RAHWAY, NJ - “Now I feel more connected to my town than ever before.” This was the sentiment expressed by Rahway High School senior and president of the French National Honor Society, Sephora Delice, after a visit with Rahway School Superintendent Dr. Patricia Camp.
On the afternoon of November 16, Dr. Camp welcomed into her office the presidents of nine different national honor societies in the high school to offer each of them her personal congratulations on their accomplishments and exceptional academic achievements. She was also genuinely eager to learn about the future plans and career aspirations embraced by each student. Listening with a caring ear (and offering sage advice when the moment was right), Dr. Camp clearly conveyed to her young guests her dedication to and support for all the students in her district.
This unique opportunity for superintendent and student to sit together at table and dialogue was the first of its kind in Rahway and definitely had a strong and very positive impact on Dr. Camp’s guests on many levels. Senior and president of the Italian National Honor Society, Anly Paulino, felt “privileged to have the chance to meet somebody in such a high position and to learn that she genuinely cared about MY success.” Nataly Quelopana, president of the Spanish National Honor Society, found it “an amazing experience to find out my superintendent is involved in and dedicated to our high school’s honor societies.”
As the conversation moved briskly from one topic to another, students also had the opportunity, as Luzangela Martinez states, “to get to know Dr. Camp as a person and to know she cares enough to get to know us, the students in her schools.” (Ms. Martinez has the honor of being the president of both the Science and the Math National Honor Societies.) Perhaps the most important effect the day’s visit had on the students was that they all shared in the feeling that their superintendent was very “real” and that they were being “watched over” during these very stressful high school years. “After all,” president of the National Honor Society Cedric Price points out, “she took the time to share her day with us!”
Dr. Camp is quick to aver that “these students are examples of what can be achieved with work and dedication by the students and their teachers; they are wonderful representatives of our schools, our community, and their generation!” In addition to finding her guests “thoughtful and well-spoken student leaders”, she was also impressed to learn that her students “are considering a range of careers including medicine, education, law, criminal justice, and engineering.”
The overall success of the afternoon can best be termed as a ‘learning experience’ for both student and superintendent alike; each discovered something new about the other through open, shared dialogue. President of the National Art Honor Society, Clarissa Miranda-Simmons summed it up quite well: “Cool how she gave kids our age acknowledgement for things we love doing.”