The Falcon Flyer Email Newsletter - February/March 2018 - Edition #29
The Falcon Flyer Email Newsletter 
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Regular School Day Schedule Times:
Applegarth 9:05 am - 3:34 pm
Barclay Brook 9:05 am - 3:34 pm
Brookside 9:05 am - 3:34 pm
Mill Lake 8:50 am - 3:19 pm
Monroe Township High School 7:27 am - 2:00 pm
Monroe Township Middle School 8:10 am - 2:39 pm
Oak Tree 8:55 am - 3:24 pm
Woodland 8:10 am - 2:39 pm
by Linda Eosso, January 2018
"I wonder if anything would happen if we added baking soda to soda?"  "Could a balloon be blown up with a straw?"  These are just some of the questions that Mrs. Eosso's second grade students developed during a recent Science lesson.  Students browsed a class "Science Shop,"  chose materials, created scientific questions, and generated hypotheses.  While engaging in the Scientific Process, the students tested their hypotheses with experiments, and witnessed many interesting outcomes!  "Dissolve," "absorb," and "dense" are just a few of the vocabulary that the students acquired throughout this endeavor.  What makes items sink or float, how heat interacts with materials, and what types of matter can change are just some of the concepts the students discovered through experience. These motivated students are on their way to becoming budding young scientists!

FBLA Advances to the FINALS at the JA TITANS Competition

Congratulations to the following students for placing 1st in their JA Titan (Junior Achievement) divisions on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at Munich RE. Both teams advance to the JA TITANS FINALS on February 5, 2018.  Finals competition will be held at Ethicon (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) in Somerville, NJ. 
1st Place - Division 1
TEAM NAME: BacktoMax
Nithin Rajesh (11)
Naveen Gedupoori (11)
1st Place - Division 2
TEAM NAME: The Olympians
Abhijeet Regatte (12)
Akhilesh Reddy (12)

Congratulations to ALL of our Monroe competitors who attended and competed.
FBLA was represented by 
7 teams comprised of 
17 MTHS students at the competition. 
It was a great day of competition!

Congratulations to "Back to Max" Akhilesh Reddy & Abhijeet Regatte for placing 4th in the FINAL ROUND of the JA Titans Junior Achievement competition at Ethicon in Somerville, NJ and for advancing to the JA TITANS NATIONAL Competition FINALS on May 9, 2018. Congratulations to "The Olympians" Naveen Gedupoori & Nithin Rajesh who also and competed and placed 8th over all in the STATE.
It was another great day of competition!

FBLA is directed by Ms. Deanna Dale and operates within 
the Department for the Applied Arts and Careers Technology
Stay up to date on township/district concerts, sports & special events! 

Check out the Monroe Township PEG Channel with videos on demand! 

The MTHS Economics & Finance Team earned a 2nd place showing at the Middlesex County Consumer Bowl.  Sahil Parikh (captain), Waheed Zafar, Nishant Nagalia, and Rhea Bandaru gave an impressive showing by Monroe Township High School in their 1st appearance at the event sponsored by the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs. The event was held at New Brunswick High School on Tuesday, January 30th. This event is held annually at the county, regional and state level as a community outreach program to educate students to be responsible and knowledgeable consumers.

In addition, Rhea Bandaru, a member of the Economics & Finance Team, participated in the 2018 Norm Brodsky Idea/Business Concept Competition. As one among over 200 participants in the event, Rhea earned a $250 Scholarship towards the  BRONC Tank Academy   Introduction to Entrepreneurship Pre-College Experience. We are proud of her efforts and contributions!

The Economics & Finance Team is directed by Mrs. Terri Weiss and operates within 
the Department for the Applied Arts and Careers Technology


Our American Legion Oratorical Competition this year had 3 student competitors from MTHS who worked on 5 speeches since September.  They wrote, revised and performed these speeches in preparation for the HS competition this past December.  Ria Patel (11) was the winner of the competition with Amanda Pena (12) and Manan Shah (10) finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Ria Patel will compete in the Middlesex County Competition on Saturday 1/27 with the possibility of moving all the way to the State and National Competition if she wins at each level! 

Ria will compete next at the  regional contest for the second year in a row on  Feb. 24  at the Woodbridge Municipal Building. Good Luck, Ria!


An excellent opportunity is being offered to high school students interested in STEM fields this summer at Kean University - the  Group Summer Scholars Research Program.   

The Group Summer Scholars Research Program (GSSRP) is a 6-week, hands-on research experience aimed at attracting and developing talented students who are interested in pursuing an education in a STEM field.  Upon entering the program students are divided into small research teams that are paired with a faculty mentor conducting authentic scientific research in Analytical Chemistry, Virtual Reality & Scientific Visualization, Microbiomes & Bioinformatics, Cancer Biology, Computational Mathematics and Modern Drug Discovery.  Students learn how to conduct basic and applied research during this program and develop a true appreciation of the scientific research process while contributing first hand to the acquisition of new scientific knowledge.  
The 2018 GSSRP runs from July 9 - August 16 and applications are now being accepted.  The application deadline is  March 30th .  For more information, you can visit our website at:
By: Kim Synarski
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
"Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold."
These quotes by Joseph Chilton Pearce, an American author who studied child development, demonstrate what one would observe as you enter Oak Tree's Makerspace.  An area where children can imagine, design and create, there are no wrong answers in Makerspace and learning actually takes place while playing!  This year, one of Oak Tree's school goals is to have students engage in the Makerspace area, which consists of building materials, i.e. STEM kits, Legos, building blocks, etc.  As a staff, we are currently achieving the goal by utilizing the Makerspace area in a variety of ways.  While some teachers tie in lessons for their students through Makerspace, others are enjoying the technological aspect of it.  Makerspace consists of Osmos, a 3D printer, and even robots!

One way a couple of teachers have tied the curriculum into Makerspace has been through the creation of student communities.  Kim Synarski and Danielle Pugliese, third grade teachers at Oak Tree Elementary, brought the students in to design and create their own communities.  After learning about all that is included in communities, with a focus on our very own Monroe community, students were inspired to build their own communities with small groups using the provided materials.  Some even named their own communities, inspired by the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran.  Student constructed communities consisted of schools, restaurants and shops, playgrounds, and houses (see attached pics).  The students truly loved seeing their imaginary communities coming to life before their eyes, designed and created by themselves!  Student feedback was extremely positive.  When asked how the students felt about Makerspace, some third graders quoted:
 "Makerspace is creative because you use your own imagination."

"We all had different jobs to do!"
"I loved jumping right ahead without instructions."
Even the teachers have had nothing but positive things to say about Makerspace.  As an educator, it's a joy to watch students play, learn and explore.    Whichever activity instructors may choose to incorporate, it has been seeming to prove effective for students and their well-being.  It has also been a nice tie in to our school and district initiatives.  Here is what some of the Oak Tree staff have been saying about the Makerspace area:
"It lets the kids' imaginations run wild!" ~Amanda McGarry

"It creates a safe place for students to explore and take risks." 
~Caitlyn Prestridge

"We're laying the groundwork for the future inventors, innovators and engineers." ~Stephanie Chin
All in all, Oak Tree is beyond fortunate to have a Makerspace area in their school, where students and staff make great things happen.  Next time you visit Oak Tree, make sure to check out this unique space.  What will you imagine?!  What can you create??  The possibilities are endless.
Monroe Township High School Athletics

Monroe Twp. High School Athletic Program Ranked Top 20 in the State
The study rated school district athletics as a whole, considering parent and student opinions, number of interscholastic sports offered, percentages of girls and boys participating in sports and the average athletic expense per student, among other factors.
  • MTHS was ranked 18th in the state, #1 in Middlesex County and #257 in the USA among public schools.
Wrestling Team Places 3rd at GMC's
  • Andy Lombard wins GMC Championship at 138 pounds in Wrestling.
  • Joseph Fiordaliso & Nicholas Weikel placed 2nd.
  • Kaylon Bradley & Justin Hopman place 3rd.
  • Victoria Stasicky finished 2nd at GMC's
  • Lou Folgore placed 3rd at GMC's
Competition Cheer wins Grand Championship at the Meadowland Extravaganza
Art Administrators of New Jersey 30th Annual High School Art Exhibit

Congratulations to two Junior AP Studio Art students on their selection for participation in the Art Administrators of New Jersey 30 th Annual High School Art exhibit.

Both Grace Morris and Jessica Skuration (work attached in name order) were recognized at a ceremony on January 28th for their artistic achievements as emerging  artists at the James Howe Gallery on the campus of Kean University.

This year's show included work from forty-seven students from forty high schools across the state. Kudos to our students and their approaches to meaningful works of art!

Our return to Woodland from winter break has been very busy!
Our grade 5th grade students kicked off Battle of the Books.  Students form teams, divide up a list of 10 books and read the books over a  given period of time.  The top scoring team is the school champion.

Rhyme, rhythm and song.  It is that time of year again when poet-hopefuls at Woodland begin thinking and writing creatively to earn their spot in the Poetry Slam Competition.  Next week students will meet with the Teacher Coaching Team to discuss the requirements and aspirations of the Poetry Slam.  After that initial meeting, students will begin working on their writing and performance techniques under the guidance of Mrs. Guiral, Mrs. McTernan, Mrs. Rheaume and Ms. Kofke.  This year the students will have the added bonus of participating in a writing and a performance workshop conducted by Jacob Winterstein from Young Audiences of New Jersey.  Funded by the Monroe Education Foundation, these two workshops will provide students with valuable coaching from a professional performance poet.   The actual competition is scheduled for the beginning of June where one poet will emerge the winner.
We successfully completed the school's Scripps Spelling Bee and the National Geographic Bee.   1st place winners are Ayan Phadnis for the geography bee and Abishek Achari for the spelling bee.  Congratulations to all of the participants!
Looking ahead to February .. Mr. Schultz is organizing Jump Rope for Heart on February 14th.  This is the 17th year our school has participated in this event.   To date we have raised $262K.


Dear Parents and Staff,
The MTMS PTO has many events and activities planned for our students for the remainder of the school year. Continue to look out for information in emails and on our PTO website for upcoming events. 
Please continue to help support the MTMS PTO by shopping through our Amazon link at  Another easy way the PTO earns some extra monies.  Stay connected by checking our PTO website frequently, "liking" our MTMS PTO Facebook page, and checking your emails. If you would like to join a PTO Committee, please email
Thank you for your ongoing support!
If you have any questions, please contact one of the PTO officers.

Rupa Siegel                                                    

Chrissy Skurbe
Vice President 

Domenica DeSalvo

Lisa Pedulla
Having "SNOW" Much Fun in 4
th Grade!
By: Nicole Sheppard

As you know, January always seems like a long, cold, and snowy month. To beat the winter blues, Ms. Sheppard's class engaged in a winter themed STEM challenge. Students had to step up to the task of building three-dimensional snowmen using only plastic cups and a stapler. The snowmen had to stand on their own. Students first used technology to search different ways to create their snowmen. Once finished, they sketched a design of their snowmen. Then, they built their snowmen! After all groups created their snowmen that met the criteria, they were able to add their own flare by putting on some colorful decorations. Students then had a competition to see which group used the most plastic cups to create their snowmen. The winning group used 259 plastic cups in their design! They then measured the dimensions of their snowmen and created three different bar graphs comparing height, width, and number of cups used. They were asked to reflect on their design, stating the ways in which their design was effective, and the ways they could have improved it. Our class will have a display of their snowmen in the Library for all to see. Students loved working together and seeing their snowmen come to life!


Kindness Month is upon us at Mill Lake School and our staff and students have gone above and beyond to bring goodwill and cheer to those in need. In Ms. Walters's class, 1 st grade students are holding a month long penny drive to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In Ms. Papandrea and Mrs. Pandolfi's class, students are running a sock drive for the Epiphany House for Women and Children as well as the Freehold Association of Emergency Housing and Advocacy Program. Finally, our 3 rd grade student council students came up with the idea to hold a food and supply drive for animals in local shelters such as the Husky House. Students and staff at Mill Lake School are committed to making not only our school but our community a better place to be!


Boys GMC Champions 2018
The Monroe boys bowling team won the conference championship on Tuesday February 6th when they upset Edison after just two games. The varsity team consisting of sophomore Joe Hoehler, juniors Devin Maddox, Ryley McKiernan, Louie Folgore, and seniors Tyler Kresan and Zachary Waynor brought home the first conference championship for bowling in school history.

NJSIAA  Girls Group IV Central Jersey Sectional Champions 2018
The Monroe girls bowling team won the Group IV sectional championship on Saturday February 10th. It was the team's first appearance in Group IV where they faced tough competition with division rivals South Brunswick and East Brunswick. Lead by senior captain Victoria Stasicky the girls bowled the highest series in Group IV to win the sectional and advance to the Group IV State Championship Friday February 16th! Victoria was joined by seniors Shannon Glynn, Alexa Hnath, Nina Carey, and junior Bridget Bolan. This was the first girls sectional championship for bowling brought home in school history. LETS GO FALCONS!


Brookside's School-Wide S.T.E.M. Challenge Kick-Off
What can you do with a paper bag?

This January, Brookside kicked off a new series of monthly school-wide S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineer, Mathematics) Challenges with a half day of collaborative innovation and problem-solving! At the kick-off event, students learned how to participate by watching a video of a similar challenge completed by the teachers on the committee-Mrs. Bertini, Ms. Cocuzza, Mrs. Horoszewski, Mrs. Ratcliffe, and Mr. Silverman. Students then worked in small, mixed groups of third, fourth, and fifth grade students to brainstorm, plan, and create projects in an energetic workshop atmosphere under the guidance of a teacher. The challenge: What can you do with a paper bag?! At the end of the kick-off event, photos of all the completed projects were featured in a short video shared with families through an emailed link and on the screen in the front lobby.

This exciting opportunity was prompted by the success of last year's S.T.E.M. Challenge, in which students created proposals and projects for the best way to use $500 to improve Brookside. As a result of the winning proposal, students have been enjoying flexible seating in the Maker Space since September! This year, the School Goals Committee decided to change the format of the challenges to increase the number of opportunities for student participation. Each month through the end of the year, a motivating new challenge will be issued. An open-ended structure was chosen to enable students to focus their work on the aspects of S.T.E.M. that interest them the most, and students now have the option of working independently or with friends. The last school day of the month will be exciting as students bring their projects to share at school!

What is our challenge in February? What to do with a paper plate-and we can't wait to see what Brookside's innovative students dish up!

Mrs. Fisher's third grade class :
Mrs. Fisher's third grade students completed a biography research unit.  Each student chose a historical figure to research, using books and various online resources. The students then took on the perspective of that person and explained important events that occurred throughout their life. The figures they chose (Anne Frank, Blackbeard the Pirate, and Jane Goodall) covered a wide range of backgrounds and historical time periods. Finally, the students used the makerspace room's green screen to find an appropriate background photo for their figure and then recorded videos on the iPad to share about the person's life. 

Scripps Spelling Bee :
Brookside School participated in the Scripps Spelling Bee this year. All homeroom classes held spelling bees. The spelling bee winners in the fourth and fifth grade homerooms participated in a grade level spelling bee and the top winners of each grade level went on to participate in the school wide spelling bee.
The students that participated in the school wide spelling bee were:
In fifth grade: Johan Justin, Alan Nowicki, Naiya Patel, and Danica Zelvin. In fourth grade: Arik Ahsan, Emily April, Rijul Ashar, Jamal Ayoubi, Sarah Perlmutter, and Aarush Vyakaranam.
Our school champion was Sarah Perlmutter. Congratulations to our students!
National Geographic Bee :
Brookside School participated in the National Geographic Bee. All fourth and fifth grade homeroom classes held classroom bees. The top performers went on to a tie-breaker round to determine the school finalists to participate in the school wide bee.
The school finalists that participated in the school wide bee were:
In fifth grade: Kendall Hermstedt, Mahanth Komuravelli, Jake LoBue, Alan Nowicki, Andrew Osadchuk, and Devin Rapp. In fourth grade: Sumanth Bhimarasetty, Steven Bianchi, and Jad Dean.
Our school champion was Alan Nowicki - Congratulations to our students!
Student of the Month :
As part of our character education program at Brookside, each month beginning in October a student from each grade level is selected that best represents the character trait of the month.
The students of the month for October who represented the character trait of "Responsibility" were: Grade 3 - Gabrielle Siochi, Grade 4 - Emily April, andGrade 5 - Summer Reneo.
The students of the month for November who represented the character trait of "Respect" were: Grade 3 - Arjun Reddy, Grade 4 - Sophia Piansay, and Grade 5 - Adiel Pompee.
The students of the month for December who represented the character trait of "Caring" were: Grade 3 - Brianna Bukowczyk, Grade 4 - Cameron Miller, and Grade 5 - AvaMarie DiBenedetto .
The students of the month for January who represented the character trait of "Trustworthiness" were: Grade 3 - Freya Brigilin, Grade 4 - Gianna Della Rocca, Grade 5 - Rhya Saloom.


The third annual Spelling Bee took place January 23 rd in the PAC at Monroe Township Middle School. This year we had 174 students from grades 6 to 8 participate in the Bee and it was an exciting Spell-Off! Our winner this year was Ruben Chandwani, an eighth grader on Team Senators, and our first runner-up was Vaghesan Sundaram, a sixth grader on Team Evolution. Ruben will represent Monroe Township Middle School at Monmouth University on March 12 th and 13 th . The winner from Monmouth University will then move onto Washington, D.C. to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Mrs. Debi Stoller led this group of students from initiation to the day of the Spelling Bee with the support of Mrs. Katie Lederman, Mrs. Courtney Kuey and Mr. Steve Manahan as judges at our actual bee.  Congratulations students!
A new flag is now flying in front of Monroe Township Middle School. This flag was presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to MTMS math teacher, Barton Mix, in honor of the service of his father, WWII Veteran, Dr. Sol Mix. After graduating from Weequahic High School in Newark, NJ, in 1944, Dr. Mix joined the United States Navy rising to the rank of Petty Officer Third Class. After WWII, Dr. Mix worked for 35 years as a public school teacher in Fair Lawn, NJ.  Dr. Mix retired to Monroe Township in 1993, where his wife still resides. This special flag was donated to MTMS by Barton Mix to honor his father and everyone who serves or has served in the United States Armed Services.  We thank the Mix family for their generosity.
MTMS had eight students qualify for the New York (south) regionals of the National History Bee: Jason Appiah, Jinansh Shah, Joe DiCola, Maheedhar Rajula, Marc DeBrito, Owen Yannacci, Shreyas Sripathi and Tom LoSacco.  Congratulations students and Ms. Ponsini! We were honored in being approached to host the regional competition at our school but it will have to wait for another day since they will compete for a spot at the regionals on April 17th in East Brunswick.
This month MTMS students competed in the CJMEA Choir Auditions. Twenty-one of our 6th through 8th grade students auditioned for Region Choir and 18 were accepted.  One of our 7th graders, Akshar Vedantham, ranked first place among baritones (no small feat as his voice only changed over winter break)!  MTMS is very proud of our students as well as our wonderful Ms. Schmetterer and Ms. Costanino! The two CJMEA choirs will rehearse weekends in February and March and will give a final performance in the MTMS PAC on March 11th at 3 PM. 
Names of the selected students are:
  • Anisha Srinivasan
  • Arielle Rios
  • Jordan Viszoki 
  • Ayaan Bohra 
  • Rachel Rodrigues
  • Ria Singh 
  • Kennedy Christensen
  • Sahil Gandhi 
  • Siraj Gandhi
  • Max Joy 
  • Arshleen Kaur 
  • Kumeil Kagalwala 
  • Tanvi Sivakumar 
  • Pranathi Miryala 
  • Yasmeen Singer 
  • Brianna Siochi 
  • Akshar Vedantham
  • Jacob Resnick                                    
Over 40 MTMS band students in grades 6 through 8 attended this year's Central Jersey Music Educators Association Intermediate Region Band auditions. On behalf of the MTMS band directors and instructors, we are proud to announce that fifteen students will represent Monroe Township as members of the CJMEA Intermediate Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble.
Congratulations to:                           
  • Arielle Rios
  • Nila Rajakumar
  • Jack VanDusen
  • Anisha Srinivasan
  • Ryan Lopardo
  • Marco Orlando
  • Dominick Minicucci
  • Jaden Lu
  • Joshua Fabricant
  • Marcello Sabat
  • Nicholas Santos
  • Riya Sharma
  • Katherine Taylor
  • Elizabeth Tota
  • Michael Preuster
Congratulations also to all the MTMS students who auditioned and our wonderful music staff!
Congratulations to Emma LaDuke, Rebecca Padron, Derek Joseph, Simone Mehta, Sara Hu, Marco Orlando, Chloe Ramirez, Michael Presuter and Vaghesan Sundaram who represented Monroe in the Region II CJMEA Intermediate Instrumental auditions on Saturday, January 27 th . These students competed against other musicians from around Central New Jersey to earn a spot in a select ensemble. A special acknowledgement to Marco Orlando and Michael Presuter for earning a spot  in the Symphonic Band. Job well done!

The 6th grade classes of MTMS worked on a unit about Ancient Egypt during the month of January. As part of a grade-wide activity, the students have created artifacts that are on display in a museum exhibit that will run throughout the month of February. The museum is not only open to staff and students but parents as well. Below is a small sampling of outstanding artifacts that might be found in the museum.

Mrs. Smith's students from team Venture, in conjunction with Mrs. Williams,
Ms. Cummings and Ms. Montgomery's classes, are creating get well cards for a 5th grader named Sammy Pirrong. Sammy is the niece of Mrs. Kovacs, MTMS teacher of the handicapped, who is battling cancer and can use all the love we can send.

To continue with our kindness campaign, students are creating get well cards, inspirational letters, pictures and even bringing in craft supplies to send Sammy a get well package! How proud we are of the kindness of our teachers and students. #sammystrong #fightlikeakid #wilmstumorwarrior #myheart

Contraction Surgery Performed at Oak Tree 
by Janine Young

In 1 st grade we've been learning about contractions and the rules to make a contraction, so to better help our learning we performed contraction surgery! We all dressed up like doctors and performed surgery on bones with words on them to cut them up, take out the 'unnecessary' letter, and bandage the word back up using an apostrophe. Each student performed surgery on 6 words, and glued their patient back together using the apostrophe band aide to make the words a contraction. We loved the hands on learning and will never forget how to turn words into a contraction!


We are excited to present to you the 
2nd annual  MTHS Hall of Fame induction.  

We would like to pay tribute to the many individuals from our high school who have been a part of the MTHS athletic programs and part of the Monroe Falcons .
If you would like to nominate or re-nominate anyone who you feel is qualified, and meets the criteria, please click the link below.
MTHS College & Career Counseling Center (CCCC)
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