Culinary Students from Camden County Technical Schools Win Grand Championship at County Competition

September 2014 - Congratulations to the students and staff in the Culinary Arts Career Program at Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS) for winning the Grand Championship and three other awards at the Annual Camden County BBQ Cook Off on September 12. The students and staff competed against eight other teams comprised of police officers, fire fighters, health care workers, correction officers, college staff, and other county employees.

The CCTS team won first place in the “Sliders and a Side” category with their jalapeno shrimp burger accompanied by a grape salad. They took second place in the “Brisket” category for their Texas-style brisket with chili pepper seasoning, and second place in the “Anything Goes “ category with an appetizer trio. The platter consisted of mozzarella and prosciutto fried squares; eggplant ricotta stacks with spinach and roasted peppers; a mushroom cap filled with jumbo lump crabmeat and andouille sausage topped with habanera pepper sauce.

Since the CCTS team had the most overall points, they were awarded the Grand Championship trophy.

“I was told that we finished no lower than third place in any category and we received first place votes in every category,” said Barry Galasso, culinary arts teacher at the district’s Gloucester Township Campus. “I am so very proud of this accomplishment, especially since school just started a week ago. We didn’t have much time to prepare, but our students stepped up as usual and stole the show.”

“We are very honored to compete in such a wonderful event,” said Judy Tencza, culinary arts teacher. “It’s a great experience for our students to go head–to–head with so many great chefs."

Choir Members from Camden County Technical Schools Perform at County Vigil

The Chamber Choir from Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS) performed at a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who lost their lives to drug and/or alcohol addiction. The Camden County Freeholder Board and the newly created Addiction Awareness Task Force coordinated the evening in an effort to provide fellowship and hope. More than 350 people attended to remember their family, friends, and loved ones.

The candlelight vigil was held on September 13, 2014 at 6 pm in Timber Creek Park in Gloucester Township. Timber Creek Park is part of the Camden County Park System.

The ceremony began with opening remarks from Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. and Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez.

“Far too many families in Camden County have lost loved ones to heroin and other drugs that are fueling our region’s current addiction crisis,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “As a county we know that no one is immune to the addiction of opiates and the Freeholder Board is focused on increasing awareness of prevention and treatment options.”

The Gloucester Township Police Department and the Pine Hill Police Department then presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. One parent commented how comforting it was to see such a large presence of police officers in attendance to show their support.

After the color guard presentation, The CCTS Chamber Choir, under the direction of vocal director/teacher Jessica Thomas, performed the National Anthem. They later performed two other selections to honor the victims and provide peace to the families in attendance.

An Addiction Awareness Task Force member, Harry Earle, then gave remarks. Earle is the Chief of Police for Gloucester Township and is committed to helping address addiction in our community with innovative police polices and education.

The vigil’s keynote speaker was Frank Greenagel, who is the Chairman of the Governor’s Addiction Task Force. Greenagel spoke about the importance of loved ones speaking out about their experiences to help reduce stigma so people will seek help and treatment. He also spoke about the need for insurance reform, better treatment and easier access to treatment. Greenagel noted that for every dollar spent on treatment and prevention, seven is saved in court and penal system costs.

Patty DiRenzo, an Addiction Awareness Task Force member and a parent advocate, also gave remarks. DiRenzo lost her son, Sal, to an overdose four years ago. Since that time, she has dedicated her life to helping others through her activities as an advocate for lifesaving policy changes, helping to reduce the stigma of addiction and being a support system of others in crisis.

Following the speakers, Father John Stabeno, provided a spiritual message and led the group in a moment of silence and lighting of the candles.

As the ceremony drew to a close, the names of 156 local victims of drug addiction were read aloud as many of their photos appeared on a screen. Symphony in C provided musical accompaniment during the reading.

“Far too many families in Camden County have lost loved ones to heroin and other drugs that are fueling our region’s current addiction crisis,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “We must all address the rising use of heroin and other drugs that are ripping apart our families and killing our residents.”

Heroin and opiates have become a growing public safety and health crisis creating devastating effects on the region, the state and the nation in the last five years. These narcotics are ubiquitous in every community in Camden County and usage is on the rise. In a two-hour period in March this year the county saw 15 heroin overdoses. New Jersey data shows a steady rise in prescription drug abuse in recent years. There were 8,300 admissions to state-certified substance-abuse treatment programs due to prescription drug abuse in 2012, a 200 percent increase over the previous five years, according to the task force report. Furthermore, the Philadelphia region has been identified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a main hub for heroin distribution in the Mid-Atlantic States.

The task force is charged with increasing awareness of prescription opiate and heroin abuse and addiction, aimed at reducing the demand for heroin and prescription drugs. They will also assist in the creation of programs to help educate residents of the resources available to prevent and treat addiction, and support the development of additional resources to end the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs.

“The task force members serve as liaisons to state and local community awareness groups as well as non-profit groups and drug addiction service providers,” Cappelli said. “As an elected official, opiate addiction is one of my biggest concerns.”

Nationwide, more than 30,000 people die of unintentional drug overdoses every year, many from abusing and misusing prescription pills. In a two-hour period in March, the county saw 15 heroin overdoses.

To address the crisis, the Camden County Board of Freeholders created the Addiction Awareness Task Force. The task force is made up of students, parents, teachers, civic organizations, medical professionals, public health providers, law enforcement and religious leaders, because addiction is an issue that touches every area of our community. The task force members serve as liaisons to state and local community awareness groups as well as non-profit groups and drug addiction service providers.

The event was hosted by the Addiction Awareness Task Force and supported by the Drug Policy Alliance and local treatment providers, concerned citizens, educators and police departments.

If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, call the Camden County hotline at (877) 266-8222.

Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying

2014 - School Self-Assessment

While completing the New Jersey Department of Education School Self-Assessment for Determining Grades under the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, we learned that our school district has demonstrated strengths in most of the core elements, such as HIB training, personnel, programs and approaches, investigative procedures, and reporting. Any areas that scored less than perfect have been addressed, with changes made to our policies and procedures, to strengthen our commitment in providing a safe, secure, and caring environment at Camden County Technical Schools.

Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying District Policy 5131

Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying Reporting form - District Regulation 5131

Information for Parents and Students

Penn Tech Earns Bronze Medal
From US News and World Report

The Pennsauken Campus of the Camden County Technical School District has been acknowledged nationally for its high level of student achievement and its commitment to educating students.

Out of 389 high schools in New Jersey, the Camden County Technical Schools’ Pennsauken Campus was one of 74 to receive recognition from US News and World Report. A bronze medal was awarded to the high school in the magazine’s nationwide ranking of test scores, college readiness and student to teacher ratio. This is the third time the school has been recognized by the national publication.

“It comes as no surprise that this school has been honored on a national level,” said Freeholder Ian Leonard, liaison to the Camden County Technical School District. “We are very proud of our dedicated employees and the accomplishments of our outstanding students that make this a great school.”

From a vocational school that opened with 400 students in 12 trade areas in 1928, the Camden County Technical School District has grown to be one of the largest and most comprehensive technical high schools in the nation. The Pennsauken Campus is located on Browning Road in Pennsauken, New Jersey. At the Pennsauken Campus, there are more than 800 students enrolled in 15 different career areas.

All students are offered a full-range of athletics and activities to complement their education as well as the opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school. Seniors are offered the opportunity to participate in several school-to-career and cooperative education programs. Graduates of Camden County Technical Schools may continue their education at the post-secondary level or obtain employment in the field for which they were trained through the job placement office.

World Class Musician Showcases Talent and Provides Words of Inspiration to Music Academy Students at Camden County Technical Schools  

The students in the Music Academy at Camden County Technical Schools (CCTS) were spellbound when Julian Bliss of Great Britain, one of the world’s finest solo clarinetists, personally visited their class on September 11.

“During the first week of school, we were discussing successful young musicians in class, and Bliss was among one of the standouts my students said they wish they could meet,” said Douglas Schmidt, instrumental music teacher. “I was over the moon when he accepted our invitation to speak,” he said. “I kept it a secret from the students until the morning he arrived when he simply walked through our classroom door. It was a great moment and the students were awestruck.”

Bliss, a musical prodigy who began playing the clarinet when he was just four years old, excels as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, master class leader, public speaker and tireless musical explorer.

During his visit to the Music Academy at CCTS, Julian spoke about the joys and struggles of being a musician, and the education and dedication it takes to do the job professionally. He told the students of the elation he felt to play before an audience of more than 12,000 and when he performed for Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle six times before his thirteenth birthday.

Bliss said he is equally elated when he has the opportunity to talk about Music as a career to students. “Work hard everyday to achieve your dream and don’t let anyone discourage you,” he said. “Even though I am a professional now, I still practice every day. I mentally prepare as well. Nothing can be achieved without a good foundation. Learn all you can and practice, practice, practice.”

Bliss, of course, dazzled those in attendance with his incredible talent as he performed several selections, including Flight of the Bumblebee, on the clarinet.

“Mr. Bliss devoted an entire day of his current U.S. tour to our Music Academy students extolling and personally demonstrating the tangible rewards of hard work, character, determination, controlling stage anxiety, and a systematic approach to physical and cognitive skill development of any kind,” said Schmidt. “Jessica Thomas, our vocal music instructor, and I are so very grateful to him for sharing his talents and inspirational words with us.”

The breadth and depth of Julian’s artistry are reflected in the diversity and distinction of his work. He has appeared with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. He has performed chamber music with Joshua Bell, Hélčne Grimaud, Steven Isserlis, Steven Kovacevich and other great interpreters.

Born in St. Albans in the United Kingdom in 1989, he moved to the United States in 2000 to study at Indiana University, and subsequently received lessons from Sabine Meyer in Germany. Julian’s prodigious early career included performances at the prestigious Gstaad, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Rheingau and Verbier festivals, and critically acclaimed debuts at London’s Wigmore Hall and New York’s Lincoln Center. His first album for EMI Classics’ Debut series was greeted by five-star reviews and public praise following its release in 2003.

Julian stands today among the finest musicians of his generation. He launched the Julian Bliss Septet in 2012 at Wigmore Hall and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and fronted their debut disc, Benny Goodman –The King of Swing. Julian recently recorded Mozart and Nielsen’s Clarinet Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. His future plans include the development of a pioneering collaboration with jazz pianist and composer Julian Joseph, cellist Matthew Barley and accordionist Miloš Milivojevic.

Gloucester Township Campus
Science Club Places in top 5%
in Science Competition

Students in the Science Club at the Gloucester Township Campus of Camden County Technical Schools placed 7th in Chemistry out of 145 teams in the annual New Jersey Science League competition and will be awarded with a plaque.

“I’m extremely proud of my students’ hard work and dedication to the Science Club. Last year, we ranked in the top 20%,” said Mia Mai, Science Club advisor and Chemistry teacher.

“This year, we have a new awesome record and are in the top 5% in the Chemistry portion of the competition. We tied with Princeton Day High School and beat many highly respected schools in our neighboring districts such as Cherry Hill West, Seneca and Cherokee.

”CCTS students Jacky Kong and Jonathon Brownlow will receive plaques for scoring in the top 10%. Kong, a senior in the Medical Arts Academy, is attending Princeton University in the Fall to pursue a career in Science. Brownlow, a sophomore in the Pre-Engineering Academy, was a key member on the district’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) team and developed the software program to operate their award-winning robot. According to Bill Spears, Director of the Science League, The Science League is unique in both the State and our Nation. “It was started in 1962 by Dr. Mal Sturchio as a chemistry league, and now offers competitions in biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and environmental science.” The purpose of the Science League is to provide two levels of competitions between schools in selected areas of study. The first level is for individual students. Students within any one testing area are ranked with each other based upon their scores on three of the four exams given. Any student completing three of the four exams receives a certificate from the New Jersey Science League. The next level of competition consists of teams from the participating schools. Schools may sign up for one to nine teams. Teams are ranked based on the cumulative sum of their top two students’ scores from January through April. “Competition within each testing area is extremely keen,” said Spears. “By the end of the season there can be as little as one question separating first place from second place.” The final team score for the season is the sum of all four exams. Schools are ranked from first down to the last school. The top 10 schools are awarded plaques. “The academic courses at Camden County Technical Schools are very rigorous,” said Jack Marcellus, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. “Our students strive to be high achievers both academically and in their chosen career area, and their hard work paid off in this competition,” he added.

GTC 11th Grader
Earned a Perfect Score on
Microsoft Office Specialist Exam!

June 2014 - Michael Biesecker, an 11th grader from the Banking and Finance career program, received a perfect score on his Microsoft Office Specialist Exam for Microsoft Word 2007. Due to his outstanding achievement, he has received a coveted invitation to compete in the prestigious Microsoft Office Specialist competition at the U.S. National Championship. Top students from around the U.S. will be competing in the Microsoft Office Specialist Championship.