Cornell William Brooks, current professor at the Boston University School of Law and the former head of the NAACP, led off the ceremonies. Joining Mr. Brooks were Douglas Eakeley, Alan V. Lowenstein Professor of Corporate and Business Law, Rutgers School of Law; Sharon Taylor, retired former Vice President and Chair of the Prudential Foundation; Bobby Valli, Independent Entertainer, song writer and showman; and Junius Williams, Founding Director, Abbot Leadership Institute, Rutgers University. A special posthumous recognition was given to Rodney Gilbert, Founder and Executive Director of Yendor Productions and Assistant Professor, Drew University.
For a bio of each honoree, click on their picture.
Mr. Valli began the night’s program with a prelude performance of his brother’s hit songs as a member of The Four Seasons. Our internationally renowned Concert Choir under the direction of Donald Morris,
Music Director highlighted the evening’s celebration. The Concert Chorus reprised its Newark
350 Jazz melody featuring songs by Sarah Vaughan, Frankie Valli and Whitney Houston. The
Chorus had just returned from a tour of Arizona and will participate in the Baltimore Choral
Festival in May. Student speaker, 8th Grader, Michael Williams, regaled the audience with his
interesting and humorous stories about his life in five different middle schools before arriving
at NBCS. At the conclusion of his speech he was presented with a special gift by NBCS volunteer, Mario Winans; Michael left the stage to a spirited standing ovation.
This year’s event was co-chaired by Mary Bentley-LaMar, Pamela Pomerantz, Brenda McLeod and Kathleen Lewanski.