ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury middle school student Thomas (TJ) Mathis, a young man who "represents what you want" in a student, was recently given a leadership award by a county organization.

Mathis, who attends Eisenhower Middle School (EMS), received the Morris County Superintendent’s Middle School Leadership Award (MSLA). The MSLA, awarded to graduating middle school students whose actions and deeds “represent a model of citizenship and leadership in their respective school community” was presented to Mathis by the Morris County Association of School Administrators (MCASA).

Each middle school in the county selects one student from each middle school in their district to receive the honor. Nominations are based on academic, extracurricular and community leadership “that has had a positive impact on their school environment and someone who serves as role models for others,” said the Roxbury school district in a statement.

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At EMS, two boys and two girls were initially nominated based on their demonstration of leadership both in the classroom and outside the school. “The nominees then meet with the school administration and a guidance counselor and are given a packet that includes a vision statement, a resume, and a series of questions,” said EMS Assistant Principal Elizabeth Omegna. “All 12 nominations are then anonymously coded and the entire staff gets to vote on the candidates.”

Omegna said Mathis received nearly 60 percent of the votes.

“TJ works with the Interact Club and has begun hosting events at EMS in conjunction with the Builder’s Club,” she said. “His packet and resume spoke volumes about his passions and commitments, so the staff were more than impressed.”

EMS Principal Dominick Miller shared Omegna’s sentiments and said, “TJ represents what you want in a middle school student, he is a scholar, an athlete, he is civic minded, empathetic and a great ambassador for our district. He is a great student, a supportive friend, and a true leader.”

Mathis was presented a personalized plaque to commemorate this award along with a group photo of the recipients by the MCASA.