West Windsor, N.J. – Alumnus John Kobiernicki ’06 (A.S., Education) is the kind of person who develops bonds that last. Graduating from Mercer County Community College (MCCC) almost a decade ago, his commitment to the college remains unwavering. He returns to campus regularly in his role as associate counselor for the MCCC chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) National Education Honor Society, led by Associate Professor of Education Elizabeth DeGiorgio, who is the group’s advisor.
“Professor DeGiorgio invited me to stay involved once I graduated and I have been volunteering with Mercer’s KDP chapter ever since. I love being able to assist with the organization’s activities and helping out at various student life events. It’s great to stay connected with the Mercer community,” Kobiernicki said.
In his work life, Kobiernicki is a youth minister for St. Mary’s Catholic Church in South Amboy, where he has been a long-time member. “It’s been part of my life since I was five-years-old,” he says.
For the past six years, Kobiernicki has been a church leader, serving as a religious educator for eighth graders and preparing them for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Two years ago, he also became coordinator of the youth ministry’s volunteer work – at food pantries, at nursing homes, and at bake sales following mass that raise funds for charity.
Kobiernicki says that the weekly bake sales make a big difference. “Our parishioners donate the baked goods. We recently netted almost $1,000. It’s a great way for the young people and the families to combine their efforts around a community service project.”
Kobiernicki notes that he is putting his college education to good use. “I am not in a traditional classroom, but I am using what I learned in college every day,” he says. Kobiernicki earned his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education (Social Studies) from Rider University.
Kobiernicki credits Professor DeGiorgio with making a big difference in his life. “Professor DeGiorgio has been instrumental in my development. I have learned so much from her. I am much better prepared to lead St. Mary’s Youth Group as a result of my involvement with the Future Teachers Club at Mercer.”
Approximately 20 young people are active in the church’s Youth Group, but Kobiernicki may soon find himself with many more children in his flock. Cardinal McCarrick High School, a diocesan-run school in South Amboy, closed June 30. (The school is Kobiernicki’s alma mater.)