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.
Abington Avenue Elementary School
Graci Fernandez boasts an impressive array of extracurriculars, serving as 8th grade photographer, Garden Club president, school cheerleader, and a member of the soccer and track teams. Having overcome the learning challenges she faced as a child, she is now one of the school’s top students and ambassadors. Graci constantly thinks of the welfare of her fellow students, often defending and supporting students who endure bullying and other mistreatment. Although she’ll only be entering the ninth grade in the fall, her foresight and thoughtfulness are evident in her commitment to working as hard as possible to excel as a scholar and athlete.
Ann Street School
Catarina serves as a peer tutor and is a member of the cheerleading squad. Known as a hardworking and motivated young scholar, she is part of the National Junior Honor Society and has achieved Honor Roll and Super Honor Roll. In the course of her work on safety patrol, Catarina demonstrates her compassionate nature by assisting students who get lost, arrive late to school or need assistance. She is proud to have been accepted to Science Park High School, where she will begin preparing for an exciting career in forensic psychology.
Ana Catarina Monteiro
As President of the Student Council at her school, Ana has demonstrated that even an eighth grader can affect her community in tangible, meaningful ways. Under her direction and sagacious leadership, the Student Council has conducted toy and food drives that have brought joy and sustenance to the countless Newarkers that rely upon the St. John’s Church food pantry and local Salvation Army. The success of these two events is owed chiefly to Ana’s deeply held beliefs: every life matters, everyone deserves access to opportunities, and everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. Ana sees community service as a way to help all people realize the importance of generosity, compassion, and fairness. Though celebrated for her service to others, Ana also excels academically as a Super Honor Roll student. With her inspiring ethics, focus and perseverance, Ana is sure to continue making positive contributions to society.
Leslie is considered a role model amongst her peers. She comes to the aid of those in need by assisting people in her community, raising funds for the less fortunate, and tutoring students after school. When challenges are presented to her, she goes above and beyond and excels. She has achieved Honor Roll and Super Honor Roll while being active in extracurricular activities such as the National Junior Honor Society, Robotics Team, and Yearbook Club.
One word to describe Lucy would be perseverance. She is always looking to improve herself and those around her. One of her biggest accomplishments was being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. In addition to tutoring her peers, assisting students and staff through the school day, and being involved in many after-school programs, she takes pride in her involvement in church. She is empathetic towards others and leads by example.
Franshesca strengthens her school community by peer tutoring and serving on the yearbook staff and safety patrol. Having consistently earned the distinction of being on the Honor Roll, she plans to extend her record of accomplishment in college and medical school. Her plans to become a doctor are no surprise to her peers or teachers, all of whom have witnessed and admired her drive for supporting those around her. Franshesca governs herself with a quiet grace and is described by members of the Ann Street community as a model student and all around wonderful person.
Arts High School
Elwood Clark, Jr.
Growing up in the South Ward of Newark was difficult for Elwood, but he focused his energy on using challenging events in his life as a tool to persevere through tough times in order to succeed. Aside from excelling in curricular activities, Elwood mentors middle school students and actively participates in youth civic committees including the Student Leadership Institute. As a student leader, he helps his peers find solutions to issues that they may be facing, and helps them look at every situation with optimism. In August 2015, he will enter the United States Marine Corps and looks forward to serving his community and Country.
Barringer Academy of S.T.E.A.M.
Yuleissa moved to the United States without any knowledge of the English language or American culture. Rather than give in to her fears about her new life, she made strong and successful efforts to learn English and took advantage of multiple tutoring opportunities. 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 immigrants, she is a chapter member of the ESL club (called ELU), which invites foreign-born professionals from the Newark community to present to students once a week. She feels strongly that immigrant students will benefit greatly from knowing the successes of other immigrants, and has advocated for the ESL club in her community.
Belmont Runyon Elementary School
Chy’Ane is a polite and charming young scholar who has fought to make sure that the devastating loss of a close family member did not derail her academic performance. With the support of her family, she has managed to persevere through her grief and prioritize her preparation for college and her future. Friendly and helpful by nature, Chy’Ane has been known to assist peers with conflict resolution. She consistently motivates fellow students to refine their focus, challenging them to strive for excellence in all areas of life.
Camden Street School
Angel’s hard work and focus have enabled him to grow academically. Equally selfless and supportive, he frequently lends his assistance to classmates when they face challenging math problems. He enjoys the distinction of having passed more “Think Through” math lessons than any student in his grade. Angel’s humble, polite demeanor has earned him the respect of his peers and teachers, who celebrate his perseverance and willingness to be of service to those around him. Proving that these qualities extend well beyond the classroom, Angel sets a shining example for his siblings to follow, often helping his younger sister and brother with chores and homework.
Central High School
Dealing with the death of his mother was difficult, but Taj was determined to honor her memory by making a positive contribution to his community. He lives by the credo of Confucius – “When goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” As a leader, he has participated in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative and started Black Lives Matter at his school to ensure that especially boys and young men of color, overcome barriers to success. His goal is to continue to elevate the quality of life, safeguard civil liberties and make the people of his community knowledgeable of their capacity to achieve.
East Side High School
Rosa has overcome language barriers in order to succeed academically. She wasmotivated and determined to become competent in her studies. She has attended various programs, including a leadership academy at NJIT in order to develop skills to succeed academically and to improve her community. She exceeded proficiency and is not only earning her high school diploma from East Side High School but is earning an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Essex County College.
Student Council President and All-State athlete, Austin Verissimo has become a beacon to his fellow students by exhibiting excellence in everything he does. He has been recognized by News 12 NJ for maintaining an impeccable academic record while toggling between local soccer and hockey teams. For the latter, he’s received a $25,000 scholarship from the National Hockey League. Yet, Austin’s drive isn’t confined to school and sports; he also aspires to launch his own non-profit organization in Newark to support struggling students from the area. Austin’s hard work and dedication have earned him acceptances to a number of outstanding universities, including Cornell, UCLA and Georgetown.
Hawkins Street School
Karin Aguirre overcame significant obstacles before blossoming into the compassionate, helpful student we know today. Surrounded by gang violence and drug trafficking, she fought against the influence of her rough neighborhood as well as the taunts of bullies. Instead of succumbing to the negativity surrounding her, Karin has consistently sought ways to improve herself and gain exposure to more affirming aspects of the world around her. Further, her experiences with bullying have inspired her to befriend and support students who find themselves enduring mistreatment and alienation from their peers. Now known as a selfless community servant, she prepares meals for the homeless and contributes to clean-up efforts at a local park. In school, Karin enjoys applying her math and science lessons to activities with Hawkins Street’s Robotic Club.
Through a range of life experiences, Natalie has experienced injustice and unfairness. Because of this, she makes sure that those around her are treated justly. She is active in after-school programs, in her church, and in her community. She has won many contests including the Newark Public Schools Dr. Clement A. Price Essay Contest. Natalie is the epitome of determination, having worked tirelessly to learn and speak English fluently.
Kyle is a self-motivated, responsible and respectful young man. He has faced many hardships, but with the support of his mother and community, he has succeeded in overcoming these challenges. He is an advocate for justice and makes sure that people are treated fairly, with dignity and respect. He is a natural leader as exemplified by his ethical commitments, he makes decisions that may not be popular but he feels is right. He is involved in many extracurricular activities, including the Debate team, National Junior Honor Society, ICC Environmental Justice Community Organization Gifted and Talented program, all while excelling in school.
Malcolm X Shabazz High School
Zaire is a hard-working young man who doesn’t allow his circumstances to dictate his ability to face challenges head on. As team captain and quarterback, Zaire led the Malcolm X Shabazz High School Football Team to victory at the NJ Section 2 Group 1 State Championship, earning him the title of Most Valuable Player. School staff and peers alike consider him a role model and an inspiration. He has often said “I have a lot of personal problems, but I can’t be defeated because of them. I have to do what I have to do.” He is driven to make his family proud, but more driven to succeed, as reflected in his academic achievements and athletic feats.
Derrick is an honors and advanced placement student described by his teachers as possessing poise and maturity beyond his years. His quest for excellence is inspired in large part by his great uncle Kofi, whose perseverance in the face of immense challenges associated with living in a developing country has inspired Derrick to cultivate the focus and determination necessary for success in college and beyond. Ranking 11 in his class of 218 students, he’s been accepted to Montclair State University and has been awarded prestigious scholarships. Beyond his academic feats, Derrick maintains an impressive range of service-oriented activities, participating in his school’s Garden Club, serving as a counselor at the Boys and Girls Club and interning with the Mayor’s office.
Park Elementary School
Once shy and timid, Qwanzae proves to be diplomatic as the 8th grade class president. She is an advocate for equity and justice and is passionate about treating others with dignity and respect. Academically, she embodies that same spirit by spearheading classroom discussions and showing her peers how to achieve academic excellence. In addition, she is a member of the school’s poetry club, dance club, basketball team, and cheerleading squad. She lives by the statement, “I have a goal at the end of the road and I won’t stop until that goal has been accomplished.”
After losing a close family member at the age of 9, Katherine was faced with the challenge of returning to her schoolwork while managing her grief. In spite of that, Katherine has proven to be a paragon of triumph over adversity. Besides holding a 4.0 in academics and earning two Super Honor Roll medals, she is also the highest ranking and most awarded member of the debate team. Katherine has been a cheerleader for over 4 years while also performing with the drama club and participating in Excel Afterschool. As President of the 8th grade student advisory team, Katherine works tirelessly to establish a forum in which students can learn to work out their differences to ensure that everyone can move forward in unity and promote a positive environment.
Tatyann is a hard-working student who believes in persistence and collaboration with others. Her transition from Jamaica to the United States wasn’t easy, but she worked hard to adjust to a new country and its culture. She holds diversity and inclusion as important values, and believes that any person can make an important contribution no matter the size of his/her role. Outside of her school work, she serves as an English tutor, and a student helper with medically fragile students.
Technology High School
Katie is a phenomenal young lady who takes advantage of opportunities and masters the challenges presented to her. She is active in curricular and extracurricular activities, including AmeriCorps and the Youth Developers Program, while managing a full course load and excelling in her classes. She will be a first generation college student and plans on pursuing computer programming to help others be successful in life. In 2013, she received county-wide recognition for creating an app that assists younger students with learning fractions. Driven by her desire to support her blind grandfather, she plans on using her knowledge of computer programing to develop technology that will help ease the lives of those living with vision loss.
Undoubtedly inspired by the shining example set by her grandmother, Amanda is one of the hardest working students at her school. She is president of her school’s National Honor Society and a proud member of the Student Council. Her countless community service projects include food drives, volunteer service with the Summer Bridge Program and a mural painting project that was featured on NJ.com. These school-supported activities, however, barely scratch the surface of Amanda’s service to her community. Around her neighborhood, Amanda is known for helping everyone she can, particularly non-English speaking immigrants who find themselves struggling to connect with the resources needed to function and thrive. After balancing her own schoolwork and extracurricular activities, Amanda assists community members with food stamp applications, coordinating legal and medical appointments and submitting the documents and forms that help families in need sustain themselves. Unsurprisingly, Amanda plans to study law in hopes of becoming a child advocate. Having grown up without the traditional family structure, she’s cultivated an understanding of the unique needs of children and hopes to continue bettering the lives of our society’s most vulnerable populations.