Toms River North High School will name their auditorium after their Nobel Prize winning graduate, Maria Ressa. The Board of Education unanimously passed the resolution for the renaming, as well as for naming another building for former superintendent Albert J. Dietrich.

Ressa, Class of '82, is an internationally renowned journalist and co-founder of the website Rappler.com, an online news site based in the Philippines. She also attended Princeton University.

According to Jersey Shore Online, she was class president for three years at TR North as well as being voted “most likely to succeed.”

According to the Rappler website, Ressa has been reporting on Southeast Asia for over 35 years and she was named Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time’s Most Influential Women of the Century. And now a Nobel prize.

Her Nobel Prize was announced in Oct. She won the award along with fellow journalist Dmitry Muratov. According to the Nobel Prize Committee, the two were singled out "for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."

She has been a vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and has been arrested and tried for her investigative work. She was found guilty of cyber libel in 2020. She is free on bail and a Philippine court ruled she will be allowed to travel to Norway to accept her Nobel Prize.

Ressa was born in the Philippines but moved to Toms River with her family when she was 10. According to the Asbury Park Press, she attended Silver Bay Elementary School before attending Toms River North.

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