Blue Jay Broadcast

News and Notes from the Hallways of MHS

Coffee talk with Mr. Guzman

For the second year in a row our students, under the direction and supervision of Mr. Brenner and Mr. Chismar, have worked all year to raise funds for families in town affected by pediatric illness through the JaysFest Dance Marathon. This 12 hour marathon of activities is the culmination of a year of fundraising and is quickly becoming a favorite amongst our students. Events of this magnitude require a lot of hard work, planning and determination. The students who wish to participate are tasked with raising $120 throughout the school year to fully participate in the event and this year 168 students took on the challenge. At the end of the event, the year’s final total was announced to be $37,525.12 - this is more than $12,000 above last year’s final total.

Throughout this year, I’ve used my Coffee Talk for topics such as digital citizenship, decision-making, balancing school and athletics/activities, setting expectations, drug use prevention, violence prevention and See Something Say Something among other topics. In this coffee talk, I want to highlight the students and their incredible work and perseverance in the culmination of a year’s worth of activities, celebrated on one night in June, where they spend 12 hours on their feet in support of the “baby jays” of Middlesex Borough.

It is not an easy night, the students spend a full day at school and then an overnight in the gym participating in a variety of entertainment and activities, including a DJ, 2 different bounce houses, a photo booth, a caricaturist, a live band, arcade basketball, a hula-hoop contest, lip sync battle and guest speakers from town who have been personally affected by pediatric illness. During the early hours, a water balloon toss, Zumba dance workout and a stroll around the school to see the signs of why they dance posted on their lockers kept the students going through the final hours.

As the school year is coming to a close, JaysFest is a reminder of what we can all achieve together. Our students lead the way with their compassion, endurance and perseverance. As JaysFest continues to grow, it will be something our students and community will look back on and be proud of what they have accomplished and what they have given back to the community.

Each year, our students face triumphs and challenges and they persevere through the bad and celebrate the good. For our seniors, they are facing a new world where they will be challenged and will question themselves and the world around them; they will need to make decisions about their future and choose their career path. Graduation is a milestone in their lives and with milestones come rewards. This year, the senior class received over $46,000 in scholarships. As they prepare to leave the halls of MHS, we hope they are leaving with the knowledge that they have made an impact on this school and now it is time to leave an impact on the world.

News & Notes

Were you unable to attend the 1:1 Chromebook Initiative for next school year? Check out for more information on this exciting initiative.

The end of the school year is upon us and there are some very important dates to know:

Final Exams (these are early dismissal days):

Friday, June 15th

Monday, June 18th

Tuesday, June 19th

Additional dates for SENIORS:

June 15th - Project Graduation Picnic/Pool Party

June 20th - Senior Breakfast & Graduation Practice

June 20th - Graduation Ceremony begins at 6:30pm, MHS Football Field **

**weather dependent, IF graduation is moved indoors, ALL guests will need a ticket to enter the gym.

June 20th - Last day of school for all students!

Community Support

Press Release regarding JaysFest 2018:

JaysFest Dance Marathon 2018 was held for 12 hours straight at Middlesex High School on Friday, June 1, 2018 beginning at 8:00 PM, ending Saturday, June 2 at 8:00 AM. The event, run by teachers Gary Brenner and Christopher Chismar, seeks to provide financial and emotional assistance for Middlesex Borough families and children living with pediatric illnesses. Students from Middlesex High School were tasked with raising a minimum of $120 throughout the school year to fully participate in the event. There was a variety of entertainment and activities to engage the dancers throughout the night including: a DJ, two different bounce houses, a photo booth, a caricaturist, a live band, arcade basketball, a Hula-Hoop Contest, a Lip Sync Battle, a Water Balloon Toss, a Zumba instructor, and multiple guest speakers from the borough who have been personally impacted by pediatric illnesses. A total of 168 students from Middlesex High School participated in the event, as well as numerous faculty, staff, administrators, and parents, who all stood on their feet all night long. The result? The students raised an incredible grand total of $37,525.12 which was more than $12,000 above the prior year!

This is the second consecutive year the JaysFest Dance Marathon has been held at Middlesex High School. At its inaugural event in 2017, 108 students participated raising a total of $25,129.93. In just two years of the marathon’s existence, Middlesex High School students have raised a total of $62,655.05 for families in need.

This event was developed by Physical Education teacher Gary Brenner with the assistance of his wife Amy, who is a Math teacher in Clinton-Glen Gardner School District. Gary and Amy are both graduates of Middlesex High School and wanted to give back to the community in support of families who are struggling with pediatric illness. Amy had been a Rutgers University Dance Marathon participant when a student there and both had seen this type of event be very successful in a shore community. When Athletic Director Michael O’Donnell and his family were struggling with the illness of their young son Shane, Mr. Brenner and Mr. Chismar had the idea to support the O’Donnell family with this event.

Anyone interested in getting involved as a sponsor or volunteer, please contact Gary Brenner at

For more information about what JaysFest is all about, please follow “JaysFestDM” on Twitter and Instagram.

Brenner says he looks forward to growing year after year and helping children in Middlesex Borough, his hometown, who are in need of support and assistance. Every Jay deserves to fly!

Did You Know?

Middlesex High School hosts a Memorial Day Service every year to remember all of those who have given their lives in service to our country. In the high school lobby, we have hand drawn portraits of Thomas Simchock, John W. Lupu, Thomas Myers and Walter Weiss. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts present the flags and a keynote speaker is invited to address our students and staff. We welcome local veterans to join us for the service and during the service, a list is read of active duty military personnel from Middlesex or those related to a staff member at a Middlesex Borough school. The service concludes with the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts retiring the colors before our veterans attend a light reception in the library.

Shout Outs

Shout out to Ms. Pietrowski and the National Honor Society for the Memorial Day service and for remembering all of those who have given their lives in service to our country.

Shout out to Ms. Powers and the Counseling Office for organizing the Senior Awards night. It is quite the undertaking and they do a wonderful job of making it look effortless.

Shout out to Mr. Brenner, Mr. Chismar and the student organizers for an incredible JaysFest 2018 event!

Alumni Spotlight

For our latest Alumni Spotlight, we caught up with Amy Dugan Lewis, Ed.D.

Amy graduated MHS in 1997 and attended Bloomsburg University, Delaware Valley University, and Rutgers University, where she recently earned a doctorate. She started her career substitute teaching in the elementary and middle schools of the Middlesex School District where she first developed her love of and passion for education. As a full time teacher, she taught 5th grade in the Flemington- Raritan School District and middle school science and literacy at Clinton Public School.

While working in both districts she conducted professional development workshops for her colleagues and began teaching graduate courses at The College of New Jersey. She is now an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Learning & Teaching at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University.

Dr. Lewis believes becoming an effective educator requires a complex set of skills and broad knowledge base. She uses her practical experiences teaching elementary and middle school and years of experience researching learning and teaching theories and practices to create an environment where her students grow as both learners and future educators. Her work is centered on analyzing how to best merge the teaching of theory and facilitation of experiences that apply what is known about best practices in research. She provides her students with experiential learning opportunities as she models those practices. Through this approach her students gain practical methods for instruction and engage in reflective discourse about why and how to implement what they have experienced. She encourages any MHS graduate, or future graduate, to consider going into education as she views it as both a challenging and rewarding field.

Do you know of an alumni who would like to be in the spotlight? If so, please contact Alaina Sviderskis at

Artist Corner

Each year, the Art Department hosts an art show at the end of the school year. The works of students in Mr. Dow's, Ms. Clark's and Ms. Riecken's classes are displayed in the library. Students were able to visit the art show during the school day and it was also open for visitors in the evening during the Spring Concert.

Bird's Eye View

Welcome to our newest addition to the Blue Jay Broadcast! We're taking you inside the halls of MHS....stay tuned.

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