“Newark has Prepared Me Well for My Future”
Thomas said, “Your freshman year is as important as your senior year in high school, you have to be serious about your studies from the day you walk into the school until the day you graduate.” Many of the students approached Jordan after the event to get personal recommendations on challenges and opportunities. Principal Edwin Mendez said, “It was an honor to meet with Jordan to discuss his research project for Princeton and to see him engage the students in a way that was informative and interesting to them.”
Thomas also met with more than 50 grammar school age male students at Hawthorne Avenue School. All of the young men are members of the Young Men’s Leadership Academy, established by Principal Henry James. Every week for more than 8 years at Hawthorne, Principal James meets with 6th, 7th and 8th grade male students to discuss challenges in their lives and at school and opportunities for them to soar. Principal James said, “Our neighborhoods need you to come back and help prepare the next generation of leaders which is what Mr. Thomas has done.” Principal James also noted three students who attended Hawthorne are employed at Hawthorne as teaching assistants and mentors to the boys.
Interim Superintendent Gregory said, “I grew up down the street from this school on South 11th. Street. I know what it’s like to be a NPS elementary school student; I am an example of what you can do with the opportunities before you.” He added, “Jordan Thomas is an example of where education and opportunity can take you, as well. As a student, as a person, it is important that you never live just in the moment but plan five years ahead and decide how you can empower yourself through education. My final message is to always believe in yourself and what you have the power to do in your life.”
This was Thomas’ first time speaking to an elementary school. He thanked Assistant Superintendent Roger León for recommending him to speak at Hawthorne Avenue Elementary School. León told the student you can accomplish your goals – whatever they are – but you must first have a plan of action.
In closing, Thomas said, “You must start with a vision of what you want to do and who you want to be in your life. This is the moment – you are powerful, soak up all of the knowledge and wisdom you can as a student. I would not be the person I am today, had I not grown up in Newark. This city has prepared me well for my future.”