Pomp and triumphant circumstance: College graduation is a milestone in anyone’s life, and no more so than for Annette Cruz, 45, whose academic career was twice interrupted when she battled breast cancer, which then spread to her lungs. With help and encouragement from daughter Thatyana Morales, 22 — also a Temple student — Cruz returned to the university a third time and at last finished her bachelor’s degree in English. The cherry on top: She and Thatyana, who has just completed a degree in computer information systems, graduated together on May 9.

Mike Aichenbaum of Hosts For Hospitals
Mike Aichenbaum of Hosts For Hospitals

Our readers come through: After reading in The UpSide about Hosts For Hospitals (the nonprofit that pairs local residents with patients from out of town who need Philly-area lodging), ten readers contacted the organization about becoming hosts — and one has already lodged a patient family. Says Hosts executive director Mike Aichenbaum, “The continuing response from your readership is amazing. Imagine, if each of ten new hosts (so far) lodge three families a year for five years — this story will have helped 150 patient families!”

ShopRite's Giuliana Zallie with honorees from 2018: (top left) George Bethel of Sicklerville; (below, left to right) Lucian Richmond of Sicklerville and Joe Drinkhouse of Mullica Hill.
Zallie ShopRite
ShopRite's Giuliana Zallie with honorees from 2018: (top left) George Bethel of Sicklerville; (below, left to right) Lucian Richmond of Sicklerville and Joe Drinkhouse of Mullica Hill.

High-five a vet: On May 18, the Zallie family, who own and operate seven ShopRite stores throughout South Jersey, will host their eighth annual Luncheon to Honor Veterans. Six vets, nominated by their local VFW post, will be lauded at each of the seven supermarkets, and the public is invited to join them from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a hot buffet prepared by ShopRite’s catering staff. For more details, go to @zalliesown on Twitter or Instagram.

Ned Kolpan and Elizabeth Zuckerman
Gerald Kolpan
Ned Kolpan and Elizabeth Zuckerman

Building their marriage: Ned Kolpan, 32, and bride-to-be Elizabeth Zuckerman, 31, want to say their vows beneath a chuppah with personal meaning when they marry on June 29 at TheArts Ballroom in Center City. So the Trenton couple is erecting the structure themselves — out of thousands of K’nex building toys, cherished treasures from Ned’s childhood. “Years ago, he started saying he wanted to build a chuppah one day from his K’nex. Now he’s gone and done it," says Ned’s dad, former FOX29-TV reporter Gerald Kolpan.

— Ronnie Polaneczky