Monday, October 17, 2016

High Tech’s Halaena Merrill, First Prize Winner at the NJ Young Filmmakers Festival, to Show Her Film at North Bergen Library

(North Bergen, NJ—October 17, 2016) High Tech’s Halaena Merrill, a Weehawken resident, who won first prize in the High School Category at this year’s New Jersey Young Filmmakers Festival, will have her film screened at the North Bergen Public Library, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.

Merrill won for her three-minute seventeen second, French-spoken short Le Cadeau (“The Gift”), a film noir about a P.I. hired to surveil a wife shopping for her husband’s birthday present, but the detective learns that the wife has cuckolded her husband.   

The New Jersey Young Filmmakers Festival provides young filmmakers, who either live in or attend school in the Garden State, the opportunity to exhibit films and have them evaluated by media arts representatives.  Since its inception, the festival has recognized, celebrated, and encouraged emerging young talent in the state in which Thomas Edison first developed motion pictures.

The 42nd Annual New Jersey Young Filmmakers Festival, originally held at the home of Thomas Edison’s film studio, the Black Maria, on May 21st, comes to the main branch of the North Bergen Library, 8411 Bergenline Avenue, this Thursday evening, October 20th, at 6:30 p.m.  Mayor Nicholas Sacco will be on hand for the screening. 

Additional information about 2016’s New Jersey Young Filmmakers Award Winners may be accessed at

Friday, October 14, 2016

Passaic Valley Sewage Commission Donates Fallen Trees To High Tech High School

(Newark, NJ) Since the creation of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission’s (PVSC) award-winning River Restoration Program in 1998, the agency has removed more than 12,000 tons of debris from Newark Bay, the Passaic River and its tributaries, including countless fallen trees, branches and stumps.

There are typically two ways that trees wind up in the Passaic River. Many simply lose their rooting and topple over into the river. Others are illegally dumped into the river. Either way, they significantly affect the flow of the river and exacerbate the potential flooding threat. Trees in the river act like a trap, catching loose branches and the various forms of debris that the current carries.

PVSC actively looks for ways to recycle the wood from trees removed from the river into something with a practical use. This past week, PVSC donated two large, fallen trees to High Tech High School in North Bergen. PVSC’s River Restoration Program removed both trees from the river after discovering them floating above the Great Falls in Paterson on Earth Day earlier this year.

“They both appear to be about 100 years old,” said Zach Bolich, High Tech’s Wood Technology instructor. “We are really thankful that PVSC took the time to donate and deliver these trees to us. The trees will be used by our students for a variety of woodworking projects.”

High Tech’s Wood Technology Program is one of the top wood processing programs in the country. The school provides its students with a comprehensive woodworking curriculum. Students take wood from fallen trees and repurpose them into furniture, cabinets, table tops, cutting boards and more. Bolich and Sergio Gamarra, the Engineering Technology instructor, oversee the projects.

Citing old chain saw marks on the trees, Brian Davenport, PVSC’s Superintendent of River Restoration and Facilities, noted that the trees were “probably dumped into the river.”

“Dead trees rotting in the river are a considerable nuisance,” adds PVSC Executive Director Greg Tramontozzi. “It is our job to remove these trees from the river. At the same time, we are very conscious about where the trees wind up. Our goal is to recycle them. It’s nice to know that students at High Tech are turning these trees into practical items that can be used in a variety of ways.”

High Tech’s Jake Harrison and Amaya Montanez Attend Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory

(New Brunswick, NJ—October 14, 2016) High Tech senior Jake Harrison of Hoboken and High Tech sophomore and Jersey City resident Amaya Montanez, both of whom had attended the Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory (RSAC) this past July, will prepare for this year’s audition workshop in the winter, along with other High Tech Performing Arts majors, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.

RSAC, Mason Gross School of the Arts’ highly selective conservatory for young adults with serious acting ambitions, offers a four-week program for thirty-eight high school students from around the country. The conservatory faculty comprises working theater professionals dedicated to providing students with a challenging, inspiring learning environment that allows each student to develop as a young theater artist.

“[High Tech’s] relationship with Mason Gross School of the Arts and RSAC has been in place since 2001,” notes Deborah Arters, veteran instructor and head of the High Tech Performing Arts Department.  “Over thirty drama students have attended RSAC.”

Mason Gross School of the Arts, flagship public arts conservatory of Rutgers University, gathers arts students in a creative space within a stimulating research university, an intimate campus setting with easy access to, and participation in, New York City's dynamic cultural life. The school instills insights and skills that future generations of arts professionals require to contribute to a creative and scholarly world, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in the areas of dance, filmmaking, music, theater, and visual arts.

Registration for 2017’s Rutgers Summer Acting Conservatory opens on October 15, 2016 and closes on June 5, 2017, or whenever the conservatories reach maximum enrollment.  Applications received after June 5, 2017 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

from  left to right: Marshall Jones (Director of RSAC), Deborah Arters, Amaya Montanez, and Jake Harrison

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

County Prep Bowling Club Welcomes 9th Graders

On Friday, September 30th the County Prep Bowling Club had their first outing to Hudson Lanes in Jersey City. Veteran members like Briana Zdyb and Edward Martins-Krasner welcomed many new members from the 9th grade class. Bowlers were able to play three games and the competition was great as friends and classmates vied for top scoring position. The next outing will be on Friday, October 21st. For more information, please contact club moderators Mrs. Taryn Ashe and Mr. Frank Ashe.

Friday, September 30, 2016

High Tech Teacher Brian Mooney Publishes First Book

(North Bergen, NJ—September 29, 2016) Brian Mooney, a language arts teacher at High Tech High School, has published his first book on hip hop instruction in the classroom, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.

Released by Peter Lang International Academic Publishing, Mooney’s new book, Breakbeat Pedagogy: Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls, which includes a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Christopher Emdin of Teachers College, Columbia University, features Mooney’s ethnographic research on hip hop’s positive impact on students’ construction of identity through writing in hip hop and spoken word performance art spaces.  Including anecdotes gleaned from Mooney’s experience as the facilitator of “Word Up,” High Tech’s hip hop and spoken word poetry events, Mooney’s book encourages hip hop performance spaces in public schools as a viable component to a traditional liberal arts education. 

Breakbeat Pedagogy: Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls also includes the original work of High Tech alumni and can be purchased at Amazon (, Barnes & Noble, or other book dealers.

Breakbeat Pedagogy: Hip Hop and Spoken Word Beyond the Classroom Walls has been called the first in the next wave of hip hop pedagogy and scholarship.  To launch the book, which went on sale on September 1st, Mooney will be speaking and signing books at WORD Bookstore in Jersey City on Thursday, October 13th. 

High Tech Engineering Tech Students Participate in JA Job Shadow at Goya Foods

(Secaucus, NJ—September 23, 2016) Students majoring in Engineering Tech at High Tech and their instructors received a rare opportunity to tour Goya Foods’ newly retooled manufacturing plant as part of Junior Achievement of New Jersey’s Job Shadow program, announced Dr. Joseph Giammarella, Principal of High Tech High School.

Sergio Gamarra and Harry Peles, who teach engineering technology classes, and Gregory Simon, supervisor of the Digital Design and Fabrication Academy (D/FAB), joined the Engineering Tech majors on a tour hosted by Anthony Figueroa of Goya Foods’ public relations department. They witnessed automated manufacturing equipment that produces 600 boxes of pre-packaged rice each minute and learned about quality control, logistics, and Goya’s global distribution methods.  After the plant tour, the High Tech Engineering Tech students and teachers traveled to Goya Foods’ corporate headquarters, where executives discussed work and the goings-on at GOYA.

Goya, the largest Hispanic-owned food manufacturer in the U.S., produces four million cases of goods like beans, rice, and flour at the plant.  Originally, the plant had housed the company's headquarters before it moved in June 2014 to nearby Jersey City.  Originally founded in 1936 by Don Prudencio Unanue Ortiz, who immigrated to New York City, Goya Foods started out by selling imported Spanish olives and olive oil, but now posts annual sales of almost $1.5 billion.

Junior Achievement (JA) Job Shadow offers students an opportunity to visit a professional work environment, where they gain insights into the requirements needed for earning a position.  JA programs always correlate to state educational standards and to Common Core State Standards.

High Tech’s Engineering Tech major, a blend of metal fabrication and advanced manufacturing or "Mechatronics," provides student with the chance to apply engineering research principles as they design and construct solutions.  This student learning experience (SLE) permits students to take a look at a state-of-the-art automated advanced manufacturing facility in the tristate area.