RECOGNITION OF MARIA ANN CRESPO-RODRIGUEZ -- (Extensions of Remarks - October 07, 2004)
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I would like to call the attention of my colleagues to Mrs. Maria Ann Crespo-Rodriguez, who is being honored by the Latino American Association of Monmouth County, Inc., as they celebrate their Eleventh Annual Awards Banquet.
Maria was born at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch and raised in Red Bank, NJ, where she attended the Red Bank Public School System, and graduated from Red Bank High School in 1974. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education/Spanish from Monmouth College, and received a Masters degree in ESL from Kean College.
Maria has been teaching in the Long Branch Middle School for the last 26 years. During that time, her energy and enthusiasm have manifested themselves both in and out of the classroom, where she became involved in a number of volunteer agencies and services. She has been a board member of Hispanic Affairs and Resource Center of Monmouth County, spent 5 years as a tutor in Stay Smart University helping children in a pediatric ward, many of whom were terminally ill. She was a member of the Pearl Chaney Memorial Scholarship Fund for 10 years, as well as a member of the Long Branch School District's Puerto Rican Disaster Relief Fund, President of the S.T.P.O. of Elberon School (1997-1998), and a speaker at the National School Board Association in 1997, 2003, and 2004. As the co-founder of the B.B.I.P., which started as the Bilingual/Bicultural Intervention Program, later changed to Basic Belief in All People, she has helped hundreds of students with academic as well as behavioral problems to succeed.
Maria has been awarded Teacher of the Month in the Long Branch Middle School two times, once in 1992 and again in 2003. She was District Teacher of the Month in 2003, and was nominated for the Long Branch Middle School Teacher of the Year.
For her service as co-founder of BBIP and its co-moderator over the last 12 years, she served in the roles of teacher, mentor, friend, counselor and surrogate mother, she earned many justly deserved awards. She received recognition from HARC's youth organization, "Almas Latinos". She is the recipient of the NJ State Department of Education P.R.I.D.E. Model Program Award (BBIP), the PRIDE pin for Programs of Inclusion, and is an Equity Hall of Fame Member, NJ State Department's "Best Practices" award. In 1996, she was recognized as a Hall of Fame Member of the "A+ for Kids" Teachers Network, and presented the award on a television show on WWOR, Channel 9 by Jerry Orbach (Law and Order). She has been recognized for the program by Governor Christine Todd Whitman as well as movie actor, Edward James Olmos, and most recently was featured in an Asbury Park Press "School Scene" article (February 27, 2003) entitled "School program offers students a little nudge."
Maria resides in Tinton Falls with her husband, Carlos, and two children, Roberto and Gabriella.
Mr. Speaker, it is my sincere hope that my colleagues will join me in honoring and recognizing, Mrs. Crespo-Rodriguez, as the Latino American Association of Monmouth County honors her for her dedication to the educational advancement of Latinos and her commitment to the Long Branch Public School System.