New Jersey News

New Jersey Provides Scholarships

AOH Div 10 in Trenton awarded full scholarships to five teens to attend the Colaiste Gael Linn Irish Cultural College in Donegal, Ireland.  Four of the winners came from New Jersey and one from Derry. The scholarship, which memorializes Billy Briggs, a much loved Irish-American with a passion for Ireland and its people, provides students with immersion learning of the Irish language and culture for a three-week term.

The New Jersey scholarship winners, Michaela McFadden, Allison Burns, Lauren Tracey and Rosie Griffin were joined by Rioghnach Ni Dheimhin of Ireland at the school where students take daily courses in dance, sports and music in addition to language.

Billy Briggs and a few others were the principle founders of the Division.  It is the memory of Billy Briggs, his spirit and his love of Ireland that drives the dedication and work of the Division members. In addition to memorializing Billy Briggs, the Hibernian’s goal in creating the scholarship is to advance Irish culture and language through friendship between young people in Ireland and the US.

Starting out, the small committee that organized the scholarship had, as its goal, one winner. Applicants were required to submit an essay entitled “My Irish Heritage and What It Means to Me.” Five quality essays were submitted and the committee decided that none should be eliminated. So they went from one to five in a blink multiplying their financial burden accordingly. It was a remarkable decision by a remarkable group of Hibernians from what has become a remarkable Hibernian Division.

Div 10 also produces the annual Gael Scoil for children at Notre Dame High School. In its fourth year, the Gael Scoil has doubled enrollment each year and was forced to close enrollment last year. Again, a small committee of driven AOH members met weekly to create the program and continue to meet bi-weekly.

Want to find out more about the Billy Briggs Memorial Scholarship and see pictures of the winners? Want to learn what the Gael Scoil is about? Want to see the other charities that Div 10 supports and some of its activities?  Go to our web site.

Scholarship awardees Michaela McFadden, Allison Burns, Lauren Tracey and Rosie Griffin

Vice President Moore Named Irishman of the Year in Smithville

Cape May Div 2 sponsored a huge Irish festival in Smithville NJ. A great deal of effort went into this event and the Cape May Division deserves a great deal of credit, especially Pat Jockel who guided the activities. The weather was beautiful and 20,000 people attended what the New Jersey Leisure Guide rated in their top 10 things to do in October. With 35 Irish craft vendors, 8 food vendors, continuous music and an appearance by the Shamrock and Thistle Pipe Band, the festival was a tremendous success.

In conjunction with the Festival the Division presented their Hibernian of the Year to National Vice President Brendan Moore and their Irishman of the Year award to Atlantic County Freeholder Joseph McDevitt. State and National officers from the AOH & LAOH were in attendance as was last year’s Hibernian of the Year, NJ State President Jere Cole, National President Seamus Boyle and many of Brendan’s family. Everyone is looking forward to next year while Pat Jockel takes a well deserved rest.

(l to r) Joseph McDevitt, Brendan Moore and Jere Cole