NEWARK, NJ – In a joint effort to recognize Newark’s unsung heroes, the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Financial named Sister June Favata, administrative director at Saint Vincent Academy the winner of the “Newark’s Cornerstone” community initiative during the first intermission of Saturday evening’s 4-2 home loss to the New York Islanders.
Sister Favata, who has been a faculty member of Saint Vincent’s Academy for nearly a half-century, was joined on the ice during the presentation ceremony by seven other finalists with various backgrounds. As the grand prize recipient, Sister Favata will receive two tickets to Prudential Center events for one year between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018
“This achievement is not about me, it’s about Saint Vincent Academy and all of the great people I work with now and have worked with since 1969 and to all of the people who worked there before me,” Sister Favata said. “We stand on the shoulders of some pretty powerful women. It’s been my privilege to have worked here over the years. To see what some of these women have accomplished is very affirming.”
Sister Favata recalled participating in Saint Vincent Academy’s reunion earlier that day, in which she saw some of the students she taught as long as 45 years ago.
“It is very satisfying to know that (my students) have some recognition and appreciation for the roles that we played in their development at Saint Vincent Academy even after all these years,” she said, adding that the private school has been serving the community for nearly 150 years. “Tough love is a hallmark really because we feel that’s where students get best in touch with their potential and really dig down deep to recognize the full potential that God gave them.”
One of the most rewarding qualities that she appreciates as an educator was the experience of teaching multi-generations of women.
“We have so many women who are sending their daughters,” said Favata. “To have taught a women and her daughter is pretty special. If you ever want to feel if you’re doing something right, that’s something that tells you that you are.”
The program was developed in commemoration of Newark 350, the year-long celebration of Newark’s 350th Anniversary. All finalists and the winner were selected by a panel of carefully selected individuals.
“As we thought about opportunities to look at the strengths and assets of Newark, we wanted to take a closer look at the people who are making a difference in the community,” said Shané Harris, vice president for Corporate Giving, Corporate Social Responsibility for Prudential Financial and executive director of the Prudential Foundation. “Newark’s Cornerstones has been a great opportunity to raise awareness for the community’s unsung heroes and it has been an initiative that was driven by the residents.”
Harris suggested that Newark is experiencing a resurgence as a result of the decade’s worth of investments in the community and all those individuals who dedicate their efforts towards building a better future.
“We have committed and dedicated a variety of resources and thought leadership programs as well as investment capital to the city,” said Harris, who stressed Prudential’s long-term commitment to Newark dates back to the financial company’s beginnings. “We see Newark as our hometown and we’re really excited to be a member of this community.”
The delicate balance of capital investments in physical space and the non-profit sector serves residents in key areas of the community and will be an important role in solidifying the community bond, which is also some the Devils are proud of.
“The commitment that these eight individuals make to this great city of Newark is remarkable,” said Jeff Scott, vice president of Community Investment and Grassroots at Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils. “As an organization, we are so grateful for all of their tremendous work, and want to especially congratulate Sister June Favata for her many years of tireless dedication to the youth in our community.”
The seven additional finalists included Alison James Frison, Chef Vonda McPherson, Jim White, Akbar Cook, Charity Haygood, Kimberlee Williams, and A’Dorian Murray-Thomas. Information about them and videos highlighting their stories can be found at www.prucenter.com/newarkscornerstones/finalists.