NJEA joined the New Jersey Council of County Colleges to honor New Jersey’s 35 best and brightest community college students and their families at the 18th annual Phi Theta Kappa Day celebration on Thursday, May 3, at the Trenton Marriott Hotel.
“Each year, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges hosts this program to recognize the members of the New Jersey All-State Academic Team, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges, the Coca-Cola Foundation and the New Jersey Education Association,” said NJCCC President Dr. Lawrence Nespoli. “These students are recognized for their outstanding academic achievement and exceptional service to their communities as members of Phi Theta Kappa at their local community colleges.”
Essex County College honor student Carla Alvarez-Valverde delivered one of the keynote addresses. A Business Administration major, Alvarez-Valverde was recently named a recipient of the renowned Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer scholarship, worth $30,000 a year for up to three years. She was also named a Coca-Cola Foundation New Century Scholar, and will also receive a $2,000 scholarship for being New Jersey's top community college student.
quo;My parents always told me your life is your responsibility,” Alvarez-Valverde, who is originally from Ecuador, told the audience. She took an English as a Second Language class at Essex County College prior to entering the Honors Program and joining PTK where she served as president this past year. “Big dreams can be supported by concrete plans,” she said, adding that students should harness challenges they face into opportunities.
Alvarez-Valverde also thanked her teachers and fellow students for being a surrogate family in her new country.
NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Marie Blistan congratulated the students, their families, and teachers on their successes. “I am a proud graduate of Camden County Community College. So I can tell you from personal experience that your education at community colleges will take you far in life. Use this experience to achieve your dreams.”
NJEA represents about 4,000 professors and educational support professionals working in New Jersey’s community colleges.