It’s safe to say that Lisa Hirschfeld was “in her element” when she took on her very first volunteer task for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.
The 57-year-old Passaic native was the principal at St. Thérèse Elementary School in Succasunna when contacted by LHF President Jess Murphy.
Jess wanted to see if she’d want to get her school to join the educational field trips hosted by the LHF at Hopatcong State Park. Oh, and by the way, Lisa, how about volunteering to serve on our Education Committee?
Lisa’s response: “Yes and yes.”
Since then, she has become a familiar face at the annual field trips as well as other educational events like the 2017 Green Day at the Nixon School in Roxbury. She has also played various volunteer roles at our Block Party and the Hudson Farms Charity Hike.
“My favorite has definitely been the class trips,” said Lisa, a 20-year resident of Hopatcong. “I love living at the lake and saw a need to educate our students about the greatest natural resource that was right in our backyard.”
In her youth, Lisa attended Pope Paul VI Regional High School in Clifton, N.J. She graduated Caldwell (N.J.) College with a B.A. in biology, with minors in chemistry and history. She earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station in 2008.
Lisa’s career path took some unpredictable turns over the years. She admits her oddest job was as a “cheese girl” for Hickory Farms, passing out free samples in a mall. She started at St. Thèrése as a seventh-grade teacher in 2000, and became the “big cheese” in 2010, following her studies at the College of St. Elizabeth.
It’s mildly ironic that Thèrésa—the saint herself—was bullied by her postulant peers because she was woefully inept at handicrafts. Lisa, on the other hand, spends a portion of her free time doing counted cross stitch and knitting baby hats for Hopatcong Women’s Club’s state project.
Lisa’s other hobbies include collecting Longaberger baskets and Department 56 Christmas village items. Presumably, at this time of year, the latter have taken a prominent place in her home, which she shares with her husband, Bill, a 3-year-old cat, Abby, and a 20-year-old parrot named Buddy.
Lisa, a recent retiree, still finds time to do some substitute teaching and will celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary next August. Beyond that, visiting her grandparents’ hometown in Sicily is at the top of her bucket list. In the meantime, she’ll continue to give the LHF and the Lake Hopatcong community a big boost through her generous service.
“Being able to educate people about our lake and its incredible history,” she said, “is what I enjoy most about volunteering for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.”