Morristown, N.J. (September 25, 2015) – At the President's Council Reception, held on Thursday September 24, 2015, long-time supporter and active alumna, Yolanda Mazza Kunz '68 was honored with the President's Award.
Yolanda earned her bachelor's in elementary education from CSE and a master's in education/reading instruction at Seton Hall University. She spoke of this being her "Plan B" in life.
"I had planned to go to a state teacher's college after four years of perfect attendance and good grades in high school," she recalled. However, the teacher's college did not accept her and she had to look to Plan B in order to continue towards her goal of becoming a kindergarten teacher. "The College of Saint Elizabeth welcomed me into their community, even though going to a small private college for women was not in my plans. But God had another plan for me, and when he chooses the path, I listen!"
She went on to a 30-year career teaching kindergarten and created the full-day kindergarten program in the Garfield School District. Her career expanded to teaching best practices workshops and served as the president of the N.J. Association of Kindergarten Educators where she currently serves on the executive board.
At CSE, she serves on the advisory board for the College of Saint Elizabeth Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education and has gifted an endowment for the Kristallnacht Commemoration program. She also endowed the Leo and Yolanda Mazza Scholarship Fund to honor her parents, served as committee member for the annual Scholarship Benefit Gala and began the North Jersey Alumni Chapter for CSE.
Dr. Helen J. Streubert praised Yolanda's sense of giving back to her profession and her alma mater.
"When I spoke with Yolanda to tell her about the award, her first response was 'Why me?'," President Streubert said. "She is very humble and gives from the heart and CSE is blessed to have her as a member of our community."
Two recipients of the Presidential Scholarship, Lynette Hardy '16, a Foods and Nutrition major and Chantelle Garcia '17, a Justice Studies major, offered their thanks to the donors in attendance. Both students are from the Navajo Nation in the southwest and offered their greeting in their native tongue. They spoke about growing up on the Reservation and receiving strong support from their families to pursue higher education.
Chantelle noted of her first visit to CSE, "The diversity, quick pace environment, the abundance of greenery which we are not used to, was an absolute culture shock. But, I also felt right at home."
Lynette offered similar thoughts and they both were full of praise for the strong, independent, and empowered women they found at CSE. She offered, "Thank you to all the donors who make scholarship support possible."
Chantelle will be graduating in 2017 with her master's degree in Justice Administration and will return to her home to be a part of the justice system. Lynette aspires to be a registered dietician, to also return to her home and teach her people about healthy eating and the prevention of diseases such as diabetes.
Christina Cordero '16, a biology major with the goal of attending medical school, gave the invocation. Erica Viera, '16, a psychology major offered the Alma Mater, a cappella, while alumnae joined in the singing.
Members of the President's Council are benefactors who have supported the College with substantial and sustainable gifts.