CLARK, NJ - CLARK, NJ – Ten students from the Arthur L. Johnson High School were selected to participate in the Union County Student Training and Enrichment Program, UC STEP.  The program invites high school sophomores and juniors to engage in activities focused on leadership, personal growth and civic engagement. Throughout the day, students participate in workshops focusing on time management, collaboration, and leadership.

“The chance for students to attend the sessions was a great opportunity for students to engage in a project that will have an immediate impact on their local communities,” ALJ teacher and co-advisor to UC STEP Franklin Stebbins said.

Representing ALJ were Liz Archer, Kelsey Bricese, Natalie Carnovale, Krista Genisi, Matt Iaccarino, Janelle Pyar, Joe Scardilli, Georgia Stavrakis, Eric Valasquez, Steve Villaverde.

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The students worked with peers from other communities to discuss issues that face Union County and create a solution. After groups presented their ideas, participants voted on their favorite. The top three were then voted on by the public.

The winning campaign for this year is “Donate to Educate” - Schools Supplying Schools. In conjunction with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Union County and the Union County Freeholders, the project aims to collect school supplies to support local students in need.

Arthur L. Johnson High School is currently collecting new or unused school items such as backpacks, notebooks, binders, crayons, and highlighters. A collection box is set up and contributions may be dropped off at the high school, 365 Westfield Avenue, through Tuesday, May 5.  Contact for additional information.

Students may also purchase UC STEP themed headphones and smart phone stylus pens at lunchtime to aid in raising funds for the campaign.  Questions about these items can also be directed to

At the end of the collection process, the high school with the most items and enthusiasm towards the campaign will receive a $1000 START NOW grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

High school student Amanda Banek emphasized the importance of this campaign.

“It gives all students the opportunity to learn and succeed along with their peers. Education is what drives society, and it is essential that students be given the tools they need for success,” Banek said.  She encouraged people to help schools in the community by “Donating to Educate.”


Georgia Stavrakis is a student at Arthur L. Johnson High School and a participant in the UC STEP program.