Salsa Social Dance Awards
Henri Velandia and his sister Claudia, both of West Windsor, took second place awards in the open division at the second annual College Showdown Latin Dance Competition held on Sunday, April 18, at Drexel University, in Philadelphia. They performed their competition routine at the Salsa Social on April 22 at the Princeton YWCA.
Velandia, director of HotSalsaHot, has developed his distinctive Latin dance style — a blend of hip-urban Latin dances, formal ballroom techniques, all infused with his distinctive styling and ease. Based in the Princeton area, HSH’s goal has been to develop and establish a thriving community of social dancers in Central New Jersey.
“The most gratifying aspect of being a dance teacher is being able to guide students through the hard process of letting go, trusting, and believing in themselves,” he says. “It is amazing how dancing can transform people’s lives in just a matter of months. I would call it a fun healing.”
For information about HotSalsaHot call 609-651-6070 or visit www.hotsalsahot.com.
Robotics Team Wins Inspiration Award
West Windsor-Plainsboro High School FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Team 1923, Midknight Inventors, won the FIRST Engineering Inspiration Award at a recent competition in Boston. Winners are selected based on their effectiveness in spreading engineering throughout their community.
“This award celebrates a team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as their community,” says Marcia Smith Fleres, the team’s advisor and one of its mentors.
The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
The team members from the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district includes members High Schools North and South and homeschooled students.
High School North students include Kishan Desai, Siddharth Dhulipalla, Mark Fleres, Amr Gabale, Nithin Gadiraju, Ayaz Ghesani, Sam Goldfinger, David Govorko, Ciara Hall, Matt Lagana, Jason Marcus, and Sam Marder. Also, Asif Mehedi, Bharath Methuku, Shivang Patel, Bridget Riley, Sara Rolfsen-Kohn, Aditya Samarth, Miguel Santiago, Taimur Shah, Kelsey Stevens, Mehul Tanwar, Abishek Thatigutla, Raj Vaidya, and Krishna Yarabarla.
High School South students include Abhishektha Boppana, Gareth Dicker, Cameron MacArthur, and Jake Steinhauser. Home schooled students include Sarah Brooks and Timothy Brooks.
Mentors include Katie Stevens, Mark Bean, Dan Zaun, Ruth Kamen, Michael Stevens, Luke Seale, Wayne Penn, and Mike Siegel.
Team sponsors include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Integra Foundation, Janssen Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, MIMvista, Novo Nordisk, WW-P Education Foundation, Silver Dollar Stables, Triangle Copy Center/East Windsor, and Richard Holstein DMD. To donate or become a sponsor E-mail CMP@FIRSTRobotics1923.org.
West Windsor Township’s Shade Tree Commission held its 31st annual Arbor Day celebration in the Ron Rogers Arboretum on Saturday, April 24. Members of the Shade Tree Commission include Kevin Appelget, chair; Ron Slinn, vice chair; Paul Pitluk; Ram Ramachandran; John Rosko; Drewe Schoenholtz, adviser; and Dan Dobromilsky, township landscape architect.
The ceremony included posting of the colors by Boy Scout Troup 66, choral presentations by First Edition, High School South’s acappella group; and the reading of the classic poem “Trees” by two members of the South’s radio station team.
West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh issued an Arbor Day Proclamation, and Victoria Kniewel, superintendent of the West Windsor-Plainsboro School District, spoke of the joint venture between the Shade Tree Commission and the district’s schools.
The ceremony concluded with the planting of an English Oak by Green Scene landscaping firm. Refreshments were presented by McCaffrey’s Market.
The winners of the Arbor Day Art competition were announced and prizes awarded. This year there were 119 entries, 70 from kindergarten through third grade, 42 from fourth and fifth grades, and seven from sixth to eighth grades.
First place winners received $80 each. They include Samantha Pizzolato, Hawk School; Frank Li, Millstone River School; and Yuging Chai, Grover Middle School.
Second place winners received $50 each. They include Avni Ahmed, Hawk School; Natali Zarkova, Millstone River School; and Sophie Chen, Grover Middle School.
Third place winners received $30 each. They are Jiya Wit, Hawk School; Jonathan Wang, Millstone River School; and Raymond Zhang, Community Middle School.
Honorable mention award winners received $10 each. They are Tyanyi Peng, Town Center School; Nitya Labh, Millstone River School; and Brendan Werth, Grover Middle School.
The winning entries will be on display in the West Windsor municipal building lobby for several weeks.
Phillips Exeter Academy: Jackie Kay, a senior, of West Windsor, is on the high honors list. Brandon G. Kaplowitz, a freshman, also of West Windsor, is on the honors list.
Villanova University: Samantha So of West Windsor has accepted membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and will be honored during an induction convocation in the fall. A graduate of High School South, Class of 2009, she is a freshman majoring in bio science in the honor program. At South she received letters for participation in girls varsity lacrosse and ice hockey. A player for the Villanova women’s ice hockey team, she was selected to participate in the all star games in March.
Arya Sasne, a first grade student at Maurice Hawk School, is the third place winner in the national PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest. The contest encourages children in kindergarten to grade three to celebrate the power of writing and illustrating by creating a storybook “A Puppy with a Black Spot on his Right Paw.”
Princeton Windrows residents were recently honored for making service a priority. Scores of residents make volunteering a priority and contribute their time and knowledge to support a wide range of charities and programs throughout the area. They were recognized by Plainsboro Township Mayor Peter Cantu at a volunteer breakfast dedication on Wednesday, April 21.
The most visible outpouring came last July when more than 100 residents and staff — calling themselves “The Windrows Wonders” participated in the Eden Fun Run to support the Eden Institute Foundation. The Windrows Wonders raised $4,000 for the organization and will again take to the streets in July.
“We are honored that Mayor Cantu was here to recognize our residents’ efforts, both as a group and individuals,” says Mary Ann Bond, director of marketing and sales at the community. “Their spirit of helping others runs deep.”
Maxine Gurk, 81, has been teaching adult literacy and English as a Second Language for 10 years. She credits tutoring she received as a child to help her with a reading disability. “I promised myself in retirement that I would help people facing reading challenges,” says Gurk.
Lee Gunther Mohr has been serving meals at hospitals for 40 years. Nancy Barnhart has worked with the annual Bryn Mawr Wellesley Book Sale for many years. Jacquie Johnson has been a volunteer with the New Jersey State Museum for 30 years.
Meals on Wheels volunteers include Barbara Broad, 50 years; Ruth Kumasaka, 29 years; and Archie Kumasaka. Residents involved with Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic include Peg Hastings, 39 years; Jim Hastings, 29 years; Maria Wagner, 20 years; and Herb Gurk, 17 years.
Billie Emmerich has been a volunteer with Princeton Senior Resource Center for 12 years. Bruce LaBar has been with Princeton Care Center for 18 years. Betty Rimalover has been teaching reading to illiterate people for 22 years and was on the Plainsboro Library committee to build a new library. Other residents recognized include Dick Armstrong, Marge Sklar, Elaine Barger, Jim Johnson, Manola Schrier, Muriel Dodge, and Kit Niemiec.
“Volunteering and support are values that are shared throughout our Windrows community,” says Peg Hastings. “It’s very rewarding and builds bonds that last lifetimes.”
Lightning Lacrosse and Enable
More than 30 sixth grade boys and teammates from Lightning Lacrosse, a West Windsor-based youth lacrosse league, spruced up the yards at two of Enable’s group homes where adults with disabilities reside.
The teammates and their parents spent more than two hours cleaning up yard debris leftover from a storm, raking, and mulching. Enable, founded in 1989, is an agency devoted to supporting individuals with disabilities to live full and independent lives.