NEWARK, N.J. - Prudential Financial, Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils have announced the winner of the "Newark's Cornerstones" program during the last home game of the Devil's season. Sister June Favata was one of the eight finalists who garnered the most votes for her community service efforts and contributions in the Brick City. Nominations for the program were accepted between October 2016 and February 2017, with the voting period taking place in March 2017. As the grand prize recipient, she received two tickets to Prudential Center events, including Devils games, for one year between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.
A Sister of Charity of Saint Elizabeth for 50 plus years, Sister June has been at Saint Vincent Academy(SVA), an inner-city, college-prep high school for girls founded in 1869, for over 45 years. She arrived on the cusp of the Newark riots in the late 60's and the great middle class exodus that followed. Sister June stayed the course in the City of Newark and vowed to see Saint Vincent Academy continue to be the beacon on the hill, an educational haven for young girls. Thousands of young girls of color and first-generation immigrants' daughters have graduated from the rigorous academic curriculum at SVA. For many years the school boasts a 100% graduation rate with nearly 100% going on to college (the class of 2016 earned $16 million in merit-based college scholarship awards). Sister June directs the day-to-day administration of SVA as one of a three-member administrative team who works in tandem with a gifted faculty.
"My sincere thanks to Prudential, The Devil's and the Rock for commemorating Newark's 350-year history by shinning a light on the everyday people nominated for the Cornerstone award." Said Sister June Favata, "It was my honor to have been numbered among the eight candidates I met Saturday evening, and I congratulate each of them and celebrate in gratitude the chance given to me as the winning candidate to lift up Saint Vincent Academy and her dynamic community of educators, students, parents, friends and funders."
The seven additional finalists included Alison James Frison, Chef Vonda McPherson, Jim White, Akbar Cook, Charity Haygood, Kimberlee Williams, and A'Dorian Murray-Thomas. Information about them and videos highlighting their stories can be found at prucenter.com/newarkscornerstones/finalists.
"The eight finalists truly exemplify everything good there is about the city of Newark. Congratulations to all of them and especially Sister June Favata," said Shané Harris, Vice President, Corporate Giving, Corporate Social Responsibility, Prudential Financial and Executive Director, The Prudential Foundation. "Prudential is proud to support such a powerful initiative as Newark's Cornerstones. We understand the dedication and passion all of our finalists have for this amazing city as we share in that passion, and have for more than 140 years."
"The commitment that these eight individuals make to this great city of Newark is remarkable," said Jeff Scott, Vice President of Community Investment and Grassroots at Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils. "As an organization, we are so grateful for all of their tremendous work, and want to especially congratulate Sister June Favata for her many years of tireless dedication to the youth in our community."
Newark's Cornerstones was officially kicked off at the Saturday, October 22 Devils game at Prudential Center. Eight finalists, two each month, were chosen over the course of the Devils season between November 2016 and February 2017, and recognized during Devils home games. When the finalists were announced, the public voted to determine the grand prize recipient. All eight finalists received a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice and will be invited to a celebration dinner at Kiyo Sakaguchi Hall in Prudential's new office tower in Newark.
The program was created in commemoration of Newark 350, the year-long celebration of Newark's 350th Anniversary. All finalists and the winner were selected by a panel consisting of City Councilman Luis Quintana; The Star-Ledger columnist Barry Carter; Senior Manager of Special Projects for the Office of Mayor Baraka Trevor Phillips, and representatives from Prudential, Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils.
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