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EMS Character Education Committee Honored at BOE Meeting


EMS Character Education Committee Honored at BOE Meeting 


ROXBURY (November 9, 2016) — The Roxbury Board of Education honored a handful of Eisenhower Middle School students at its Monday night board of education meeting. 

The meeting began with the Board President, Ron Lucas calling for a moment of silence after the flag salute to acknowledge the passing of three individuals who had an impact on the Roxbury Schools. Those individuals were Charles Brown Jr., the first principal of Jefferson Elementary School, Herman “Hank” Wurster, a former board of education member and president, and Dr. Edward Gates, another former board of education member. 

Following this moment of silence was the Eisenhower Middle School presentation of the EMS Student-Driven Police Unity Tour from last May by the Character Education Committee. 

During the 2015/2016 school year, the middle school created a new schedule which opened up a spot for a new civics course for both seventh and eighth graders. The seventh-grade curriculum focused on local citizenship while the eighth-grade viewpoint went to the global level. 

Principal Dominick Miller shared how this whole thing was the brain child of physical education and health teacher, Mrs. Heather Roddy. 

“Mrs. Roddy was given the green light. She provided the students the ability to run with ideas, the autonomy and freedom to do those things and without her, it would never have happened. EMS is really grateful, appreciative, and lucky to have Mrs. Roddy as part of the civics class.” 

“She set the example of what we wanted to do with our kids. We give them the tools, direction, and a lot of discretion and help get them to where they need to go, but they are going to find their own way. That’s what happened with this Police Unity Tour. It was pretty impressive.” 

EMS students explained that the unity tour started out as a project in last year’s first marking period civics class. Students were asked to research and share an event or program that was meaningful to them. From there a team worked together to start their first ever police unity tour that took place last May. 

The purpose of the unity tour was to recognize and acknowledge police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. More than 20,000 officers have lost their lives to date, with 119 losing their lives just this year alone. This project also allotted students the opportunity to interact with their local police officers and to honor their daily efforts. 

The character education committee thanked the EMS administrators, staff, Deb Burleigh and the RHS Gaelvision crew for putting together a short video, and sponsors like Marty’s Reliable Cycle, ShopRite, and Luigi’s Pizza for their support with last year’s unity tour. Last year’s event raised more than $2,500, had over 100 students participate, and had 20 police officers riding along with the students. 

Roxbury Chief of Police Marc Palanchi and East Hanover Captain and Roxbury Board Member, James Monaghan presented seven students with the Community Service Out-Reach Award for the Unity Tour. Those students were Meagan and Lauren Byrne, Samantha Cordileone, Paige Donnelly, Jacob Fichter, Lucas Spitzer, and Sierra Valdes. 

On behalf of the Police Unity Tour, representatives Harry Phillips and Bryan Murphy presented Dominick Miller and EMS with a plaque honoring their dedication to the tour, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and the commitment that no fallen officer will be forgotten. 

“As we can all see the importance of good relationships between the young and law enforcement officers for us, as a police officer, we can step right into in. We feel when we lose a police officer, we want to remember them. To see these kids step up and feel the same way for about doing something important is absolutely amazing. You should be very proud as parents, school administrators, police department, and board,” said Murphy. 

Before closing, Roddy thanked the students, fellow teacher, Shannon Rodas, Principal Dominick Miller, Assistant Principal Elizabeth Omegna, Chief Palanchi and the Roxbury Police Department, Lucille Zawistowski, Gaelvision, Police Unity Tour representatives and organizers, Officers Patrick Moutoure, Harry Phillips, and Bryan Murphy, ShopRite for donating bottles of water, the Romano Family, Marty’s Bikes (Marty Epstein) for donating biking equipment and expertise, and Luigi’s Pizza for donating pizza. 

The middle school is already hard at work planning for the next unity tour which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24th with a rain date of May 25th at Horseshoe Lake. Part of this coming year’s program is to make the course two laps longer, hold a half-day schedule so the entire school can participate in the event, and to have school clubs be more involved. Each club and group will represent a fallen officer. 

PHOTOS ATTACHED: (Photos courtesy of Roxbury Township Public Schools) 

- EMS Unity Tour Presentation Group Picture (pictured left to right) Jacob Fichter, Sierra Valdes, Lauren Byrne, Meagan Byrne, Samantha Cordileone, Chief Marc Palanchi, Paige Donnelly, Emma Wilk, Shannon Rodas, Gabriela Mutone, Clare Daley, Heather Roddy

- EMS Unity Tour Presentation (pictured left to right) Bryan Murphy, Principal Dominick Miller, and Harry Phillips 


For more information, contact: Roxbury Community Relations coordinator Ann Rhodes at or 973-584-7699. 


Roxbury Public Schools is a K-12 school district preparing the children of today for tomorrow. As a dynamic and thriving district, in partnership with a supportive and collaborative community, Roxbury Public Schools inspires and empowers all learners to flourish as ethical and global citizens in the 21st century. The district serves students throughout Roxbury Township, New Jersey, including the areas of Landing, Kenvil, Succasunna, Ledgewood, Mount Arlington, Port Morris, Flanders, and Wharton. Connect with us online at or on Facebook at