The Essex County Civic Club of East Orange held its Crispus Attucks Annual Luncheon on March 8, 2014 at the Mayfair Farms in West Orange. The club celebrated its 104th anniversary with President Florence M. Johnson presiding. The afternoon began with the cocktail hour in which everyone mingled, socialized, sipped, and munched on the sumptuous hors d’oeuvres. At approximately one o’clock, the formal program started with the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and two violin selections given by Brittany Archer, an outstanding sophomore from Newark’s St. Vincent Academy.
The United States Congressional Representative, Donald Payne, Jr. of New Jersey, gave a brief, but incisive report concerning the latest news depicting the inappropriate behavior at a recent meeting of Republican Representative, Darrell Issa, of California, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee toward his colleague, Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland. Mr. Payne also alluded to the ways in which President Obama has been attacked “on every side (by Republicans) but has held himself with respect and dignity,” throughout these latest ordeals, Mr. Payne stated.
After the tasty buffet luncheon, and some musical selections performed by the Senior Dancers of East Orange, and the North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club, President Johnson and her colleagues made presentations to four honorees. They were Mr. Robert Kevin Waters, for his outstanding contributions in sports and mentoring to the young boys of Newark; Ms. Chandri Barat, for founding the Barat Foundation, an organization created for young people interested in the arts; Ms. Goldie Burbage, a senior, who was the first in breaking many racial barriers in the job market, and who has worked in several municipal and civic positions in East Orange and Essex County; and Ms. Pamela Taylor, an artistic dance director, who has worked tirelessly with youth and senior groups in her church, several schools and colleges, and other organizations throughout Essex County.
The efforts of the Essex County Civic Club were greatly appreciated by the audience as shown with its constant applause. Ms. Joyce Allen, President of the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs gave a strong reminder when she spoke of the history of women’s civic groups and its need for the formidable continuance of all of the other civic clubs throughout the country, along with the efforts of the Essex County Civic Club.
Finally, throughout the entire afternoon, everyone enjoyed the wonderful music provided by the DJ, Mr. Homer Burks.
June G. Wigfall
After graduating from Lincoln High School in Jersey City (1961), Bloomfield College (1968), marriage and the birth of her daughter, Ms. Wigfall attended graduate school at New Jersey City University, formerly Jersey City State College, and graduated with an M.A. in Student Personnel Services in 1976. Teaching always interested her because, as a youngster, she aspired to be an actress. However, her mother believed that acting was impractical. “A job as a teacher is a skill, which would better provide food for your table,” she claimed.
Ms. Wigfall started her teaching career at West Side High School in the Newark School District in 1968, and found that she loved to read about the many adventures students had to tell, especially their tales of family and friends; their fears - the times when they were caught in situations, and the ultimate reprisals they had to suffer. Inner-city schools are filled with many students who are humorous, and she believed the greatest joy is when these humorous experiences accompany and assist them in learning. This period in their lives proves to be a great time to learn new vocabulary, new ways of expression, and subsequently new ways to share.
When Ms. Wigfall was promoted to Department Chairperson of English at Weequahic High School in 1979, she viewed many types of teaching and learning. The best classes which she observed were the ones to which she was invited, because it was there where she witnessed excellent teacher preparation and management, strong student engagement, and lots of smiles from students while learning. She retired in 2000, and since then has taught English at an after-school program, observed student teachers in several public and parochial schools for a noted university, and was a member of a writer’s club, The Write Stuff, in Montclair. Ms. Wigfall still enjoys meeting people who love to learn.
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