CALDWELL, NJ — Grover Cleveland Middle School will be honoring its late former principal James Brown with a day of service, now entitled “Make a Difference Day,” on April 1.

Brown passed away last spring due to complications from COVID-19.

To honor Brown, Principal John Bertollo announced there will be a “Live” virtual event to continue honoring Mr. Brown’s vision and show our students the importance of making a difference. 

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Speakers will include U.S. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, local elected officials and community members, LGBTQ+ activist Rebekah Bruesehoff, as well as organizations like Wounded Warrior, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Special Olympics. The event will also feature a special Keynote Address by Rutgers Football Star, Eric LeGrand. And of course, throughout the event, we will also honor Mr. Brown with memories and stories from those who knew him well. 

While GCMS will be 100 percent virtual on April 1, everyone will follow this schedule: 

8:30 am: Students will report to their Advisory group via Zoom for an introduction. 8:45 am - 12:10 pm: Make A Difference Day 

12:10 pm: Students will report to their Advisory group via Zoom for a discussion. 12:30 pm: Virtual Dismissal 

The video will be live streamed through YouTube Live beginning at 8:45 am and will run approximately 3 ½ hours. For families with a Smart TV or a streaming device like a Roku or a Fire Stick, the event can be broadcasted on the TV. Otherwise, the event can be viewed on YouTube through a web browser. Following the live stream, it will be archived on YouTube for future viewing.

Attendance will be taken during each Advisory session. Due to the length of the program, there will be two brief “intermissions” built into the program. Students will also need to briefly check in with their advisory group during the intermission times for attendance purposes. After checking in, students will have a chance to stretch and get away from the screen for a moment.