Founded by the National Education Association and American Legion in 1921, American Education Week is celebrated every year the week prior to Thanksgiving to honor and recognize the contributions of our nation’s educators. At the Randolph Township Board of Education meeting on October 18, the Board made a special proclamation celebrating this week. Randolph Education Association (REA) President Sandy Kessell was in attendance to accept the proclamation on behalf of all of our educators.
In addition to celebrating American Education Week this year, we also recognized World Kindness Day. As I reflect on both of these celebrations, I continue to be incredibly grateful for the efforts of our entire school community to promote a positive, nurturing environment for the students we have the great privilege to serve. Our educators, support staff and administrators provide accelerated opportunities every day so our students will be able to apply the knowledge and skills they learn for both success in school and in life.
One of the most important lessons we teach our students is the importance of compassion. As part of our central mission to raise responsible and educated members of a global society, it is equally essential for our students to become people of character. Kindness, generosity, a heart of service, and a dedication to others are among the most important qualities any person can possess and we continue to instill these values as part of daily practice. We are beyond fortunate to have so many caring, thoughtful people in our school community.
Thank you to our amazing team who goes above and beyond every day to support our students!
We joined schools throughout the United States in celebrating the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive. The 2022 National School Psychology Week theme, "Together We Shine," celebrates hope after several challenging years, reconnecting with others, and re-establishing the sense of being valued parts of a greater whole, which empowers students and adults to find purpose and possibility.
Board of Education Election Results
There are nine members of the Randolph Township Board of Education who are elected in accordance with the provisions of NJ statutes and regulations governing Type II school districts. Three of these nine members are elected each year for a three-year term.
The Morris County Clerk's Office has officially certified the results of the 2022 election. Randolph Township Schools would like to congratulate Sheldon Epstein, Hazel Ball and Amanda Adams who were elected by the public to serve three-year terms as members of the Board of Education. The new members of the Board of Education will be sworn in at the Board of Education's Organization Meeting on January 3, 2022 at 5:30 PM. The meeting will take place in the Randolph Middle School cafeteria.
Members of the Randolph Township Board of Education are proud to serve the community of Randolph, representing the needs of students to the utmost of their ability. The Board of Education believes that effective education for students can only be accomplished through a beneficial partnership between the schools and the community. Understanding, involvement and communication are crucial to maintaining the positive educational environment in Randolph Township Schools.
We encourage the public to learn more about the Board of Education and their important role in our school community by visiting the Board of Education section on the district's website:
Using historical perspectives based on real people and events, Living Voices combines live performance with audio/video, visual aids, and discussion. Archival film and photos, blended with sound and synchronized with a live actor, provide a dynamic, interactive experience of how the world looked, sounded, and felt during a significant time in history.
Randolph Middle School students met in the auditorium to watch three different performances. Our 6th grade students watched “The New American Grade” which chronicles an Irish immigrant’s quest to a new life in the United States during the 1900’s. Our 7th grade students watched “Hear my Voice,” photographed below, which is a historical fictional re-enactment of the Suffrage Movement that led to the 19th Amendment. Finally, our 8th grade students watched “Through the Eyes of a Friend” which educated students about the Holocaust from the point of view of Anne Frank’s “best friend.”
Randolph Middle School has hosted this popular program for many years, and it is the first time Living Voices has returned since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We are grateful to the Randolph Middle School PTO for sponsoring this immersive educational experience.
First year student and Randolph High School Class of 2022 Alumna Sarah Bona plays for Middlebury College's field hockey team. The Middlebury field hockey team claimed its fifth-straight NCAA Division III National Championship in thrilling overtime fashion over Johns Hopkins this month. Congratulations Sarah!
Written by D.W. Gregory, the Randolph High School Drama Club performed Radium Girls which tells the true story of young women factory workers in Orange, New Jersey during the 1920's. Radium Girls is a tragic story of devastation, regret and hope. The students and production team welcomed audiences to the Randolph High School auditorium for this captivating theatrical event. The play offered our student performers the opportunity to explore dramatic acting techniques, the “epic theater” style, the power of the chorus and New Jersey history.
Alumna Lea Sevola graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ithaca College. As a nationally recognized leader in performing arts education, Lea had the opportunity to learn in an intensive, immersive and performance-oriented environment that further enhanced her acting, singing and dancing talent. Over the course of her professional career, she has had the opportunity to perform in more than a dozen productions in both leading and supporting roles at the regional and national level. Most recently, Lea was selected to play the iconic role of Vivienne Kensington in the National Tour of Legally Blonde the Musical.
Lea developed an interest in the performing arts at a young age and was often found singing around her childhood home. Her family would take her to music together classes where she would sing and play instruments. These experiences were very influential in helping her to discover her passion for performance. Her first major exposure to musical theater was at the Broadway production of the Lion King when she was six years old. Lea vividly remembers the excitement she felt seeing the performers onstage and recalls turning to her mother at intermission with disappointment saying “is it really over?” She was delighted that there would be a second Act of the show and at the end of the performance she turned to her family and said emphatically that she wanted to become an actress. With the support of her parents, from that day on Lea attended auditions, took voice lessons and seized every possible opportunity she could to experience the performing arts.
Lea participated in numerous community theater productions as well as the shows at Randolph Middle School and Randolph High School. In the third grade, she had her first performance at Brundage Park Playhouse where she was cast in several small roles in Charlotte’s Web. Lea enjoyed being able to put together the costumes for the various parts she had in the show such as a baby spider. When she was backstage, she was also able to learn about all of the roles that are involved with organizing a theatrical experience. At Randolph Middle School, she recalls being so excited by the number of students involved in the productions and the sense of community that they had together at play practice. “I think about the Randolph Middle School musicals and they were giant. There were so many people in those shows, and I had never had the opportunity to work with so many people. I have such positive memories of play practice and it was just the best. All of my closest friends were in the musicals and they are still my best friends to this day. It’s such a unique experience being a theater kid in public school and I truly had such a positive experience. By the time I got to high school, I was cast in the female leading role as a freshman in the musical Man of La Mancha. Being cast in a leading role my first year of high school was both inspiring and motivating.”
In addition to all of these extracurricular experiences, as a high school student, she had the opportunity to participate in the dual enrollment and Option II program at County College of Morris (CCM). While still enrolled as a full-time high school student, she was able to explore courses like musical theater outside of the typical school day at CCM which provided her with life changing perspective. During her senior year, she was able to fully immerse herself in the college’s offerings which greatly added value to her success post-graduation. The experience deepened her knowledge and appreciation of musical theater while also preparing her for her next step in Ithaca College’s competitive B.F.A. Musical Theatre program.
In regional theater productions, Lea has had quite the extensive resume having performed in iconic shows such as Mamma Mia, Hamlet, Annie, Schoolhouse Rock: Live, a Midsummer Night’s Dream and many others. When reflecting back on those experiences, she recalls her leading role as Catherine in a show called A View from the Bridge at Hope Summer Repertory Theater as being a very significant milestone in her professional career. “Performing as Catherine in a View from the Bridge was a rather surreal experience. It was one of my first paid jobs as an actress and I was playing a lead which was very inspiring. For me, it was the first time I was truly proud of the work that I had done. Every night when I took a bow and had the chance to look out at the audience, I was reassured that this was and is the work that I want to be doing. I felt in that moment that I could continue to develop as a performer and that I could dedicate my life to honing my craft. It was a magical realization that dreams can and do come true with hard work,” Lea said.
As a performer, Lea is a classically trained soprano with multiple talents she has acquired through her various experiences in supporting and leading roles. However, at the same time, Lea believes that she has a greater calling as an actress. She strives to “use her art to give a voice to the voiceless and to encourage compassion in the world.” This includes intentionally seeking roles where she may be able to use a particular character to enact change in the lives of others. This mission has led her to take on roles that many other actresses may have been afraid to pursue. Her role as Wonder Woman in the DC Justice League Tour in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt and Bahrain was an opportunity for her to not only expand upon her already extensive portfolio of work, but to also symbolically represent a strong, independent woman in a region that culturally has different customs, attitudes and beliefs about the rights and visibility of women. “The opportunity to perform as Wonder Woman in the middle east was one of the most exciting experiences I have ever had and something that I am so grateful for. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience that challenged me as an actress and made me view myself and the role I could play as an actress differently. Just one year prior to performing in this show, women were not even allowed to be on stage in Saudi Arabia and certainly not with other men. While we still respectfully adhered to the cultural customs of the region, my costume as an example was modified, both myself and our cast felt like we were sending a symbolic message about women’s rights which was very moving. We were able to provide representation in a place that historically had none,” Lea said. “I remember looking out into the audience and seeing young girls watching me as Wonder Woman which was probably a unique experience for them. I was able to see first-hand the impact it was having on all of the women in the audience as well which looking back on it now was rather surreal. As an actress in the United States, I would not be able to even conceive not having the right to perform on stage whenever I want. Having this experience where I was literally legally not allowed to perform was both shocking while at the same time very humbling. I developed such a deeper appreciation for the privilege that I have to be able to pursue my chosen profession because it’s not possible for people everywhere in the world. As we continued on our amazing tour to Lebanon, Egypt and Bahrain, it kept sticking in the back of my mind that theater can and does play a significant role in shaping our world. Having the opportunity to be a part of such an influential profession is something I am very thankful and proud to be a part of.”
Lea has asked herself for the past several years what kind of artist she wants to be and what value she wants to add to her profession. Like Wonder Woman, she continues to pursue roles where she can embody “strong, emotionally intelligent and independent women.” From her perspective, she feels that her career is heading in a direction where the roles she is receiving align with who she desires to be professionally as well as who she wants to be personally. In her latest role as Vivienne Kensington in the Legally Blonde National Tour, Lea is grateful for the opportunity to play a character who helps to break down different stereotypes about women.
“Legally Blonde is a musical about female empowerment and I get to play a character that goes on this incredible journey of self-discovery which leads to her not only supporting other women, but also learning how to lift herself up in the process. For those who have seen the movie, it’s easy to think of Vivienne as the mean girl and a character that shouldn’t be liked. The character operates that way as Elle’s antagonist, but from my interpretation of the character I wanted her to be portrayed in a way where she isn’t being mean for the sake of being mean. I wanted to add dimension and understanding to who she is as a person which lays the groundwork for her transformation in the second act where she both learns from and aligns with Elle. I found that tapping into the human side of Vivienne was my way in to really help our audiences empathize and relate with this character. It has also made playing her every night that much more enjoyable. Foundationally, we are using this show to break down stereotypes of women being pitted against other women which I think is a very important message,” Lea said. “Theater is so important in society because it’s an opportunity for audience members to watch humanity being represented and brought to life on stage. It’s a chance for people to be observers of humanity in a way that makes us more empathetic whether we are watching the stories of people like us unfold or those of others that differ from us. With this show in particular, I have the privilege to recap the message essentially in one of my lines by saying that being true to yourself never goes out of style. I get to share with the audience that who they are is enough and that they don’t need to change who they are which is a really powerful thing. I hope audiences leave our show recognizing that the only way we can truly be happy and successful in life is by bringing those around us higher. We have to support one another and by doing so, we also support ourselves.”
We are incredibly proud of Lea’s success and wish her well as she continues her tour across the country. The National Tour of Legally Blonde will be performed in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the State Theatre on April 28, 29 and 30. To see Lea Sevola in her role, you can order tickets at:
Randolph Middle School Greenhouse Club Grows Poinsettias for the Holidays
The Randolph Middle School Greenhouse Club meets after school every week to work in the district’s greenhouse. The beautiful facility was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Bosch USA Community Fund and the Randolph Education Foundation. During every club meeting, students enjoy learning about a variety of annual and perennial plants, how to grow plants from seeds and bulbs, how to propagate plants, how to run a greenhouse, gardening techniques, climate zones for planting, and agricultural business practices. Every year since the inception of the club, the students have organized a plant sale which is hosted both in the fall and spring. The club members are currently growing a crop of poinsettias which will be sold at the Randolph Middle School Holiday Concert at Randolph High School on Monday, December 12. In addition to the beautiful holiday music that will be performed by our student musicians, we hope that members of our community will consider purchasing a poinsettia which directly helps to support the program. A portion of the plants will also be donated to Randolph Middle School staff to help celebrate the holiday season!
For the students’ spring crop, they will choose what vegetables, fruits, and plants they would like to plant from seed. They will raise these plants for several months, learn how to prepare them for planting in the ground, and host a spring plant sale for the Randolph community with a focus on the Randolph Community Garden. Club members have also been fortunate to have a local Randolph Master Gardener donate many of his beautiful plants to the greenhouse for learning purposes. Our students will be propagating many of those donated plants to share with our school community and beyond!
In addition to the support of Bosch and the Randolph Education Foundation, we would like to recognize retired teacher Bob Chernow and current teacher Cara Gilligan for advising this program. They started the club three years ago, and both Mr. Chernow and Ms. Gilligan have been integral to the success of sustainability initiatives at the middle school. Our facilities, ground and security teams have also gone above and beyond to ensure that students continue to have access to these opportunities throughout the year.