USA Netork Honors Benedictine Academy Campus Minister For Her Work To Fight Human Trafficking

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Benedictine Academy Cor Defender students (l-r) Joyce Mendoza, Vanessa Fragiacomo, Sydney Sigue, Karina Costa, Karol Pierre, Ewa Kowalczyk, Eileen Conaty, Jada Yarbough, Marina Santiago, Kayla Roque and Characters Unite Award Honoree, Benedictine Academy Campus Minster Linda Michalski. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

Benedictine Academy Cor Defender students (l-r) Joyce Mendoza, Vanessa Fragiacomo, Sydney Sigue, Karina Costa, Karol Pierre, Ewa Kowalczyk, Eileen Conaty, Jada Yarbough, Marina Santiago, Kayla Roque and Characters Unite Award Honoree, Benedictine Academy Campus Minster Linda Michalski. (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

ELIZABETH—USA Network, along with Cablevision, will honor Benedictine Academy Campus Minister Linda Michalski on Saturday, Nov. 2, with the 2013 “Characters Unite” Award for her work with students to make the public aware of the horror of Human Trafficking.

Michalski will be publicly recognized during a special event to be held at Benedictine Academy, “An Evening on the Green”. The event, a dinner-dance, will benefit the Academy’s Athletic Department. Benedictine Academy alumnae, current school families, faculty, staff, and friends have been invited to both honor Michalski and help raise funds.

USA Network and Cablevision representatives will be on hand on Nov. 2 to acknowledge Michalski’s work and award. She is one of ten winners selected nationwide from hundreds of nominees “for their extraordinary efforts in combating hate, intolerance and discrimination worldwide, and making significant contributions to champion civil and human rights in their communities”. Michalski will share the Characters Unite Award with her “Cor Defender” students the night of the event.

As part of its award-winning “Characters Unite” public service campaign to address social injustices and bridge cultural divides, USA Network, along with its distributors, announced the 2013 recipients of the “Characters Unite” Awards last June. Michalski, a teacher at the Academy and resident of Chatham, was nominated by Cablevision Systems because she “has motivated her student leadership team, the Benedictine Cor Defenders, to become a voice for the voiceless and confront evil with the power of good”, the “Characters Unite” Award nomination stated. “As Staff Mentor, Linda teaches students how to take on the issue of human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery impacting young women around the world,” it continued.

Through Michalski’s leadership, Benedictine Academy became the first Freedom Partner School with Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives to work to abolish human trafficking through the power of education. Her students worked determinedly to raise awareness through the media; Youth Leadership Conferences; as well as before the House Senate in Trenton, New Jersey. Consequently, Benedictine Academy was awarded the National Jefferson Gold Medal for Volunteer Public Service for three consecutive years. “Linda has successfully instilled in her students life-long moral values and the belief that they share a responsibility to actively protect the rights and dignity of every human being,” Cablevision noted.

The “Evening on the Green” will start at 7 p.m. sharp and run until 11 p.m. with a goal of raising funds to help with the cost of refurbishing the floor of the Academy’s gymnasium, work which was completed over the summer. Benedictine Academy Athletic Director Mike Jones has organized the “Evening on The Green”. “We invite our Benedictine Academy alumnae, parents, faculty, staff and friends to come help us celebrate Linda Michalski and our Cor Defender students, as well as assist us in raising money for a great cause,” Jones said. “Our athletic program is growing tremendously, and we use the gym unbelievably. This was a necessary but costly project,” he added. “We are hoping our BA ‘family’ will come out on November 2 to support both Linda Michalski and our Athletic program,” Jones added.

Guests will enjoy a catered buffet dinner by Valenca Restaurant of Elizabeth, plus dancing with music by a DJ. Tickets are $50 per person. For more information, or, to order tickets, contact: mrodriguez@benedictineacad.org; or call 908-352-0670, ext. 106.

Benedictine Academy was founded by the Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth in 1915 to serve young women in Elizabeth and the surrounding communities. An all-female Catholic college preparatory high school, the mission of the Academy is to educate young women to be responsible leaders of the 21st Century. Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 100% of Benedictine Academy graduates are accepted and go on to college. Celebrating its 99th year in Elizabeth, the Academy offers a valuable educational experience to students of the Catholic and various Christian faiths representing the richness and variety of over twenty nationalities and cultures, primarily from Union and Essex Counties. Focusing on academic growth and character formation in the Benedictine tradition, the Academy challenges students to become life-long learners who are intellectually curious, rooted in the Gospel, and committed to justice and integrity. Academic achievement and personal growth are developed in a unique educational family setting.


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