A graduate of Toms River North High School, Maria Ressa, has been nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in the world: the Nobel Peace Prize.

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 nomination ... that’s quite a resume.

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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.

Maria Ressa was born in Manila but her family moved to New Jersey when she was young. About her experience at TR North, she is quoted in the Jersey Shore Online story: “I was an immigrant kid. Toms River and Toms River North shaped me as the person I would become. It was a path to acceptance.

"My teachers and my AP classes helped me get to Princeton. They helped my dreams come true.”

The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021 will be announced in October.

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