Union County students attain top leadership posts at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark

Photo Courtesy of Michael Scanlan/St. Benedict’s Prep
Sarha Flores of Elizabeth and William Register of Hillside have been named senior group leaders of their respective single-sex high school divisions at St. Benedict’s Prep.

NEWARK, NJ — Sarha Flores, of Elizabeth, and William Register, of Hillside, have been named senior group leaders of their respective single-sex high school divisions at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark. Senior group leader is the top leadership post a student can attain at the Catholic school, which places leadership, as well as the day-to-day operation of the school, in the hands of students.

Flores and Register assumed their posts in July. St. Benedict’s operates on an 11-month year, and student leaders run the freshman overnight, an immersive, weeklong experience of community building and challenges for first-year students. Flores heads a senior leadership team of five young women and is responsible for a growing Girls Prep Division of 154 students. She attended St. Genevieve’s School and Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth prior to becoming a member of the founding Girls Prep Division at St. Benedict’s.

Register attended Burnet Middle School in Union prior to St. Benedict’s. He leads a senior team of seven and is responsible for the Boys Prep Division that numbers nearly 525 young men.

Both students look forward to the opportunities and challenges that await them in the year ahead. “This year will be about raising and improving our standards from where we were last year,” said Flores, noting that student leaders had to do a lot of rebuilding after months of remote learning due to COVID-19.

“It’s a good time for us to implement new things to make the school better,” Register agreed.

Headmaster Rev. Edwin Leahy said Flores and Register earned the respect and admiration of their peers and faculty at the school. “That’s incredibly important for a senior group leader,” he explained. “When the senior group leader raises his or her hand at our morning convocation, the entire gymnasium filled with hundreds of kids and adults falls silent waiting for their word or instruction on how we start our day and how it’s going to go. That’s a tremendous weight and opportunity for a 16- or 17-year-old to carry. I’m excited to see what Sarha and William do with it.”

The 2022-23 academic year began on Monday, July 25, at St. Benedict’s. Flores is the third senior group leader in Girls Prep Division history; Register is the 46th senior group leader in the Boys Prep Division. The boys leadership role was created in 1977, a few years after St. Benedict’s reopened in 1973 to serve students from in and around Newark.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct the spelling of Sarha Flores’ name and to correctly credit the photograph.