Emma Lucadema, a senior at Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains, has been named the winner of the 2016 Marc Wesley Hardy Human Rights Award by First Congregational Church of Westfield. The award is given annually to a young person who has distinguished him or herself in the area of human rights.

Lucadema received the honor for her extensive community service, most notably on behalf of her ongoing support of the Chinese members of First United Methodist Church of Scotch Plains. She worked to create a banner, puppet stage and hymnal markers for the English and Mandarin speaking members of her congregation. Her idea to make a cross using thumbprints of the church members met with resistance from those who had experienced Communist China, where fingerprints were used to track citizens. The experience highlighted her appreciation of the freedoms we enjoy in America.

A Girl Scout since 2003, Lucadema earned the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards for her service projects which included “Hearts for Honduras,” where she collected backpacks and school supplies for children in Honduras. Through her church, she has also been involved in outreach efforts including the local food pantry and Crop Walk, and is a Sunday School teacher and youth leader.  

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At the Union County Magnet School, Lucadema is a member of the National Honor Society and has helped plan charity drives to collect personal items for homeless shelters and overseas troops. She also engineered a forearm support to be used by a girl with hypotonic muscles in the Special Needs Arc Kohler School. Lucadema will attend the University of Florida in the fall as Elementary Education major.  She is the daughter of Ken and Karen Lucadema of Kenilworth.

Lucadema received her award, consisting of a check and certificate, at the April 24 worship service of the First Congregational Church of Westfield. The Marc Hardy Human Rights Award was created in memory of Marc Hardy, a member of First Congregational Church who was a talented and promising young student when he lost his life in a car accident in his senior year at Westfield High School, in 1990. 

First Congregational Church, a member of the United Church of Christ, is located at 125 Elmer Street in Westfield.  For additional information, please contact 908-233-2494 or visit fccofwestfield.org.