SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- When Ed Thornton isn’t in his classroom at Union Catholic teaching history, there’s a good chance he can be found volunteering his time serving the Union Catholic community or helping those in need.

Thornton, a 2004 graduate of the school has made his presence felt around the UC campus and throughout Union County through several Social Justice initiatives since becoming a faculty member at his alma mater in 2009.

His dedication and commitment to the community has been recognized by the Friendly Sons of St Patrick of Union County, who have chosen Thornton as the recipient of the Joseph Higgins Award, a community service award named after the founder of the Friendly Sons, and given to an outstanding leader in the field of education.

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The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Union County will honor Thornton at their annual dinner on March 12 at the Grand Summit Hotel.

Thornton, a lifelong resident of Union County, spearheads several initiatives at UC, including the Blood Drive, Clothing Drive, the 750 Club, and he serves as the Race Director for the Viking 5K. He also served as the coordinator of the Fish Fry and was an assistant track and field coach at Union Catholic.  

Additionally, Thornton has been liaison between the Union County Parade Committee and the Union Catholic Student’s Irish Viking Organization, who have been an integral part of the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the annual Grand Marshal Investiture Mass. He is also an active member of the St John the Apostle – St Vincent DePaul Society, serves on the Board of Trustees for St. Joseph’s Social Service Center in Elizabeth, and is on the Executive Board of the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee where he serves as Corresponding Secretary.

Ed Thornton is honored to be recognized for his community service. 

“It's humbling,’’ said Thornton, who received his BS from Mary Washington University, Fredericksburg, Va. in Historic Preservation, and his Masters in Education Leadership Management & Policy from Seton Hall University. “You don't do this (community service) for the awards. We all do it for the right reason. This also showcases how great Union Catholic is, and how many great opportunities there are to help the community, which is great for the Friendly Sons and for everyone involved.''

Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to fulfill their college and career goals by cultivating the students' achievement of academic standards of excellence within a value-centered environment, strong in its commitment to our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and community), and to the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit