CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Superintendent of Schools Michael Fetherman has dreamed of restarting the Cedar Grove Education Foundation (CGEF) for a while. It had been active when he came to the district as a principal in 2009, but shortly after the foundation dissolved.
“Restarting the Ed Foundation has been part of my strategic planning for a while. It was active when I first came to Cedar Grove and I thought they did really good work,” Fetherman said. “I think every town should have an Ed Foundation to shine the light on academics and to help with the process of connecting with the community and being partners with the community in educating our children.”
The original CGEF was founded in 2003 by Donna Thompson, Diane Morresi, Teresa Zatorski and Denise Malone with the intention of enriching and enhancing the educational experiences of Cedar Grove students above and beyond the scope of the regular curriculum and to provide lifelong learning opportunities for the entire community. The foundation raised money through various events and programs such as a health and wellness fair and expo, continuing adult education programs, and an honoree dinner gala recognizing individuals of the Cedar Grove community who have made a difference in the lives of Cedar Grove residents.
However, in 2010 the children of the women running the foundation graduated and it became difficult to find volunteers to continue its mission, thus the foundation dissolved. Since that time, Fetherman has had his eye on reigniting it, but the timing wasn't’t right….until now.
“I’ve wanted to get the Ed Foundation going for a while now and the timing seems to be right. With the help of Board of Education President Christine Dye, we were able to locate folks who felt the same way, like Kathy Jablonski and Trish Wilson,” Fetherman explained. “Indeed there was a spark and they ran with it. I helped them locate old IRS filings regarding our tax exempt status and they got in touch with the proper agencies so we could get back online. If it wasn't for them I’d still be hoping to advance the Ed Foundation idea.”
The new board includes Jablonski, Wilson, Jennifer Warkentin and Kelly Tencza. Jablonski said the board is excited to continue the foundation's work with the help of adult and student volunteers, noting that original members like Rosanna Imbriano has been invaluable -- providing wisdom, guidance and experience.
“We are just getting started so we’ve talked about some goals, but it’s long term, strategic planning at this point," Fetherman said. “We want to support the arts, technology and supplement other programs that perhaps the budget doesn’t cover. It’s a slow start, but we want to build on the momentum and make an impact.”
“We would like to establish a scholarship for college-bound high school students, as well as, raise funds through community events such a Food Truck Festival and an Alumni Hall of Fame Gala,” Jablonski said. "It is very important we build connections with Cedar Grove alumni to celebrate their successes and connect our students with role models in many different careers and endeavors.”
To kick things off, the CGEF is hosting its inaugural event "Taste of the Arts in Cedar Grove,” an art exhibition featuring both adult and student artists in the community. It is being held Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Cedar Grove High School cafeteria, with a snow date of March 22. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Admission includes coffee and dessert and entertainment by talented Cedar Grove students and faculty. .
Anyone interested in getting involved with CGEF, please email CGEducationFoundation@gmail.com.