Just a few years ago, Galloway Township’s Amanda Parris was struggling to stay in school.

She had lost her father to cancer at age 10. Then she moved in with her mom, with whom she hadn’t lived for years.

In Ocean City High School she took honors and Advanced Placement classes. But health problems and hospitalization meant repeating her sophomore year, she said. Instead, she went to the Cape Educational COMPACT program, a flexible alternative high school for about 60 kids in Cape May Court House.

It’s a place for kids who have suffered a loss or other trauma and aren’t well served by regular high school, said Parris, 22.

Compact sends students with strong academic potential to classes at Atlantic Cape Community College on scholarship as part of their high school experience. Parris blossomed there.

Supporters of the program are holding the second annual costume-optional Women of Wonder League meeting tonight, to raise money for more scholarships. The event also honors Martina Singleton, of Galloway, the sexual-assault program counselor at the Coalition Against Rape and Abuse Inc. for her support of students affected by violence.

Parris graduated from Compact in 2008, from ACCC in 2010 and will soon graduate from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey with degrees in sociology and anthropology. At Stockton she leads volunteer groups, did an Americorps internship and a fellowship with the Stockton Center for Community Schools, in which she organized a tutoring and mentoring program in Atlantic City.

She has applied to Teach for America.

“I blame it all on Compact,” she joked.

Adventurers in A.C.

Bill Stage, 65, is a kayaking instructor, adventure guide and owner of New Jersey Kayak in Barnegat Township. This weekend, he and his wife, Carmen, will be hosting two other adventure kayakers as they stop in on an 11,700-mile journey.

Dave and Amy Freeman began a three-year journey across North America by kayak, canoe and dogsled on Earth Day, April 22, 2010, in the Pacific Northwest. They are expected to stop in at Barnegat Oct. 26 as they kayak down the Atlantic seabooard, Bill said.

The Stages, who live in Waretown, are giving the Freemans a comfortable bed for two nights, and the Freemans will give a talk on their trip 1:30 p.m. Oct. 27, at the Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education, Seventh Street and Navajo Drive, Waretown, Stage said. Weather permitting, they should pass Atlantic City early next week. To read more about their journey, click here or here.

Contact Michelle Brunetti Post:

609-272-7219