Essex County College has partnered with the non-profit organization First Book to distribute this month 10,000 high-quality reading books to area schools and non-profit organizations that work with low-income children. The soft and hard cover books are appropriate for children from pre-school through grade 12.


The College is set to distribute the books to schools and other agencies on October 17, said Sybil Bost-Wormley, First Book Project Coordinator at Essex. Ms. Bost-Wormley said the books are tentatively earmarked for area public schools, libraries, non-profit organizations, daycare centers, pediatric offices and hospitals with children’s wards.


“This is another way our College is encouraging literacy and reaching out to the community, especially to those who do not always have access to books,” said Essex County College President Dr. Gale E. Gibson. The College’s involvement with First Book was spearheaded by Dr. Gibson.


“The more books that can make their way into the hands of more children is always a good thing,” said Ms. Bost-Wormley. “This is one way of helping children develop a life-long love of reading.”


Essex County, under the leadership of Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., is providing a truck and manpower to pick up the books from the distribution center at the New Jersey Food Bank in Hillside to the College’s Newark campus.


“We are pleased that the county is able to assist with this great program. Getting books into the hands of children who otherwise may not be able to purchase them is a wonderful opportunity to promote literacy and expand the horizons of our children,” DiVincenzo said.


Since 1992, First Book has been acquiring books from publishers for a small fee and distributes them into largely low-income communities. An estimated 130 million books and other educational resources have been distributed under the program. Prior to that, publishers frequently just disposed of those books.


This is the third year First Book has been working with community colleges in New Jersey and the first for Essex County College. Also involved in the endeavor is the African American Chamber of Commerce along with New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks.


Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr. (NJ-10) was involved when First Book began its work in New Jersey. “Reading is fundament to learning and has the power to transform lives,” the Congressman said. “By fostering literacy, this book distribution is a tremendous opportunity to give our children a chance to succeed.  I am proud to partner with First Book to bring their national book distribution to New Jersey and expand access to educational resources for our state’s young people.”


Organizations interested in receiving any of the books must register at


To participate, at least 70 percent of the children served by an organization must be from low-income families.


Additional information is also available from Ms. Bost-Wormley at

Posted in Community, Essex County College News

Essex County College will host the Hispanic Heritage Celebration on Thursday, October 15 at 11:30 a.m. The free program – “Preparing Latino Leadership Today for a Better Tomorrow” – will be held in Smith Hall at the College’s Newark campus.


Felipe Luciano, community activist and co-founder of the Young Lords Party in 1968, will be the keynote speaker at the opening celebration. He is a two-time Emmy recipient and former WNBC-TV Channel 4 news anchor. He also was a member of the activist group the Last Poets in the 1960s. Mr. Luciano is a popular lecturer at colleges and universities as well as companies and a variety of organizations.


As part of the Hispanic Heritage Celebration, there will be an exhibit of Latino student art displayed in The Gallery, also on the Newark campus, during November.


Essex County College is a Hispanic Serving Institution with 30 percent of its student population Latino. Of the 13 graduating Essex students who have received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship, nine have been Latino. The scholarship is now valued at $120,000.


The Hispanic Heritage Celebration Committee of Essex County College is organized by Latino faculty, administrators, staff and students in an effort to embrace diversity, explore common interests and apply scholarship throughout the College, Greater Newark and Essex County.


Additional information on the event is available from Bilingual Studies Professor Angel Millan at 973.877.3394.

Posted in Community, Essex County College News
From left: Victoria Aljure, Daphne Chung, Dhyana Velez, Catherine Manza and Nancy Rodriguez

From left: Victoria Aljure, Daphne Chung, Dhyana Velez, Catherine Manza and Nancy Rodriguez

Five Essex County College Nursing alumnae recently completed their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree requirements at New Jersey City University (NJCU), the first for Essex through a federal grant program. Victoria Aljure, Daphne Chung (valedictorian for the class), Catherine Manza, Nancy Rodriguez and Dhyana Velez were honored at NJCU’s August 6 pinning after earning their BSN degrees.


All five of the women who graduated from Essex County College with Associate degrees in Nursing are the first to complete their bachelor degree requirements at NJCU through a federal Health Research and Services Administration (HRSA) grant. The grant, administered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is geared toward increasing the nursing workforce by providing educational opportunities for those of African-American and Hispanic heritage, said College Nursing Program Administrator Majuvy Sulse.


Professor Sulse said the students completed their BSN requirements in one year. Their clinical requirements were fulfilled in a nursing residency program at Jersey City Medical Center and the Jersey City Public Health Department.


“The HRSA grant program is an extraordinary opportunity for nurses to continue their education on the way to becoming the next generation of diverse nursing leaders.  The Essex County College/NJCU graduates will now assume leadership roles and actively shape the health care of tomorrow,” said Professor Sulse.


The Essex County College Nursing Department has been working more than a year ago in collaboration with Dr. Joyce Wright, Coordinator of the NJCU RN to BSN Program, in development of the HRSA initiative.


An additional eight Essex County College graduates who earned their Associate in Applied Science Nursing degrees as part of the Class of 2015 are now attending NJCU through the HRSA grant. They are Fabiana Alvarez, Bedelyne Barthelus, Vanessa Boursiquot, Dana Marsh, Alexa Martinez, Daniel Munoz, Patricia Okorie and Naderge Zacharie.


Posted in Academic, Essex County College News