A dedication to go above and beyond for the student body at South Brunswick High School has earned the Student Council President a distinguished honor. Senior Ian Moritz was awarded the New Jersey Association of Student Council’s High School Student Leader of the Year award.
"I feel really excited and surprised at the same time. There were a lot of candidates and I wasn't expecting to win," Moritz said. "I just feel proud that I was recognized and was able to bring the title to South Brunswick."
During the New Jersey Association of Student Council’s Winter Conference held at The College of New Jersey on Jan. 11, SBHS won one of the Top Ten Projects of the Year for their Go Pink event, a day in October devoted to Breast Cancer awareness. SBHS also won the Honors School award for the eighth year in a row.
"I'm really proud of how the Student Council this year is going above and beyond expectations instead of just doing what the school expects," Moritz said. "We've taken on more responsibility for the school and the community."
Moritz was recognized for taking on a leadership role with initiatives such as lobbying the South Brunswick Township Council to complete a stretch of sidewalk on Stouts Lane, which runs from SBHS to the shopping center on Route 1. The stretch of road presents a danger for students walking from the high school to work at the shopping center.
In November, Moritz and Student Council Recording Secretary Dan Gorzynski presented the Township Council with a petition that had 900 parent signatures and over 1,000 student signatures urging the township to complete the sidewalk.
"Ian is a terrific president. He's very enthusiastic, very well liked and respected among the student body," said SBHS Activities Coordinator Gina Welsh. "He's very creative, has fabulous ideas and is tech savvy. So he is really moving the students forward and has brought a lot of exciting things to the school by keeping the kids focused on the job at hand."
Moritz said he was most proud of the multiple fundraisers the Student Council has run this year for various causes. In addition to being the captain of the SBHS swim team, Moritz has also served on the Student Council all four years, with three stints as president.
"Student Council brings the school together beyond just academics and sports," he said. "It creates school spirit and a sense of community. In our school it's created a sense of family. Student Council has taught me how to communicate with all my peers and how to create a bond within a group. You can tell somebody how to be a leader as much as you want, but you only learn by doing stuff and being out there trying to get people to come to an event.
"From challenges you learn who you are and what you're capable of. That's how Student Council has helped me out the most."
For SBHS staff members, Moritz's honor is a validation of the hard work he and the rest of the council has put in.
"We're thrilled about this," Welsh said. "He was the only student in the whole state to receive this honor out of hundreds of kids. We've had an Advisor of the Year before, but this is the first time we had a Student Leader of the Year. We're really thrilled and this is a well deserved honor."