Dana Hojnowski has received the Excellence in Education Award from the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) for her work engaging students in North Bergen in anti-litter campaigns. Hojnowski, North Bergen High School teacher and Environmental Coordinator, was nominated by Tom Stampe, Recycle Program Aide of the North Bergen Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA). Stampe notes that there are “so many reasons” Hojnowski deserves this recognition, including bringing 35 students on a Saturday to clean blighted areas of town and other clean up projects.
On May 20, 22 of Hojnowski’s students painted over graffiti and picked up more than 1,000 pounds of garbage and more than 900 pounds of recyclable materials.
Another one of Hojnowski’s efforts, in partnership with the MUA, the North Bergen Green Team and the high school’s environmental club, and through a sponsorship with Home Depot, resulted in a school garden that will beautify the high school grounds and includes a tree planted in remembrance of former teachers.
The ribbon cutting for the garden, on May 11, was attended by the district superintendent and numerous school officials, staff and students. Hojnowski credits a team of environment and community-minded organizations and individuals with these projects’ successes.
“These events could not happen if I did not have the continued support of my Science Supervisor, Jared Keshishian, and our North Bergen Board of Education,” Hojnowski said. “I am especially grateful for working with Mr. Stampe,” she said. “He offers the students many opportunities to feel good about giving back to their community and making their environment a better place, which is why I believe in this club. I think I'll nominate HIM next year!”
NJCCC is a comprehensive, statewide litter-abatement program that has served New Jersey residents and visitors for more than 25 years. Learn more at njclean.org.