VINELAND — John F. Scarpa is so excited about what he sees at the new Cumberland County Technical Education Center that he has donated $1 million from his foundation to fund scholarships and assist programs at the school.
But he’s even more excited about getting others to join him.
The donation was announced Thursday at a Board of Education meeting where the board also announced the school will be renamed the John F. Scarpa Technical Education Center of Cumberland County.
The donation is one of the largest to a public high school in the state.
Scarpa said in a phone in-terview Tuesday he has watched the progress of the new school as it was developed and built.
“I was really taken by the size and the curriculum being offered,” he said of the 200,000- square-foot school, which opened in September next to Cumberland County College.
The school offers specialized studies in automotive technology, construction trades, cosmetology, culinary arts, engineering technology, health science and medicine, information technology, law enforcement, studio production and broadcasting, and welding.
A native of Vineland who built his fortune in telecommunications, Scarpa said he appreciates the opportunities the school is providing in one of the poorest counties in the state.
“I saw this as an opportunity to change the education habits of young people in this county,” he said. “The more I saw what was happening at the school, the more I could see the impact I could have.”
Scarpa said he hopes that through work with the school’s foundation to recruit more donors.
“There are plenty of naming opportunities,” he said, noting the specialized programs the school offers.
He said the scholarships will be available for college or other technical training, and he hopes some graduates will stay or return to the county to help it grow.
“We are thrilled and honored by Mr. Scarpa’s generous donation,” Daniel G. Vivarelli Sr., board president of the Cumberland County Board of Vocational Education, said in a statement. “Having a benefactor like Mr. Scarpa will enable countless students from Cumberland County to pursue and achieve their dreams and enable CCTEC to provide Specialized Studies for Tomorrow’s World.”
“Businesses in Cumberland County need a skilled and educated workforce,” said Joseph Derella, Cumberland County freeholder director. “The completion of CCTEC was a huge step in preparing our students to meet the demand. And Mr. Scarpa’s donation now gives us much more power to help our youth succeed so they can come back and grow Cumberland County.”
Scarpa now lives in Avalon and Florida. The John F. Scarpa Foundation supports numerous organizations in Cumberland County and beyond, including the Frank and Edith Scarpa Cancer Pavilion at Inspira Medical Center Vineland, the Edith Favretto Scarpa Arts and Sciences Building at St. Augustine Academy and the John F. Scarpa Center for Law and Entrepreneurship at Villanova University.