New Jersey Council of County Colleges Honors Outstanding Student Scholars and Leaders

Two County College of Morris (CCM) students were recently named to the 2022 New Jersey All-State Academic for their outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to their communities and the college as members of the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa.

Samantha Shimabukuro

Peter Ballluffi-Fry

Peter Balluffi-Fry, of Mountain Lakes, and Samantha Shimabukuro, of Lake Hiawatha, were nominated by CCM administration for the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) distinction based on their academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

According to Balluffi-Fry, who considers himself an “unconventional student,” CCM provided the perfect environment for initiating his postsecondary career. “I overcame my academic anxieties through college-level courses and honors research,” said Balluffi-Fry. The International Studies major holds multiple leadership roles on the CCM campus, including serving as vice president of the Student Government Association.“Thanks to CCM,” said Balluffi-Fry, “I have transformed from a student nervous of his potential to a supportive student leader at the forefront of campus life.”

Shimabukuro, who will graduate from CCM with an Associate of Science in Engineering, initially thought attending college was out of her reach since she is the daughter of two, low income-earning immigrants. “County College of Morris provided me with the resources I could not afford elsewhere,” said Shimabukuro. That has included scholarship assistance, leadership experiences, internships, tutoring, plus a diverse community of supportive individuals. “Everything has helped me succeed and reach my potential, especially in a rigorous major like engineering.”

Thirty-eight students in total, from the state’s 18 community colleges, were recognized by the NJCCC at a celebration held at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton on April 28.

“These students truly exemplify the true power of community colleges,” said NJCCC President Aaron Fichtner. “The New Jersey All-State Academic Team members have worked incredibly hard to become the state’s very best community college students. They have remarkable stories and serve as an inspiration to all.”

“They have become leaders on their college campuses and have contributed to their communities in myriad ways,” said NJCCC Chair Mary Zimmermann. “As we emerge from the pandemic, New Jersey community college students continue to prove their perseverance and achieve.”

CCM is focused on excellence in teaching and lifelong learning through the delivery of exceptional programs and services that reflect a dedication to inclusiveness and diversity, educational advancement, cultural enrichment and workforce development. Fifty student clubs and organizations that range from traditional to innovative, plus eight distinctive varsity athletic teams form the nucleus of the 222-acre thriving campus in Randolph. Through active participation in the academic, cultural, religious, governance, social and recreational student groups, CCM students are afforded the opportunity to excel in and outside of the classroom and create lifelong relationships in a supportive campus community.