NORTH BRUNSWICK – “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote was the theme for a celebration held in his honor by North Brunswick Township on Jan. 12.
During the event, Cathline Tanis was the school recipient of the Human Rights Award. She has been a teacher in the English Department at North Brunswick Township High School and currently teaches College Prep, Honors and Advanced Placement students.
Over the last few years she has taught an Honors course made up of mostly black and Hispanic students who were considered borderline Honors level students, so she teaches a course meant to support them and encourage their success, according to the event program. She also created the curriculum for and is teaching a new senior English course entitled “Race, Class and Gender in Contemporary Literature.”
As advisor of the Black Cultural Alliance, she has developed a club that is focused on sharing African culture with the entire school community, according to the flier.
Corrie Hopson was the community recipient of the Human Rights Award. The 16-year resident has worked for the North Brunswick Board of Education for almost 10 years; she was a para-professional at Judd Elementary School for most of that time, and is currently
the Special Services secretary at North Brunswick Township High School.
The evening began with the Pledge of Allegiance led by North Brunswick Boy Scout Troop 18. The Parsons Elementary School Fifth Grade Choir followed with “God Bless America.”
After a welcoming greeting from Lou Ann Benson, the director of the North Brunswick Department of Parks, Recreation & Community Services, Chris Gadsden of New Destiny Family Worship Center offered a non-denominational prayer.
Gadsden was recently a councilman in Jersey City and has been an educator in the Jersey City Public School system for two decades and is currently the vice principal at Lincoln High School.
Gadsden, who is a member of New Destiny, has been a youth leader for more than 20 years. He has been a member of different social and civic groups including the North Jersey chapter of National Action Network, the Jersey City chapter of the NAACP and The Royal Men Foundation.
Gadsden served as a keynote speaker, along with Board of Education Member Ingrid Dillon.
Dillon is a 24-year resident who is currently serving a second term on the school board. She is a certified public accountant who has spent most of her career in the private sector in the banking and telecommunications industries.
She is a member of Point Community Church in North Brunswick.
Over the years she has championed many programs such as corporate mentoring for high school students, STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education workshops and an annual Take Our Children to Work Day program for more than 250 children.
She is also the recipient of a Presidential Award for Community Service.
The North Brunswick Township Black Cultural Alliance made a presentation. Amani Jackson recited the poem “Black Enough.” Natalie Chapman sang “Queen.”
Judah from New Destiny followed with “Ride on King Jesus” and “Total Praise,” as did the Project LEAL Drum Ensemble with “Take Time in Life” and “One Love.”
After a video presentation by Livingston Park Elementary School, third graders from the school performed King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and “Free At Last.”