• LEF is taking Nominations for the Second Annual Hall of Fame Homecoming Weekend

    January 4, 2011 – The Livingston Education Foundation is taking nominations to the Livingston High School (LHS) Hall of Fame for the Second Annual Homecoming Weekend.  Established in 1992 to honor outstanding LHS alumni who have contributed substantially to their profession or in service to the community at large, nominations for recognition may be made by individuals or groups. The nominee must be able to attend the Homecoming Weekend events and not have been previously inducted in the Livingston Hall of Fame.  Nomination criteria and forms are available on the LEF website www.livingston.org/lef under News Flash or by contacting LEF at 973-535-8000, x8898 with a deadline of January 15, 2011.
    Past Hall of Fame inductees have included: 1992- Ellen Gould Zweibel, class of 1970,
    Jay Greenspan, class of 1977 (aka Jason Alexander); 1993 - Bruce Beck, class of 1974, Amy Saffer, class of 1968, Scott Schillin, class of 1964, Joyce Glassman Schlesinger, class of 1967; 1994 - Frank J. Biondi, Jr., class of 1962, Ellen Kreitzberg, class of 1971, Robert E. Rose, class of 1957.
    Our most recent honorees Harlan Coben, class of 1980, Jennifer Goodman Linn, class of 1989 and Major General Glenn Rieth, class of 1976 were inducted during the Inaugural Hall of Fame Homecoming Weekend October 2010.  The Cedar Hill Country Club provided a warm, elegant ambiance where honorees, their families, school and community members entered the reception hall to music played by representatives of the LHS Orchestra.  Guests enjoyed good food and friendship throughout the evening.  Mark Stern, Vice Principal of LHS and emcee introduced presenters who handed plaques to the honorees made for the occasion by the LHS Career Internship Program (CIP) students.  Presenter Honorable Governor Chris Christie, class of 1980 spoke of meeting Harlan Coben in seventh grade homeroom at Heritage Jr. High School and their relationship that remains today.  His was a message of friendship, family and how it influences achievement and success.  Presenter Mrs. Jeanne Joyce Silberman, LHS 1991 spoke of the achievements of Jennifer Goodman Linn.  She talked about how Jennifer’s tremendous energy and drive to help those around her was so evident in the Key Club where they first met at LHS.  She noted that it is this same passion mixed with her education and marketing experience that continues to make Jennifer so successful in her mission to raise funds for orphan cancers as co-founder of Cycle for Survival.  Presenter Brigadier General Ken Rieth, father of Major General Glen Rieth, spoke of his son’s achievements at Livingston High School, during active duty in the military and his leadership for New Jersey Army and Air National Guard and Veteran Affairs.  He spoke of the importance of family and education, of community and service.  
    As part of the Homecoming Weekend Activities the distinguished alumni were honored at Livingston High School.  They were paired with students who currently participate in extracurricular activities similar to those that they enjoyed while at LHS.  A representative from the Student Government Association escorted Mr. Coben to visit English and Creative Writing classes; a senior from the Lancer football team escorted, MG Rieth to US History, Government and Politics and Physics classes; and a member of the Key Club walked with Mr. and Mrs. Goodman to visit students in a variety of Business courses.  Lunch was prepared and served by LHS CIP students.  The honorees then addressed the entire student body. The kids cheered when they heard mention of their elementary and middle schools by the honorees. They received the alumni with respect and admiration understanding that they belong to the same culture, the culture of those who have shared in the educational process of the Livingston Public Schools (LPS).  The message from the honorees was clear.  “You are the best and the brightest”, said MG Glenn Rieth.  “We know that you will be successful.”  His message throughout was one of community, a community that provides outstanding educational opportunities for students and the need for them to give back to others.  Mr. Coben, shared that while you may not know your future path, look to your interests and persevere.  He reminded students to appreciate those around them.  “Appreciate your parents,” he said.  “Look at who is sitting to the left and to the right of you…appreciate your friends…”  He emphasized that the community of family and friends are those that support you.    Mrs. Linn’s story, shared by Mrs. Goodman was one of inspiration and passion.  She told students that Jennifer’s path to success was started in the ‘Halls of LHS’.  She spoke about how Jennifer’s vision, passion and creativity allow her to continue to give back to the community.  Baskets containing gifts representing the Livingston Education Association, LPS and all nine schools through their PTA’s and HSA’s were presented to each Alumnus. 
    Robert Grady, retired LHS Principal and Superintendent of LPS, who was influential along with his LHS administration in the early 1990’s in creating the LHS Hall of Fame spoke at the Hall of Fame Dinner of reaching out to alumni to provide advocacy for education.  “It is the alumni connection that we hope to make for our current students so that they can understand how their education provides meaning to their current day-to-day activities and how it will impact the future for them individually as well as for the local and global communities”, says Heidi Cislo, President of LEF.   
    Mr. Grady also emphasized that alumni is a vast untapped resource for funding to maintain excellence in our public schools.  “Many of us contribute large sums to our colleges and universities where we spent only four years…We tend to ignore our school systems where we spent our formative years…12-13 years. “  Other education foundations, for example, the Montclair Fund for Excellence and the Summit Education Foundation are pursuing the alumni connection as an avenue for raising funds.  “Why not Livingston?’  Mr. Grady asked. “Why not Livingston?” 
    Because of the generosity of volunteers who gave of their time in planning the Homecoming Weekend October 2010  and those that participated in the weekend events, including parents, community members, LHS alumni, teachers and staff of the Livingston Education Association, LPS Administration, partners of LEF - the Big L, West Essex YMCA, Livingston P-T Council, Livingston HCHY and those individuals and businesses that contributed in-kind services and sponsorship, LEF will be donating $18,000 to the Livingston Public Schools for educational initiatives.
    LEF is looking forward to the Second Annual Hall of Fame Homecoming Weekend and encourages readers to visit the website to learn how they can get involved.  Heidi Cislo, noted, “We are pleased with the response of so many people to support the inaugural weekend.  It was a wonderful beginning for bringing awareness about the achievements of our public schools and the positive influence that our students can have on their families as well as the local and global community.  It is time for us to begin our exploration of partnerships that will allow for creative ways to generate funding for the educational initiatives so that our students can continue to excel…to be, as General Rieth, stated, “…the best and the brightest”.  “Mr. Grady’s challenge to investigate best practices of education foundations in the surrounding communities needs to be met,” she continued.  
    Mr. Grady noted in his Hall of Fame address, “Summit has set a long term goal of raising $15 million as an endowment.  It’s one of the first attempts in the state at establishing a permanent endowment for a public school system.”  Livingston is a community that values education and youth.  It is a community of example and leadership.  Mr. Grady stated, "…if Summit can do it…Why not Livingston?”  The inaugural weekend was just the start.  Endowment building will be part of committee discussion at an upcoming LEF General Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 12 at LHS Media Center. To learn more about the Livingston Education Foundation, future meetings and how you can be a part of this challenge, to download a Hall of Fame Nomination Form and for photos of the weekend, go to www.livingston.org/lef.