CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Cape May County freeholders honored schools, educators and an Ocean City High School student at its most recent meeting March 27.
The county governing body honored two professors at Atlantic Cape Community College and the Cape May City school district, which was recently recognized as a Lighthouse District by the state Department of Education.
But to start things off, the board honored Ocean City High School junior Nora Faverzani, who has been tapped as the student representative to the New Jersey Board of Education for 2018.
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Kathleen Taylor, Ocean City’s school superintendent, heaped praise on Faverzani at the meeting in comments before the freeholders handed her a resolution in her honor, calling her a stand-out student in the classroom and beyond.
“Nora is first and foremost about ensuring that each student is included and that each voice is heard,” Taylor said. “This is one of the reasons why Nora is the first junior voted as the Ocean City High School Student Council president. That leadership role is due to her passion, her ability to speak honestly and openly about pertinent issues regarding students and for students and for her championing her fellow classmates.”
Taylor called Faverzani a leader in the community and in the county, citing her participation in organizing Ocean City High School’s participation in a national student walkout March 14, which protested violence at schools and remembered the students injured and killed in Parkland, Florida, this year.
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She added that as the student council president, Faverzani is committed to inclusion for all students, including using student government funds to cover fees for activities and dances for students who otherwise could not afford to participate.
Faverzani attended the meeting, accompanied by her mother, Superior Court Judge Susan Sheppard. Although invited to do so, Sheppard made no comment at the meeting. She apparently asked that her name not be mentioned at the meeting.
Freeholder director Gerald Thornton mentioned her anyway. He said he’s been close with Faverzani’s family for years.
“If you don’t know, Nora is like my niece,” he said. He was interrupted by a whispered comment. “She just said you’ve got to be careful about naming her mother because of her position. Anyway, her mom is a former freeholder, former surrogate Sue Sheppard.”
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Also at the meeting, the board honored longtime Atlantic Cape Professor Ethel Russell, of Ocean City, known to most as Effie, for receiving the American Association of Community Colleges Faculty Distinction recognition.
The freeholders also honored Professor Svetlana Marzelli, saying she went above and beyond the call of service.
Marzelli was called to help translate when an Azur Air flight from Moscow to Havana had to make an emergency landing at Atlantic City International Airport with 294 passengers and 14 crew members. She agreed to serve as a translator for the passengers while they were stranded at the Egg Harbor Township facility, according to the county resolution.
Later at the meeting, Victoria Zelenak, the school administrator of the Cape May school district, accepted the board’s congratulations as one of seven schools named as a Lighthouse School District. The state Department of Education initiative recognizes districts that have achieved academic growth in English language arts and mathematics with diverse student groups, according to the DOE’s website.
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Two fifth-graders spoke about their school. Garrett Quigley said he likes the pool and swimming at the school.
“Also, the kids are nice if you get to know them,” he told the board, reading from his essay. He said the teachers were very caring. Jessica Hurd said she likes the challenge of advanced math as well as a program called Stop, Smile and Move, in which students sometimes take a break to dance to a fun song. She’s also a fan of the pool.
“I love my school,” she said.