Jessica Jones

Winner Shines Light on the Need to Replace Cynicism with Empathy – Published 5/22/17

County College of Morris (CCM) recently announced the winner of its 2017 Peace Prize, a competition intended to inspire students to use their imagination and creativity in the design and production of a work that both commemorates the events of September 11, 2001, and makes a positive statement about the importance and pursuit of world peace.

Jessica Ann Jones of Hopatcong, winner of the 2017 Peace Prize, produced a video titled “Light.” In her production, Jones uses the power of her words to shine a beacon of light on the need to replace cynicism with empathy and to foster hope instead of despair.

Jones is a Liberal Arts/English major at CCM. The faculty mentor for her project was Professor Laura Gabrielsen, Department of English and Philosophy at CCM.

“I’ve always been interested in poetry and from a young age I’ve known the importance of acceptance and peace in our society,” says Jones. “I’ve strived to use my art to express those views.”

She adds, “My video and poem work hand in hand, creating an atmosphere that will hopefully fully immerse the audience, leading them to truly understand the effect peace can have on our society and our world. If there’s at least one takeaway from my project, it will be that beauty can easily be found amongst destruction if we all try to practice acceptance in our everyday lives.”

After completing her education at CCM, Jones hopes to go on to a four-year college to pursue a degree in English. “I hope to use books to help inspire children to do amazing things no matter who they are or what they look like,” she says. “It is also a dream of mine to use spoken word poetry to change the lives of others whenever I can.”

Jones will receive an engraved plaque and an award of $1,000, both provided by the County College of Morris Foundation. The presentation of the award will take place during the CCM Commencement exercise on Friday, May 26.

To watch Jones’ award-winning video, visit