It’s been 40 years since the passage of Title IX, the federal law that provides equal access to educational opportunities for both men and women, and female athletes have made tremendous strides in sports ever since.
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, a New Jersey celebration of "National Girls and Women in Sports Day" was recently held at Seton Hall University, which honored and recognized more than 200 New Jersey female college and high school student athletes for their efforts in making strides for equality for females in all sports, including ’s very own Emma Culleton.
Every member school of the NJSIAA was invited to choose an athlete to be honored. Culleton, a four-time state sectional champion and two-time Group 1 State Champion in Soccer, and a two-time state sectional champion and Group 1 champion in Basketball, was chosen to attend by Athletic Director Rob Harmer.
“What I did was I surveyed all of my female coaches and her name was the No. 1 to come back in terms of who we should send to represent our school,” Harmer said. “She’s a great student, she’s a great representation of New Providence Athletics, and she has four state championship rings and the possibility of even getting five if our girls’ basketball team ] again this year.
Culleton, who attended the event with her parents, Colin and Nuala, and her basketball coach, Cap Pazdera, said she felt extremely honored to have been chosen to represent NPHS at an event that served to highlight the advances made by females in sports throughout the last 40 years.
“I found the event to be very inspiring,” said Culleton, the Girls Varsity Basketball team captain and starting forward this season. “Being in the company of so many accomplished and gifted female athletes from across the state truly gave me a better appreciation for those women who fought for Title IX.”
As Captain of the Girls Varsity Soccer Team last fall, Culleton played center midfielder and helped the team to its .
“Emma was a fantastic candidate for this award as she (and her teammates) have achieved many great things in the sports that she plays for New Providence High School,” Pazdera said. “[She is] one of the most, if not the most, decorated student athletes ever to come through New Providence High School.”
Culleton, a , will continue her soccer career at The College of New Jersey this fall and plans to pursue a degree in Health and Exercise Science.