations to the Theatre Department for their outstanding production of this year’s Spring Musical “9 to 5!” It was an outstanding demonstration of the amazing talents of our staff and students and was enjoyed by all! Congratulations are in order for Lindsay McAloney for pulling off another very successful show.  Thank you, one and all, for your support of our theater students. Here are the names of our “behind the scenes” assistants and our student performers: 9 to 5 Program


…this year’s Senior Citizen Appreciation Dinner Theater was a huge success thanks to the assistance of many, many volunteers and the generosity of so many of our staff  members and families. Thank you for any role you played in making this event a wonderful one!


…we would like to thank Ed and Shannon Flannery for all of their hard work to make a second program with Keith Hawkins a great success. As we had announced earlier, the sophomore class had not had the pleasure of working with this amazing presenter. After sophomores asked to have Keith return, we looked into the possibility. The VTHS SCA once again helped to support the program and we are most grateful for their assistance.


…thanks to everyone who made the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Express and Symphonic Band 42nd Annual Pops Concert such a great success. What a wonderful experience for all attendees!

Please see their program for more details: VTHS Pops Concert 2019


…many thanks to everyone who volunteered to make this year’s Shark Tank and Hackathon another great success. Three teams from the high school competed to solve a problem over a 12 hour period, which culminated with a presentation to the President to the Board of Education, members of the VEF, administrators and parents. Congratulations to Altin Ukella and Dan McKeon who won first place. Ryan Coulther, Dylan Shack, McKayla Van Orden and  Robert Wallace who took second place. Maverick Brendli, Matthew Catania, Michael Cheng, Madison Freifelder, and Julian Porras were awarded with third place. Each team developed unique ways of assisting the Vernon Township School District with its new budgetary constraints.


…we recently hosted a wonderful new event at VTHS and would like to share it with you:


What is a STEM league? The NJ Interscholastic STEM League is a grassroots organization designed by middle and high school teachers working together with industry who want to help students learn how to apply STEM when solving real life problems. In its pilot 2014 year the league grew from four teams in Bergen County to sixteen teams in across counties in northern NJ. Be the first teams in central and southern regions to spread the league!


The goal of the Interscholastic STEM league is to create an academic competition environment much like that of interscholastic sports. In doing so, teachers will collaborate with other STEM teachers in designing competitive challenge events that apply science, technology, engineering and math. After participating in the league professionals can expect many personal benefits like professional growth, comparisons with other district facilities, improved technology resources in your district, collaboration with teachers and industry and increased enthusiasm from your students.


Competitions are scheduled during the school day and will allow teams to return as close as possible by the end of the school day. Coaches will use past events they have been to on how to prepare for and host an event at their school. After the teams participate and learn how to coordinate events, teams will be expected to host one event the following year. The event timeline follows the Engineering Design Loop and will use a league rubric to evaluate to what extent teams have implemented the STEM theme. Industry will be invited to introduce the real life situation for the STEM challenge theme and judge the event.


Pascack Hills, Pascack Valley, Tenafly, Leonia, Westwood, Wallkill Valley, and Northern Highlands all traveled to VTHS to compete, along with a Vernon team.  The event ran from 830 am to 230 pm. Breakfast and lunch is always included in a STEM League event, normally being handled by the STEM coaches and vendors. Jenn Fowler and her Hospitality classes catered the event, and handled quite an undertaking.  The food and service was marvelous, truly setting Vernon apart from other sites. Our competition involved the students making Gravity Jousting vehicles according to the parameters given to them in their design briefs. They all came up with a prototype design which they competed with early on and were able to modify their design and vehicles for the Madness of March Tournament as the finale.  All teams did a great job and had a lot of fun! All groups had to hand in an Initial Prototype Design, CAD Drawings, complete a STEM Connection Packet, participate in a group presentation of their vehicle, and construct a vehicle to compete. Judges gave them scores on all these items, to be tallied up at the end along with the tournament results.


Awards were given out for:

First, Second and Third place (Total scores for all events)

Outstanding Prototype

Outstanding STEM Connection

Outstanding CAD Drawings

Outstanding Presentation

(These were the teams with the highest score for each item)


Pascack Valley Won the Tournament (Outstanding Prototype) and First place overall, just edging out Leonia.


STEM coaches are Jon Bruno, Roger Foco, and Mike DeVore


Thanks to Dr. Anderson, Dr. McKay, and Ms. D’Avino, for facilitating this opportunity and even making it possible.

Jim Shenise and Dave Freifelder represented Science and Math and were a huge help during the event.

Special Thanks to:

Jenn Fowler and the Hospitality team for catering the event

Steve Denn and Marc Pisco for helping with initial planning, set up, and being the point men in the Library; allowing for a very smooth event.

Doug Miller for his help with the T-Shirt design

Rooster Tees

Pat Raperto

Yvonne Valdes

Terry Sabia and Kathy Weyant

and anyone else who helped


…finally, we would like to share that our CTE Programs have received special recognition by the NJ DOE. Representatives from the department  will be visiting 21 counties and in each county they are choosing one school to honor–and VTHS will be the one school in Sussex County to receive such a visit! On Monday, April 29th representatives will tour some of our CTE programs between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. We are very excited to share our exceptional teachers, our gifted students and their remarkable work with these representatives. Congratulations, one and all.


…please be sure to contact the school  if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child.  It is imperative that we all work together. Thank you!


…enjoy the Spring Break with your family and friends!