By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — Most high school seniors can’t wait until the day they turn 18 years old.
Their 18th birthdays are the biggest day for them in their young lives because it signifies they are adults.
Adriana Purcell will be celebrating her 18th birthday in a little bit, but the Pope John XXIII Regional High School senior will have a big reason to party on Saturday.
That’s because Hardyston Township proclaimed Saturday “Adriana Purcell Day” for her outstanding commitment and youthful example to her peers in light of her long-standing volunteerism within the township. The proclamation was made in August and presented to Purcell on Wednesday at the township council meeting.
“It’s pretty wild,” Purcell said. “I’ve been volunteering my time to my town for years. It’s amazing.”
The day in Purcell’s honor is well earned.
At Pope John, she has maintained a 4.3 GPA and above since freshman year. She is also the music director for the Theatre Program, a Eucharistic minister and lead musical cantor for Honors Chorus, the founder and chapter president of its Future Business Leaders of America, the treasurer of Key Club, a delegate in Student Council and a three-year captain of field hockey team.
In the community, Purcell has logged over 400 volunteer service hours. Purcell has worked for the township as a clerk, completing tasks such as a filing project in which she had to sort through tax documents and files dating back to the 1920s.
She is also a volunteer and coordination leader for the Hardyston Township Community Garden plus a volunteer for Pass It Along in Sparta. She also took a mission trip to New Orleans to build gardens to feed the hungry in 9th Ward.
All of these volunteering efforts helped her become the second runner-up at the 2017 Queen of the Fair pageant at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show, where she represented Hardyston as Miss Hardyston.
While most students would go crazy with this type of attention, Purcell will use her day as a humbling experience and a way to thank both Hardyston and Pope John for helping her become a true adult.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked in my town and have attended Pope John,” Purcell said. “I’ve been taken under everyone’s wing in the town and done all the right things in school. To see so many people be behind me means a lot."