Officials, Staff, Students Celebrate New TEECS Home


Faculty, staff and students before a ceremony at the Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School.

Dignitaries from the business, political and civic worlds were on hand Sept. 29 for the ribbon-cutting of the new Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School building on Pierce Street.

The school had been housed for the past several years on Cortelyous Lane, at the site of the Oak Crest Day Camp. The school purchased the Pierce Street building and renovated it in time to house its approximately 426 students starting in the 2016-17 school year.

Among those on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon were Township Deputy Mayor Ted Chase, Township Councilwoman Roz Sherman (D-Ward 2), Township Chief of Police Lawrence Roberts, Somerset County Freeholder Director Pat Walsh, Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine, Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano, acting Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson and Unity Bank CEO James Hughes.

“TEECS has made great progress and achieved great things in the five years we have been in operation,” said Oguz Yildiz, the school’s lead person. The new building, he said, “can only help us to better educate our children.”

Among the benefits of the new school, Yildiz said, was that it gives the school the ability to create three sports teams for TEEC’s middle school students: basketball, volleyball and soccer.

Following the ribbon-cutting, guests were taken on a tour of the school’s classrooms and labs. An assembly attended by some students, faculty and guests was then held downstairs in the school’s gymnasium.

Yildiz told the crowd that “although our doors and windows have changed, our mission remains the same.”

Sherman said she was “very very proud of what I saw here today. This is certainly a beautiful facility.”

Chase said the new school’s larger building would “make it easier for the children.”

“I’ve seen you have great programs going on,” Chase said. “I look forward to your going up to more grades and providing a complete education here.”

Levine said he appreciated that the school educates its students “very economically and give(s) the parents somewhere to choose where to send their kids.”

Hughes told the crowd that during a tour of the former school several months ago, he was “amazed with the passion of the faculty members and the passion of the children.”

“You get the benefit of the business model of the charter schools, and how they enhance the educational opportunities versus the public schools,” he said.

“We’re proud of our improvements and the development of our school for the kids and their parents and the teachers,” Yildiz said after the ceremony had concluded. “It’s teamwork.”

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