RANDOLPH, NJ – A County College of Morris (CCM) student from Roxbury was recently awarded the college’s 2018 Peace Prize, said the college

The student, Diana Boehm, of Kenvil, joined with fellow student, Mary Rose Cortes, of Morristown, to produce a video documenting their efforts to help families in Gary, W.V., said CCM.

It said Boehm and Cortes are members of the CCM Student Nurses Association. They, and several others in the group, went to West Virginia in May 2017 “to share their time and training with the families of that distressed community, whose high rates of childhood poverty, diabetes, malnutrition and other health-related needs warrant attention,” said the college.

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Boehm and Cortes subsequently produced a video called “Appalachia: Chasing Hope,” said CCM.

It said the CCM Peace Prize, awarded to Boehm and Cortes at CCM’s graduation ceremony May 25, “is intended to inspire students to use their imagination and creativity in the design and production of a work that both commemorates the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and makes a positive statement about the importance and pursuit of world peace.”

The video made by Cortes and Boehm “chronicles the Student Nurses Association’s efforts to teach, assist and offer hope to their fellow Americans,” said CCM. “They rebuilt playgrounds, provided nutritional assessments and advice, monitored blood pressure and performed other screenings.”

As winners of the Peace Prize, the project received a $1,000 award from the CCM Foundation. The college said Boehm and Cortes asked that the money be donated to the School for Life in Gary, W.V., said the college.

It said Cortes and Boehm will have their names added to a permanent plaque of Peace Prize winners located in the Student Community Center.

"The reason I chose to be a part of this project is because I know what it feels like to lose hope,” said Boehm, according to CCM. “We live in a time where it is easy to forget that there are people out there that care. I wanted to help remind people not to give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope that by watching this, people are reminded that every person has the ability to make this world a place full of love and support for one another. Any effort made to show love in this world is a move into a positive direction.”

Cortes said she finds hopelessness to be the biggest problem in West Virginia, said CCM.  “If they can see that we care, we work hard and persevere through our own struggles, then the children can learn to ascend to greatness and follow their dreams,” Cortes is quoted as saying. “We may never meet the men and women who these children will become, but it takes a farmer to sow the seed of hope. Once it's sown, it is sown.”
The faculty mentor overseeing the project was Professor Buffy Reilly from the CCM Department of Nursing, said the college.


Mary Rose Cortes receives her Peace Prize award from Professor Peter Maguire at the County College of Morris 49th Commencement Ceremony. Co-recipient Diana Boehm was unable to attend the ceremony.


Diana Boehm, co-recipient of the County College of Morris 2018 Peace Prize award