Students at the Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences were applauded for pursuing a professional path that will benefit the public health and for choosing a school with a very rigorous curriculum, as the school community celebrated the academy’s designation as a National Blue Ribbon School.
US Rep. Frank Pallone, Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios and John F. Bicsko Jr., president of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School Board of Education, were among the officials who praised the students and staff of the Woodbridge Academy at the celebration Oct. 27.
“There were only 11 schools in New Jersey that were chosen this year, and you guys were one of the 11,” Pallone told the student body, assembled in the auditorium.
He said he found it “incredible” that this is the third year in a row that an MCVTS school has been named a Blue Ribbon School, following Perth Amboy Vo-Tech in 2012 and the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison last year.
Rios told the students and staff of the Woodbridge Academy that he was “choked up” because he was “very proud of what we have here.” He pledged that the freeholders would continue “steadfast in our commitment to offer the best education opportunities possible.”
Bicsko recounted the history of the Woodbridge Academy, which was dedicated and opened in 2008 in a renovated 67-year-old building that once housed Woodbridge Vo-Tech.
“Since that day, the Academy has continued to flourish, attracting students from throughout the county,” he said.
Pallone and Bicsko presented Rios with a replica of the National Blue Ribbon School plaque.
“This is the most prestigious award that any school – public or private – can attain in the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Brian J. Loughlin, who noted that Woodbridge Academy had achieved the honor in just its seventh year of existence.
Principal Michael W. Fanelli praised the faculty for dedication, hard work and “belief in the mission of this school.” He commended the students for working toward careers in health care.
“You have chosen at a very young age to seek to help others,” he said.
Student speaker Alexandria Kulik, a senior from South River, said her classmates have been taught to take on seemingly impossible challenges and to “rise to the occasion” by “extraordinary teachers who go above and beyond.”
“Our students will go on to do great things that will change the world,” she said.
Several other seniors had roles in the ceremony: Navkiran Kaur of Carteret led the Pledge of Allegiance; Emina Drazanin of South Amboy sang the National Anthem, and Vinit Kamdar of Old Bridge raised the Blue Ribbon School flag in front of the building.
Also attending the ceremony were Freeholder Deputy Director Carol Barrett Bellante and MCVTS Board of Education Vice President Eugene J. Mullen III. The Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard presented the colors, and Sheriff’s Officer Alan McDermid played the bagpipes.
The program included a video produced with the help of digital film students from the MCVTS East Brunswick campus to mark the school district’s centennial this year. A reception followed in the school library, with catering by culinary and baking students from Piscataway Vo-Tech.