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OrangeWeek Launches with Excitement and Community Spirit

3 June 2024 · Office of Communications

As always, Orange students shine, highlighting how the district is committed to student success.
Community joins together for physical exercise, spelling, and personal growth in for the township’s annual week of community activities. (Christoly Georges/Orange Public Schools) 

ORANGE, NJ — Every year, OrangeWeek fills the entire community with joyous energy. On Saturday, June 1, OrangeWeek 2024 started with an intense Spelling Bee contest and an energetic Tennis Tournament at Central Playground. OrangeWeek 2024, organized by the Office of Innovation and Community Engagement, drew enthusiastic participation from the community. Attendees enjoyed the competitive matches, which helped build community and set a vibrant tone for the week's festivities.

The Spelling Bee was a thrilling competition with students from students in many schools. The Grade 5 rounds continued for 85 rounds before a winner emerged! Congratulations to all the champions of the spelling bee competition.


Overall District Champions:

1st Place - Khara Persaud (Rosa Parks Community School)

2nd Place - Jalil Pell-Rhoden (Rosa Parks Community School)

3rd Place - Ivan Uzoma (Park Avenue School)


First Grade

1st Place - Darius Mensah (Central Elementary School)

2nd Place - William Killen (Park Avenue School)


Second Grade

1st Place - Royal Davis (Cleveland Street School)

2nd Place - Kieran Gonzales (Heywood Avenue School)


Third Grade

1st Place - Santiago Agudelo Madrigal (Rosa Parks Community School)

2nd Place - Leonidas Holness (Cleveland Street School)


Fourth Grade

1st Place - Brandon Butler (Rosa Parks Community School)

2nd Place - Charlotte Pryor (Heywood Avenue School)


Fifth Grade

1st Place - Khara Persaud (Rosa Parks Community School)

2nd Place - Jonathan Bamisaye (Forest Street School)


Sixth Grade

1st Place - Jalil Pell-Rhoden (Park Avenue School)

2nd Place - Amelia Bamisaye (Forest Street School)


Seventh Grade

1st Place - Ivan Uzomah (Park Avenue School)

2nd Place - Francesca Martine (Heywood Avenue School)


A heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Hernandez (District Bee Coordinator), Dr. Russo (Announcer), Dr. Blanton (Judge), Ms. Alcantara (Judge), Ms. Burnett (Judge), Mrs. David (Accuracy Recorder), and Ms. Whitley (Accuracy Recorder). Special thanks also go out to Mrs. Aiello, Ms. Gomez, Mrs. Vincent, Ms. Thomas, school-based advisors, school administrators, classroom teachers, all those involved.

This year's tennis tournament included over 40 students from grades 4-8 from Cleveland Street School, Forest Street Community School, Heywood Avenue School, Lincoln Avenue School, Oakwood Avenue Community School, Park Avenue School, Rosa Parks Community School, and Orange Preparatory Academy of Inquiry and Innovation.

Mr. Jacob Warta and Mr. Marc Grillo, PE teachers from Forest Street and Heywood Avenue Schools, organized the tournament with help from other PE teachers: Mr. Harris (Cleveland), Mr. Lapinski (RPCS), Mr. VanWinkle (Lincoln), and Ms. Evra (OPA II). Community support came from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Eastern, City of Orange Recreation Department, New Jersey Symphony, PSE&G, and the Althea Gibson Tennis Foundation.

Parents and families enjoyed watching the matches, which included single matches, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. The winners were:

Grades 4-5
1st Place - Yadira Dolores (Forest Street School)
2nd Place - Mason McKay (Forest Street School)
3rd Place - Charlie Valenzuela Garcia (Rosa Parks Community School)
4th Place - Luna Sanchez (Forest Street School)

Grades 6-8
1st Place - Samuel Clement (Oakwood Avenue Community School)
2nd Place - Dyllan McCormick (Orange Preparatory Academy)
3rd Place - Jaylah Campbell (Forest Street School)
4th Place - Amelia Bamisaye (Forest Street School)

The top three winners received trophies, and all participants got a tennis racket and ball to practice at home. Certificates will be given out this week. Thanks to the physical education teachers and After School Tennis Club coaches for making the tournament possible. 

After the Tennis Tournament, the District Spelling Bee, organized by the Office of Humanities, presented the abilities of young students from Grades 1 through 7. The competition at Orange Preparatory Academy for Inquiry and Innovation showcased finalists with well-practiced spelling skills. This recurring event emphasizes academic excellence within the community.

“As we continue with OrangeWeek 2024, I am filled with pride and optimism,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gerald Fitzhugh, II. Our students’ happy smiles and faces made the start of OrangeWeek remarkable. Let's continue to celebrate, support, and uplift one another throughout this wonderful week and beyond.”

Along with Superintendent Fitzhugh, the morning’s activities were joined by many officials from the community, including Mayor Dwayne D. Warren, Esq., Board of Education Vice President Sueann Gravesande, Board of Education Member Dr. Fatimah Turner, and Executive Director of Innovation and Community Engagement Faith Alcantara.

For the Entrepreneurship Day portion of the kickoff at the Athletic Arts Academy (23 South Essex Avenue, Orange, NJ), local entrepreneurs, families, and community members gathered for networking and learning. The event included an open house with opportunities to sample treats from local vendors.

A panel discussion in the afternoon featured local business owners sharing their success stories and insights into entrepreneurship. Hosted at the Athletic Arts Academy, their activities provided a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to gain inspiration and practical advice. The entrepreneurial-focused portion of the day was made exciting with the support of HANDS, Inc., Orange Public Schools, Rising Tide Capital, and the Athletic Arts Academy.

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View additional photos from the Tennis Tournament online. 


About Orange Public Schools

Orange Public Schools provide a diverse range of opportunities and programs to meet the needs of over 5,800 students supported by over 900 staff members in eight elementary schools, one middle school, a gifted and talented academy, a renowned preschool program for children ages three and four, the historic Orange High School, and STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges – one of the top 20 best-performing public high schools in New Jersey according to the US News and World Report.

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