By Maryann Makosiej (Courtesy of TapintoClark)
New York, NY - On October 15, six students from Arthur L. Johnson High School attended the first inaugural Civics Unplugged Forum Series Seminar at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York City.
Although a simple Sunday once a month, Civics Unplugged delves into subject matter ranging from voting rights, trade, immigration, press, PACs, think tanks, campaign finance, to the merits of the system of checks and balances. As a partner organization to Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization, it provides an opportunity for high school students from across New York and New Jersey to go beyond the classroom and engage with a diverse group of voices.
Bailey Latza, a senior, stated that “learning from people from such diverse walks of life was eye-opening”, while Kayla Dias, also a senior at ALJ, was intrigued by the questions poised by her peers. Each Civic Fellow walked away with a different perspective or idea, their beliefs challenged in a safe, academic setting to better understand the world around them.
The participants, starting the day being addressed by the founders, each attended three seminars intended to foster critical thinking and introduce rigor of dialogue. Each discussion, ranging from the importance of perspective and recognizing bias to the inflection of language in society, provided new avenues for each student to connect with peers across socioeconomic, cultural, religious, and political lines.
At lunch, each student had the opportunity to learn about the backgrounds and cultures of the other 71 participants from 11 different high schools across the tri-state area. This time, Brenner Gull stated, was his favorite because he had a chance to discover a snapshot of life from the five boroughs, as well as lend a snapshot of his own.
“Our students have a role in the civics process, and should be aware of how they use their voice to foster change within their communities,” said Frank Stebbins, the ALJ advisor for the Civics Unplugged Series. Indeed, Civics U extends far beyond 72 participants from 11 different high schools in the tri-state area. Simply, it is a call to action for a completely new school of thought to invite the youngest generation to the proverbial, political table.
The Civics Unplugged Series was created after Jeffrey Silverman, Chairman and Founder, when he noticed a lack of dialogue surrounding current events and civics within his children's’ schools. The presidential election was a pivotal point to him, stating that it “proved to my kids that democracy is an active process. When people become complacent, few people end up making a decision for many”.
Arthur L. Johnson and Carl H. Kumpf schools, along with numerous community organizations including the Rahway River Watershed Association, Rahway and Clark Environmental Commissions, Boy Scout Troop 330 and Cub Scout Pack 30, will hold its annual Earth Day Rahway River clean-up on Saturday, April 22nd (there is a rain date of April 23rd). This cleanup event has been conducted annually since the 1990’s under the auspices of the Union County Adopt-a-Park program.
Teachers at ALJ are adding some in-class incentives for participating. Mr. Reyes, Ms. Zederbaum, Mrs. Jacobi, Mr. Gonzalez, Mrs. Marciano and Mrs. Lopez-Otalvaro are all participating. See individual teachers for specific incentives.
All volunteers are welcome to participate. Interested volunteers should meet at the parking area adjacent to the waterfall of the Rahway River by the dam at Winfield Park at 8:45. The clean-up will generally be between 9-1, but any amount of time or effort that folks can volunteer is appreciated. Anyone can participate! Scout, school, church, and civic groups are just some of the organizations that have participated in the past.
There is a large volume of debris and garbage to remove from the river banks and areas of the river’s floodplain,. This includes debris like shopping carts, tires, and of course floatables (cans, bottles, plastics, etc.). Union County supplies gloves and garbage bags, and material donations from generous individuals and companies (donuts, bagels, coffee, bottled water, paper towels, hand-wipes, etc) support the volunteers. Last year, nearly 150 volunteers participated, and removed tires, and a number of other large pieces of debris, and over 100 large bags of floatable debris and other wastes.
Fredy Reyes, the coordinator for Clark Public Schools, said “this is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. If you haven't participated in an event like this before, you would find it invigorating, and you will feel good about what you are giving back to your community and the environment.” If you need more information please feel free to drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARK, NJ – Photos by Rachel Papa. Article by Erin Heaning
This past weekend, the 10th Annual Clark UNICO Italian American Feast took place on the grounds of the Clark Municipal Building, 430 Westfield Avenue. This festival, held in celebration of Columbus' famous discovery of the new world, took place October 7-9th.
The feast included an abundance of games, rides, shops, and of course, food. The huge selection included Italian, American and international foods like pizza, pasta, barbecue, sausage, zeppolis, funnel cakes, fried Oreos, ice cream, Italian ice, lemonade, wine, beer, and more.
"The feast is a great place to hang out with your friends and go on rides. I loved the great Boardwalk food so close to home, and eating Fried Oreos and potato sticks while walking around and seeing everyone from school was a great time! I went all weekend and it was never enough,” said a very excited 7th grader Ashley B
There was continuous live entertainment in the form of bands and DJs which were present night and day throughout the weekend.