Atlantic Highlands Elementary School

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – In its school year presentation of monthly Champions exhibiting the practices of the letters used to spell CHAMPION,  the local Board of Education named the Champions of Optimism at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Education.

Each month, a letter from the word Champion highlights a specific habit and characteristic that make  a champion, and teachers throughout the kindergarten through sixth grade classes cite specific students for great achievements in that field. This month, the board highlighted the next to last letter, O, epitomizing optimism.

Tri-school Administrator Dr. Susan Compton congratulated each of the students and reminded them that “A champion has vision. A champion dreams of things that haven’t been and believes they are possible. A champion says, “I can.”. Students demonstrating optimism show hopefulness and confidence about the successful outcome of something.”

Other characteristics highlighted in earlier months were for citizenship, heroism, advocacy, mentorship, passion and innovation. Next month, students will be cited for nobility for demonstrating honesty, courage and kindness, together with strong character.


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This month’s Optimists were praised for showing everything from bright smiles and goal setting, friendship and positive attitudes, as well as never giving up, and seeing the bright side of a situation. They include kindergarten students Jack Coyle and Olivia O’Donnell, first graders Demiana Bradley, Valentina Vicens-Durzo and Charlotte Gallagher; second grade students Joseph Gannon, Greta Chabak, and Hayden Bifulco, third grader students Piper Dougherty, and Aubriella Romano. Fourth grade optimists are Maria Durazo, Benjamin Eittreim, Cathryn Seuffert and Finley Murphy, whose teacher described her as “a ray of sunshine and a student who “chooses to be happy.”

Fifth grade Champions of Optimism are Samantha Morrisy, Aydin Colton, described as “a rainbow in a storm,” Philip Weiss-Doist, with a “smile that can’t be hidden” and Tara Weiss-Doust and LJ McKeon.

Sixth grade Champions are Addison Krzycki, John Verange, Jack Burton, Max Schmoll and Drew Jaccodene.

Principal Lori Skibinski who made the presentations and read the letters from each teacher making the nominations, praised all the students, especially recognizing the difficult times students have faced with virtual and in-class learning during the pandemic.

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...