Excellence News 2012-2013

“Together We Can”

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Community

Collaborates with Artist DeBorah Goletz to

Create a Mosaic Mural

The motto that represents the Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 school community is “Together We Can” and it is the perfect metaphor to explain a mosaic mural.  Small pieces of tile and other objects are placed together to create a picture that tells a story. During this school year, artist DeBorah Goletz has been working with the Terence C. Reilly school community, conducting classes on the art of tile making to help create the mosaic mural that now adorns the ground floor hallway leading to the International Café and the pre-kindergarten classrooms. The school was awarded a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Arts Horizons to work with a professional artist in residence.

Ms. Goletz is a tile maker, muralist and potter who enjoys working with clay and sharing her love of this medium with her students. Shortly after she graduated from Northwestern University and Parsons School of Design, she took a pottery class in New York City where she was living at that time. Instantly, she became hooked and a few years later she wished to expand on different mediums and took a tile making class. She became so interested in creating mosaic murals, she has designed them for public spaces like the New York City subway system, public libraries and two New Jersey train stations. Though she doesn’t focus on just one medium, she sometimes prefers to make pottery over tile, or just simply the other way around. And if she doesn’t feel like working on an art piece, she visits art galleries and museums or travels to other countries to view new art for inspiration. Sometimes, when she creates a new piece, she hides a tiny clay mouse under her creation for you to find only if you turn it upside down or she likes to include an image of herself that only she could probably recognize.  

Reilly students were essential in creating the mosaic mural. Some students created designs on clay and then glazed them using a thin layer of milky illuminated glaze and then applied colored glaze over those tiles using one primary color and two secondary hues.  Others helped to make the mosaic blocks using broken tiles and glass. Small pieces of tile and glass were placed on a thin board and the cracks were later filled with grout, a wet sandy substance. The grout gave the blocks a calming image, but it wasn’t the cleanest thing to do. The grout was put on the mosaics and was squeezed around with a rubber float and then later cleaned up with a sponge. The finished dried products came out very well.

Another step in creating the art pieces was glazing slabs of clay with pink, orange, green, or red glaze. This process was done with a paintbrush and small strokes starting from the center of the slab and progressing outwards. Glaze had to be removed from the back of the slab with a sponge in order for an easy kiln experience and a clean look.


“Having Ms. Goletz teach us about mosaics was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Learning every single step on how to make this art piece will always stay in my heart as a special memory. A mosaic not only expresses one word, it also expresses a million other things. Fine art, drawing and painting are just the basics but making a mosaic mural takes you to the next level. It doesn't just show beautiful meanings, it also has a touch of history,” expressed seventh grade student Tania Garcia. Leidy Manco shared her reflections, “Building the mosaic mural was a wonderful experience.  I learned many things I never knew before, like how to make a tile.  It takes a lot of steps to build a simple tile. This was an amazing time that definitely changed my life.  I feel so honored to have been a part of this.  The mosaic mural is always going to be in my school, the school that has given me so many opportunities and has made me become a better student academically.  There was a time when my partner, Tania Garcia, and I were so tired that we just wanted to give up, but who would have thought this mosaic mural would be such a big thing?  It has showed me that hard work pays off and to never give up. This would not have been possible without the help of Ms. Goletz, Mr. Dos Santos,  Ms. Green, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Kolodny and all the other Terence C. Reilly students who helped.”


The mosaic mural was officially unveiled to the school community at the June 6 meeting of the Elizabeth Board of Education.

Contributing writer, eighth grade student Sophia Orama

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Eighth Grade Students Celebrate Spanish Literacy with Writer Arturo Ruiz Sanchez


On June 7, 2013, eighth grade students in Mrs. Pereira’s World Language class welcomed freelance writer Arturo Ruiz Sanchez for a Spanish literacy celebration.  He specifically came to meet and honor the students’ dedicated contributions to a class book based on Hispanic icons and landscapes, which was a culminating project-based learning experience.  Mrs. Pereira submitted her students’ literary work to Mr. Ruiz Sanchez and he chose four of the best stories, which ultimately will be published. 

First place winner Amanda Diaz will have her story published in the prestigious online literary magazines, Westchester Hispano” and “Perú Hoy New York.  Second place winners Beatriz Malaspina and Kyairaa LeRose-Almeida, along with third place winners Brian Mendoza, Kathleen Barahona and Stephanie Vargas will have their work published in the local newspaper “El Vistazo Hispano” and in “Westchester Hispano.”  Additionally, all other stories submitted will be published throughout the year in “El Vistazo Hispano.”  This was an exciting event acknowledging the accomplishments of the World Language students.

Terence C. Reilly Celebrates American Education Week


2012 – 2013 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Pedrayes!

To culminate American Education Week, all Reilly scholars filled the auditorium to applaud the work of the educators and staff who fill their days with the excitement of learning and the feeling of wanting to know more.  To thunderous cheers, sixth grade social studies teacher Michele Pedrayes was announced as Teacher of the Year.  Principal Mrs. Cedeño commented on this important accolade, “Mrs. Pedrayes inspires our students and staff to think, learn, achieve and care daily. Her dedication to the profession is remarkable. Her leadership ability, collaboration and professional attitude are unmatched.  It is evident that she takes her responsibilities seriously, performs her duties with great initiative and is determined to be a catalyst for positive change in the school community and beyond.” Mrs. Pedrayes’ sixth grade students also voiced their approval, “Amazing, thoughtful and kind.  These are just a few words that come to mind.  Her style of teaching is like her personality and motto, ‘fabulous!’” exclaimed Tyrell Michuki.  “Not only is she a great history teacher, but she is also a beautiful dancer.  I, being in her ballet class, know how passionate she is toward dance.  Having her as a teacher is simply and honestly an honor,” shared Elizabeth Palacios.

Photo by eighth grade student

Vanessa Appolon

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society

Inducts New Members

The Terence C. Reilly Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society inducted fifty-one new members in a meaningful and reflective ceremony recognizing their selection.  Family members, friends and NJHS alumni sat proudly and listened as students recited the induction pledge promising to “be loyal to my school and maintain and encourage high standards of scholarship, service, leadership, citizenship and character.”  They watched with great respect as each member received a NJHS pin and certificate signifying his or her achievement. Assistant Superintendent Jerome Dunn spoke to the audience complimenting the Terence C. Reilly scholars on reaching their goals, one by one.  Setting goals is exactly what students celebrating had in mind when they first learned about the National Junior Honor Society from advisors seventh grade language arts teacher Mrs. Rubin and eighth grade social studies teacher Ms. Bodek.  The lengthy application process culminated on Thursday, April 25 with a reception after the ceremony where NJHS officers, advisors, students, staff, and guests enjoyed refreshments and the time to appreciate this wonderful event.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

Presents FAME Jr.

The Terence C. Reilly performing arts department’s 2013 production of the musical FAME Jr. was celebrated by enthusiastic audiences.  The compelling story focuses on a group of students attending New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts who learn about the hard work and dedication necessary for pursuing a career in the arts while dealing with the challenges of school and relationships.  The musical showcased the talents of the largest number of Reilly actors, singers and dancers to date.  Director and performing arts educator, Tiffany Festa sang the praises of her committed students, “We are all so proud of the dedication and hard work these students have shown.”  Students sang, danced, delivered their lines with pure emotion and even were responsible for running the backstage crew.  It was also a time for students to reflect on what the performing arts department has meant to them during their Reilly experience.  “I was glad to have the chance to perform one last time on stage with my second family – the whole drama department,” commented eighth grade student Kyairra LeRose Almeida.  Beatriz Malaspina reacted to her experience playing one of the leads, Carmen Diaz, “When kids go, ‘Hi Beatriz’ or ‘It’s the FAME girl!’ it shows me that I did something for the school through my performance and that’s all I could ask for.”

Eighth Grade Student Janice Figueroa Represents Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

at the Union County School Boards Associaton

Eighth Grade Dialogue and Dessert Reception

National Junior Honor Society President and eighth grade student Janice Figueroa contributed to the annual Union County School Boards Association Eighth Grade Dialogue and Dessert Reception on Wednesday, April 10 at Hillside High School.  Joining other focused and concerned students from schools throughout Union county, Janice articulated an insightful view of her educational experiences and future goals.  


“I was surrounded by students from all over the county just like me and it was cool. I was able to learn what other students my age think and feel about what I am going through.  From questions about high school, our favorite activity in gym class and concerns we might have, it was a fun event,” reflected Janice. 


Principal Jennifer Cedeño and Vice President of the Elizabeth Board of Education Elcy Castillo-Ospina congratulated Janice on representing Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 and expressing the enthusiasm and love for learning that guides our district’s mission of inspiring all students to achieve their dreams.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Sixth Grade Students

Find New Ways to Cooperate and Learn Through a Scavenger Hunt


Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 sixth grade students participated in a scavenger hunt to showcase their teamwork and to help one another prepare for the upcoming NJ ASK.  Sixth grade teachers Mrs. Blaszak, Miss Chacon, Miss Cornick, Mr. Pantano, Miss Parmar, Mrs. Pedrayes and Mrs. Serzan, with help from Mr. Barber, Mr. Labrador, Miss. Villarino, Ms. Jimenez and Miss Rich, offered students a model of collaboration as they developed and shared ideas to create a unique learning experience.

Working in teams, students used their knowledge and problem-solving skills to answer questions, riddles and puns.  The correct responses led them to specific objects waiting to be discovered in designated areas of the building. Michelle Herrera, Natalia Santacruz, Evelyn Aviles, Yaniris Valerio and Melanie Mullenix were victorious, correctly answering and finding nineteen clues.  In the afternoon, each sixth grade class representing selected colleges resumed their intellectual challenge with a game of Jeopardy using the 2Know! Classroom Response System and iPads.  Members of homeroom 6-222 were the winners. Demonstrating collegiality, teamwork and focus, the sixth grade students and teachers expressed the spirit of learning and reinforced the Reilly motto, “Together, We Can!”

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students Learn the Art of Crocheting

Fourth and fifth grade Terence C. Reilly students are learning the art of crocheting and the pride that comes with designing wearable art. Third grade educator  Mrs. Teixeira and second grade educator Mrs. Szmitkowski guide students during the Afterschool Arts program.  From holding the crochet hook to form basic stitches, students are taught to follow patterns and how to create their own designs. 

Fifth grade student Gabriella Aleida Manresa enthused about her involvement, “The experience is amazing! Crocheting relaxes me and puts me in a whole new world.  I appreciate the opportunity to learn something new.  Thank you Mrs. Teixeira for showing me a door to a new world and for teaching me a lifetime skill that I will always cherish. The best part is wearing something you made and someone walking up to you and asking, ‘Hey, Cool! Where did you get that?’ Then you can stand up nice and tall and say proudly and confidently, ‘It’s an original made by me!’”

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Student Musicians

Tour C. F. Martin & Co. 

to Learn What Makes a Martin Guitar so Special


Terence C. Reilly student musicians studying the guitar under the direction of music educator Brendan Lowe visited C. F. Martin & Co. in Nazareth Pennsylvania for a tour of their guitar factory and museum.  Students saw firsthand the entire process of creating one of the world’s most celebrated instruments through a “combination of old world craftsmanship and modern technology” with over 300 steps needed to create one guitar, a Martin guitar.


“My experience at the Martin Guitar factory was very cool. We learned that they use laser cutters and robots to help make the guitars.  I thought the factory would be very loud, but it was actually very quiet. We visited the museum and saw all the different types of guitars and, for me, that was pretty cool, too,” enthused sixth grade guitarist Brian Torres.


Students were able to see guitars from the 1800’s to special models made for Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley as well as other limited editions.  Eighth grade student Heitor Paiva summed up the group’s experience, “The whole day was awesome!”

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Celebrates the Joys of Reading

During Read Across America Week



On March 1, the Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 community came together to express their love of reading and to celebrate Read Across America Week during Family Literacy Night.  The Cat in the Hat made a celebrity appearance and was honored with a musical tribute by Reilly students.  He then posed for pictures and was excited to see children having their faces painted and participating in arts and crafts devoted to reading.  There was even a literacy trivia game using 2Know! response units on all things Seuss and family members were excited to be able find their favorite books as well as new ones to purchase at the Scholastic Book Fair.  This evening of fun was created to share our school family’s commitment to reading and the pleasure it provides people of all ages. 



The week also found administrators and board members visiting the school to read to younger students.  Special programs involving literacy pals helped our youngest Reilly scholars share their own unique enthusiasm for reading.  Members of the second grade presented stories they wrote to eighth grade students and immediate friendships were formed.  “Thank you for the compliments about my story,” said second grade student Mauricio Escobar to his eighth grade reading companion.  “Thanks for saying my story is interesting.  I think it is interesting, too.”  The week ended with the discovery of new friends, new books and new stories.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Performing Arts Department

Organizes Hurricane Sandy Benefit



The Terence C. Reilly Performing Arts Department organized a musical benefit to help raise money for the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.  Performing arts educator Tiffany Festa and dance educator Madruge Henriquez coordinated the special evening. The school community was invited to be entertained and inspired by our student performers as they showcased their unique gifts and focused attention on those devastated by the recent storm.


Students from grades second through eighth sang, danced and the cast of the Reilly Spring musical Fame performed a preview of the new production.  The Musical Notes and Girls Chorus offered songs that uplifted the crowd.  The school community demonstrated their care and concern by participating in this special event, resulting in contributions totaling $1150. “The devastation of Super Storm Sandy affected us all.  We wanted to give back to those who lost so much,” commented Ms. Festa.


Throughout history, entertainment has been a way for people to take a rest from their troubles, has been used to galvanize community participation and create a generosity of spirit that responds to those in need. 


Reilly students and staff did just that.



Photo by eighth grade student Paola Arenas

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

Pre-Kindergarten Prove to be Investigative Scientists and Artists


Pre-kindergarten students at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 performed a scientific experiment studying the effects of liquids exposed to freezing temperatures.  Students first created colorful ice marbles by carefully selecting colors from food coloring and mixing them with water.  They then put the liquid inside balloons and placed them outside. Pre-k scientist Jason Melo Chacon expressed what he learned, “If the balloons stay outside in the cold, they start freezing.”  Extending this activity, the next morning teachers Mrs. Andrade and Mrs. Bastos brought the balloons indoors exposing them room temperature and melting the ice marbles to their original liquid state.


Soon art filled the eyes of our youngest scholars.  As students rolled their balloons on the paper spread across their classroom floor, colors began to appear, creating the most beautiful designs.


“I learned you make normal water frozen by putting it outside on special days that are really cold.  My favorite part was painting with the ice marbles,” exclaimed Guiseppe Quaglia. The world of scientific investigation was brought closer and helped to develop new understanding about the states of matter for our youngest students.

Tony Award Winning Poet, Lemon Andersen, Visits Terence C. Reilly School No. 7


Poet, playwright and Tony Award winning performer Lemon Andersen visited Terence C. Reilly to deliver a special screening of his documentary Lemon.  The film chronicles the poet’s life as he goes back to his earliest memories to remember, reflect and attempt to understand the many challenges he has faced and to plan for his future.   


Andersen eloquently spoke to students about the inspiration and motivation he receives from the use of words in the form of poetry and how he uses this art form to express himself and his view of the world.  Offering his personal story as a backdrop to the challenges young people face today, he shared his motto of “failing forward.”  Speaking directly to the students, Anderson explained that every failure we experience can be used to help propel us forward to something greater through new understanding about ourselves.  Students lined up to ask him questions that were personal and heartfelt.  Andersen connected to the audience and helped them to think about the hard work that it takes to “dream big.”


Eighth grade student Allison Zembery discussed her experience, “Lemon Andersen is a strong man. He faced and still faces many challenges in his life. I really liked how he said he didn’t want us to pity him and how he wanted his story to be more of a lesson to us. I loved having him visit our school and I think it was very valuable and taught students a lot about dreams. Giving up is not an option and Lemon helped me realize that.”


Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Awarded Grant to Design and Build Mosaic Mural



Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 was awarded a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Arts Horizons to work with a professional artist in residence to help design and build a mosaic mural.  The project encompasses the input of the entire school community from the collection of materials to learning about working with this art form to the installation of the final product.


Reilly art educators Marcelo Dos Santos, Roger Gonzalez, Michelle Greene, Brent Jones and Brianna Kolodny spearheaded the process from the development of the grant proposal through the design, creation and installation of the mosaic mural.  They focused the purpose of this special project, “Our goal for the Artist in Residence program is to engage and foster all of our students’ imaginations, minds and creative abilities by creating an indoor mosaic that exemplifies our school district’s motto, ‘Think-Learn-Achieve- Care.’ Unlike traditional mediums, the mosaic method incorporates tactile components making it accessible and engaging to varying learning styles and abilities. We will challenge our students to involve themselves in an in-depth, collaborative approach to learning, regarding the fundamentals of: the tools, materials, history and the concepts that are involved in the creation of a mosaic.”


The mosaic mural will beautify the ground floor hallway leading to the International Café, the pre-kindergarten classrooms and the lower levels of the Terence C. Reilly building.  The installation will be unveiled to the school community in the spring and will remain a part of the school, providing many opportunities for students and staff to gaze, appreciate, reflect and imagine.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students

Honored to be Chosen School Leaders for the Day


As part of celebrating the 91st American Education Week, Terence C. Reilly students wrote essays reflecting on Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility and entered a contest to be chosen as an honorary school leader for the day.  After careful selection, eighth grade student Kevin Morales was chosen as principal for the day and sixth grade student Alessandra Sommer and fifth grade student Gabriella Manressa were selected as honorary vice principals.  Arriving to school in their professional wardrobe, Kevin, Alessandra and Gabriella met with Mrs. Cedeño, Mrs. Azriel and Mrs. Milano and they were soon off on an educational journey that gave them an up-close view of what it takes to manage a building of 1,000 scholars and the demands the administrators face daily. 


Alessandra reflected on a day filled with new experiences from making morning announcements, to observing classes, attending a team meeting and assisting with lunch duty.  “I was thinking back on my day and how this doesn’t happen to everyone; it was a great experience.  I always knew that Terence C. Reilly was amazingly fantastic but now I know it’s amazingly amazing and fantastic mixed in with some awesome sprinkled on top.  But what I’ve really learned is that Terence C. Reilly is a family.  In the team meeting, no one was aggravated or upset or had any negative response; there was laughing and joking and agreeing involved.  That is what I think really makes up a family:  caring people you can laugh with and just be able to work and coordinate with.”


Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students

Create Snowflakes for Sandy Hook Elementary School



Students at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 created unique paper snowflakes that were contributed to the Snowflakes for Sandy Hook project.  The goal of the organizers was to offer a way for young people to help the students at Sandy Hook Elementary return to school by filling the building with specially crafted snowflakes, turning their new school into a winter wonderland.


In addition to making snowflakes, school librarian Ms. Buchan’s journalism class discussed the media’s coverage of the Sandy Hook tragedy and the impact on our society.  This led to the important debates that continue to take shape in our country about gun control and mental illness.


Ms. Hersch, Mrs. Kacanich and Ms. Zagha also had their students design snowflakes and examine the mathematical representations in their creations. A way to offer support to the students at Sandy Hook Elementary, Terence C. Reilly students along with their teachers continue to reflect and respond.

Terence C Reilly School No. 7 Destination Imagination Team, “The Flaming Phoenixes,” Hosts a Walk to Support the Red Panda

Written by Eighth Grade Student and Destination Imagination Team Member Beatriz Malaspina

Terence C. Reilly’s Destination Imagination Team, “The Flaming Phoenixes” has chosen to do the Science and Community Service Challenges this year. For the Community Service Challenge, they decided to create a series of fundraisers through their organization, “Be a Panda!” in order bring awareness to the Red Panda, an endangered species, and to raise money to “adopt” the Red Panda at the Turtleback Zoo. 

The members of the team set up the fundraisers by themselves. They designed and sold Red Panda T-Shirts, created posters, met with Mrs. Cedeño, principal of School No. 7, and organized a Support the Red Panda Walk all on their own. “We had some difficulties, but in the end the outcome was greater than we expected,” said Caroline Fernandez, a member of the DI team. Many Terence C. Reilly students, teachers and graduates came to support the cause. They walked around Warinanco Park for about an hour and many wore their “Be a Panda!” T-shirts.  “Flaming Phoenixes” member Ashley Mora stated, “It felt really good to help a cause. It was fun to organize it without the help of any adults. It made me feel really important.”  The Destination Imagination Team raised a total of about $600.00 and made a donation to the Turtleback Zoo. They also visited the zoo to officially adopt the panda. 

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

Eighth Grade Students Celebrate Success at Motivation Lunch



Eighth grade students at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 celebrated their dedication to their studies and their commitment to learning by sharing a special lunch specifically planned by their teachers and administrators.  The students received a choice of two healthy lunches, listened to music and created unique yogurt desserts while enjoying the distinct satisfaction of a job well done. 


Jonathan Alvarez reflected on his experience, “As they say, ‘Hard work pays off,’ because in Terence C. Reilly’s case, this proves to be true.  The lunch the teachers planned for students who completed all their assignments was wonderful.  It even included yogurt with a variety of toppings, full of flavor.  This reward encourages me to continue to work hard all year, just to get a little bit more of that yogurt!”

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

Receives a Hug

to Celebrate American Education Week


To celebrate American Education Week and to express gratitude that Terence C. Reilly was now open after the recent hurricane, students, teachers, administrators and staff members linked hands around the building to display their care and devotion toward their school.  Sixth grade student Lisa Ortega expressed her enthusiasm for the activity, “When we hugged the school, it meant something to me.  By doing this activity, I felt that we were all one big family that appreciated our school.  This symbolized that we want to learn especially since our school was closed for two weeks because of Hurricane Sandy. Everyone was out there that helped our school get back on track like the lunch ladies, students, teachers and other staff.  I know that everyone else feels the same way or they never would have been out in the freezing cold.”  Returning to their classes, students, with ease, picked up where they left off, remembering that Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 was safe and ready to offer them a place to learn and achieve.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students

Learn to Relax and Focus Using the Ancient Practice of Yoga



As part of the afterschool arts program, students at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 are engaged in quiet meditation after a busy school day of physical and mental challenges.  Art teacher Michelle Greene, a practitioner and devotee of the benefits of yoga, teaches students ways to relax, stretch and rejuvenate through this ancient practice.  Students are instructed in the various forms of yoga including Hatha, Iyengar and Vinyasa, providing them with another way to take care of their physical health.


“Ever since I’ve started learning yoga, my mind has more clarity and I feel much more energetic.  The yoga poses have strengthened me internally and externally.  I have more balance and flexibility.  Yoga is a vastly complicated process and the physical and mental effects of yoga have made my life more positive,” expressed eighth grade student Vanessa Appolon.


From breathing techniques and Sanskrit words on which to focus, students become skilled in the centering activities of disciplined thought and exercise to offer them ways to construct a relaxed and calm response to the demands of their busy worlds.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7

Musical Ambassadors Spread Holiday Joy


The Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Musical Ambassadors visited and performed at the Donald Stewart Center for Early Childhood Education School No. 51, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Childhood Education School No. 52, the Elizabeth Public Library and the Second Home Adult Medical Day Care during this holiday season. 

The Musical Ambassadors are comprised of The Terence C. Reilly Musical Notes led by Middle School Chorus Director Marlenes Luvins, The Terence C. Reilly Dance Ensemble under the direction of dance teacher Madruge Henriquez and The Terence C. Reilly Ballet Ensemble choreographed by sixth grade social studies teacher and dance instructor Michelle Pedrayes.


The Terence C. Reilly Musical Notes entertained our youngest students offering them ways to express their joy by listening to “Christmas in Three-Quarter Time,” “¡Oh, Mi Belen!,” “Campana Sobre Campana,” “Eight Days and Nights,” which celebrates Chanukah, “Ain’t That Good News” and finally a Christmas jazz trio sung a capella.


The Terence C. Reilly Dance Ensemble performed an energetic and precise “Carol of the Bells” and provided an enthusiastic interpretation of “Christmas Medley.”  With elegance and skill, the student ballerinas danced to the music of “River Flows in You” projecting the imagery of graceful snowflakes falling from a gentle winter sky, truly making this a celebration of the holiday season.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Afterschool Community Scholars

Find Ways to Give Back

Written by eighth grade student Kevin Morales

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 is proud to have a group full of dedicated students to serve the needs of their school and community: The Community Scholars.  Under the supervision of fourth grade mathematics teacher Mrs. Tenturier, this group works to provide assistance to anyone of the school community and sponsors events that support the local area.  Recently the scholars participated in a Thanksgiving Food Drive, in which teachers of the school building donated Thanksgiving food items and the scholars picked them up and distributed them to families all over the community.  One very important thing is that the scholars themselves have learned a valuable lesson in sharing with the rest of the community.  Of course, the group gives thanks to those who provided the food items and are proud of what they are doing.

Photo by eighth grade student Marbella Guzman

Reed Alexander, Nickelodeon’s iCarly Actor

and Alliance for a Healthier Generation Champion,

Celebrates Terence C. Reilly’s Gold National Recognition Award


Nickelodeon’s television show iCarly actor and Alliance for a Healthier Generation Champion Reed Alexander was so impressed with learning how Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 received the Gold National Recognition Award that he decided to pay a visit.  Meeting all the students in the auditorium, the energetic star held the audience’s attention as he participated in a panel discussion with the school’s Wellness Council about the benefits of taking control of one’s health and making the best food and exercise decisions to feel your very best. As the character Neville on the popular television show, students were familiar with his crazy antics, but were surprised to learn about his personal story of needing to lose weight and his dedication to eating healthy and making exercise a part of his busy lifestyle.  To emphasize his support for the school’s efforts toward healthy habits, Alexander encouraged students to get up and move as he announced the daily Jammin Minute during morning announcements and he helped deliver snacks of fresh fruit to classes.



After the discussion, Alexander met with students and conducted a master acting class with Reilly student performers.  Performing arts teacher Tiffany Festa was inspired by Alexander’s generosity and spirit, “The visit with Reed Alexander was truly memorable.  I think the performing arts students really took away an experience they will never forget.  They were nervous at first performing for a professional actor but once it was over and they got the amazing feedback from Reed, the kids felt really good about it all.  We all really enjoyed the ‘master class’ where Reed gave the budding performing arts students tips of the trade.  Overall, it was an amazing morning!”

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Honored with

Gold National Recognition Award from the

Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy School Program



Terence C. Reilly School No. 7received the Gold National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as a result of the school’s commitment to helping students and faculty members learn more about the importance of healthy eating and physical exercise.  One of only two schools in the nation to receive this distinction, Principal Mrs. Jennifer Cedeño and middle school physical education and health educator Mr. Isiah Halsey accepted the award at the ceremony held in Little Rock, Arkansas and fortified the school’s focus and commitment to continue improving the health of the entire Reilly school community.


The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation and is in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help combat childhood obesity.  The organization provides schools with the tools needed to build and support a school culture that promotes healthier lifestyle choices.   

Members of the Wellness Council with Alliance for a Healthier Generation Champion, actor Reed Alexander

Terence C. Reilly has a Wellness Council comprised of students and faculty members from the school’s leadership classes and physical education teachers to help establish a school culture that promotes healthy decision-making regarding food and exercise choices.  A participant in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Terence C. Reilly students receive snacks of fresh fruits and vegetables at least twice a week to explore healthy food options.  Recent activities sponsored by the Wellness Council have included Family Fitness Night, Healthy Faculty Lunch, exercise science classes, daily Jammin Minute dance breaks, Reilly Fitness Club for faculty, “Dancing with the Teachers” and “Are You Healthier Than a Physical Education Teacher?” competitions, along with dance and yoga classes.  And they are brainstorming for new ways to keep the Reilly family moving and learning more about better health.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students

Vote for President

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 students in grades two through eight experienced what it feels like to step inside an actual voting booth and cast their ballots for either President Barak Obama or Mitt Romney.

Fourth grade social studies teacher Mary Hillebrenner contacted the Board of Elections of Elizabeth who supplied the voting machines and volunteer personnel.  Ms. Hillebrenner and fifth grade social studies teacher Joseph Collins dressed as Martha and George Washington, proudly greeting the young Americans and reminding them of this very special duty.

Fourth grade student Mary Castillo enjoyed the experience, “I thought it was a good event because kids don't get to vote. It was exciting!”

Ana Pacheco seriously considered the event, “Voting is one of the most important liberties an American citizen has.  Never would I have imagined to experience what it's like to vote in eighth grade, at only the age of 13.  Even though our votes did not count, we got to experience what many people will on November 6.  I feel this election is the most important to my generation because whether Candidate Romney or President Obama wins the election, what they choose to implement while in office impacts us dramatically.  What I worry about the most is what will they do with education.  Tuition is through the roof!  These four years will affect where and how we go to college.  The school and the Board of Elections gave us this opportunity to prepare us for what will be our future in a few of years.  It will pass like a blink of an eye and we will be in that booth again.  This time it will count and we will help make American History.”

After the votes were tabulated, George Washington (Mr. Collins) announced that President Barak Obama had received the majority of votes and was recommended for another four-year term by the students of Terence C. Reilly.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students and Faculty

Start the New School Year by Setting Goals and

Reflecting on How to “Make Their Mark”

Goal setting was the way students started the new school year at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7.  Inspired by the short story The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, the entire school began to think how they could plan for success during the year ahead.  The story about a young girl named Vashti who is convinced she cannot draw until her teacher encourages her, “to make your mark, and see where it takes you.”  Vashti makes a dot and her teacher interprets it as a work of art and frames it to display for all to see.  Reynolds wants his readers to know that, “The Dot is about getting started — getting ‘un-stuck.’  It is also about creative teaching, about exploring an idea in many ways, and sharing our gifts with others.”  The inspirational tale buoyed the school community to notice the endless possibilities there are to encourage and support one another.

After reading The Dot, students wrote essays introducing themselves to the school community, discussing how they plan to make their mark this year.  Seventh grade language arts teacher Mrs. Rubin proudly displayed her students’ essays in picture frames conveying her feelings that they are all masterpieces 

Photography by eighth grade students Karen Fuentes and Joshua Gonzalez

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Eighth Grade Students Use iPods to

Focus on the Art of Listening as they Experience The Miracle Worker

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 eighth grade students focused on the skill of listening to enhance their understanding of the play, The Miracle Worker.  Before reading the play, students considered the role that our five senses play in constructing meaning in the world.  Using iPods, students listened to a dramatic reading of the play as they read along with the text, focusing on how the sense of hearing helped to recreate emotions and drama that would be present in a performance.

Eighth grade student Debbie Cerda commented, “It was a truly marvelous experience indeed.  I could perceive the emotions and expressions each single character had.  It was so amazing how, in hearing the selection, I could understand so much more than when I read the play and tried really hard to hear their specific voices.  I could clearly visualize how angry Captain Keller was, and how determined Kate Keller’s voice sounded.  I could tell that for her only child, Helen, she was willing to move mountains and oceans to help her. The listening experience has enhanced my understanding; you should try it sometime, to feed your ears.”

Eighth grade students continue to develop an appreciation of the power of all the five senses, as they work together to create new meanings in their writings and in the ways communication is shared.

Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 Students

Enjoy Healthy Snacks During the School Day

Students and faculty at Terence C. Reilly School No. 7 continue to learn more about making healthy food choices through participation in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.  One of fifteen Elizabeth schools to receive a grant from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, students receive snacks twice a week during the school day.  The goal is to broaden the variety of fruits and vegetables students experience by offering them healthy food alternatives such as carrots, apples, oranges, red bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, cantaloupes, pineapples, seedless watermelon, grapes and more.  Program coordinator and physical fitness educator, Mrs. Jimenez takes requests from the Reilly family in placing orders for interesting produce to be delivered and shared.

Eighth grade student Jaison Villalta commented, “With this program, students can start making choices that will benefit their health.  We get a healthy snack in the afternoon.  This is very helpful because we all get to have a part in it.  The school has to be at its best and, to do that, we all need to be 100% healthy.”

The fresh fruits and vegetables have another positive effect of energizing students, increasing their abilities to stay focused on their studies.