2019 marks Link’s 50th anniversary and this Wednesday's A Taste of Newark celebration at NJPAC is an important milestone in the school’s history.
Maria Pilar Paradiso, Head of School at Link Community Charter School, came into WBGO to speak with News Director Doug Doyle about the popular fundraising event.
On November 13th guests will enjoy a cocktail hour starting at 5:30pm in the NJPAC lobby with “tastings” of delicious food from fine restaurants and caterers in and around Newark and a silent auction replete with exciting items on which to bid. Afterward, guests will proceed to the stage in Prudential Hall for a formal (sit-down) dinner served by additional restaurants and a program to include an alumnus reflection and student performances.
Paradiso says the goal is to make it feel more like a gala this time around and the students are ready to shine.
"What we do everyday is work with our students, giving them the confidence and the tools that they need to be successful. They have all the raw natural talent. It's just building on that. To be able to spotlight them in the course of the event is alway the most thrilling part."
There will also be a special performance by the Link teachers at the event.
"While our work is with students and for students, it is the teachers who everyday delivers this mission. It is their hard work and energy that makes its possible for our children to grow academically and personally."
Launched in 1969 as an act of social justice after civil unrest in Newark, Link's role was to change urban education and create opportunities for the city’s youth long before the charter school movement.
Paradiso says this year's honorees are all who have helped make Link Community Charter School a success.
They'll be saluting the founding Sisters of St. Dominic from Caldwell, the teachers and classroom volunteers, board members, donors, partnering organizations, community groups, city officials, and the many individuals throughout Newark and beyond who recommended a child attend Link.
"Very few organizations have lived through such tumultuous times as Link has. I think the 50 year legacy is due three things. One, the founding. The fact that the Sisters of St. Dominic took an incredible opportunity to build a foundation of an institution working with the community. Our birth was unique in many ways and it gave us an energy and a life that we carried forth. I think, secondly, the community is a huge aspect of Link. We do not exist in isolation. We are definitely part of the community of Newark. We draw from the community with teachers, with partnerships for student programming. Our donors, supporters and board members have been with us for so long. Those partnerships enabled us to financially sustain a 50-year legacy and build for the future. Thirdly, it's our familes and our children. They give us life everyday. We walk into the building and see smiling faces and of course we see challenges each and every day, but it is the impact that we are making on our children that I think carries us forward each and every year."
For more information about the event at NJPAC and a list of restaurants and sponsors, you can go to www.tasteofnewark.org
Click above to hear the entire conversation with Maria Pilar Paradiso.