School Counts! Aims to Raise Quality of Life


By Dr. Kenneth Ender, President

School Counts! is a hole-in-one for Cumberland County’s residents and businesses.

Through School Counts!, high school students are going to be able to earn a certificate, in addition to their diploma, that indicates that they are workforce ready. Students can earn the certificate by attending school regularly, achieving above average grades, accomplishing more than the minimum graduation requirements and graduating on time.

The School Counts! certificate means opportunity for the students. Area businesses will give them the edge as job applicants, since the students possess characteristics employers desire. School Counts! students will also be eligible for a full scholarship to attend Cumberland County College.

So the county’s School Counts! high school graduates can pursue entry-level jobs at the 350 area businesses participating in School Counts! or continue their education at CCC for free.

Money for the scholarships is being raised by the CCC Foundation through special events and an endowment campaign. The first event was the June 14 School Counts! Golf Classic, which netted $75,000.

What a spectacular event! I was far from being the best golfer playing on this beautiful day, but I was most likely the happiest. The community really came together to benefit this great cause – student scholarships and an improved quality of life in Cumberland County. More than 70 area businesses sponsored the golf tournament, with South Jersey Industries and the Law Offices of Arnold Robinson serving as the presenting sponsors. Major sponsors included Federici & Akin II Consulting Engineers, STV Architects, The Daily Journal and many others.

CCC Foundation Board member Norman Neill saw that all the details were in place as chair of the Golf Committee. The members, who shared Neill’s enthusiasm, included Carl Kirstein, Michael Milam, William Milam, Sue Perry, Mark Sockwell, Anthony Sparacio, Alan Woodruff and myself. Volunteers included Anne Bergamo, Vanessa Brown, Gerri Brosh, Terry Carpenter, Carol Fallows, Betsy Gonzalez, Dale Hoffman, Barbara Jarecki, Connie Kirstein, Angie Kracke, Sharon Lind, Barbara Ann Logan, Dolly Marciano, Stacy Pagliughi, Jill Perry, Alyce Reed, Pat Sink and Dorothy Zila.

Newfield National Bank was the first place team. The foursome included President/CEO Gene Rogers, David Swiderski, Pete Burton and Mike Pash. They won a trophy and tailored blazers. Many of the 144 golfers won prizes courtesy of the sponsors.

The five qualifying golfers – Tom Ayres, Phil Price, Frank Forcinito, Jim DeFilipo and Ed Kemp - failed to win the $1 million hole-in-one shootout, presented by Foundry Service Corporation and Price-Milam Insurance.

But they were among the many stars in an event that will assist in raising the quality of life in Cumberland County. The enthusiasm generated by those planning, playing and sponsoring the School Counts! tournament makes me confident that there will be scholarships available for all eligible students when the program begins in 2005.