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NJCDC and Paterson Public Schools Hold the 9th Annual College Sendoff

NJCDC and Paterson Public Schools Hold the 9th Annual College Sendoff

August 14, 2023

On Saturday, August 5th, NJCDC and Paterson Public Schools held the 9 Annual College Sendoff, celebrating the achievements of Paterson students who will be heading off to college soon. Qualifying students—any student from Paterson who will be starting college this fall—were eligible for scholarships ranging from $250 to $2,000! Thanks to the support of all of our generous donors—Valley Bank and Lisa Hirsh & Mark Schlossman—we were able to distribute nearly $25,000 in scholarships to help these students succeed in college.

This year, we were also excited to hold the College Sendoff in person for the first time since 2019. Students and their families gathered at the Rogers Meeting Center at NJCDC's headquarters to enjoy breakfast and celebrate each of their achievements.

The event began with NJCDC's Founder and CEO, Bob Guarasci, welcoming the students and congratulating them on their successes. "The College Sendoff is a tradition that we started nine years ago, and the idea was that we would celebrate you--Paterson students going off to college," he said. "You should know that we here at NJCDC, and people throughout the entire city, couldn't be more proud of you.

Attendees then heard from Assistant Commissioner of Education, Dr. Christopher Irving, who encouraged the students to take advantage of their opportunities in college. He also encouraged students to bring back what they learn to help improve Paterson. "This is a city that, I believe, requires young minds to help elevate and take it to the future," he said. "Whatever you do in your life, whether it is business, whether it is medicine, whether it is teaching, just do what you do and just always represent Paterson."

The next speaker was Dr. Laurie Newell, the Superintendent of Paterson Public Schools. "The work that we do is really to get to this point, to see the brilliance in this room. My desire is for all of our kids in the city of Paterson to thrive and to excel," she said. "The future is so incredibly bright, and there is so much out there waiting for all of you." She then congratulated the students on their hard work, and their families, for supporting the students in their educational journey.

Mayor Andre Sayegh told the students "Wherever you go, take Paterson with you. You are our ambassadors," before congratulating them on beginning their college journey.

Bob Guarasci presented five $1,000 scholarships to accomplished young people, in recognition of their hard work and their dedication to their community. These scholarship recipients were Fhameda Sultan, a John F. Kennedy High School graduate who will be attending Rutgers University this fall; Raisha Yeasmin, a PCTI graduate who will be attending Rutgers University this fall; Shuvon Islam, valedictorian of the Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy's Class of 2023 and CCSP alum, who will be starting a 6-year PharmD program at Rutgers University this fall; Johan Beltre, an International High School graduate who will be attending Brown University in the fall; and Jamila Begum, a Diana C. Lobosco STEM Academy graduate who will be attending Rutgers University this fall.

David Gelman, NJCDC's Chief Program Officer, then selected 10 students who received a $250 scholarship and 10 students who received a $500 scholarship. In addition, all other students who attended the event received a $100 scholarship.

Additionally, the inaugural recipients of the Dr. Allan DeGiulio Scholarship Fund were selected. Dr. Allan DeGiulio was a longtime executive of Greater Bergen Community Action, and he dedicated his life to providing educational opportunities to underserved youth. After he passed away last year, his family and friends donated to a scholarship fund that will allow underserved youth to succeed in college. The DeGiulio Family, led by Allan's wife Elizabeth, presented Amber Holmes-Edgar a $2,000 scholarship. Amber is a Teaneck High School graduate who will be studying Accounting at Bergen Community College this fall. Four $250 scholarships through the Dr. Allan DeGiulio Scholarship Fund were then given to residents of NJCDC's Independence House, which provides supportive services to young men aging out of the foster care system. Helping young people who were in foster care will be a special focus of the Dr. Allan DeGiulio Scholarship Fund.

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