Freeholders honor Irvington’s Joseph during youth event

IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington High School senior Danielson Joseph was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders during its 12th annual “Essex County Celebrates Youth” program on Wednesday, April 22, at the Hall of Records. The board’s commendation was sponsored and presented to Joseph by Freeholder Lebby C. Jones of Irvington.

The event takes place each year to acknowledge and encourage outstanding young people throughout the county who have accomplished and contributed so much at a young age and proven themselves to be role models for their peers. In addition to Joseph, this year’s honorees were Taj Atkinson, a senior at Newark’s Central High School; Emmanuel Christian, a junior at Newark’s Central High School; Isaiah Corchado of Newark, a junior at Seton Hall Prep; Lowell Kelly-Gamble, a junior at Bloomfield High School; Andrea Romero, a freshman at Belleville High School; Jack Schreiber of Livingston, a sixth-grade student at Mount Pleasant Middle School; Kristin Towkaniuk, a senior at Newark’s Science Park High School; and Ela Urbina, a junior at Orange High School.

Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake welcomed everyone to the event by crediting her District 3 Freeholder predecessor, former Freeholder Carol Clark, “for initiating this program 12 years ago which, over the succeeding years, has become one of the board’s finest traditions.” She explained, “This is a program all about celebrating young people who are doing good things. It is all about recognizing their accomplishments, talents, intelligence, contributions to their communities and their courage to stand up for what they believe in, and encouraging them to succeed in everything they set their minds to.”

Joseph is an 18-year-old senior at Irvington High School where he is ranked No. 1 in his class with a grade-point average of 4.159. He is the recycling team leader of the Eco-Novus Club, which aims to make the local and global environment cleaner by recycling paper and attempting to implement a bottle and can recycling program; performs improvisational comedy as an Improv 101 player; and, as a member of the varsity bowling team, he bowled a high game of 174 and a high series of 447.

He is also a member of the Library Council Club, with whom he catalogued and stored books; won a “Young Entrepreneur”
certificate for being one of the highest candy sale fundraisers; is a member of the Sigma Beta Club, which is committed to brotherhood, scholarship and service; and a member of the State Champion Irvington High School Consumer Bowl Team, who answered the game-winning question to win the 2013 championship. Outside of school, he is a member of the 4-H Club; a young researcher for the American Chemical Society NJ SEEDS Program; spent his summer doing research with a physics mentor; and won first place at the Regional Poster Session. Danielson is the son of his Meritha Sylvain and Daniel Joseph and plans to attend college next year to study engineering.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to bring forward a young man from Irvington,” said Jones. “Of all the boys and girls in the high school, he must be special, because his principal recommended that he be honored tonight.”

She went on to say, “Danielson is No. 1 in his class and has a grade-point average of 4.159, and it just doesn’t get any better than that. Danielson, you are an outstanding young man, a fine example of the great education available to Irvington High School students and I am delighted to present you with this well-deserved commendation from the board of freeholders.”

“I want to thank the people who got me here, like my family members, my mother and my father; teachers like Mr. Cox and Mr. Romano; my principal, Ms. (Sandra Y.) Boone-Gibbs; and Superintendent Dr. Neely Hackett,” said Joseph, “and, of course, Ms. Lebby Jones and the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for having an event like this in the first place, to remind students in Essex County that they’re doing a good job and to acknowledge them.”

Hackett and Boone-Gibbs also attended the event to show their support for Joseph.

Freeholder Brendan W. Gill concluded the program by paying tribute to the many teachers, former teachers and mentors among the board members, as well as the teachers, principals, superintendents and coaches in the audience, remarking that, “The last few years haven’t been easy on your profession, but when we see the great job you do reflected in the young people here tonight, we want you to know that there are elected officials and many leaders who have your back.”

He also complimented the honorees’ parents saying, “Your parents have provided me with a great road map for the kind of young people my wife and I would like our daughter and son to become and for the supportive and nurturing parents we aspire to be.” He concluded by saying, “You are nine outstanding young people and we will leave here tonight, confident that our future will be in very capable and caring hands.”

Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss, Irvington Superintendent of Schools Neely Hackett and Irvington High School Principal Sandra Y. Boone-Gibbs also attended the event to show their support for Joseph.

The program included a vocal performance by Marisa Budnick, a 17-year old junior at Wayne Valley High School and a musical theater major at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Young Artist Summer Intensive program in Newark, as well as a performance by the Step Team representing the Newark Central High School chapter of Males Empowering
Neighborhoods. Octavia Pope of Cornerstone Baptist Church in East Orange offered the opening and closing prayers and the reception following the program was catered by the students in the Culinary Arts program at Essex County Vo-Tech’s North 13th Street School in Newark.

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Brendan Gill Freeholder