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District Receives Communication Awards

26 October 2022

Clifton Thompson and Eshaya Draper posing with awards

Lawrence Township Public Schools Awarded for Outstanding School Communications

District awarded with two awards from competitive statewide contest for school public relations

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ – The New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) named Lawrence Township Public Schools a winner in the 2022 School Communications Award Contest. Lawrence schools won awards in the Photography and Special Interest Publication categories. 

District officials Eshaya Draper, operations manager (above, right), and Clifton Thompson, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion (above, left), collected the awards at NJSPRA's annual ceremony in October. Draper serves on the association's Executive Board and represents Lawrence as the district's communications officer. 

The district’s Photography award was made possible by the media captured by Draper and high school security officers Benito “Bennie” Williams and Sam Pastorella.

A judging panel determined the district’s second award for Special Interest Publication through the public information campaign on the district’s Strategic Plan. 

"We appreciate this recognition and thank the staff involved for all of their hard work," said Dr. Ross Kasun, superintendent of Lawrence Township Public Schools. "These accolades supplement Lawrence's July 2022 National School Public Relations Association award for communicating with student families through informative publications and digital media." 

NJSPRA developed the School Communication Awards to recognize professional school communicators in New Jersey and the projects they develop that go above and beyond to disseminate important messages to their various stakeholders. 

“Congratulations to Lawrence Township Public Schools for both setting such a high standard for others in the field of school communications,” said Lori Perlow, public information officer at the Haddon Township School District’s Communications Consortium and current president of NJSPRA. Perlow also serves as a regional vice president of the encompassing national association. 

Draper joined Lawrence in April 2021 as the operations manager, succeeding seasoned communications professional Lana Mueller. Mueller served the district for 26 years and won numerous communications awards statewide and nationally. She served as a regional vice president for NSPRA and held positions on the NJSPRA Executive Board until her retirement.

The association's 2022 communications contest was the most competitive in the history of the state, with 87 submissions from 40 different school districts. The photography category had the most submissions, which supports the need for school districts to utilize impactful photographs to tell their stories. 

The 2022 School Communication Awards submissions were judged by an esteemed panel of 14 judges from nine states, including professors from Rowan University and other industry experts across the country.

Districts may compete for awards in eight categories: Electronic Newsletter; Marketing, Branding, and Image; Media Relations-Human Interest; Photography; Social Media; Special Interest Publication; Video; and Website.

Eshaya and James Patten
Eshaya Draper stands with fellow Photography award-winner
Jim Patten of Toms River Regional Schools (Ocean County, NJ)

Won awards
Both district awards for Lawrence schools stationed on a table

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About Lawrence Township Public Schools
Situated in the heart of central New Jersey, Lawrence Township Public Schools serve a diverse population of students and families. This cultural diversity adds to the uniqueness and appeal of the district's seven schools. Over 1,300 students attend four PreK-3 elementary schools, over 920 students in grades 4-6 attend Lawrence Intermediate School, over 590 students in grades 7-8 attend Lawrence Middle School, and over 1,150 attend Lawrence High School. 

About the New Jersey School Public Relations Association
The New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) is a state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), nationally recognized for its efforts on behalf of school public relations professionals. Members include public relations and communications professionals, as well as superintendents, administrators, board members, principals, teachers, and consultants, all of whom benefit from the wealth of information and networking that is available.


Photo 1: District officials Eshaya Draper and Clifton Thompson with awards   (Paul Zeller/NJSPRA)

Photo 2: James Patten of Toms River Regional Schools with Eshaya Draper, holding photography awards   (Sandy Cokeley, APR/NJSPRA)

Photo 3: Both school communication awards on display together   (Eshaya Draper/Lawrence Township Public Schools)