SUMMIT, NJ, October 11, 2018 – Oak Knoll School history teacher Nicole Johnston, a Chatham resident, will be inducted into Hackensack Meridian Health’s third annual Women Who Rock Hall of Fame this weekend based on her work to bring the virtual classroom to cancer patients amid her own health battle.
Johnston will be recognized on Sunday, October 14, 2018, at the Asbury Park Convention Hall and Paramount Theatre. Through the Hall of Fame, Hackensack Meridian Health honors women who “rock” a certain decade of their lives.
Johnston, who was nominated by her sister, is being honored for rocking her 30s in large part due to the virtual effort, dubbed Project Min, named after her grandmother, Clementine Johnston, who passed away from cancer in 2015.
The program offers in-person and online instruction for children battling cancer. Johnston teaches in-person once a week and holds additional online Skype sessions depending upon the needs of a given student.
Johnston’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame also recognizes overcoming medical issues of her own – she has undergone three surgeries in six years, with the most recent being a procedure on her brain as her cerebellum was extending into her spinal canal.
“On a personal level, this award means a great deal,” Johnston said. “Last year was exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally. I was out of school for three months. It was hard for me to be away from my Oak Knoll and Hackensack students that long.”
Johnston, who still visits her Hackensack students once a week, admitted it was a challenge recovering from the most recent procedure, which took place in January 2018.
“It took me a while to work through the physical and occupational therapies after surgery to get back to myself,” she said.
At roughly the same time she was undergoing the procedure, she also lost one of her Hackensack students, Joshua Randman, who spoke with Oak Knoll School staff last year about Johnston’s virtual reality project.
“His passing was hard but recommitted me to why I dedicate my time to helping pediatric cancer patients,” Johnston said. “He was someone who always kept planning for his future and I want to continue encouraging that same sentiment in other students.”
By recognizing women who rock in the community, the Hall of Fame seeks to inspire women to fulfill their potential and reach a state of well-being, according to Hackensack Meridian Health.
The event will also feature a series of interactive activities to promote health and wellness through the five pillars of health – sleep, activity, purpose, nutrition and resilience.
Click here to view videos produced by Hackensack Meridian Health about Johnston and the other 2018 inductees.
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is an independent, Catholic school, coeducational in elementary school from kindergarten through grade six; and all-girls in middle and high school from grades seven through 12. For more information about Oak Knoll, please visit www.oakknoll.org or call 908-522-8109.