Montclair, NJ – Three Montclair High School students were selected by Kean University as recipients of the prestigious Joy Prescott Humanitarian Award for Student Leadership and Dedication: seniors Sofia Batres, Justin Comini, and Aidan Cummins. This award was established by Kean’s Holocaust Resource Center and Diversity Council on Global Education and Citizenship to honor Joy Prescott, a beloved University employee, upon her retirement.
Prescott dedicated more than 30 years of service to students and educators through her passion for diversity training, community building, and Holocaust education. The Joy Prescott Humanitarian Award for Student Leadership and Dedication is presented to student leaders committed to diversity, inclusivity, and the pursuit of social justice. Nominees must be a student at a Diversity Council member site and have demonstrated evidence of leadership roles, community involvement, or activism. All three are students in MHS’ Center for Social Justice (CSJ) small learning community.
Batres is a member of the Montclair Public Schools’ district National Equity Team, alongside other students. She enjoys volunteering at the Oruguitas program which offers emotional and academic support to Montclair’s youngest English Language Learners. She is also the founder of The Audre Project at MHS, a club for misogyny-affected persons of color to build community and create a safe environment. “I would love to thank our teachers in CSJ for this opportunity who have been huge supporters not only academically but as organizers throughout the past four years,” said Batres.
Comini is an activist holding many leadership roles in the school and community. Comini is the Student Member of the National Equity Project, Student Representative to the Board of Education, Student Liaison to OUT Montclair (Montclair’s community Pride organization) and Co-Founder/Co-President a mental health awareness club at MHS. Currently, Comini works at Vanguard Theater Company with the mission of DREAM – Diversity, Reciprocity, Education, Activism, and Mentorship. “I am so honored to have received the Joy Prescott Humanitarian Award,” said Comini. “Being fortunate enough to do this work in Montclair is an honor in itself and I am grateful to have been nominated by my lovely teachers. I would also like to thank my teachers in the Center for Social Justice and the Montclair Board of Education.”
Cummins has demonstrated his dedication and adornment for student leadership through his positions in the Black Student Union and Asian Student Union. Additionally, he currently serves as the Senior Class President for Montclair High School. Cummins credits his teachers in CSJ for equipping him with the skills necessary to lead in student affinity groups. “I am beyond enthused and grateful to have been honored with the Joy Prescott Humanitarian Award,” he said.
CSJ teacher Jaime Walker nominated her students and is thrilled they had the opportunity to be recognized with this award.
“Congratulations to all of the amazing student leaders and a special thanks to Kean University’s Holocaust Resource Center and Diversity Council,” said Walker. “Your commitment to providing educational opportunities in social justice to high school students is unparalleled.”