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      Jean Sullivan
      Communications Director
      732-473-3100 x 3060

    Page Title| Happenings News Stories  2010


    September 29, 2010

    OCVTS Receives ‘Go Green Grant’ From Ocean First Foundation
    Jean Sullivian, September 29, 2010

    Caption: Nina Anuario, of OceanFirst Bank, on left, Presents grant check to OCVTS Superintendent William Hoey and Instructor Kim Szulecki.


    OCEAN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY- The Ocean County Vocational Technical School (OCVTS) was one of twenty shore-area schools to receive a $2,500 grant from OceanFirst Foundation to pursue green projects and programs. The Agricultural and Environmental Science Program located at the OCVTS Jackson Center received the grant for their proposal to upgrade the program’s greenhouse and establish a hydroponics growing laboratory. According to OCVTS Instructor Kim Szulecki, “the challenges we face today with diminishing land access and a need to reduce the use of chemicals creates the need to explore new sustainable agriculture initiatives. Hydroponics allows us to grow crops with water as opposed to soil. Crops can be grown organically, and in a much more controlled environment. Our first crop we are planning will be tomatoes. The students are learning first-hand about sustainable agriculture.”

    Ms. Szulecki’s students are part of a national education initiative, Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education (CASE). Ms. Szulecki was chosen for the pilot program in Ocean County. “Through CASE we are creating a science lab and developing a rigorous and challenging curriculum. The hydroponics lab will be a great addition to our program. The students are so excited; they can’t wait to get started.”

    The OceanFirst Foundation was established in 1996. The Foundation provides grants to organizations that meet community needs within the OceanFirst market area. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed in excess of $20 million to over 600 local organizations.

    According to Katherine Durante, Executive Director of the OceanFirst Foundation, “we recognize that our future depends on protecting the health and wellbeing of our children and planet and so we want to give students and educators the tools they need to be innovators in solving green challenges.”

    The grant was presented to OCVTS Superintendent William P. Hoey and Instructor Kim Szulecki by OceanFirst Bank Senior Vice President Nina Anuario at the September Board of Education meeting, “The OceanFirst Foundation is dedicated to providing support to students and educators who are focused on developing solutions for our future generations. We look forward to seeing this plan for a hydroponics lab become a reality,” said Ms. Anuario.

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