• West Essex High School, part of the West Essex Regional School District, hosted the 2024 Essex County Unsung Heroes awards ceremony.

On Thursday, April 11, the Essex County School Boards Association honored 42 students across the county as “Unsung Heroes” at West Essex High School in North Caldwell.

The Essex County Unsung Heroes included one twelfth-grade student from each high school in Essex County. Unsung Heroes make outstanding contributions to their schools and communities, even though they are often overlooked under traditional student recognition guidelines. Unsung Heroes can be students who make their school a better place because of their warm personalities, empathy, and concern for others. They tend not to let obstacles stop them. About 250 people turned out to recognize their achievements and contributions.

Karen Cortellino, M.D., president of the New Jersey School Boards Association, attended along with ECSBA President Reginald Bledsoe, ECSBA 1st Vice President Shawneque Johnson, ECSBA 2nd Vice President for Legislation Hasani K. Council, Benjamin Morse, an NJSBA board of directors’ delegate; and Kathryn Weller-Demming, an NJSBA board of directors’ alternate.

Ray Pinney, lead director of member training and engagement at the NJSBA, attended along with Charlene Peterson, an NJSBA senior field service representative; Jeanne Cleary, an NJSBA field service representative; Karen Callahan, a county activities coordinator at NJSBA; and Rob Acerra, a county activities coordinator at NJSBA, who coordinated the logistics and planning of the event.