3E Awards 2014

3E Logo
Each year around this time, Newark Public Schools (NPS) takes a moment to acknowledge the accomplishments of its students as they wind down the year and look ahead to new beginnings. This is especially true for our graduating seniors who are transitioning on to college and careers. As we look back on this year, one of great change, great challenge and great accomplishment we look to celebrate all of our students who are at the heart of all our efforts.

In that spirit, we are proud to announce the Superintendent’s “3E” Award – Equity, Excellence, & Effort – for well-deserving graduating seniors. The 3E Award honors NPS students who relentlessly prioritize equity for themselves and others, show tremendous effort through diligence and hard work, and achieve excellent results in carving their own pathways to success.

Recipients have been selected based on the following criteria:

  • Equity – Relentless Focus on Justice and Fairness: The nominee exemplifies spirit and actions the old adage, “treat others the way you want to be treated”.
  • Effort – Hard Work and Consistency of Effort: The nominee demonstrates diligence and perseverance in overcoming obstacles and consistency of effort over time.
  • Excellence – Results Driven: The nominee demonstrates excellence and tangible results in: community involvement for justice and equity, self-improvement, and academic achievement.

Alexander Street School

Delvin Duncan
As an anti-violence student activist, Delvin always conducts himself with integri-ty and maintains a positive demeanor among his peers, even when he is sur-rounded by negativity. He is truthful and deeply compassionate towards others, empathizes with people about their personal problems and helps to solve them. He is a talented mediator and guides his peers in de-escalating conflicts before they become violent. Called a “brilliant and hardworking student” by his teachers, it is clear that Delvin believes in building excellence of character alongside academic achievement. He has demonstrated both qualities through-out his years at Alexander Street School by consistently making Honor Roll, achieving the highest state NJASK scores in literacy and math, serving as a role model for his peers, and being an overall asset to his school and the district.

American History High School

Mekale Knight-Victor
Mekale’s journey through childhood and high school has been filled with ex-treme hardships and challenges that might have easily made him lose his mo-tivation: however, that is not this exemplary young man’s way. Mature be-yond his years, Mekale made a pact with himself to never give in to the ills of society that surrounded him everyday, envisioned a better future for himself and believed in the American Dream. He worked hard to succeed in school despite incredible obstacles, taking advantage of tutoring programs and joining extracurricular activities. During his sophomore year, Mekale received the “A” Award, American History High School’s highest honor which recognizes students who exemplify the school’s desired characteristics fo a model student. Mekale is a member of the JROTC, American History High School’s Soccer Team and Ambassador Program, the New Jersey All-Stars Program, the Rutgers REaCH Program, the Newark GeoScience Program, and the Junior Police Academy at Barringer High School. He has progressively raised his G.P.A. each year and ultimately earned multiple competitve college admissions. He will be attending West Point next year and aspires to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. His goal, based on his personal experiences, is to find better ways to keep children safe.

Ann Street School

Solcyre Burga
A natural leader, organized, hardworking and studious, with an interest in ex-panding her educational opportunities and engaging in the school and commu-nity, Solcyre is an excellent role model for her peers. She is a caring individual who looks out for the best interest of others and is always kind and respectful to her peers, teachers, and school staff. Solcyre is skilled at balancing her schoolwork with extracurricular activities and demonstrates perseverance, dili-gence, respect and responsibility. She is a peer tutor, involved with a range of charitable activities, a member of the Student Council, a competitor in the Alge-bra Olympics and a member of the Cheerleading Team and Dance Squad. She is the valedictorian of her graduating class, is enrolled in the Rutgers Scholars program, has achieved numerous Super Honor Roll and Honor Roll placements throughout the school year and has perfect attendance. Solcyre plans to pursue a career as a psychologist and has set goals for herself by creating a plan for high school and college.

Carolina Heleno
A true leader and independent thinker, Carolina stands up for what she be-lieves to be right, even if the majority don’t agree. She is recognized for volun-tarily helping those in need and has been cited by her peers as someone with high moral standards who follows her conscience. Carolina is a member of the Junior Honor Society and has been a Super Honor Roll student for five consecu-tive years. She has persevered to achieve academic success, overcoming any obstacles that have interfered with her goals.

Justin Verissimo
Justin has a clear vision for his future and has systematically focused on putting into place the steps to make it a reality, despite some very real challenges that have come his way. He is introspective and regularly self-evaluates in order to make the necessary adjustments needed to improve himself and his current situation. If an obstacle is thrown his way, he course corrects, finding a way to succeed rather than making excuses for failing. Justin has proven repeatedly that he is able to use his personal hardships as motivation to succeed. A mem-ber of the National Junior Honor Society since 7th grade, Justin is a part of the Ann Street School Math Olympic Team, which earned first place in the City Wide Algebra 1 Competition, and finished with the 4th highest score in the Essex County Algebra Olympic Competition.

Barringer Academy of the Arts & Humanities

Gabriel Adonis Echeverria
Gabriel is a determined young man, who has a positive attitude and doesn’t stop until he achieves his goals. While facing numerous difficult personal and social challenges this past school year, Gabriel opted not to be overwhelmed or dis-couraged by them and instead leveraged the situations as a source of motivation. Gabriel’s teachers and school community have tremendous respect for his aca-demic and extracurricular achievements, note his passion for drama and the arts, and commend his levelheaded presence and ability to diffuse heated situations before they escalate. Observing him overcome his challenges, others in the school community have gained self-confidence and belief that they too can set and achieve their goals.

Illiana Familia
Illiana has encountered many hurdles in her life, and has confronted them with hard work, determination and a positive attitude. Turning adversity into a teach-ing tool, she learned to make smart decisions and resolved to not only reach her potential but to surpass it. Illiana is a hard worker, having supported herself and contributed to her family’s finances by holding down a job from a very early age, taking on summer internships and doing year-round volunteer work. Illiana has become a role model for the entire 2014 Barringer Academy of the Arts & Hu-manities community and is said to be the backbone for many struggling class-mates, whom she helps not only academically but also teaches anger and stress coping skills. Her accomplishments give her peers hope and confidence that they too can reach their full potential.

Jalisa Hunter
A newcomer to Newark this year, Jalisa arrived from Tallahassee, FL and made the difficult adjustment to being in a new school, city and state with impeccable skill and grace. She is extremely determined to succeed, makes smart choices, advocates well for herself and has found her place in the school community by joining numerous clubs and immersing herself in extra-curricular activities. De-spite being new to the school, she quickly became Barringer Academy of the Arts & Humanities’ unofficial peer mediator, working to diffuse social issues peaceful-ly rather than contributing to the escalation of unproductive gossip. As an active member of the school’s community service club, Jalisa volunteers at a food bank and helped to organize an AIDS awareness walk. An Honor Roll student, Jalisa is planning to pursue a career in medicine.

Dorcas King
Dorcas is recognized as a talented and prolific artist, who produces unique multimedium works that have filled her carefully maintained portfolio. But creating impressive art is not her only strong suit. Dorcas is also extremely driven and determined to succeed despite numerous obstacles that have come her way. Dealing with adversity has ignited in her a powerful motivation to excel academically and also instilled a keen sense of empathy and compassion. Active in community service work and supportive to her classmates, Dorcas is generous about helping others in need. She has learned much about independent thinking and making her own strategic decisions. One of those decisions has been to immerse herself in her academics regardless of external distractions. Another has been to step up as a leader and give back to her community.

Barringer Academy of S.T.E.A.M.

Lisbeth Diaz
Lisbeth moved to the United States less than 3 years ago without any knowledge of the English language or the American culture. Rather than give in to her fears of her new life, she made a strong and successful effort to learn English and took advantage of multiple tutoring opportunities in order to do well in school. Lisbeth is a Super Honor Roll student, and is ranked in the top 3 of her class. She has proven herself to be a motivated student who is humble and grateful to all who have helped her along the way, though her success is due to her own fortitude and drive. Dedicated to assisting other recent arrivals to the United States, she is a chapter member of the ESL club (called ELU), which invites foreign-born professionals from the Newark com-munity to present to students once a week. She feels strongly that immigrant students gain from seeing the success of other immigrants and has advocated for the club in the community.

Sara Jarri
Sara has been referred to as “the most determined student I’ve met this en-tire year,” by one of her teachers. Strong-willed with an indomitable attitude about achieving her goals, she aspires to attend medical school and eventual-ly become a cardiac surgeon – a dream she has had since the age of nine. It should be noted that Sara is from Ghana and English is not her first language. Despite the cultural differences and language barrier, she has persevered and pushed herself to excel academically and overcome any obstacles to her suc-cess. Her determination is evident by the fact that she regularly puts herself in the spotlight in order to challenge and defeat her fear of public speaking. Having witnessed students being treated poorly due to appearance or ethnici-ty, Sara is an ardent champion for the school’s anti-bullying program. Her goals are driven by the desire to create a better world by helping her fellow citizens. Sara is on Super Honor Roll and has maintained her position in the top 10% of her class. She has gained admission and been awarded scholar-ships to numerous colleges.

Juan Rosado
As the oldest son in his family, Juan has often had to sacrifice the fun and perks of being a teenager so he could care for his younger siblings, yet he still man-aged to be a model student with many extracurricular involvements including pursuing his pilot’s license, serving as Captain of the Varsity wrestling team, serving as Captain of the Chess Club, and maintaining a high G.P.A. When Juan earned admission to his dream school, which would enable him to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering, he was torn about accepting, as it would mean leaving home and being unable to be with his family. Ultimately, with his mother’s urging and blessing, he made the decision to attend Vaughn College in Queens, NY, where he will work towards his ultimate goal of being an officer in the United States Air Force. Juan has already signed up for the JROTC Air Force program, and has calculated every step he needs to take in pursuit of his goals.

Adoni Toribio
Adoni migrated to the United States without any knowledge of the English lan-guage or the American culture. Determined to succeed, he has taken advantage of tutoring opportunities and support programs and has worked to consistently achieve Super Honor Roll, maintain good attendance, and is ranked in the top 20 of his class. Adoni assists fellow immigrant students in learning English, is devoted to his younger brother who is deaf, and is a champion for the disabled in the community. He expresses gratitude to those who have helped him achieve, yet his teachers recognize that it is his own fortitude and humility that have gotten him where he is today.

Michael Tyson
Michael distinguishes himself by maintaining a high level of integrity in every-thing he does and by following his own mandate of being a positive influence in the world. With a gritty determination when it comes to achieving his goals, Michael allows no obstacles to get in his way. His education is his ultimate prior-ity. Mature, self-motivated and introspective, Michael has learned to be his own best mentor. His motto is “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach him to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” Michael won first place in the district’s 1st Annual Spelling Bee, is a peer coach to his classmates, plays on the Chess Team and maintains excellent grades. He treats his peers and teachers with consistent respect and adoration and is sure to addresses any bullying he sees by sticking up for the underdog. Michael was accepted into every college he applied to and received a scholarship to each. Michael is ranked number 4 in his class.

Cleveland School

Xavier Edwards
Xavier is a model student with strong motivation to continually improve him-self, give back to his community and advance his academic career. He will be the second of his siblings to attend high school and he has plans to earn a college degree. Xavier is a strong positive presence amongst his peers, and focuses on doing the right thing in the face of conflict. He strongly believes in the importance of seeing things through the eyes of others, and maintains that all people should be treated with kindness. He uses reasoning to resolve conflict, believing that arguments lead to negative outcomes and hurt feel-ings. Xavier wants to make a difference in the world, and is known to always help those in need.

Dr. E. Alma Flagg

Chantally Villalona
An ardent advocate for social justice, Chantally has thought deeply about the negative impact that socio-economic conditions can have on people’s futures and has vowed not to become a product of her environment. Believing that “the pen is mightier than the sword,” she speaks and writes openly about how she will overcome society’s low expectations of her, is committed to proving her value to the world and inspiring others to do the same. Chantally has never wasted a single day in school, is always on task and prepared, is willing and able to participate in insightful discussions on intense topics, is not afraid to try, make mistakes and then learn from them. She is consistently on Honor Roll and is a participant in the Randy Foye Foundation, which focuses on preparing students for excellence both in and out of the school.

Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School

Dora Calva
Initially a shy bilingual student, Dora determined to master English and excel in academics. Now an honor student who has consistently maintained an A average, she is focused on gaining a solid science education and ultimately attending medical school. In addition to her scholarly accomplishments, Dora has proven herself to be a champion of students who are bullied or with-drawn, and extends herself to comfort others when she sees they are down and sad.

Nicolette Ferriole
Though soft-spoken, Nicolette is recognized as a leader amongst her peers, setting a high bar for her own personal achievement and actively motivating those around her to strive for the same level of excellence. Her teachers refer to her as conscientious, hardworking and reliable, while her fellow students agree that she is the “nicest person they know.”

East Side High School

Azhar Uddin
An immigrant who came to the United States as a young boy, Azhar has overcome many obstacles and persevered to learn English and succeed academically. A member of the National Honor Society and the Student Council, Azhar is described as being determined, loyal, honest, considerate, compassionate, and generally exhibiting an abundance of positive character traits. Azhar has earned the respect of his teachers, administrators and fellow students and is recognized as a great communicator who knows how to facilitate discussions and problem solve in a non-threatening way.

Olivia Lason
Determined to succeed since she walked through the doors of East Side High School in her freshman year, Olivia’s hard work and academic rigor have earned her the title of Valedictorian of her graduation class. Although she entered high school in regular curriculum classes, Olivia was hungry for challenge and successfully made the jump to the honors program. She took Advanced Placement courses in both her junior and senior year, and will receive her Associate’s Degree simultaneous to her high school diploma, through her involvement with the Early College Program. Olivia has played on the Volleyball Team and participated in the Newark Math Olympics throughout her high school career. Olivia received a $22,000 scholarship to Seton Hall University, where she plans to major in Journalism and Public Relations (with a minor in English) and has also been awarded the $10,000 “Random Acts of Kindness” scholarship, given by East Side High School philanthropist Dr. Marini.

Miller Street School

Esmeralda Correa
A poet and short story writer whose work reflects themes of justice and equity, as well as romance, Esmeralda intends to be the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college. She is recognized as a leader amongst her peers, and is appreciated for her upbeat and positive presence. Having over-come many obstacles in her young life, Esmeralda is a hardworking student who strives for continual improvement and exhibits a relentless pursuit of excel-lence. Embracing the Golden Rule, Esmeralda often reminds her fellow students to “treat others the way you want to be treated.” She models diplomacy in her daily life, has received Young Student Entrepreneurship Recognition and is a New Jersey State Police Mentorship participant.

Newark Vocational High School

Davana Butler
When Davana lost her mother at a young age, rather than giving up on life, she confronted the hardship, became stronger, and made a conscious choice to focus on her education and strive for personal excellence. She is an Honor Roll student and in the top 10 of her graduating class. Well spoken and actively involved in her church and community, Davana is generous and compassionate. Recently, when a fellow Newark Vocational student lost her mother, Davana shared her own experiences and was influential in encouraging the grieving young woman to finish school. Davana has also been known to intervene in student bullying situations, reminding the bully how it feels to be on the receiving end. Davana has consistently kept her eye on the prize and has proven herself to be a young lady of character and integrity.

Rafael Hernandez School

Stephanie Torres
Stephanie is said to be “unstoppable in her efforts to make her mark on the city of Newark, the school district and the universe.” Her personal style is to ap-proach all assignments with gusto and determination, and take things a step further than is expected. Despite many obligations at home, caring for her younger siblings and a cousin with special needs, she has managed to stack up a long list of academic and extracurricular achievements, including Honor Roll, President of the Student Council, and the Principal’s Award. Stephanie has served on the Child Assault and Prevention committee as well as the Nutrition Advisory Council. A former victim herself, Stephanie is active in the school’s anti-bullying program and is instrumental in getting the word across to students and her peers. She is active in her church and teaches Sunday school. She is held in high regard by all who know her.