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Student of the Month

This award is sponsored each month by EASTERN’s faculty, Joint Operating Committee, and the Willow Grove Rotary Club to highlight student excellence, success, and service. This month, Matthew Gorman was selected. He is a senior at Upper Moreland High School and is being honored for his work in EASTERN’s Automotive Technology program.

About Matthew:

Matthew's passion for cars traces back to his grandfather, who is an engineer, mechanic, and car enthusiast. This influence sparked Matthew's interest in the auto industry.

His EASTERN journey began in tenth grade when he visited during EASTERN’s Career Expo, where he was able to visit three programs of his choice.  Impressed by what he saw, Matthew later brought his family to EASTERN’s Open House, further solidifying his commitment to pursuing his passion in the automotive field.

At EASTERN, Matthew serves as the Automotive Technology SkillsUSA Class Representative.

In November 2023, Matthew participated in EASTERN’s Student Focus Group.

At Upper Moreland High School, Matthew participates in the Marching Band and Indoor Percussion.

Matthew volunteers at the Roslyn Fire Department.

Matthew runs his own lawn care business.

Matthew works as a Lot Attendant at Faulkner Infiniti Alfa Romeo Maserati, where he details vehicles and prepares them for full-time detailers.

"Matthew is an exemplary student with drive and determination," said Mr. George Stahl, EASTERN's Automotive Technology Instructor. "He is always willing to help his peers and contribute to the community. I am proud of his achievements and look forward to seeing his future successes."

After graduating from Upper Moreland and EASTERN, Matthew will be attending Temple University for Mechanical Engineering and has already received a scholarship for his program.

Matthew’s accomplishments:

He has already earned several industry-standard certifications in Safety and Pollution Prevention (S/P2) and Valvoline certifications.

In December 2023, Matthew achieved first place at the Auto Dealers of Association Greater Philadelphia (ADAGP) Auto Tech written competition. He was one of two EASTERN students chosen to compete in the ADAGP hands-on competition in March 2024. 

In January 2023, he secured third place at the SkillsUSA District Competition for Automotive Service Technology.

Nelissa Bryan, a Cheltenham High School senior, is the May 2024 Student of the Month at Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (EASTERN) in Willow Grove. Nelissa is being recognized for her outstanding work in EASTERN’s Culinary Arts program. The Student of the Month Award is sponsored by EASTERN’s faculty, the Joint Operating Committee, and the Willow Grove Rotary Club to highlight student excellence, success, and service. Ten students each year are selected for this honor.

Nelissa's journey into the Culinary Arts program at EASTERN began with a family connection, as her aunt, is also a proud graduate of the program. Her passion for cooking and baking runs deep, inherited from her Abuela and great-great-grandmother, who passed down their culinary talents with love. Nelissa thrives in the program's hands-on learning environment, eagerly embracing every opportunity to hone her skills and prepare for her culinary future. Her ultimate goal is to one day open two cafes. One will honor her great-great-grandmother's baking legacy, featuring an array of macaroons, cookies, and specialty cupcakes. The other cafe will be a place where the underprivileged can experience the joy of fine dining, offering a unique and inclusive culinary experience. These cafes will not only showcase Nelissa's culinary skills but also her commitment to sharing her love of food with others.

At EASTERN, Nelissa goes above and beyond as a student ambassador for the Culinary Arts program. She has represented EASTERN at several major recruiting events, including the Career Expo visit, where potential students explore the school's offerings, and Open House, a chance for local families to tour the campus and meet instructors. Nelissa's involvement extends to EASTERN’s Student Focus Group, where she contributes her insights, and she was chosen to be on a panel discussing and addressing microaggressions, displaying her leadership and advocacy skills. In February 2023, Nelissa was recognized with a student spotlight during EASTERN’s Black History Month celebration. At EASTERN’s 2023 Awards Night, Nelissa received the Director’s Award and the Straight A Award.

Nelissa is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, proudly embracing her identity as part of the LGBTQ community. At Cheltenham High School, she is deeply engaged in the theatre program, highlighting her talents on stage. Outside of school, Nelissa is a dedicated dancer and serves as the captain of the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Drill Team.

After graduating from EASTERN and Cheltenham High School, Nelissa plans to attend Johnson & Wales University. There, she will pursue Culinary Arts and work toward earning a master’s in culinary science, solidifying her expertise in the culinary field.

This award is sponsored each month by EASTERN’s faculty, Joint Operating Committee, and the Willow Grove Rotary Club to highlight student excellence, success, and service. This month, Lily Devlin, was selected. She is a senior at Abington Senior High School and is being honored for her work in EASTERN’s Design, Photography, and Illustration program.

About Lily:

Lily has always been interested in art and had taken several art classes at Abington Senior High School before attending EASTERN.

At EASTERN, Lily serves as the Occupational Advisory Committee student representative for the Design, Photography, and Illustration program, providing a valuable student perspective on curriculum and program issues.

Lily is a member of the Abington Senior High School National Honor Society and participates in several activities at Abington. She serves as Co-President of Our Minds Matter, a club that provides a safe space for students to discuss mental health issues. Additionally, Lily is a member of AbingTHON, a club that raises money for various charitable causes throughout the year.

After graduation from Abington Senior High School and EASTERN, Lily plans to attend Thomas Jefferson University for a bachelor's degree in graphic design, and then to pursue a career in that industry.

Lily’s accomplishments:

In February 2024, she was nominated by EASTERN as a Presidential Scholar and was selected by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the US Department of Education as a candidate for the United States Presidential Scholars Program in Career and Technical Education. From a pool of 600 nationwide finalists, the White House Commission will choose 161 students for this esteemed recognition. Lily was the sole Career and Technical candidate selected to represent Pennsylvania.

In February, Lily also received a silver medal at the SkillsUSA District Competition in CTE Demo.

Lily has earned Adobe InDesign and Illustrator certifications through her EASTERN program, which are standard in the graphic design industry.

Last summer, Lily participated in a t-shirt design contest for AbingTHON's Gold Out Football game in late September, which benefited pediatric cancer research. Her design was chosen for the event.

 At EASTERN’s 2023 Awards Night, Lily was awarded free tuition to an art camp at Penn College of Technology.

This award is sponsored each month by EASTERN’s faculty, Joint Operating Committee, and the Willow Grove Rotary Club to highlight student excellence, success, and service. This month, Gabriel Rodriguez, was selected. He is a senior at Cheltenham High School and is being honored for his work in EASTERN’s Construction Technology program.

About Gabriel:

Before enrolling in EASTERN's Construction Technology program, Gabriel was already interested in woodworking and engineering.

During the summer of 2022, he was an apprentice for a small construction company in The Czech Republic, assisting in the building of mini homes and structural frames.

When Gabriel was in tenth grade at Cheltenham, he visited EASTERN to see if it might be a good fit for him. Gabriel chose Construction Technology because he wanted to prepare for postsecondary in Civil Engineering.

At Cheltenham High School, Gabriel is part of the Pep Band and Indoor Drum Line, where he plays electric guitar and electric bass.

Mr. Jeff Pakula, EASTERN’s Construction Technology Instructor, commended Gabriel as a committed student who exudes a positive attitude and maintains a professional demeanor. “Gabriel grasps concepts quickly and readily lends a helping hand to his classmates. I am proud that he is representing the Construction Technology program and EASTERN as Student of the Month,” said Mr. Pakula.

Gabriel plans to spend the year after graduation in Germany volunteering his carpentry skills.  When he returns, he plans to pursue postsecondary education with a major in Civil Engineering, and a minor in Music.

Gabriel’s accomplishments:

 At EASTERN, Gabriel excels in his Construction Technology program and is a member of the National Technical Honor Society.

In October 2023, Gabriel was selected for a National Hispanic Heritage Month Student Spotlight.

At EASTERN’s Awards Night in May 2023, Gabriel received the Straight A Award.

Through his Construction Technology program, Gabriel received his OSHA certification in 2023, which ensures that he has been properly educated and tested on safe working conditions in his industry.

This award is sponsored each month by EASTERN’s faculty, Joint Operating Committee, and the Willow Grove Rotary Club to highlight student excellence, success, and service. This month, Jane Rickards, was selected. She is a senior at Abington Senior High School and is being honored for her work in EASTERN’s Robotics and Automated Technology program.

About Jane:

Jane’s fascination with technology led her to explore EASTERN during her tenth-grade year, prompted by a presentation at Abington Senior High School and insights from EASTERN/Abington students sharing their experiences. During her visit in tenth grade, she had the opportunity to observe the Robotics and Automated Technology as well as Welding Technology programs.

Jane is extremely active at EASTERN. She is a member of SkillsUSA, EASTERN’s student leadership organization and was part of the team that participated in the Chapter Display competitions in 2023 and is competing again this school year.

At Abington Senior High School, Jane is an Honor Roll student involved in activities such as a Stage Crew, and Link Crew – a club that helps welcome first-year students to the high school. She is also an Honor Roll student at Abington Senior High School.

“Jane is an outstanding student and dedicated to the engineering field,” said Hayley Granacher, EASTERN’s School to Career Coordinator/Jane’s Student of the Month Nominator. “Her internship supervisors, Mr. Felmey (EASTERN’s Electrical Technology Instructor), and Mr. Fox (EASTERN’s Facilities Manager) were so impressed with her hard work and professionalism. Her involvement and contributions to SkillsUSA are known and appreciated, school wide. I am pleased to be her Student of the Month Nominator and am so proud of her.”

After graduation from EASTERN and Abington Senior High School, Jane plans to attend Penn State Abington, and then complete her degree in Electromechanical Engineering at Penn State Berks.

Jane’s accomplishments:

Through her Robotics and Automated Technology program, Jane is completing industry-standard certifications through Universal Robotics e-Series in Core Track, Pro Track, and Application Track.

At EASTERN’s Awards Night in May 2023, Jane received the Straight A Award.

Jane was selected by EASTERN’s Facilities Team to work on electrical and facility upgrades as a paid intern over the summer of 2023.

Last year, Jane was nominated by her Robotics and Automated Technology Instructor for a National Women’s History Month student spotlight.

Jane was a volunteer for EASTERN’s student focus groups during the 2022 – 2023 and 2023 – 2024 school years, and volunteered for EASTERN’s Designer Bag Bingo fundraiser in 2023.