NJ Association for Gifted Children

New Jersey Association for Gifted Children

Contests and Awards

2024 Annual Awards

You do not have to be an NJAGC member to make a nomination or to receive an award.
The deadline for submitting nominations is 11:59 PM on December 15, 2023.
For further information, contact awards@njagc.org

NJAGC Annual Adult Awards

Each year, NJAGC presents awards as a way of thanking and honoring individuals who stand out among their peers in their commitment to gifted children and gifted education in New Jersey.

NJAGC Adult Awards categories include:

  • Hall of Fame
  • Administrator of the Year
  • Teacher of the Year
  • Parent of the Year
  • Developing Minds Award
    (for entrepreneurs who developed businesses with a focus on gifted children.)

NJAGC Distinguished Student Awards

The Distinguished Student Awards were developed to recognize students with exceptional ability and achievements in:

  • Academics
  • Leadership
  • Visual, Literary, or the Performing Arts


Awards may be given in the Grades (K-2), (3-5), (6-8), or (9-12) grade level divisions.

2024 Art, Writing, Video & Music Composition

For students in grades pre-K–12

Click the images to download pdf copies of the contest rules and parental permission forms for the contests your students plan to enter.

​ Once students complete their entries, click the links to access the submission forms for the contest(s) they are entering.

2024 Contest winners

Congratulations to all of the 2024 winners!

2024 Art Contest Winners
2024 Writing Contest Winners

Instructional Mini-Grants

A Member-only Benifit

Are you looking for funding to support that “special project” for your gifted learners? NJAGC funds competitive awards of up to $500 for eligible proposals for NJAGC members. These mini-grants enable teachers to develop projects that enhance their G/T programs, services, and curriculum. Read more for Mini-Grant details and application forms. Applications are due by January 15, 2024.

Adult Winner

Teacher of the Year

Chelsea Clarke

Chelsea Clarke is the Gifted and Talented Teacher at Lester C. Noecker School in Roseland, NJ. A graduate of Montclair State University (BA and M.Ed) who grew up in Wayne, NJ. She has been teaching for 9 years. She teaches gifted and talented students in grades 4-6, as well as whole class enrichment to grades K-6. She also runs Math Olympiads once a week during 5th/6th grade recess and lunch. Chelsea has a passion for gifted and talented education and students. In the summer of 2013, Chelsea first experienced working with G&T students at Montclair State University’s Gifted and Talented Summer Program and never looked back! She went on to teach at the summer program and then obtained her G&T teaching certificate through Montclair State’s online program.

Chelsea came to Noecker in the Fall of 2017 and has loved every second of it! The students, staff, and families are amazing and supportive of everything she does! During her years at Noecker, Chelsea has updated the G&T identification process, revised the Gifted and Talented curriculum, and provided professional development for teachers.

Chelsea is also the co-chair of the Essex County Steering Committee for Gifted and Talented Education. She has had the privilege of being the co-chair since December 2020. In that time, she has held meetings with G&T teachers all over Essex County, turned in person events into
virtual events, and then back to in person! She is excited to keep growing the committee and planning events and competitions!

Chelsea Clarke is a passionate G&T educator who advocates for her students, families, and teachers!

Adult Winner

Administrator of the Year

Christina Vreeland

Christina Vreeland attended Douglass College of Rutgers University as well as the Rutgers Graduate School of Education Five-Year Teacher Certification program and began her career as an English Teacher at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Woodbridge Township. She continued her education with NJEXCEL, and, for the last 20 years, has been a Supervisor in Woodbridge Township. She is currently supervising Gifted & Talented, Advanced Placement, Music and Dance, and has been involved in gifted education for the past 10 years.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Vreeland has enjoyed collaborating on a classroom management book, achieving NJ Best Practice and Service-Learning Leader Awards, producing a district-wide Writers’ magazine, developing a Summer Enrichment program, and producing a district television show showcasing district initiatives and student achievements. Mrs. Vreeland strives to consistently bring innovation to the G&T program in Woodbridge. She is currently working on a professional development video about the G&T program. In addition to her professional work, Mrs. Vreeland enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, cycling, skiing, relaxing with her Wheaten terriers, and juggling sports practices and activities with her husband as they watch their three teenage sons grow into amazing young men with their own unique gifts and talents.

Adult Winner

Parent of the Year

Allison Park

Allison Park, M.A.Ed., is a passionate advocate for gifted and twice exceptional children and their families who believes in nurturing the growth and development of the whole learner by empowering students, families, and educators with invaluable resources and community support.

Since 2015, Allison has put this philosophy into action by serving as the Gifted & Twice Exceptional Education Consultant for Parenthood Together, a 15,000-member national parenting network focused on community-building and guidance for families. In her role, she has cultivated resources for gifted families including local meet-ups, virtual and in-person learning pods, parent-training workshops, and community support groups. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, she also led the charge in assembling a task force to synthesize a homeschooling enrichment curriculum that focused on everything from developing metacognitive strategies to Physical Education to SEL.

In 2022, Allison published Z is for Superhero!, which highlights the story of a young boy who is twice exceptional, and invites us to join him on his journey to finding acceptance and friendship in places where he is free to be himself. During a recent panel discussion, Allison shared that she wrote this book about her son, Zach, so his story would be a beacon of hope for all 2e children to see that they can be the heroes in their own stories. Families recognized how essential this kind of representation is, and Z is for Superhero! quickly jumped to the #1 spot on the Amazon Best Sellers list.

Allison holds bachelors degrees in Childhood Education and Special Education and a Masters of Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education from New York University, where she graduated cum laude and was named a University Honors Scholar.

Distinguished Student

Academics and Leadership (Grades 9-12)

Alisha Desai

Alisha Desai is a curious learner and passionate leader who is a rising senior at Moorestown High School. In school, she demonstrates leadership through her role as the Interact Club’s Vice President. The Interact Club is a community service organization. Additionally, it is the largest student run organization at the high school. Further, Alisha also serves as her grade’s class liaison of Student Council, in which she is responsible for running social media and organizing school events. She is also her grade’s Blood Drive representative, making her responsible for helping her peers get signed up and organizing the four blood drives throughout the year. Alisha is also quite passionate about the subjects of economics and politics. As a result, she co founded her school’s own Economic and World Newsletter, in which she writes her own articles and edits and formats the articles written by her peers. This passion is also seen through her participation in the debate clubs at Moorestown High School. Alisha participates in Model Congress, Model UN, and Mock Trial. She has served as a witness and a lawyer for Mock Trial and has won awards in Model Congress. Because of her leadership skills, Alisha was chosen to be her school’s primary representative for the HOBy Youth Leadership Seminar this past summer. At the same time, she also served as a marketing intern for Yellowdig, a startup online learning platform. Alisha is also quite passionate about helping others and has volunteered in numerous community service activities. Most notably, Alisha volunteers for the Pink Foundation, an organization with various locations in India to fight against gendercide in India. Her volunteer experience also includes volunteering for Andy Kim’s Campaign, being an event coordinator for the Indian Cultural Center of South Jersey, and being a Youth Ambassador for Asian Indian Professionals. Alisha also plays for the Moorestown Girls Golf team. Given her interests and passions, Alisha sees herself pursuing a career in the fields of economics or law or a combination of the two.

Distinguished Student

Visual Arts (Grades 9-12)

Amber Kurland

Amber Kurland is a senior at Morris Hills High School. She has been pursuing an independent study in prop making and scenic art since her sophomore year. Since being part of the founding group of the Prop Shop, she has helped grow the program from three to around a dozen students. Their work has been featured in seven shows so far and they have made over a hundred props in the past three years. Amber also serves as the stage manager at her high school productions and hopes to continue participating in theater in college!

Distinguished Student

Academics (Grades 3-5)

Blake Cortez

Blake is an 11 year old from Whiting, NJ. He enjoys learning about coding and engineering, playing baseball, hanging out with his friends, visiting Puerto Rico and traveling to different places around the world. He is always looking to make a new friend and is super charismatic. He is beyond his years and loves to study and learn as many new things as possible. When he was younger he wanted to become a brain surgeon and learned all the parts of the brain by 6 years old. Now he wants to learn how to build different types of technology and create artificial intelligence. He maintains amazing grades while participating in sports and having a ton of friends. He aspires to go to college and become an engineer and use those skills to create something revolutionary and become an entrepreneur.

Submissions are now closed.

Submissions are now closed.

Student Scholarships

A member-ONLY benefit

The Barbara Swicord Scholarship

Provides discretionary funds for tuition assistance to current NJAGC members’ children who are currently in grades K-12. These funds are to be used for programs and educational opportunities outside of regular school attendance for the purpose of enhancing, developing or supplementing skills, talents and/or abilities of the applicant.  Award amounts would range up to $250, but not exceed 75% of the total tuition amount. One submission per family will be accepted.

The Lisa A. DeMarzo-Rabke Parent-Child Scholarship

Created in memory of Lisa DeMarzo-Rabke, a former NJAGC trustee. This scholarship will be presented to a family whose child is in a G&T program in their school district, grades K-6. It will provide a family who may not otherwise be able to afford it, the opportunity to take part in NJAGC’s REACH. Recommendations must come through school principals, counselors or teachers. Multiple scholarships will be available for REACH 2018.