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Board of Education Meeting March 24, 2022

At the February 24 Elizabeth Board of Education meeting at the Thomas G. Dunn Sports Center, the meeting opened with a moment of silence for the passing of John E. Dwyer Technology Academy junior Christian Manuel Pinto.

The performances for the evening included the St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band, who performed Minstrel, Scotland, and Americana sets as well as Amazing Grace, and the Elizabeth Athletics Cheerleaders who performed several cheers to music played by members of the Elizabeth High School Marching Band.

Following those performances, the evening’s opening calendar was dedicated to the 2022 North 2, Group 4 and Group 4 champion Elizabeth Minutemen boys basketball team, which began with a video highlighting the 2021-2022 season and their amazing NJSIAA Boys Basketball State Tournament run that went all the way to the Tournament of Champions final four. Having appeared in the first Tournament of Champions in 1989, it was only fitting that the Elizabeth Minutemen appeared in what was the last ever TOC 33 years later. During their 7-1 tournament run, including 6 wins away from home, their victories over J.P. Stevens, Watchung Hills, Newark East Side, Linden, Ridgewood, Marlboro, and Paterson Charter earned them the 2022 North 2, Group 4 championship (in a 49-47 win over Linden on Coach Colicchio Court) a Group 4 championship (a 70-63 win over Central Jersey, Group 4 champion Marlboro), and a win in the TOC that advanced them to the final four in the entire state. The Minutemen, facing No. 1 in the state Camden (and then No. 10 in the US) in the TOC semifinal, would keep it a one possession game after three quarters and kept it tied until the final four minutes of the game before a final run ended their season with a 60-50 defeat. The Group 4 championship was the program’s first since 1991 and the TOC win was the team’s first TOC win since 1990.

The individual members of the Minutemen basketball team were presented with a Board resolution and plaques commemorating their Group 4 State Championship. Coach Phil Colicchio spoke and thanked the mayor, the Elizabeth Board of Education, Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer, members of the community, his family, his coaches, and his players.

Additionally, the team was presented with a Humanitarian Award by Shawn McClain, President of the NAACP, on behalf of the organization for the team’s gracious support of several families who were displaced from the Smith Street fire that took place March 13 and were temporarily staying at the Dunn Sports Center while the team was still playing in the state tournament. McClain was joined by chapter Vice President Khalil Johnson and Executive Board Members Patricia Perkins-Auguste and Salaam Ismiall in recognizing the players of the team.

Also in attendance was Executive County Superintendent of Union Daryl Palmieri, who grew up in Elizabeth and knows the great history of the program, congratulated the team and Coach Colicchio on behalf of the Union County Office of Education and the New Jersey Department of Education.

After the county superintendent congratulated the team, the banner of the 2021-2022 Group 4 State Champion Elizabeth Minutemen boys basketball team was unveiled on the wall in the Dunn Sports Center alongside the other banners of championship teams from years past. Following the unveiling, members of the Minutemen basketball team presented the Board members and other dignitaries with signed posters memorializing their championship season.