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Published by info, 2016-04-25 12:38:39



Welcome to our 4th Annual
Red Carpet Gala.
e Annual Red Carpet Gala was created to Hon-
or and Celebrate individuals who
have contribut-
ed to the success
of the Education Center and all of
its programs. During this great lled eve- ning, we will also ac- knowledge and present scholarships to grad- uating students of the Education Center, who will pursue continual education at a post-sec- ondary school of choice. e Learning Empow- erment Achievement Foundation’s (LEAF) mission is to support and o er scholarships and resources for the student population enrolled in the Perth Amboy School System serving all Middlesex County Communities. A diverse student pop- ulation, participating in various High School Diploma programs in
a non-traditional edu- cational setting will be provided with a variety of opportunities to fur- ther their educational goals.
Tonight we celebrate all our honorees who dedi- cate their time, give from their heart, and unself- ishly contribute to the betterment of our com- munity. It is for these reasons and many more that the LEAF Founda- tion today honors and celebrates you.
To our scholar students we wish you the very best in your new endeavors, we hope that you will al- ways remember the Ed- ucation Center and all those who have helped motivate and encourage
you along the way. Congratulations on your graduation and always keep us close to your heart. To all of our sup- porters, without you this event would not be pos- sible. ank You for all you do in support of the Ed- ucation Center stu- dents and the Perth Amboy communi- ty. We ask that you
please spread the word of the LEAF Founda- tion’s mission and all the good that is done to help our community of stu- dents achieve their edu- cational dreams. Please enjoy this evening’s fes- tivities, eat plenty, dance your heart away and en- joy the good company. Let’s Party!!
Senovia Robles, Ed. D. LEAF Founder Retired Principal/Di- rector - Perth Amboy Education Center
2 APRIL 30, 2016

Red Carpet Gala 2016
Masters of Ceremony
Carlos Sanchez - LEAF Board Member Rosa Napoles - SMFS
6:30 p.m.
Welcoming Remarks
Senovia Robles
LEAF Founder
Retired Principal/Director - Perth Amboy Education Center
Honorable Wilda Diaz
Mayor, City of Perth Amboy
Samuel Lebreault—Board of Education, President
Presentation of Awards
Masters of Ceremony & LEAF Board Members
Closing Remarks
Sergio Diaz, LEAF Treasurer Steve Jobin, LEAF Board Member
Music by “Orquesta Son 9”

4 APRIL 30, 2016

Student Scholarship Recipients
Felix Velez, Jr. , Henry Rodgers, Senovia Robles, Javier Lino (Scholarship recipient), Joshua Rodriguez (Scholarship recipient), Anthony Zorrilla (Scholarship recipient), Maria Gonzalez-Fabre (Scholarship recipient, Omar Rivera (Scholarship recipient), Leezenia Cruz, Carlos Sanchez.
Friends of LEAF:
Thank you for your support and donations towards Student Scholarships.

Sipos Bakery located on 365 Smith St., Perth Amboy, NJ opened its doors nearly a half-of-century ago. During this era Sipos primary served the Hungarian, Polish, and European descendant population of Perth Amboy. The original owner George Sipos sold his famous bakery to two lifelong bakers that where eager to continue serving many of the traditional baked goods which thousands of customers stood in line for each holiday season. The tradition continues nearly twenty years later, Sipos Bakery is proud to still offer some of the hardest to find traditional dishes with their original ingredients such as Hungarian Beigli rolled with poppy seed or walnut, Babka baked with raisins and cheese, Hungarian Kifli, and even Bobalky.
cake slices, to mention a few.
Sipos Bakery continues to be known for its quality traditional dishes, but during the past several years we have expanded our repertoire and we are extremely proud to have earned a reputation for our delicious and beautifully designed cakes of all shapes and sizes for every occasion or venue.. We have also extended our line of Danishes and Pastries to meet the demand of our Hispanic clientele, some of the most requested items that have been added are; Quesitos (Cheese Sticks), Pan Tortuga (Turtle Bread), Mexican Conchas, and our Tres Leche
We continue to strive to keep our everyday customers happy with our full line of fresh bread and rolls that include; French Bread, Italian Bread, Rye Bread, Kaiser Rolls, Horn Rolls, and much more. Danish and Doughnuts are baked fresh everyday perfect alongside our delicious coffee to get your mornings started right. Not only are we known for our quality products but our prices are unbeatable, as we strive meet the need of the public we serve. We continue to make the adjustments necessary to bring freshly baked quality items to our customers daily while keeping cost to a minimum. As we continue to serve the bakery needs of our customer, plans are in the works on expanding our menu to include; a variety of delicious sandwiches and ice cream, which will be served all year around. As the years go by we make the adjustments necessary to meet every need of our customers.
Corporate Leadership Award
To all of our customers, we truly appreciate your business and we look forward in continuing to serve you for many years to come. For those of you getting to know us for the first time, please stop by and pay us a visit, we will strive to satisfy your needs and make your visit an enjoyable one.
Hope to see you at Sipos Bakery SOON, You won’t be disappointed!
6 APRIL 30, 2016

Outstanding Mentor Award
within the Education Opportunity Program. She later served as an academic advisor at Rutgers Business School in Newark working closely with freshmen students as they transitioned into college. Eunice was selected as a recipient of the New Jersey Consortium for Urban Education fellow in 2002 and earned graduate credentials to become a certified special educator. She taught in Newark, New Jersey for several years both in public and charter schools. Eunice joined Big Picture Learning in 2009, serving as a founding school leader of Big Picture Ironbound Academy in East Side High School and received Big Picture Learning’s Ted Sizer Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership.
Eunice is an alumnus of Villanova University (where she received a BA in psychology), Teachers College – Columbia University (where she received a MA in Developmental Psychology), and Seton Hall University (where she received a Educational Specialist Degree and Principal credentials). Most recently, Eunice continues her learning through her participate in the Women in Education Leadership Institute at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Victoria Foundation Emerging Leaders Program at Rutgers University Institute for Ethical Leadership. She is a loving wife and doting mother of three.
E unice Mitchell is a Regional Director of Network Support and
Innovation at Big Picture Learning, an educational organization whose mission is to lead vital changes in education, both in the United States and internationally, by generating and sustaining innovative, personalized schools that work in tandem with the real world. She works closely with principals, teachers and community partners, inspiring and igniting radical transformation in schools to meet the needs of students.
Eunice has a diverse experience in education. She started her educational career in higher education at Seton Hall University working with underrepresented students

Ken Puccio is a Perth Amboy example of the American spirit of courage and dedication to duty. While serving as a police officer, he put his life at risk, as a teacher, he helped nurture success in our community’s children because he attributes his own success in life to educators that guided him.
While stationed with his army unit in Texas, Ken Puccio participated in the Big Brother Program. He remained involved in community service when he returned home, as a volunteer firefighter for 10 years and by serving as a coach and president of the Perth Amboy Babe Ruth League.
and NYPD gang units.
Puccio has been recognized as “Police Officer of the Year” three times; in 1987 by the VFW, in 1995 by the FOP & PBA, and by the Perth Amboy Merchants Association in 2003. He has also earned two valor awards. He has been widely recognized for his community service, earning the Perth Amboy Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Community Service Award in 1995 and being recognized by the Perth Amboy Police Department with more than 30 plus letters of commendations. He has been presented with several citations from the Senate and General Assembly.
Ken Puccio became a police officer in September 1983. After seven years in the Perth Amboy Police Department patrol division, he became one of the 35 police officers selected by the Middlesex County Prosecutor to bring Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) to classrooms from Kindergarten through 12th grade. D.A.R.E. is a drug prevention program that teaches students good decision-making skills to help them avoid high-risk behavior and to ensure they grow up healthy, safe and secure.
In his 24 years as a juvenile detective, Ken Puccio served on the School Leadership Committees for Shull, Ceres, and Perth Amboy High. Since 2003, Puccio has sponsored a scholarship in memory of his grandfather, Giovanni Puccio, to benefit graduates of Perth Amboy High School and the Middlesex County Vocational School. Puccio was elected to the Perth Amboy Board of Education in 2009 and served as Vice-President of the Board from 2010-2013.
In 24 years as a D.A.R.E. officer, Ken Puccio has taught more than 4,000 5th graders. Among Puccio’s former D.A.R.E. students, there are 46 officers in the Perth Amboy Police Department along with two officers in Woodbridge Police Department. Puccio also taught the G.R.E.A.T. Program, a law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum with the primary objective of immunizing children against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership.
In addition to being a community- spirited volunteer a heroic law enforcement officer and gifted teacher, Puccio is a dedicated parent who has been gifted with four children, Ken Jr., a Perth Amboy Police Dept. 911 dispatcher; a daughter, Victoria ; a daughter Jillian a Montclair Police Officer ; a daughter Jennifer ; and three grandchildren.
Ken Puccio is a recognized expert on street gangs, graffiti, and the juvenile system. He has lectured on the subject of gangs at Rutgers, Monmouth and Rider universities.
He also taught classes at the Jersey City and NYPD police academies, trained with the Los Angeles Police Department Gang Unit and worked with the FBI, New Jersey State Police,
Humanitarian Award
Born in Perth Amboy and raised by his mother, a single parent, Ken Puccio attended our city’s public school system. After graduating from Perth Amboy High School in 1974, Ken Puccio enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served four years in active duty and spent another eight years in the Army Reserves.
8 APRIL 30, 2016

Outstanding Sta Member Award
LISANN RICHARDSON – Home School Liaison, Edward J. Patten Elementary School, Perth Amboy, NJ:
Lisann has been a coordinator of parent involvement programs and practices at the Edward J. Patten School and other schools throughout the Perth Amboy public schools system since 1992. She began her involvement in the Perth Amboy Public Schools as a parent volunteer in 1986, and was trained to facilitate various parent/family involvement programs. Lisann was the first parent volunteer in the state of NJ to become a certified Family Math Instructor and Family Math Teacher Trainer through the Consortium of Educational Equity at Rutgers University, where she also served as a teacher trainer for the consortium’s Family Science, FANS (Families Achieving the New Standards
in Math, Science & Technology) and the Family Arts and Creativity programs.
In 1990 she became a certified EPIC workshop facilitator and EPIC Home Program Coordinator through Prevent Child Abuse NJ, which led to her employment as a Parent Coordinator for the Perth Amboy Public Schools when the position was created in 1992. In her 30 years of experience in parent/family engagement programs she has conducted over 30 presentations at educational conferences in the state of New Jersey, served on the governor’s NJ Parent/ Family Involvement Committee in 2003, participated in extensive training on whole school reform models including Effective Schools and the Yale School Development Program (Comer Whole School Reform Model), and spoke at several colleges, universities on the importance of parent involvement in schools.
Lisann is currently employed as a Home School Liaison at the Patten School and is responsible for supporting the development, coordination and implementation of parent engagement strategies at the school. She continues to conduct parenting education workshops and continues to work with the Saturday Morning Family School where she has assisted with the development and implementation of the program since its
inception in 1992.
Ms. Richardson is the mother of three sons, Julian, Justin and Jarrett Richardson and grandmother of Jarrett Richardson Jr. She believes that communities are strengthened when we provide the families of the community with the necessary resources for success, and the most important resource is education.

MCommunity Ambassador Award
community. She is always reaching out to colleagues, school administrators, businesses and community groups to help students with their needs. For many of the students, Maria is their voice in the school and community. Currently she works in Perth Amboy High School as a Librarian Assistant. She is the cofounder of the Hispanic American Club, an organization promoting academic excellence, pride for Latino culture, respect towards other cultures, and volunteering in community service. In the evening, she works for the Education Center as a coordinator for the Enrichment Program. She is the cofounder of Red Carpet Gala, a committee created to celebrate adult students’ achievements through continued education. Maria is very proud and grateful to serve the Perth Amboy community and strongly believes that if you have the opportunity to work for the public sector you must serve the people the best you can with honor because in the end you are an employee of the community and you serve them efficiently.
aría Díaz was born in Yaque Abajo, a small countryside village in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She is the first
child of Magdaleno Díaz and Lourdes Jímenez. She is the mother of three daughters, all of which she proudly saw graduate from Perth Amboy High School. She considers her family her main inspiration in creating and doing everything she does for others. More importantly, she considers herself very fortunate because all of her family members and friends help her in every one of the projects she begins which allowed her to continue serving others.
From an early childhood, she demonstrated her passion for studies. She graduated Valedictorian from her high school in Dominican Republic, and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in Finance with a concentration on Accounting. She moved to Perth Amboy, New Jersey and registered at the Education Center, a school that guided her to Middlesex County College where she graduated in Liberal Arts (Sociology). She later transferred to Rutgers University and took courses in Sociology and Women’s Studies. Later she graduated with a bachelor’s in Spanish from Kean University and a Master’s in Spanish Language Literature and Culture from Salamanca, Spain.
Maria has always been concerned about the opportunities young people have to study, and aims to empower everyone through education. In the Dominican Republic, she volunteered as a tutor and then a coordinator of schools that offered classes via a radio station to reach out students from the country side and remote areas that did not have conventional school. In Perth Amboy Maria has been involved with the community over the past 25 years including: community organizing, educating, and coordinating various services for students, teaching them the importance of the academic excellence, social empowerment, civic responsibility and multicultural issues. Maria’s mission is that each year students get motivated to see their dream come true by acquiring an education. As she says, “education is the magic lamp that allows any human being to occupy any position in the world.” She teaches students the beauty of serving as a volunteer, by taking them to participate in various projects in the
10 APRIL 30, 2016

Life Longing Perseverance Award
WAYNE LONG – Wayne Long received his high school equivalency diploma and is the first male member in his family to have earned a high school diploma. Mr. Long’s family migrated from Ireland to the United States before the Civil War. The Long families were hired hand farmers up until World War 2. Wayne’s grandfather was a boiler mechanic during the war and was able to incorporate his skillsets to his civilian life after the war; this allowed him to provide a decent living for his family. During Wayne’s youth the family relocated frequently, this was due to Wayne’s father not having a stable job, due to a limited education. Wayne attended nine different grammar schools and two high schools before succumbing pursing his education at the 9th grade for his second time. Wayne was tired of the constantly moving from school to school and the instabilities that this caused in his life of learning and pursing an education. Since the family was financially struggling, Wayne decided to go and work to help contribute to the household and be self-supportive.
At the young age of 17, Wayne left his home in pursuit of obtaining a job, he moved in with two of his uncles, which in retrospect was not the ideal setting for a person his young age. At first, Wayne found work in various nominal paying jobs; car wash, fast food chains, and landscaping. At the age of 18 Wayne landed a job at a steel mill where his uncle worked, and this was the beginning of his journey for a stable workplace. At the steel mill Wayne’s responsibilities were those of physical, very hard and working in a not so cleanly environment, accompanied with long work hours. Wayne thought often of his mistakes in not completing or applying himself in school. Wayne often thought of the many opportunities and now realized how much he regrets the decisions he made, again following in the
same footsteps that his family had taken not finishing their education and settling for less. For the next 20 years Wayne worked in factories doing whatever he needed to do to apply himself. During this time Wayne married and started a family, financially challenged Wayne worked a second job to make ends meet, working 17 hours a day. After another 7 years had gone by, the family grew with an additional 3 children, of which one was diagnosed with autism.
During the month of March of 2015, Wayne received bad news and was affected by a layoff at his full time day job. This was a difficult time, as jobs were very hard to find. At his evening job, Wayne was given an opportunity for a promotion but, this required him to seek a high school diploma and demonstrate that he was working towards a college degree. This put Wayne in an uncomfortable position, not being in school for such a long time and now to start again at a late age was going to be a challenge. Wayne went on to research the best and quickest way to earn a high school diploma, and came upon General Education Diploma (GED). Wayne called a local listed contact which was the Perth Amboy Education Center and scheduled an appointment for an evaluation test. The staff at the Education Center was really nice, receptive, and accommodating. The evaluation results were pretty positive except for math, which tested at a 6th grade level. Wayne was asked if he was interested in taking classes to prepare for the state test, and he was not only surprised but grateful when they told him that the classes were free. Wayne started his pursuit in obtaining what is now called his, high school equivalency (HSE) diploma and in May 2015 enrolled in classes. Wayne scheduled himself for the state test for August, 2015, approximately 10 weeks to prepare for a 4 year high school diploma.. Wayne went to class everyday prepared, organized and determined to learn what he could in such a short amount of time because he had a lot of people counting on him and he was very excited to have this second chance. The Education Center in his opinion is a very safe environment and warmly accepts those who go willingly to learn, he feels it was a great experience to be around such positive people. His classmates came from all walks of life, and he enjoyed working together with them to achieve a common goal.
Since Wayne received his diploma, his quality of life has improved greatly; he was able to get promoted at his job and now only has to work one full time job. He applied and was accepted to Thomas Edison State University, which he is being financial supported by his employer (United Parcel Service). Most importantly Wayne now feels like a productive part of society and not like a second class citizen. He is honored to be receiving an award and he will always look upon it as a reminder that no matter the odds and hardship, the goals we put before us can be achieved not only to benefit ourselves but to benefit those around us.

Yaima Gutierrez Sponsored by Rafael Mendez
Je rey Gomez Sponsored by e Sanchez Family
Yessica Hernandez-Cruz Sponsored by R.K. Hughes, Inc.
Nelsy Medina Sponsored by e Sanchez Family
Rosa Perez Sponsored by Chevron
Maria Tavarez Sponsored by e Sanchez Family
Kayla Rodriguez Sponsored by e Rotary Club

Our Internship Partners
“ ank You for all you do to support our students”
If you would like to learn more about our learning thru internship program and becoming an intern mentor, providing excellent educational and real world experience to our students, please contact Felix Velez, at [email protected]

3rd Annual Red Carpet Gala

From The Board
Front Row (left to right) Blanca Henriquez, Luz Sanchez, Senovia Robles (LEAF Founder), Leezenia Cruz. Back Row (left to right) Henry Rodgers, Luis Ortega, Felix Velez, Jr., Kenneth Gonzalez, Steven Jobin, Carlos Sanchez, Sergio Diaz and Hector Bonilla.
On behalf of the
We appreciate and thank you for your continuous support and dedication to our mission.
18 APRIL 30, 2016

DATE 2017
5th Annual
Red Carpet Gala

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