From The Achieve Foundation of South Orange & Maplewood:
On Monday, June 5th, 2023 the Achieve Foundation gathered to celebrate our amazing volunteers at the Achieve Volunteer Tutor Appreciation Reception. “We were thrilled to thank and honor our volunteers for their work. We served more than 300 students this year and our tutors are the key to the program’s success. We couldn’t do it without each one of them!” said Achieve Foundation Executive Director Eileen Collins Neri.
South Orange-Maplewood School District (SOMSD) Social Worker and Achieve Site Supervisor, Shazaan Napoleon, welcomed attendees and spoke of the impressive maturity of the student volunteers and the commitment of the families and students receiving tutoring each week. The Columbia High School Infinite Step Team entertained the group with a dynamic performance as an added treat.
This year, over 300 volunteer tutors worked with K-12 SOMSD students, supporting them both academically and socially during weekly sessions. They reinforced class lessons, helped with assignments and homework, supported organizational and time management skills, and more. “This program could not be possible without the enthusiasm and energy of our volunteers and all the dedicated Site Supervisors who go above and beyond in their role to ensure our programs run smoothly across the entire district,” said Program Manager Shannon Kirk.
While the goal of the evening was to celebrate all program volunteers, the event also included some special recognitions. Award recipients included tutors who were nominated by Achieve site supervisors and selected by an awards committee.
The Kohl Angelo Award, established in memory of the MMS student who passed away in 2012, is given to an outstanding middle school tutor. Lawson Wahlers, a Maplewood Middle School 8th grader, received the award for his efforts as a committed Saturday tutor.
The Dubrow Awards are named for the late David Dubrow, a longtime champion of the Achieve Volunteer Tutor Program. This year’s winners include Sophia Barenholtz, Malik Browne, Lilly Elliasevich, Miya Fleming, Dana Gilbert, Nawal Irfani, Brooke Manoff, Margot Rosenband, Lilah Sigalos, Ometh Vithana, and Gianni Zaccarelli. We were grateful to have David’s wife, Fran Dubrow, in attendance to help honor these eleven outstanding tutors.
The following 30 students received Super Seniors Awards – for graduating tutors who volunteered with Achieve for three or more years: Tristan Bernard, Sydney Chang, Emily Donoghue, Silas Epstein, Owen Friedman, Harumi Garrison, Henry Greenstone, Zoe Gilbert, Eli Hakim, Charley Halperin, Lucia Hughes, Abigail Jacobs, Madison Kang, Hannah Kennedy, Jordan Klein, Galia Koonyevsky, Emia Lewis, Braden Miller, Claudia Nessin, Erik Noble, Reed Promisel, Holden Reeves, Julia Roses, Juliet Shires, Kate Solomon, Taylor Stalfaro, Ava Stecker, Justin Strugger, Sam Svitavsky, and Ava Vroman.
Finally, six students were recognized as Distinguished Super Seniors. They are graduating tutors with three or more years of service who were also nominated for Dubrow Awards: Jeslyn Ero, Robert Goldman, Alexis Halm Owoo, Alessandra Hurtado, Malachy Meyer, and Sandy Yang.
The Achieve Foundation of South Orange & Maplewood is a registered 501(c)3 organization that promotes high-quality education that prepares South Orange-Maplewood School District students for the future. We support our students, families and educators by addressing inequities, inspiring innovation and fostering community. Since 1999, Achieve has raised over $4.5 million for programs that support public education in our two towns. To learn more or donate, please visit achievefoundation.org.