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South Brunswick History Brought to Life

Annual Living Legacies program saw students at South Brunswick High School present the people who helped build and shape the community, from 17th Century immigrants to current residents.

With a rich and storied history that included stops by , South Brunswick celebrated the citizens who helped make the township what it is during last week's annual Living Legacies program. 

During the presentation last Thursday at the South Brunswick Senior Center, South Brunswick High School students brought to life the people who helped build and shape the community through monologues, starting with a 17th Century immigrant and ending with current residents.

The Aging in Place PARTNERSHIP (AIPP) and South Brunswick School District shared event was presented by students in Catherine Lamoreaux's SBHS public speaking class, who worked with the Dayton Village Citizens’ Coalition for interviews with living residents.

"When the students have the chance to meet with living people and get a handle on what it means to be the person they're representing then wonderful things happen," said AIPP founder Jacque Rubel. 

Influential township residents were brought to life, from  and Old , to freed slaves  and  and on up to current residents like former mayor Joe Spataro, Gloria Potts, and historian Ceil Leedom.

"The amount of work that went into this is amazing," said Joan Luckhardt of the Dayton Village Citizens’ Coalition. "The students got so enthused and did a wonderful job."

Lamoreaux said the program helped students by not only giving them a historical perspective about the people who helped shape South Brunswick, but also gave them added confidence through the presentation.

"They learn more about the community they live in, but the main focus for us was giving them the opportunity to speak in front of an audience," she said.

For the students in the program, some of the monologues presented an interesting challenge, especially for Samantha Bramm, who portrayed Gloria Potts.

"Mrs. Potts is my boyfriend's grandmother, so that was a little intimidating," she said. "We went to their house and that was the first time I met (Ms. Potts). I sat down and interviewed her while she told me stories. Luckily, she is very extroverted and has a vocal personality."

Current residents whose lives were turned into the monologues were impressed by the work the students did to bring their history to the stage.

"They had so much information to work with, so I'm amazed at how the whittled it down," said Fran Nimeck, of the South Brunswick Arts Commission. "It was certainly nice to be asked. You don't think that what you're doing at the time may some day become history."

The videotape of the performance will eventually go to the South Brunswick Public Library for public viewing. Given the success of the first two years of the Living Legacies program, Rubel said the event would return next year with a program about celebrating diversity.

"This program is just another way of learning about our history while creating lasting legacies," she added. "The schools have played such an important role in this and it's been a wonderful partnership."

For more information about Living Legacies contact Jacque Rubel at  Jacque@AgingInPlacePARTNERSHIP.org or call 732-305-7079.

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