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Devils to Honor Newark Students

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils – The National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils will honor Newark students during its “Newark, Hockey & Me” Celebration Party.  The event will take place this Tuesday, May 1, from 4:00-7:00 PM at Newark’s Sharpe James/Kenneth A. Gibson Recreation Center.  The Devils will honor Newark’s Renaissance Kids, including Arts High School design contest winners, the Newark Americans hockey team, and Newark Public Library essay contest winners.

“These children are our future here in Newark,” said Devils’ Chariman/Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek.  “We are proud of their dedication and hard work and are thrilled to have had the opportunity this year to support them throughout these various programs.  We look forward to having the children of Newark continue to be a part of our future hockey initiatives."

During a design contest last summer, students at Newark’s Arts High School were asked to design the uniform for the Newark Americans hockey team.  The three winners, whose combined efforts produced the final design, are:  Clinton Collins, Alexandra Melendez, and Paul Kornegay.  Kornegay and Melendez also contributed to the creation of the winning patch design, along with Jasmine Hamlette, Racquel Alves, and Amira Allen.  Each winner will be presented with a hockey jersey and share of the $2,000 prize money.  The contest was overseen by high school Art Director Onnie Strother.

The Newark Americans are Devils Renaissance Development’s (DRD) Diversity Team, and are a feeder team to Newark’s only high school varsity ice hockey program, the East Side Red Raiders.  The students picked their name, “Americans,” because they are all on the same team, although they have different backgrounds, they are all Americans who live in Newark.  The program takes place at Newark’s Ironbound rink up to six days a week, and is open to all children, ages six-16, free-of-charge.  The team of more than 30 children is coached by East Side High School’s Keith Veltre and Dennis Ruppe.  Approximately $60,000 worth of equipment has been contributed by DRD and private donors. 

The “Newark, Hockey & Me” program is now in its second season.  The Devils and Newark Public Library encouraged all students to participate in the program by writing an essay at the start of the school year, using 200 words or less, with the theme “Newark, Hockey and Me.”  Children participated by submitting an essay, drawing, cut-out, or photo essay.  This year’s winners are Niruban Bahetharan (First Avenue Branch), Daniel Gomes (North End Branch), David Jarrett (Vailsburg Branch), and Aijalon Williams (Weequahic Branch).  Each winner will receive a customized jersey and a book bag filled with various Devils’ items.

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