Courtyard Ribbon Cutting Ceremony


Jordana Selby , News Editor

On October 5, 2016, the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the courtyard took place at Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School.

“The concept of the cardinal courtyard started about six years ago with the Westwood Washington Township Education Foundation,” said Frank Connelly, the Principal of the Jr./Sr. High School.  Brenda Cirillo, the head of the Westwood Washington Township Education Foundation, started off the evening by thanking everyone who raised funds for over five years to make the courtyard possible. The Neary and Trovini families were the two families that raised the most money and both have children currently attending Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School.

The courtyard is dedicated to graduates and past students who have lost their lives while attending WHS, or soon after leaving WHS, such as Sgt. Hrbek. On January 14, 2010 Sergeant Hrbek was on patrol in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan when the vehicle he was riding in hit an IED. After exiting the vehicle to assess the damage and to protect his men from any further harm that possibly awaited them, Sgt. Hrbek stepped on an IED and was killed instantly; he was 25 years old.

“When you walk into the courtyard and see Sargent Hrbek’s name on the fountain, a former Westwood graduate who died doing for what he thought was right, is very important for students to see,” said Mr. Connelly. Cheryl Hodges, Sgt. Hrbek’s mother, spoke at the ceremony. She thanked the Bloch family for supporting her family in effort to raise enough funds to purchase the fountain in the center of the courtyard that has been dedicated to her son.

Mr. Connelly thanked all who took the time and effort to help make the courtyard possible, such as Michael Bieri, who dedicated his time and resources of his company FKA Architects to the layout and landscaping of the courtyard. Regarding the multi-purposes for the courtyard, Connelly said, “I think it’s nice for a school to have a common area, and it is nice to see kids get use out of it, for students who use it for lunch, and for teachers who use it for class.”

At the end of the ceremony, everyone who dedicated their time and money to the courtyard helped in cutting a piece of red velvet ribbon. A photography contest was held in conjunction with the opening of the courtyard and the winners stood by their pictures as hors d’oeuvres made by the American Regional cooking class were passed around by National Honor Society volunteers.