Middlesex Academy Student Wins National Community Service Contest

MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Emily Jurcsek of Edison, a junior at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technology in Edison, was among the grand prize winners in the national Choose to Matter Contest sponsored by the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy.

Jurcsek’s winning project – chosen from among 69 service projects submitted — involved raising money and community awareness at the annual Metuchen Country Fair for the charity Stomp the Monster, which supports families battling cancer. Her prize includes a four-day trip to Walt Disney World in Florida.

After securing a booth at the fair, Jurcsek organized volunteers and obtained supplies.

“With the support of my neighbors and family, we were able to work the stand all day, raise money, and successfully spread the word!” she said in her contest application.

Stomp the Monster, based in Marlboro, helps families coping with cancer by contributing toward everyday needs, such as groceries and child care.

“I was able to get people to think about the name and mission of Stomp the Monster,” Julie said. “We raised over $350 for families who were fighting cancer.”

Julie’s creativity came into play in the fundraising effort. Anyone who donated a dollar could color a flower or butterfly cutout to decorate the booth at the fair. The artwork was dedicated to people they knew who were affected by cancer.

“To me, having all of the named decorations on our canopy was the best part of my day,” Jurcsek said.

Jurcsek plays soccer for the Edison Academy and for a traveling team. She won a scholarship to the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy.

There are Julie Foudy academies in New Jersey, California and Illinois. Foudy is the former captain of the women’s national soccer team. The contest was held in celebration of Women’s History Month in February.

The Edison Academy is part of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the oldest vocational school district in the nation. It was singled out as one of the nation’s best high schools by U.S. News & World Report for the fourth consecutive time, receiving Bronze Medal honors in the magazine’s ranking of the nation’s best public high schools for 2012. New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked the Edison Academy fourth in New Jersey in its first survey of the state’s vocational high schools. The district will mark its centennial in 2014.

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