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Annual Teen Summit Strives for Students to Not Fear Their Future, but to Embrace Positivity and Possibilities

06/10/2024 | Media Contact: David Zuba, Public Relations Manager and Copywriter | (609) 343-4933
Dr. Natalie Devonish speaks to students at Teen Summit 2024

MAYS LANDING — Nearly 160 local high school students, inspired by this year’s theme of “Don’t Fear Your Future,” attended the Annual Atlantic County Coalition for a Safe Community’s Teen Summit on June 6 at Atlantic Cape Community College’s Mays Landing campus.

“For a lot of us, featuring our future is natural. Whether you are in high school, or an adult, or a senior citizen, fearing our future means that we are uncertain of what path we should take. We are uncertain of the obstacles that will be in our way and if there will be people to support us,” said Dr. Natalie Devonish, vice president, Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, during her opening remarks in the Walter E. Edge Theater. “At Atlantic Cape, this is where we thrive because we are your one-stop for education. We make sure that we create the path so that we can eliminate those fears.”

Students speak to their peers during Teen Summit 2024The Atlantic County Coalition for a Safe Community believes in giving students a voice. The Teen Summit, itself, is student-driven, which affords them the opportunity to meet and work together with their peers throughout the country.

The day featured three student-created and student-led workshop breakout sessions that touched on important topics of the utmost concern to the students themselves. In “Grow with the Flow,” the session focused on mental health and wellness, practicing healthy mind and body habits, allowing one to not just survive but thrive, and on ways to become a more productive and efficient student. The “Crafting our Future” session allowed students to work collaboratively and create affirmation boards, through the use of magazine images and text, that projected what each student envisioned his/her future. In “Paving Your Path,” the students received advice on learning how to network, how to talk to people and how to learn in a safe environment.

Students cheer as their high school is announcedSince last October, representatives of the Teen Summit youth committee, comprised of students from 10 local high schools, met monthly to devise a platform for this year’s summit. During these meetings, it was the goal to allow the students as a team to expand their thinking while meeting new people, and discussing ways to cope and find positive solutions.

“From the very first meeting it was clear that the students are concerned about their future. After the group processed ideas, the students decided that the underlying issue was fearing for their future,” said Crystal Holt, webmaster/help desk, Pleasantville Public Schools. “The fear of what was next in their lives, whether it was which college they will attend, will they learn a trade or if they will even consider college.”

The students in attendance represented Absegami, Atlantic City, ACIT, Buena, Cedar Creek, Egg Harbor Township, Hammonton, Mainland, Oakcrest and Pleasantville high schools.

Students speak with some of the vendors at Teen Summit 2024Vendors, including AtlantiCare, Covenant House, New Day Family Success Center, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Jewish Family Services, Acenda Integrated Health and Atlantic Cape, provided free information, literature and free giveaway items for the students.

This year’s summit was sponsored by the Atlantic County Coalition for a Safe Community in collaboration with Atlantic Cape Community College, Ideal Institute of Technology and AtlantiCare Healthy Schools.

Visit for more information about Atlantic County’s Coalition for a Safe Community. Visit to learn more how Atlantic Cape can propel you to a successful academic experience and professional career.



About Atlantic Cape Community College

Atlantic Cape Community College is a Middle States accredited, 2022 Achieving the Dream Leader College and Hispanic Serving Institution proudly serving the residents of Atlantic and Cape May counties. As a comprehensive, two-year community college, Atlantic Cape offers 47 undergraduate degree programs, and 33 certificate and workforce development professional series programs at its Mays Landing, Atlantic City and Cape May campuses. Atlantic Cape is home to the renowned Academy of Culinary Arts, rated the top culinary school in New Jersey, and for more than 50 years, our highly-acclaimed Nursing program. Atlantic Cape also partners with several four-year universities to offer students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree without having to leave home.