On February 18, 2016, Newark Tech, one of the Essex County Vocational Technical School District’s national Blue Ribbon Schools, had the pleasure of celebrating Career and Technical Education Month with New Jersey’s 10th Congressional district representative, Congressman Donald Payne Jr.
The 10th district consists of portions of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, and includes the city of Newark.
During his visit, the congressman, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, spoke to the students about national policies in this area.
He also emotionally engaged the audience with his warm demeanor and humbling personal story: He worked as a toll booth collector and as a school bus driver before rising through the ranks to become a political leader.
And if the name Payne sounds familiar, it’s because the congressman comes from a family of active community leaders: His late father, Congressman Donald Payne Sr., represented the 10th district from 1989 until his passing in 2012.
As if having the Congressman visit – he traveled all the way from Washington, DC just for the 2 p.m. meeting – was not already outstanding, we also had the surprise of having his uncle, New Jersey Assemblyman Bill Payne, drop in to show his support for our students and share words of wisdom and encouragement with our future leaders.
It was a wonderful experience for our entire school community to have the opportunity to host and interact with such an influential and prestigious leader representing our community.