By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
SALEM â€“ Salem High School vice principal and athletic director Darryl Roberts will be one of eight people honored at the Salem County NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet at the Edward W. Dorn Center, 26 Pennsville Pedricktown Road in Pedricktown at 3 p.m. on April 23.
Roberts’ title also included student activities coordinator at Salem and he has won recognition for his work in the athletic department. He will receive the education award from the Salem County NAACP.
Other awardees include:
*Cpl. Demetrest Brittingham, Salem County Sheriff’s Office
*Zoraida Conde, local youth advocate
*Angelo and Eros Harold, community advocates
*Elder April Holmes, who runs a girls’ ministry
*Students Keyon Brown, of Salem High School, J’La Howard Evans, of Woodstown, and Destiny Holloway, of Penns Grove High School and Montclair State University.
Rev. Dr. John G. Moore Sr. will be the keynote speaker. Tickets for the event are $55 and those interested can contact chapter President Nelson Carney at 856-899-0738, Thonna Busch at 609-202-8837 or Ina Jetter at 302-442-3146.
In an interview in December after the Salem High School football team won the NJSIAA/Rothman Orthopaedics South/Central Group 1 regional title at Rutgers University under head coach Montrey Wright, Roberts said it was just a small sign of what the students and staff are trying to accomplish and it’s a joint effort.
“What I like about working at Salem is all the opportunities and options we try to give kids and try to help them understand how education is important,” Roberts told Front Runner New Jersey. “We try to get them to see themselves in a different light as far as academics are concerned. Even with athletics, we are trying to make sure that they have the most opportunities that they can.”
Salem Superintendent Dr. Amiot Patrick Michel praised Roberts for upgrading the athletic department and facilities, giving students more opportunities to excel on and off the field, which in turn, gives them a chance at a brighter future after graduation.
That includes a new track that was completed in the 2021, allowing Salem to host its first track meets since the mid-1990s.
“It’s a team effort,” Roberts said. “Basically, you’re building the brand. You are letting the kids have an appreciation for where they are and where they come from. The fact is they know we’re trying to improve things here and help them understand they are worth it. With the superintendent’s endorsement, it’s meant a lot for our kids.”
Roberts said, though, more than the brick-and-mortar physical facilities, he wants to make sure he provides good role models for all the students, starting with himself. Roberts, who watched hometown product Jonathan Taylor go from walking the halls there to one of the top running backs in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, said he feels other kids at Salem have that potential.
“We’re trying to be good role models and trying to help our students understand their own potential and their own value,” Roberts said. “Jonathan Taylor was a unique young man, but we have a lot of young people with that potential.
“They may not know it. They may not understand that potential, especially coming out of an environment that they come out of sometimes but we try to make this time here feel good. We hope we have some sort of positive effect on people’s lives,” he added.
“We talk about role models, in what does it mean to you to be an African American role model to the kids, not just the Black kids bur the White kids as well. We want all of them to have a positive experience here and feel like they can succeed.”
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