Schools Superintendent, FHS Boy’s Track Team, Honored By Township Council

FHS Boy’s Track Coach Dashaun Gourdine and schools Superintendent John Ravally (left to right) look on as Township Councilman Carl Wright reads a commendation at the June 25 Council meeting.

Commendations were awarded by the Township Council June 25 to schools Superintendent John Ravally and members of Franklin High School’s championship boy’s track team.

Ravally was honored for being named Somerset County’s Superintendent of the Year, while the boy’s track team was commended for capturing the state Group IV title, as well as sectional and county championships.

Separately, the Council honored FHS sprinter Mario Heslop for his individual accomplishments, including setting a state record in the 200-meter dash.

Ravally, the first Franklin Township Superintendent to be named county Superintendent of the Year, thanked the Council for its support of township schools.

“Thank you to the community for supporting the children in the schools, and most importantly thanks to the folks who are working hard in our schools, because this is really a recognition for everyone who is working hard in our schools,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a recognition for me, it’s really honoring the amazing things that are happening in our schools. Our district will celebrate not me, but the great work they are doing to provide for our children.”

Mayor Phil Kramer said that the Board of Education made a good choice in picking Ravally to head the school district.

“This speaks very well of where the Board of Education is going, our schools are going,” he said of Ravally’s honor. “In many ways, I’ve always said that what the Board of Ed and the schools do is much more important than what (the Council) does, you deal with three times the money we have, but you’re training our kids and moving our schools forward.”

FHS boy’s track coach Dashaun Gourdine was on hand to accept the commendations for his team and for Heslop.

“This year was a great year for us,” he said. “In the winter, we also won the Group IV state title. A lot of the meets that we won, we won by one point, so the team came up with the mindset that every point counts.”

“We had a lot of athletes who put this thing together, scoring every point they could,” he said.

Heslop, Gourdine said, showed his work ethic all four years of his high school career, working a job at a local supermarket every night after track practice. Heslop will be attending college in the fall on an academic and athletic scholarship, Gourdine said.

“That’s just a testament to how hard he works, not only on the track, not only in the classroom, but to help provide for his family,” Gourdine said.

The track, as well as every athletic field, “is a classroom,” Ravally said.

“It’s life lessons that we’re learning, and Coach Gourdine is an excellent example and a great leader and helps to instill some very valuable traits in our students, in fact all of our coaches do, right down from our athletic director to our entire coaching staff,” Ravally said.

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