20 Millburn Students Earn Varsity Letters for Community Service

Senior Thaddeus Mahfouz is honored for four years of volunteer service


Millburn High School students at the June varsity letter award ceremony.
Millburn High School students at the June 2022 varsity letter award ceremony.

Twenty Millburn High School students received varsity letters from United Way of Northern New Jersey this month for volunteering more than 2,000 hours throughout the school year to help improve the lives of elderly neighbors, children, animals, individuals with disabilities, and those struggling financially.


Millburn High has participated in the United Way Varsity Letter program since its inception four years ago, and Senior Thaddeus Mahfouz was the first student to earn a varsity letter for four consecutive years of participation.


“Whether volunteering at soup kitchens and museums or simply tutoring and being a peer leader, it is wonderful to see the effect of efforts on our community,” said Mahfouz, reflecting on his impact with the program. “It is truly better to give than to receive because when you give, you receive so much more.”


Millburn High School Senior Thaddeus Mahfouz (middle) receives his 4-year United Way Varsity Letter recognition plaque.
Millburn High School Senior Thaddeus Mahfouz (middle) receives his 4-year United Way Varsity Letter recognition plaque.

The following students received varsity letters: seniors Thaddeus Mahfouz and Harry Silber, who also served as the varsity letter student representative; juniors Ethan Choi, Amy Erlichson, David Fu, Josh Hemingson, Arihan Hukeri, Aamir Jamil, Stanley Liu, Matthias Mahfouz, Dalia Pivawer, Brandon Qiao, Sophia Rusert, Grace Wang, and Sean Woo; sophomores Gia Bhutanti, and Eleanor Lee; and freshmen Eshan Jain, Jia Panjwani, and Samraj Singh.


A total of 37 Millburn High students took part in the program, with those completing 80 or more hours of community service work being honored with a varsity letter. Students volunteered in food drives and at food pantries, assisted with Hurricane Ida clean-up, recorded stories for early learners, provided free tax preparation for low-income filers, volunteered with a back-to-school supply drive, and helped with holiday gift drives, among other activities in their communities.


“This has been a great opportunity for our high school students in which we can support and encourage volunteerism,” said Millburn High School Principal William Miron. “This program has enhanced and expanded our student offerings into a realm that we might not otherwise emphasize.”


As part of the 80 hours of service work, United Way asks students to dedicate at least 18 of their hours to focus on helping those who are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty.


“We are proud of the Millburn High School students for their dedication to their volunteerism and for helping ALICE,” said United Way Director of Community Relations Rose Twombly. “They have made a lasting impact in their communities, and we are thankful for their service and leadership.”


David Fu took on the challenge of becoming a volunteer tax preparer through United Way’s free tax program, which serves some 6,000 families annually with IRS-certified tax preparation and filing services.


“During tax season, I learned about how some of my tax clients are struggling financially as I looked through their W-2 forms and observed their joy when they’ll receive a refund,” Fu said. “I’m glad that I can help them get back the money that they’re owed.”


Sophia Rusert volunteered to help children with autism, Aamir Jamil focused on tasks that supported food banks and homeless shelters, and Sean Woo worked as a teacher’s assistant and tutor. Grace Wang participated in the United Way Book Buddies program, recording several book readings that children can watch at home, and as a volunteer at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.


“I enjoyed participating in these programs knowing that I am helping people and making a positive impact on the community," Wang said.


Jain Eshaan, a first-year volunteer, said he learned that he has the power to help people in need in his community.


“I hope I can continue to volunteer all across my next three years of high school and forward.”


For more information about how to get involved with United Way Varsity Letter, email Rose.Twombly@UnitedWayNNJ.org

33 views