Newton The ninth annual Celebration of Literacy was recently held at Project Self-Sufficiency to honor agency participants who had impressive academic achievements, as well as those who had completed significant steps towards economic self-sufficiency during the past year. These accomplishments ranged from achieving a GED at Project Self-Sufficiency to obtaining a master’s degree. Participants were lauded by a panel of speakers including, Dr. Paul Mazur, president of Sussex County Community College; Dr. Rosalie Lamonte, executive county superintendent of schools; and Kristi Becker, Newton town councilwoman. The event was catered by The Dining Room. “The purpose of this event is to honor those Project Self-Sufficiency participants who have successfully worked towards academic achievement or economic self-sufficiency during the past year,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, executive director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “We are very proud of the goals achieved by these men and women. These milestones are vital steps on the path to economic self-sufficiency for these participants and for their families.” Those acknowledged at the event included college graduates, medical assistants, nursing students, and graduates of business colleges. Several participants had obtained their GED through Project Self-Sufficiency’s Even Start Parents as Partners Family Literacy Program. Still others were graduates of the sixteen-week Higher Opportunities for Women program, a structured curriculum which provides computer training, job skills training and internships at area businesses. “I offer my heartiest congratulations to all those who have strived to better themselves through education” said Lamonte. “They are proof that learning never stops.” Three award recipients also gave speeches at the event, including Diane Oksienik, who recently received a master’s degree in social work from Rutger’s University; Dawn Sanford, who obtained her associate’s degree in criminal justice from SCCC; and Jennie Turbeville, who received a GED through the agency’s Even Start Family Literacy program. Octavia Perry shared a poem which she composed during her work with the Even Start program. “Each step these men and women take brings them closer to their personal goal of financial self-sufficiency,” said Bev Gordon, president of Project Self-Sufficiency’s Board of Directors. “We are proud to have been able to help them to determine their career path, and more importantly, to give them the tools to start the process with a solid education in their chosen field.” For information about the programs and services offered at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500.