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Two NJCDC Charter School Alumni Honored as Valedictorians of the Class of 2023

Two NJCDC Charter School Alumni Honored as Valedictorians of the Class of 2023

July 21, 2023

NJCDC founded the Community Charter School of Paterson (CCSP) in 2008 to promote academic excellence and educational achievement in the City of Paterson. Opened as a K-3 school serving 400 students, CCSP now serves more than 900 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade. As a full-service community school, CCSP supports its students and families both in and out of school through supportive services that remove barriers to access and opportunity, allowing all children to succeed. CCSP believes that "all students have a tremendous potential for success," and two new high school graduates—who are alumni of CCSP's Class of 2019—demonstrate that potential for success.

Shuvon Islam

Shuvon Islam is the Diana C. Lobosco (DCL) STEM Academy's valedictorian and was a student in the Biomedical and Life Sciences pathway, which offers an intensive STEM curriculum and career exploration programming to prepare students for a variety of careers in healthcare. This fall, Shuvon will be attending the Honors College at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and will enroll in the six-year Doctor of Pharmacy program at Rutgers' Ernesto Mario School of Pharmacy.

Shuvon fondly remembers his sixth-grade science class at CCSP, which interested him because it had a large focus on biology. In fact, he said this class was when he first became interested in studying science and he credits CCSP with providing a strong, well-rounded foundation for his academic success in high school. Shuvon said CCSP "helped a lot with the standardized testing aspect" of high school," because the strong emphasis on standardized testing prepared him well for taking the SATs and other standardized tests as a high school student. "My English teachers also helped develop my writing skills," said Shuvon, "which were really important in high school.

At the DCL STEM Academy, Shuvon chose the Biomedical and Life Sciences pathway because it allowed him to explore his interests in biology, chemistry, and the inner workings of the human body, and intertwine those subjects in a healthcare context. Throughout high school, Shuvon credits his teachers and his guidance counselor with providing him with the resources and support he needed to succeed. He also said his guidance counselor served as a mentor to him, preparing him for college and beyond, by helping him choose what classes to take and finding college programs that interested him. Shuvon is interested in pharmacy because his favorite subjects are chemistry and math, and he is interested in applying both in a healthcare context.

Shuvon will be the first person in his family to go to college. "My parents encouraged me to keep going and keep moving forward," said Shuvon, which encouraged him to succeed in high school. Now, he says, they are still encouraging him to keep pushing himself through the next six years of pharmacy school, so he can be proud of his accomplishments at the end of this journey. Shuvon also has a younger brother, and he believes his academic success has encouraged his brother to try hard and succeed in school.

Dorian Matos

Dorian Matos is the valedictorian for Paterson Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)'s Class of 2023. Opened in 2019, P-TECH offers a six-year curriculum that enables students to earn a high school diploma and an associate's degree in a STEM field, as well as participate in a paid internship with IBM while in high school. Dorian is currently working towards earning his associate's degree in Network Administration at Passaic County Community College, and he plans to continue at a four-year college once this degree is complete.

Dorian feels that his time at CCSP provided a strong foundation for his success. Reflecting on his experience, Dorian said, "I learned that I was a lifelong learner. CCSP helped me realize that I loved learning!" And CCSP nurtured his success beyond academics too. In particular, he loved the sense of community he and his family found at CCSP. He says he made lifelong friends that he stays in touch with, and that he even keeps in touch with teachers and staff from CCSP. He also remembers how supported he was at CCSP, with the school providing him and his parents with so many resources to overcome the challenges they faced. CCSP also gave Dorian opportunities to give back to his community. "I loved that they had multiple community events, especially ones that help people in the community," said Dorian. "That's something that I still do today."

When choosing a high school, Dorian decided on P-TECH because he was interested in the opportunities provided by the partnership with IBM, which included a two-year program with mentorships and paid internships, as well as the partnership with PCCC, which would allow him to get ahead on his studies. He said, "The teachers and staff at CCSP helped put me in the mindset of being ready for high school," which allowed him to enter high school ready to succeed. While at P-TECH, he received mentorship from his teachers and guidance counselors, who encouraged him to succeed and introduced him to different career fields he could explore. He also said his parents were able to provide him with a lot of support in high school, including tutoring him when he was struggling and encouraging him to overcome obstacles. His favorite subjects in high school were math and art; additionally, his AP computer science courses fostered his interest in studying technology and introduced him to coding and cybersecurity.

My motivation to succeed came from CCSP," said Dorian. "I knew that I was not only representing myself and my family, but also the school I went to."

NJCDC Founder & CEO Bob Guarasci—who is also the Lead Founder of CCSP—said, "Congratulations to Shuvon and Dorian on their outstanding achievements! These impressive young men are blazing a trail in pursuit of their college degrees and inspiring students not only at their alma mater, CCSP, but also throughout Paterson."

Watch a short video about Shuvon


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