Celebrating Women of Character, Courage & Commitment @ Toms River

Second-grader Emily Fraser points to the picture she submitted. Emily won 1st-place in the Grades 1-4 category.

Second-grader Emily Fraser points to the picture she submitted. Emily won 1st-place in the Grades 1-4 category.

The Toms River library branch hosted the Ocean County Advisory Commission on the Status of Women’s annual program celebrating March as National Women’s History Month.

About 80 people attended the March 4th program and reception for young artists who participated in a county-wide youth art competition. Five hundred, sixty one boys and girls from 18 schools participated in three age groups.

Freeholder James F. Lacey delivered a proclamation from the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, recognizing the contributions of women to Barbara Florimont, the commission chairwoman.

He also addressed the dozens of Girl Scouts who attended the program, encouraging them to contribute to the betterment of the community.

Commissioner Christina Gaetano delivered the keynote address on this year’s theme, Women of Character, Courage & Commitment.”

She reviewed the work done by four 20th-century women to advance humanity, including educator Katherine Ryan Gibbs, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, pharmacologist and public health advocate Frances Oldham Kelsey, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Gaetano identified three characteristics they held in common that helped them in their efforts: courage to confront the opposition; character to do the right thing, and commitment to follow through on one’s ideals.

Jenny Cody and Michele Lardieri presented awards to the winning students in the art competition.  Winners included:

Grades 1-4, Emily Fraser, Joshua Katz, and Michelle Paredes

Grades 5-8, Lauren Baliscao, Sabrina Mendez, and Marisa Tava

Grades 9-12, Sandra Herrera, Christian Whalen, and Chelsea Massaro.

“This contest grows every year,” said Commissioner Norvella Lightbody. She has served on the commission for 30 years.

“It is so important for these young people. It gives them a chance to be inspired by great women of the past. Remember, these young people are our world of tomorrow,” she said.

The event was sponsored by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Ocean County Advisory Commission on the Status of Women, The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, and the Ocean County Library.

Five of the more than 11,000 girls in the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore formed a color guard and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Five of the more than 11,000 girls in the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore formed a color guard and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.

OC Freeholder James F. Lacey presents a proclamation from the Board of Chosen Freeholders to OC Advisory Commission of the Status of Women Chairwoman Barbara Florimont last night.

OC Freeholder James F. Lacey presents a proclamation from the Board of Chosen Freeholders to OC Advisory Commission of the Status of Women Chairwoman Barbara Florimont last night.

Commissioner Norvella Lightbody closed Wednesday’s event. More than 80 people attended, many of them members of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Commissioner Norvella Lightbody closed Wednesday’s event. More than 80 people attended, many of them members of the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore.

Jenny Cody (left) and Michele Lardieri presented awards and gifts to the nine Ocean County students who won the art competition.

Jenny Cody (left) and Michele Lardieri presented awards and gifts to the nine Ocean County students who won the art competition.

Commissioner Christine Gaetano delivered the keynote address at the annual program and reception

Commissioner Christine Gaetano delivered the keynote address at the annual program and reception

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