WEST ORANGE, NJ — Julie Wester, whose parents have a home in Lake Como, will be honored by the Essex Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh at its 51st annual dinner dance on May 4 for "her years of contributions to the Irish-American community at large and her long family history with the Essex Shillelaghs."

Wester will receive the group's Friend of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh award at the gala event, to be held at Mayfair Farms in West Orange.

The daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Wester, she grew up in Maplewood and Lake Como, and currently resides in Hoboken.  For the past five years, the Seton Hall University graduate has been a history teacher at Seton Hall Preparatory School,  West Orange, where she is also involved in the ambassadors program and Gaelic Society.  

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With roots tracing back to Cork and Kerry, Wester and her four siblings were active in the Essex County Irish community from a young age. Attending parades, dances, and fundraisers, Cryan’s, McGovern’s and the Shillelagh Club were staples in the Wester family. 

Wester began Irish dancing in second grade and competed with the DeNogla School of Irish Dance through college. Supporters of Project Children for many years, she and her family hosted two girls from northern Ireland and organized the annual 5K run to raise funds to ensure young people could spend a summer in the United States. 

From traveling for dancing, to competing in the Mary from Dungloe contest in Donegal, and running the Dublin Marathon, Wester has been fortunate enough to regularly connect to family and friends in Ireland.