If you really care about children, the best way to help them is through education. It’s a mantra that Rebecca Scharen believes wholeheartedly. It has also driven her to earn her bachelor’s degree in English along with her K through 12 teaching certification with an endorsement for teaching students with disabilities. She did so while working three jobs and a 45-minute commute to and from her home in Middletown. But she wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Roughly two years ago, Rebecca attended an arts festival in Montclair, New Jersey, that featured musicians and fine art exhibits. She was inspired.
“It was a really special show and very intimate. I felt a large sense of community and people supporting each other and coming together. And I wanted to bring that feeling to Georgian Court, but at the same time, I wanted to give back and help an organization at the same time,” she says.
So, Rebecca, on top of a heavy course load and her jobs, proposed creating Restart the Arts, a daylong festival celebrating different kinds of art that took place in April. The event was organized as a fund-raiser for Ocean Academy, a Bayville-based charter school, which she and other GCU students have toured. They became so enamored of the work at Ocean Academy that they wanted to help bolster the school’s arts program. Several faculty, including Gemma Brennan, ’84, ’93, lecturer in education; Anthony Brano, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center; Leo Morrissey, associate professor of art and chair of the Department of Art and Visual Studies; and Claire Gallagher, Ed.D., professor of education, were particularly helpful to Rebecca in organizing the event. The festival drew area children and their parents as well as educators from the area.
“It brought the community together and gave back in several ways: it provided a forum for children to play music and dance for their parents, which is very rewarding,” said Lynn DeCapua, Ph.D., ’83, dean of the School of Education. “And it was a successful fund-raiser!”
Today, Rebecca is still making things happen. She will travel to Greece and Germany after Commencement, then head back to Middletown and continue job hunting, she says. She hopes to teach middle school, but is open to any opportunity that will allow her to use the teaching skills she learned at Georgian Court.
Story contributed by Gwen Moran.