WEST WINDSOR – An organization that provides scholarship opportunities for aviation students and an individual with a life-long passion for education will be honored by the Mercer County Community College Foundation during “Spring Into Student Success,” an event providing scholarships and financial support for Mercer students.
The 24th annual fundraiser will be held on Thursday, April 4, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Mercer Oaks, 725 Village Road West, Princeton Junction. Event co-chairs are Nina Melker, senior vice president at Hopewell Valley Bank, and Mercer County Freeholder Pasquale Colavita Jr.
This year’s event features a silent auction and an awards presentation honoring two community partners, as well as high-achieving students who have earned Foundation scholarships. Musical entertainment will be provided by Mercer student musicians. Refreshments include hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, coffee and desserts.
Receiving the Distinguished Benefactor Award is Walcott Blair and the Friends of Trenton Mercer Airport’s Sky’s the Limit TTN Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund was initially conceived by Gerry Totaro, manager of Johnson & Johnson’s flight department, and Justin Edwards, the former airport manager. The scholarship fund’s board of trustees includes tenants at the Trenton Mercer Airport, with contributions from all of the corporate tenants: Merck, Hess, Pfizer, Wyvern, Coventry Financial and Ronson Aviation. Blair, general manager of Ronson Aviation, serves as treasurer for the scholarship fund. Jim Kelly of Pfizer serves as president, and Kathleen Quinn of Wyvern serves as vice president.
Since 2004, the Sky’s the Limit Scholarship Fund has generously and consistently supported Mercer County Community College through the award of scholarships to deserving Aviation Flight Technology students. The organization conducts its own fundraisers in support of scholarships. In fall 2012, five Aviation students received scholarships totaling nearly $25,000.
The recipient of the Spirit of Education Award is Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., a long-time member of the MCCC Foundation Board of Directors who currently serves as an assistant commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Siekerka’s commitment to education includes membership on the Eastampton Township Board of Education and more than 10 years on the Robbinsville Township Board of Education, three as president. She helped establish the Robbinsville Partners in Education program, raising funds for new educational opportunities in the district. Among them is Project Lead the Way, an engineering program for high school students. Siekerka also served on the Trenton Public Education Foundation and was a founding member of a Mercer County Bar Association project to educate students about the impacts of bullying.
Siekerka has worked on a number of workforce development initiatives through her involvement with the Mercer County Workforce Development Board, and as president and CEO of the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, she oversaw the development of the Young Business Leaders Council and the Junior Chamber. As a member of the Trenton Rotary Club, Siekerka was instrumental in reviving the Trenton Central High School Interact Club.
Businesses and community members are invited to participate in the “Spring Into Student Success” event through corporate sponsorships, advertisements in the program book, silent auction donations, and tickets to the event. Tickets are $115 each, or two for $215. For more information, visit www.mccc.edu/give, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Charlene Dow Edwards at (609) 570-3659.
Michele Siekerka, recipient of the Mercer County Community College Foundation's Spirit of Education Award.
The Friends of Trenton Mercer Airport's Sky's the Limit Scholarship Fund is the recipient of MCCC Foundation's Distinguished Benefactor Award.