Commissioner Offers a Message of Hope at Annual Remembrance
Clerics, community leaders and public officials came together in song, prayer and words of inspiration during the 54th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration held yesterday at the Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown.
The annual service, hosted by the Martin Luther King Observance Committee in collaboration with the Morris Area Clergy Council and the African American Clergy Association, has become a staple in the Morris County community. Among the attendees this year were Morris County Commissioners John Krickus and Deborah Smith, state Sen. Anthony Bucco, Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, County Administrator Deena Leary, Sheriff James Gannon, Prosecutor Robert Carroll, County College of Morris (CCM) President Anthony Iacono and Kellie Doucette, District Director for U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill.
Commissioner Krickus spoke at the event and found a connection in this year’s theme, “Strength of the Dream: Moving Forward with Hope,” to educational initiatives in the county. In October, Morris County and CCM in partnership with the Morris County Vocational School District (MCVSD) launched the Morristown College Promise, which provides free assistance to motivated, low-income middle and high school students and their families to prepare for college.
“I am filled with hope this morning, because if you are or know someone in grades seven to ten, they can take advantage of our Morris Vocational School District, either full-time or part-time,” Commissioner Krickus said. “I am filled with hope, because if you are a junior or senior in high school, or want to go down a different career path, you can attend CCM, where in October we broke ground on a new entrepreneurship center and expansion of our culinary program. … These are your schools, welcoming all students to amazing opportunities at these elite schools. Let us honor Dr. King’s legacy by turning hope into action. Thank you and God Bless.”
Rev. Dr. David A. Hollowell, Chair of the Martin Luther King Observance Committee, provided the welcome remarks, followed by an invocation from Rabbi David Satz of the Temple B’nai Or of Morristown. The event included songs from the Calvary Baptist Praise Team, a keynote address by Pastor Jerry M. Carter, Jr. of the Calvary Baptist Church and a benediction by Rev. Luana Scott Cook of the United Methodist Church of Morristown.
Yesterday marked the 39th year that the birthday of Dr. King was commemorated as a national holiday. Following the service there was a series of panel discussions that were also available virtually through the Observance Committee website.
Full Remarks of Commissioner Director John Krickus
Good morning. It is an honor to serve you as a Morris County Commissioner, and a great honor to pay tribute today to Dr. Martin Luther King and the theme of “moving forward with hope,” as I have some exciting news to share with a focus on education.
But first, with me today is fellow Morris County Commissioner Deb Smith and County Administrator Deena Leary, Sheriff Gannon and Prosecutor Carroll.
We in Morris County are proud to host Art in the Atrium, proud to have been among the first counties in New Jersey to celebrate Juneteenth, and last year, we were delighted to partner with Alpha Kappa Alpha and Atlantic Health in celebrating Earth Day with Redbud Tree plantings at the county library.
Per the (Martin Luther) King (Research and Education) Institute at Stanford (University), Dr. King wrote an article in 1947 as a student at Morehouse College stating that education has both a utilitarian and moral function, asserting that reasoning ability is not enough.
We have many speakers today who can address the moral aspect of character development better than I, so my focus today is on the utilitarian, or skills, aspect of education.
Your County College of Morris is number one in the state. Your Morris County Vocational School has an academy which is not only number one in the state, but recently was ranked number three out of 20,000 public high schools in the country.
In October, Morris County and CCM in partnership with the Morris Vocational School District launched the Morristown College Promise, as we want our many students in Morristown to take advantage of these amazing schools. We have with us today Dr. Anthony Iacono and Julian Gomez, who have met with Dr. Hollowell and others to discuss the Morristown (College) Promise.
I am filled with hope this morning, because if you are or know someone in grades seven to ten, they can take advantage of our Morris Vocational School District, either full-time or part-time. In September, we broke ground on expanding vo-tech by 500 students.
I am filled with hope, because if you are a junior or senior in high school, or want to go down a different career path, you can attend CCM, where in October we broke ground on a new entrepreneurship center and expansion of our culinary program. We also cut the ribbon to a million-dollar simulation center for nursing students and had a major announcement of $30 million in state and county funding for a new health sciences center at CCM.
These are your schools, welcoming all students to amazing opportunities at these elite schools. Let us honor Dr. King’s legacy by turning hope into action. Thank you and God Bless.