The WW-P Education Foundation has awarded six grants and a special project grant as part of this year’s Excellence in Education Grant Program.

The following programs and teachers in the WW-P School District were the recipients of the grants:

Zebra Fish Development, awarded to James Looney and Holly Crochetiere. Students in Grades 9 to 12 will have the opportunity to conduct hands-on laboratory activities focusing on animal development. Students will harvest fertilized Zebra fish eggs and examine embryo development over a three-to-four-week period.

Kindergarten STEM, awarded to Michele Bostwick. The focus will be on problems generated through realistic math, science and engineering concerns using seasonal themes throughout the year. Teachers will connect fictional stories read to students to the STEM challenges and apply the conflicts in the storyline, and have students generate solutions. Through various building activities and games students will develop strategic thinking.

Picking Up Steam: Makers, Tinkers and Critical Thinkers, awarded to Shannon Grey and Shanna Weber. This grant provides a TinkerLab/MakerSpace and STEAM-based engineering and design lessons for students in Grades 4 and 5.

Grade 7 Battle of the Books, awarded to Caitlin Bisson, Katy Maher, Brittany Rivera, Tina Avarello and Mary Hasler. This program creates multiple student teams, and the students will be responsible for reading a collection of novels. The project will conclude in a final “Battle of the Books” competition between the teams.

For the Love of Poetry, awarded to Lorraine Sieben and Lori Hicks. Poets will be invited during National Poetry Month in April to offer students the chance to hear different genres of poetry along with learning writing techniques. Students will work together to produce their own original poetry and present it in original and creative ways.

Starlab, awarded to Jeff Grabell. The travelling planetarium will spend one week at each elementary school throughout the school year.

The Special Project Grant went to The Smart Way, The Mind and Body Whole Student Program. Awarded to Mike Adams, Christine Capaci, Chris Trevz and Kate Heavers, the grant allows students the opportunity to use heart rate monitors in high school Physical Education classes to provide feedback about their activity during class. Students will gain a greater understanding of their actual physical activity level (versus their perceived activity level). Students will determine the correlation between an achieved level of physical activity and its impact upon overall brain functioning.

Chopped Junior contestant

Nicky Lennox, 12, of West Windsor was a contestant on the reality TV show Chopped Junior on Sept. 20.

Chopped Junior is a show on the Food Network modeled after the popular show Chopped, which features experienced adult chefs competing against each other.

Nicky Lennox, 12, of West Windsor was a contestant on the reality TV show Chopped Junior on Sept. 20.
Nicky Lennox, 12, of West Windsor was a contestant on the reality TV show Chopped Junior on Sept. 20.

Chopped Junior features kids between the ages of 9 and 15 as they compete in a cook-off consisting of three courses — an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

During each round, the contestants are given a “mystery basket” containing three to five diverse and/or unusual ingredients that they must include in their dish.

They are allowed to supplement their dish with ingredients that are available in the Chopped Junior kitchen’s pantry and fridge. One chef is eliminated each round by a panel of judges until the final two face-off for the dessert course. A grand prize of $10,000 is at stake as the junior chefs compete.

Lennox was eliminated after the first round for his appetizer — pizza with spicy marinara sauce.

Lennox, who does not plan to pursue a career as a chef, said he also enjoys playing golf, taking flying lessons to get his pilot’s license and being involved in the Boy Scouts.

Ma performs Chinese dances

Elizabeth Ma, 11, of West Windsor performed Chinese folk dance at several recent events.

Ma performed “My Mongolia Pony” at a summer picnic held by Chinese organizations in Roosevelt Park in Edison and and the grand opening ceremony of an organization in Rahway.

She also danced at the Central Jersey Chinese American Association summer picnic in West Windsor Community Park, which was attended by more than 300 people. Ma performed the “Girls by the Riverside” folk dance.

Ma’s family moved to West Windsor from East Brunswick last year. She is a 6th grader at Princeton Day School.


William Hardie Wright, 79, of West Windsor died on Oct 8. Born in New York City, he was raised in Montclair and graduated from Montclair High School.

Wright served in the Air Force from 1956 to 1960 and then worked as a stationary engineer at Montclair State College, Oakanite and Irvington General Hospital. After his retirement he stayed active as a crossing guard and umpire.

He was an usher at Saint Cassian’s Church in Upper Montclair, a Montclair little league coach and a CYO basketball coach. Wright is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patty (nee Schmidt) Wright; his children: Theresa Fitzpatrick, Kate Wright and Pat Wright and six grandchildren.
Jim McKenzie, 44, died on Oct. 8. Born in Ann Arbor, MI, he grew up in West Windsor, and was a graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South.

He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in business administration, both from the University of California, Irvine. McKenzie worked at UCI for over 22 years and at the time of his death was the assistant dean for the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences.

McKenzie is survived by his wife, Mayu; sons, Jack and Jamie; his father, Dan; his brothers, Mike, David, and Mark; and sisters-in-law, Kim, Karri, and Kathy. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Lou (Dorr).

Memorial contributions may be made to the Crystal Cove Alliance at No. 5 Crystal Cove, Newport Coast, CA 92651.

Donald George Higdon, 80, of West Windsor died on Oct. 15. A resident of Rutherford and Ridgewood, Higdon moved to West Windsor three years ago.

Higdon was co-owner of Higdon Elevator Company in Hackensack for more than 40 years, retiring five years ago. He was a member of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Ridgewood and was a U.S. Army veteran. He was a board chair of the Board of Directors of Youth Consultation Services in Hackensack, a member of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra, and an instructor of the Alexander Technique.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Mary Martin Higdon; a son, Andrew D. Higdon of Quincy, Mass.; and a daughter, Laura J. Higdon, Ph.D., of Chicago, Ill.

George W. O’Connell, 81, of Franklin Lakes died on Oct. 9. Survivors include his daughter, Suzanne Pool of Princeton Junction.

Francis S. Oleskiewicz, age 88, of Framingham, died on Oct. 17. Survivors include his son, Francis Oleskiewicz of Plainsboro.

Priscilla Carey, 67, of Springville died on Sunday, Oct. 9. Survivors include brother Robert and wife, Claire Carey of Princeton Junction.

John Montagne, 57, of Lacey Township died on Oct. 21. Survivors include a sister and brother-in-law, Diane and Andrew Kulley, of Princeton Junction.