Originally published by the Pace Center. What follows are excerpts from the original article, highlighting award-winners affiliated with the TAP community.
Each year, the John H. Pace, Jr. ’39 Center for Civic Engagement honors students and community members for their commitment, dedication, and innovation in the realm of service and civic engagement. At an outdoor luncheon Wednesday, November 17, the Pace Center acknowledged the contributions of four Princeton University seniors, a faculty member, and two community partners.
“Each of our awardees is responding to the needs of the world,” said Kimberly de los Santos, the John C. Bogle ’51 and Burton G. Malkiel *64 Executive Director of the Pace Center, as she addressed the crowd under the tent outside the Louis A. Simpson building. “They are motivated by their own values, they have developed relationships with those they are engaged with, and they are also carrying through the social responsibility they have – using their privilege and power, in whatever ways they have it – to make this world more equitable as well as more joyous."
The gathering was an opportunity to both celebrate and connect, as awardees, friends, and colleagues shared time and a meal together. Each award recipient was introduced by a Princeton staff member or colleague and received a framed award in acknowledgement of their contributions.
“Service is an important part of each of our lives, but it’s often something that is less visible at Princeton,” de los Santos added. “Gatherings like this give us an opportunity to celebrate service – to see each other, to honor each other, and to be in community, with community.”
A. James Fisher Memorial Award
Given in honor of A. James Fisher, Jr. ’36, the A. James Fisher Memorial Award is presented to a Princeton senior, or seniors, who best exemplifies the qualities for which Fisher is remembered. The Fisher Award acknowledges a demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, zest for life, love of people, and loyalty to Princeton through work in the realm of civic engagement. This year’s awardees include:
Bein is a senior in the History Department earning a certificate in vocal performance. She is also the President of the Glee Club and a singer with the Tigerlilies on campus. With a passion for learning, a passion for giving back, and a passion for people, Bein exemplifies both an entrepreneurial spirit and love of people. Gray Collins, Pace Center internships coordinator and Project 55 fellow, illustrated how Bein did not let the COVID-19 pandemic stop connection between youth and Princeton students with Trenton Arts at Princeton (TAP). Instead, her extensive research and adaptability led a new branch of TAP, Trenton Youth Singers, to not only survive, but thrive during the pandemic as she came up with innovative ways to strengthen bonds and teaching moments.
“Hannah has translated all of her passions into meaningful service leadership in the fields of history, music, and also social justice and policy work,” Collins said. “She has consistently proven herself to be a caring and effective mentor to younger students and peers alike as a tutor, a conductor, and a leader. In the words of another referee, Hannah’s cultivation of a culture of kindness and decency inspires others to be as kind as she is.”
Community Engagement Award
The Community Engagement Awards are given to Princeton University faculty, administrators, and community partners who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to service and social justice that transcends the classroom. The Pace Center especially recognizes individuals who have inspired others on campus to join their efforts and who through their service to humanity have responded to needs in the world.
As a teacher at Trenton Central High School and director of the school orchestra, Pucciatti’s unfettered enthusiasm and dedication to his students is unparalleled. Lou Chen, program manager for Trenton Arts at Princeton (TAP), shared his own connection to Pucciatti as evidence. After reaching out to propose his idea as an undergraduate to recruit string students to be part of a small orchestra run by Princeton student volunteers, Lou said Pucciatti didn’t embrace or shut down his idea.
“Instead, he said to wait,” Chen said. “Come to rehearsal once per week and get to know the kids, and once you’ve gotten to know them better, once you’ve earned their trust, then can you introduce the idea to them? It was some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten, and it worked. After a semester immersed in his orchestra, my friends and I began the Trenton Youth Orchestra.” Chen, now graduated from Princeton, oversees additional collaborations in dance, vocals, and theater with TAP.
Pucciatti’s energy, even in his 44th year of teaching, enables him to not only create a welcoming space for his students – a space rich in new opportunities, challenges and enrichment – but also to extend his passion for music outside the classroom as director of a synagogue choir, overseeing his beloved opera company, Boheme Opera NJ, with his wife Sandra, and writer of an original opera.