A group of about 40 Linden High School students traveled to Newark on Saturday, Oct. 27, to take part in Rutgers Community Engagement Day.
The students, members of the NJROTC and National Honor Society, were broken up into different teams to clean up parks, volunteer with non-profit groups, and beautify the city. They also visited the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice, and packed lunches and wrote cards for less fortunate families.
The program was spearheaded by Ahmed Shehata, a Board of Education member, Rutgers-Newark alumnus, and keynote speaker for the event. He worked with Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi, Linden High School Principal Yelena Horré, and NJROTC Commander Boyd Decker to arrange the enriching trip for the students, which underscored the district’s motto of “Commitment to Service.”
“As soon as I was asked to speak, I wanted to make sure our kids were involved in some capacity,” Shehata said. “I wanted the kids to get that real college campus feel. I’m grateful that Mrs. Horre and Dr. Robertozzi gave me the green light and helped orchestrate the whole thing, along with Commander Decker and Mrs. Lakhia Carter, who gave up their Saturday to chaperone.”
The program was part of Shehata’s push to bring Linden Public Schools and Rutgers University closer together, “to help bridge the gap between our kids and admission at our state’s university,” he said.
“My goal is to strengthen the ties between Linden and Rutgers so we can continue to do great things together,” Shehata said. “This is just one of the many initiatives we have in motion and I’m grateful that Linden and Rutgers are both onboard.”
Shehata, who was awarded the Rutgers Community Service Award, plans to work with students during the holiday season at food pantries and other places of need around the state, also in conjunction with Rutgers-Newark.