Businesswoman, Doctor Donate Thousands to Pinelands Regional

Will Pay for New Basketball Uniforms and Gym Scoreboards
Nov 29, 2017

With all of the bad news concerning the Pinelands Regional School District because of a flawed roof replacement project at the high school dominating the headlines this fall, some good news has been left in the shadows.

The Nov. 15 meeting of the Pinelands Board of Education went on so long that when it came time for the board to officially accept a $5,000 donation from Barbara Bobbin-Wilkinson of New York Life Insurance Co. to purchase basketball uniforms, she had already left. So she wasn’t there to hear the board’s thanks or what might have been the crowd’s applause. Nor did she have the chance to praise Dr. John Kulin, who had donated $5,000 toward new gymnasium scoreboards.

The beleaguered district clearly has some support in the area’s business and professional ranks.

The meeting also featured an appearance from the Pinelands Regional High School girls volleyball team.

The volleyball Wildcats went 26-4; were co-champs of the Shore Conference B South Division; won the Shore Conference Tournament, making them overall SC champions, only the second Pinelands team of any sort to rise to such heights since the school opened in 1979; and advanced to the quarterfinals of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group 2 State Tournament, finally falling to River Dell, the eventual Group 2 winners. The girls received a prolonged standing ovation for their efforts.

The success of several other Pinelands athletic teams was also briefly noted at the meeting.

The girls of the Pinelands field hockey team went 12-5; were B South co-champs; won a first-round Shore Conference Tournament game before being eliminated; and, after earning a three-seed and a first-round bye in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Tournament, came close in the second round, falling to Sterling by the slimmest of margins, 2-3.

The boys soccer team had an outstanding 17-4-1 record. The squad won the B South title outright, going 12-1-1 in divisional play, and were seeded sixth in the 29-team Shore Conference Tournament. They won two games before bowing out to third-seeded Jackson Memorial in the quarterfinals. The ’Cats earned a three-seed in the 16-team NJSIAA South Jersey Group 3 Tournament and again won their first two games before falling to Mainland, the two-seed, by a 2-5 count in a semifinal match.

Meanwhile the girls soccer team went 11-8, with its 9-5 record in divisional play placing them in the upper level of B South, finishing fourth. They were the only Southern Ocean County team that qualified for the Shore Conference Tournament and, seeded 18th, showed they belonged there, losing to Point Pleasant Beach, the 15-seed, by just one goal, 1-2. They did stumble in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 Tournament – seeded seventh, they fell to Manasquan, the 10-seed, 1-3. Still, what an improvement from 2016 when the team went 7-12-2.

Finally, Pinelands showed improvement in another, and, considering the primary purpose of the district – to educate its students – an even more important field. That would be in academic achievement, as measured by its students’ scores in the all-important PARCC (Partnership for Readiness for College and Career) tests. In October The SandPaper reported that Pinelands students had made significant progress almost across the board in the tests they took in the spring of 2017.

The largest gain was in the 10th-grade test on language arts (what used to be called English in an earlier, simpler era), when 48.9 percent of Pinelands students reached the highest levels of achievement, Level 4 or Level 5, up from 25.6 percent in 2016. That’s important because unless Gov.-Elect Phil Murphy discards PARCC, as promised once he takes office, scoring at Level 4 or 5 on that test is a graduation requirement starting in 2021.

— Rick Mellerup

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