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Outstanding members of the local community who are making a difference.

by Sydney Kerelo

Star Teacher
Named New Jersey Teacher of the Year 2019-2020 by the New Jersey Board of Education, Dickstein Hughes is the first teacher from Camden County to receive this recognition. As a high school English teacher for the past 11 years, Dickstein Hughes has placed an emphasis on community service and global citizenship in her lessons. The award came at an especially exciting time for Dickstein Hughes, who had just gotten married days before in a ceremony at Haddonfield Memorial High School. Next, she will travel to Washington, D.C., to meet the president along with other states’ teachers of the year.

Star Athlete
Known to be one of South Jersey’s top offensive weapons, Karch has been a star forward for the Cinnaminson High School girls soccer team since her freshman year. After scoring 14 goals as a freshman and 19 as a sophomore, she missed her entire junior season with a broken left leg and torn ACL. But Karch has overcome the adversity and is once again shining for the Pirates. She is one of the team’s leading scorers and recently netted two goals in a win over Holy Cross.

Star Athlete
Schilling, a senior kicker on the Deptford High School football team, received the Way to Play award from the NFL after a memorable debut performance with her new team. A soccer star who has received a full scholarship to Youngstown State, Schilling was unable to play for her high school this fall because of restrictions from her travel team. So she switched over to football and successfully converted all five of her extra-point attempts along with a 22-yard field goal in a season-opening win over Cherry Hill East. She was recognized on NFL Network and the Deptford football program also received a $15,000 grant to be used for equipment.

Star Citizen        
Ryder, the director of student affairs & military services at Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), was awarded the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal and the New Jersey Desert Storm Medal. A resident of Clayton, Ryder was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Port Security Unit that was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The ceremony honored nearly two dozen New Jersey veterans of conflicts dating back to WWII.

Star Citizen        
Foundation Director at Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ), Miller raised $71,835 for student scholarships by participating in the Greater Woodbury Chamber of Commerce’s 14th Annual Dancing with the Gloucester County Stars. Miller performed the salsa, bachata and Argentine tango, among others, with his partner Michaela Smith, who is also a student at RCSJ. Although he didn’t win the competition, Miller was the top fundraiser of the event.

Star Teacher
Melograna, Cherry Hill East’s boys soccer coach, has started an Alzheimer’s walk to raise money and awareness for the disease. Inspired by his mother Linda, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago, Melograna decided to hold the walk in his hometown of Cherry Hill and donate all proceeds to patients and caregivers in the town through the Delaware Valley chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. He also hopes to encourage all age groups to take into consideration their eating habits and daily exercise because both are known to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Star Teacher
This past March, founding dean of Rowan’s School of Earth & Environment and the director of the Jean & Ric Edelman Fossil Park, Lacovara, was presented the 2019 Explorer’s Club Medal. Lacovara is a world-renowned paleontologist who discovered one of the world’s largest dinosaurs, Dreadnoughtus schrani, in 2005, an author and TED speaker. Other recipients of this award include Jane Goodall and Neil Armstrong. Last month at the fossil park’s eighth annual Community Dig Day, Lacovara was surprised by colleagues and friends with a party to celebrate his achievement.

Star Coach
Pellecchia-Kupiec was selected by the National Federation of High School Associations as its New Jersey State Coach of the Year for 2018-2019. She has been Washington Town- ship High School’s gymnastics head coach for two years and under her guidance the team has earned two conference titles. She is now in the running for sectional and national coach of the year awards, which will be announced in 2020.

Star Student
Tracey, a freshman at Eastern Regional High School, was awarded the Girl Scout Silver Award—the highest honor for middle school-aged Girl Scouts— for a project she began while at Voorhees Middle School. For the project “Blazing Trees,” she spent 80 hours outside the classroom documenting 20 different types of trees that ran along the trail behind the Voorhees Middle School and replacing trail markers.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 8 (October 2019).
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