Fifty-seven middle and high school students from Somerset and Hunterdon counties were honored for their achievements at the 27th Annual Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards Reception, held April 6 at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg.

 

The evening featured a keynote address by Dr. Gloria Boseman, PhD, RN, who has been delivering healthcare services to the underserved and underrepresented urban communities for more than 30 years. Her work has focused on urban health and lifestyle behaviors.

 

The National Council of Negro Women and RVCC initiated the Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards program to pay tribute to the outstanding attainments of students in the two counties. The awards are named in honor of Paul Robeson, a Princeton native who grew up in Somerville and graduated from Somerville High School and Rutgers University. The awards, sponsored by the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice at RVCC, were given in four areas in which Robeson excelled: Scholarship, the Arts, Community Service and Athletics. Other honors include special “Renaissance Awards” given to students who excel in a number of disciplines, and the Paul Robeson Literary Award.

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The Mrs. Evelyn Field Visionary Award also was presented. The award pays tribute to the founding member of the RVCC Board of Trustees who was a dynamic and compassionate advocate for promoting diversity and equality on campus. In 1990 Mrs. Field established the Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Program to preserve Paul Robeson’s legacy as a role model for excellence.

 

The 57 students were nominated for awards by their guidance counselors, teachers and administrators. A special committee of RVCC faculty and administrators selected the award recipients. The following high school students were honored:

 

Community Service Award

Madison Hill-Glover

Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School

 

Giovanni Stewart

Franklin High School

 

Renaissance Award

Faizah Holmes

North Hunterdon Regional High School

 

Taylor Singleton

Somerville High School

 

Scholarship Award

Yadah Ampofo

Voorhees High School

 

Alyssa Wells-Lewis

Franklin High School

 

Athletics Award

Stuart Cundiff

Immaculata High School

 

Mekhi Lewis

Bound Brook High School

 

Arts Award

Jadon  Melecio

Franklin High School

 

Evelyn Field Visionary Award

Malachi Brockman

Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School

 

The following middle school students were honored:

 

Community Service Award

Ashley Dawsey

North Plainfield Middle School

 

Arianna Cook

Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School

 

Scholarship Award

Nyla Sapia

J. P. Case Middle School

 

Aliya Kpamegan

Franklin Middle School

 

Athletics Award

Tyson  Murray

Franklin Middle School

 

Bethlehem Dooley

J. P. Case Middle School

 

Arts Award

Brooke Owens

Franklin Middle School

 

Bryce Gray

Franklin Middle School

 

Renaissance Award

Gabrielle Davis

Franklin Middle School

 

Ashley Bangura

Franklin Middle School

 

Paul Robeson Literary Award

Michael Kessie

J. P. Case Middle School

 

Evelyn Field Visionary Award

Amya Prescott

Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School

 

The Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice was founded in 1999 to preserve Paul Robeson’s legacy in the area where he came of age as an artist, athlete, orator, and scholar. The Institute envisions a global community of diverse cultures that embodies, through attitudes and behaviors, Paul Robeson’s ideals, beliefs, values, and vision for a world of justice and peace.

 

The Paul Robeson Resource Room, located in RVCC’s Evelyn S. Field Library, is an information center for Robeson’s national and worldwide activities. Established in 2003, the Resource Room serves as a repository for educational materials, historical records and memorabilia of Robeson’s Somerville years and the worldwide accomplishments of people of African-American descent. 

 

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development, and adult and youth personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium. RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses, and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.