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MAYS LANDING - Atlantic Cape Community College kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration with Community Day on Saturday at the main campus here.

“It is such an important time in our history being the first post-secondary education institution in Atlantic and Cape May counties,” said Jean McAlister, Dean of Resource Development and president of the Board of Trustee Operations. “When you look at all of the impact that we have had with work force training, not just credit students, it has been an amazing 50-year journey.”

The festival included representation from throughout the community and provided hours of free entertainment for visitors. The New Jersey National Guard set up an inflatable obstacle course for children; the Hamilton Township Police Department performed a K-9 demonstration and the Atlantic County SWAT truck was open for close-up views.

Areas businesses and organizations offered activities and information, and local artists sold their goods. Plenty of tasty food was offered by the Academy of Culinary Arts, BrickWorks wood-fired brick oven pizza, Palm Restaurant, Tacoholics food truck and Smokey’s World food truck.

Rays, sharks and other small sea life intrigued visitors at Atlantic City Aquarium’s Touch Tank. Robin Bruno, a psychology professor at Atlantic Cape Community College, reached to touch a small ray as it passed by.

“I’m surprised at how slimy it feels,” she said.

Laughter could be heard across the field as children such as Brianna Giovanelli, 13, and Haley Taggart, 13, both of Northfield competed in the bungee run. They ran as hard as they could to place a sand bag at the farthest distance before the bungee snapped them back to the starting line. “It was really fun,” said Taggart. Children also enjoyed train rides, face painting and story time with Clifford.

Seven Stone provided live music for the celebration, and Tilton Fitness led a Zumba session in the afternoon.

“There’s a lot going on here today,” said Bojan Zilovic, chair of STEM programs at the college, who brought his two daughters out for the afternoon. “The band is amazing.”

Representatives from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Rutgers University were on hand to talk to visitors about the programs they offer at Atlantic Cape Community College.

The STEM building, the Nursing lab and the Academy of Culinary Arts kitchen were all open for tours, and the STEM Department performed a drone demonstration as well as an air traffic control demonstration.

“50 years and we are still growing,” said McAlister. “We are so lucky to be a part of this community and to have the community support us. It’s a great place to live and a great place to work.”

Some of the upcoming 50th anniversary events include: a time capsule, the Scramble ‘Fore’ Scholarship Golf Tournament on Oct. 7; Careme’s Café Series on Nov. 10; the Alumni Basketball Bash on Feb. 11, 2017; the Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala on March 23; and the third annual Alumni Bash on June 11.

For more information, and additional 50th anniversary events, visit www.atlantic.edu/50.

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