Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 4
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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PDS Middle Schoolers Get Water to Village

Princeton Day School (PDS) 8th-grader Rujul Zaparde recently returned from a rural Indian village where he supervised the installation of a well purchased with funds raised by his middle school classmates.

The tube well now provides clean water for Paras, a village about 300 miles outside Bombay, where Rujul’s father was born. Before construction of the well in December, village women and children had to walk two miles round-trip twice a day for water. Rujul was moved to take action after visiting the village in 2006. “I thought about how different it is to be a teenager in the United States than to be a teenager in Paras,” Rujul said. “I wanted to help change their circumstances to resemble ours as closely as possible.”

Rujul, who lives with his family in Plainsboro, talked about his concerns with classmate Kevin Petrovic, of Princeton. Together, they researched options for helping the village and decided accessible drinking water was a good start. They launched the Drinking Water for the Developing World Club at PDS with the goal of raising money to build a well. “Electricity is kind of a luxury,” Kevin said. “But water is really a necessity.”

After Rujul shared photographs and information about conditions in Paras during a Middle School assembly, more than a dozen classmates offered their help. Students collected $1,000 — including a $500 donation from the PDS 5th grade, which was studying India — to finance the first well.

Rujul and his family traveled to India during winter break, enabling him to help install the well and see the difference it made for village residents. While they still lack running water in each home, they no longer have to walk a mile after a long day working in the fields.

Rujul and Kevin recently turned their school project into a nonprofit agency in hopes of raising enough money to provide additional wells to other rural villages. For more information, visit

“We are so proud of Rujul, Kevin and all the students who have reached out to help a village halfway around the world,” said PDS Interim Head of School Lila Lohr. “Instead of just shaking their heads, they took action and changed the world for the better.”

Nobel Laureate Taylor Highlights Scouts Event

Nobel Prize winner Dr. Joe Taylor of Princeton University, aka K1JT, recently awarded Radio Merit Badges to 55 Boy Scouts from Central New Jersey at the David Sarnoff Library in Princeton. This was the fourth year that the library and David Sarnoff Corporation hosted the event, run by Amateur Radio Operators from the Delaware Valley Radio Association and the David Sarnoff Radio Club.

Dr. Taylor described how he earned his Amateur Radio License and Radio Merit Badge as a Boy Scout, and how it led him to a career in Radio Astronomy. His work at the Radio Telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, led to Dr Taylor’s 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of a binary pulsar, which helped to confirm Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

Earlier, Dr. Alex Magoun, Executive Director of the Library, explained how a young David Sarnoff probably began his career in broadcasting when he received radio messages from the sinking SS Titanic. He went on to found RCA and the National Broadcasting Company. Magoun also described how color television, computer memory, LCD’s, and HDTV were advanced by discoveries at the Sarnoff laboratories. Scouts attended classes during the day on Radio Theory, Electronic Circuits, Electrical Safety, and Amateur Radio. They spoke via Amateur Radio to hams across the country and on board the battleship USS New Jersey, and located a hidden transmitter on the property. They also saw demonstrations of the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), sent their names in Morse Code, and learned how Amateur Radio provides essential communications during disasters.

Charter School Student Inspires Art Workshop

Stephanie Hauer, a Princeton Charter School (PCS) 6th grader, was the catalyst for an after-school art workshop held at the school in November to benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Mercer County.

PCS Art teacher Elise Hirvonen, provided blank watercolor note cards and postcards for the event, and all PCS children in grades K-8 were invited to participate. Shauna Chase, Assistant Head of School, K-4, and Christie Shore, Grade 4 educator, assisted as more than 40 children painted the stationary. Stephanie will use the finished products in the annual children’s art sale she organizes to benefit CASA.

Stephanie’s art sale is held every June in front of Sovereign Bank on Nassau Street in Princeton. Sovereign Bank matches all donations raised by Stephanie’s efforts.  Support in the past has also come from Red Green Blue, in Palmer Square, and Color Me Mine, in the Princeton Shopping Center, which have both donated their unclaimed art to Stephanie’s art sale. In addition, the Arts Council of Princeton donated all unclaimed art from their summer camps to the sale. CASA received approximately $1,800.00 from Stephanie’s June 2007 art sale. For more information on CASA, go to

Princeton Charter School is a public school located on a seven-acre campus at 100 Bunn Drive in Princeton. The school enrolls almost 300 students in Kindergarten through grade eight. Currently there is one class section in grades K-4 and two in grades 5-8. Over a two-year period, beginning in September 2008, PCS will increase its capacity to 348 students. by adding a second section to grades three and four. For more information call 609-924-0575 or visit

Dean’s Lists

Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, recently released its dean’s list for outstanding academic achievement during the fall semester of the 2007-08 academic year. Students on the list from the Princeton area include Rachel B. Axelrod, Kathryn A. Batchelor, Daniel T. Cavallaro, Jessica M. Cellars, Lauren N. Gram, Alexandra R. Gutowski, John S. Morrison III, and Allison C. Posta.


The University of Wisconsin-Madison has placed area resident Lindsay Langdon March of the School of Education on its Dean’s List for the fall semester of the 2007-2008 academic year.

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