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Hackensack High School authors raise funds for teacher with leukemia

Photo Credit: Toney Jackson, Dina Hereema, Christopher Ryan, Caseen Gaines
Photo Credit: Toney Jackson, Dina Hereema, Christopher Ryan, Caseen Gaines

SHOUT OUT: Local residents braved more snow on Saturday to support a young Hackensack High School teacher fighting leukemia.

Four fellow Hackensack teachers who are also published authors read from their works and discussed writing and teaching at the Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, raising nearly $800 for Ashley Paladino.

The participants:

Dina Nasr-Heerema, who teaches 1st grade at the Fanny Meyer Hillers School, is the author of “A Twist of Fate,” a children’s book that details her family’s journey from war-torn Lebanon to Bergen County.

Ashley Paladino

Caseen Gaines directs the high school’s school’s theater productions. He is the award-winning author of pop culture histories on Pee-wee’s Playhouse and A Christmas Story. He is currently working on his third book, on the “Back to the Future” trilogy, which will be published by Penguin next year.

Christopher Ryan has been named “Best New Voice in Fiction – 2013” by the Independent Book Publishers Association. His debut novel, “City of Woe,” also was honored by theBookcast.com as its first-ever recipient of the “Book of Exceptional Quality” award. Ryan is an award-winning former journalist and has written comedy, songs, and comic books and films. He is currently working on the sequel to “City of Woe” and its sequel, “City of Sin.”

Toney Jackson is an award-winning poet, songwriter, and author/illustrator of children’s literature. His most recent book, “Who Wants to Be a Teacher?”, includes his reflections on teaching at Nellie K. Parker Elementary School and the current state of education in New Jersey and the nation.

(TOP PHOTO: Toney Jackson, Dina Hereema, Christopher Ryan, Caseen Gaines)

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