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And TR's Unsung Heroes are ...

Bella Moderno
High School East's Bella Moderno is joined by Ocean County Prosecutor Brad Billhimer, HSE Assistant Principal Rick DeMarco and nominator Carrie Bush, and her proud parents.

Alexandra Finter-Flood
High School North's Alexandra Finter-Flood is flanked by Prosecutor Billhimer, her family, and nominator Meredith Brooks.

Diana Olivos
High School South's Diana Olivos is joined by Prosecutor Billhimer, nominator Jesus Buitrago, and her mom.

May 4, 2023-- Unsung Heroes is an initiative of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, which honors youth who have faced uncertainty or adverse circumstances, and have risen to the challenge with positivity and resolve, often to little of no recognition. For years, Unsung Heroes has been a signature event for OCPO, and while the ceremony has been hosted at various locations including Frog Pond Elementary School in Egg Harbor, this year Superintendent Mike Citta expressed a sincere interest at having the marquee event hosted here, in district.

And so it was that 28 honorees, their families, and district reps and OCPO came together at RWJBarnabas Health Arena on the campus of High School North May 3 to celebrate the stories, achievements, and sheer will of local Unsung Heroes. Guests were treated to the soothing sounds of High School North's jazz band as they entered the arena, which was decorated with balloons, table centerpieces, and banners, and enjoyed delicious food and dessert as part of the ceremony.

Among the honorees were three Toms River students:

  • Bella Moderno, from High School East, nominated by Carrie Bush
  • Alexandra Finter-Flood, from High School North, nominated by Meredith Brooks
  • Diana Olivos, from High School South, nominated by Jesus Buitrago

Ocean County Prosecutor Brad Billhimer and Superintendent Citta (right) spoke, acknowledging the unique circumstances and resolve of each person, and praising the Unsung Heroes for the fortitude, and for living out lessons that resonate with all of us.

It was a beautiful evening full of laughter, tears, and inspiring stories of resilience. Hats off to Ocean County Prosecutor's Office for its commitment to this fantastic initiative, to the district staff who helped organize and host the event, and of course to the Unsung Heroes who received their well-earned recognition. Until next year!

Brad Billhimer and Mike Citta

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and Toms River Regional Schools Superintendent Michael Citta

Rick DeMarco enjoys the food

High School East Assistant Principal Rick DeMarco enjoys the food being dished out by high school T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) volunteers.