‘Top all-around students’ honored with Roundtable Award

Hardyston. The annual ceremony could not be formally planned because of the Covid restrictions still in place. Then Hardyston’s director of special education had an idea that led to “one of the best days of the year.”

| 15 Jun 2021 | 02:15

The Sussex County Superintendents hosted their Roundtable Awards at Sussex on June 11 at the beautiful pavilion on Connor Green at Sussex County Community College.

Mike Ryder, chief school administrator of Hardyston Township Schools, said the superintendents annually choose a graduating eighth-grade or twelfth-grade student, one per district, for the award.

“The award is designated for the top all-around student in the district,” he said. “The districts usually have a committee of teachers that make the selection.”

The Sussex County Superintendents Roundtable Association has been hosting this award ceremony for 44 years. It’s usually held at the Lafayette House as a breakfast ceremony, where students, parents, and superintendents celebrate the students’ accomplishments. Because of Covid, they were unable to host any type of event, Ryder said. This year, he said, they were not able to make formal plans because of the restrictions in place.

In May he was able to attend the Caring Award Ceremony held at the college. The Caring Award celebrates the success and contributions of students from middle schools and high schools in Sussex County.

“It was held outdoors under their beautiful pavilion,” Ryder said. “When I came back to my office, I told my director of special education, Jodi Reinstein, how nice this was, and her first question was, ‘Why can’t the Sussex County Superintendent Roundtable Association do the same thing for their award?’ I told Jodi it was a great idea, and as secretary of the Sussex County Superintendents Roundtable Association, I immediately bounced the idea off the rest of the executive committee.”

A survey was sent out to the county superintendents to see if they’d be available. The Wallkill Valley Regional High School was already planning a small celebration at Hopatcong High School, so the idea turned into one for Sussex County’s middle schools.

“The director of admissions at Sussex County Community College, Todd Poltersdorf, who is also a Hardyston parent, graciously approved the ceremony and date,” said Ryder.

“It was one of the best days of the year, with lots of humor and positivity for all,” he said. “And to make the story full circle, Mrs. Reinstein, director of special education, was able to watch her awesome son Gabe accept the Roundtable Award from Frankford’s superintendent, Braden Hirsh.”

Gabe Reinstein, Jodi Einstein’s son, attends Frankford and was the recipient of their award.

“The parents and administrators joined each other to honor and celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of their sons and daughters,” said Ryder.

“It was one of the best days of the year, with lots of humor and positivity for all.” Mike Ryder