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JA of New Jersey Celebrates 2023 High School Hero Scholar Award Recipients

July 25, 2023, Edison, NJ - JA of New Jersey (JANJ) recently recognized High School Hero Scholar Award recipients at its Annual Board Meeting.

The JA High School Hero Scholar Award was co-founded by Pamela Craig in 2015 to recognize exceptional students who have participated as classroom volunteers through JA High School Heroes while promoting the significance of education and career preparation. Due to the incredible generosity, vision, and leadership of Ms.Craig, the Scholar Award Initiative has helped shape the lives of young adults across the state of New Jersey and will continue to for years to come.

As a cornerstone of our mission, JANJ is dedicated to equipping New Jersey students with the employability and life skills needed for successful futures. JANJ’s High School Heroes initiative empowers students to be role models as they teach JA to children within their local communities, all the while developing their own leadership, presentation, time management, and collaboration skills. Every school year, thousands of Heroes statewide bring JA’s career readiness, money management, and entrepreneurship learning experiences to life for tens of thousands of children. JA of New Jersey is a no-cost solution to schools and families by providing all materials, lessons, and training.

Similarly, the Weber Capozzoli JROTC Scholar Award recognizes a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps graduate who also served as a JA High School Hero. This Award is in memory of Weber Capozzoli Family members who have served in the armed forces.

“The level of dedication shown by these individuals in their participation in JA’s High School Heroes Initiative is extraordinary. Their enthusiasm for service learning not only serves as an inspiration, but also paves a path for young people to elevate their leadership, mentorship, and employability skills. These emerging young leaders deserve special acknowledgment for their commitment to promoting the importance of education through volunteerism within their local communities. Their impact is uplifting and fills us with optimism for the future.” said James Horne Jr., President & CEO of JANJ.

The six recipients are all 2023 high school graduates from across the state, including:

  • Pari Gill, Scotch Plains Fanwood High School, attending University of Maryland - College Park;
  • Allison Gilbert, Manchester Township High School, attending George Mason University;
  • Isabella Gonzalez, Linden High School, attending Kean University;
  • Abena Konadu, Manchester Township High School, attending Drexel University;
  • Kris Ordonez, Linden High School, attending New York University - Rory Meyers College of Nursing;
  • Yelitza Perez, Pleasantville High School, attending Stockton University

JANJ will continue to celebrate our Heroes as a part of the 2023 New Jersey Business Hall of Fame (NJBHOF) on November 2, as the event proceeds underwrite unsponsored High School Heroes learning experiences to ensure that all young people involved become financially empowered and gain critical life skills for success. The New Jersey Business Hall of Fame, as JANJ’s well-known annual special event, is the state’s premier platform that recognizes prominent New Jersey executives annually for their leadership, innovation, economic impact, and philanthropic and community involvement. JANJ is thrilled to honor these incredible NJBHOF trailblazers at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick and show our youth examples of leaders known for their prominent contributions to business, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.

About JA of New Jersey (JANJ):

JA of New Jersey (JANJ) is an award-winning, free educational resource JA operation dedicated to providing New Jersey’s youth with relevant experiential education in financial literacy, career readiness, entrepreneurship, and life skills. We imagine a world in which young people have the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. With its headquarters and Capstone programs located in the JA Education Center, in Raritan Center, Edison, NJ, JANJ is committed to giving all young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success and plan for their futures. JANJ’s learning experiences are held at the JA Education Center, in schools, on college/university campuses, in corporate facilities, and online through digital learning experiences. For more information, visit and follow JANJ on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Additional Info

Media Contact : Tracy Anderson,

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