38 community college students honored

38 community college students honored

Thirty-eight students from the state’s 18 community colleges were recognized as members of the 2024 New Jersey All-State Academic Team at the New Jersey Community College Scholars Celebration.

Among them were Sussex County Community College students Viviana Pineda of Succasunna and Melanie Salerno of Franklin.

”To some, community college is seen as a ‘step down,’ “ said Pineda, who instead sees it as “a step up to further education, achievement and individual growth.”

“It’s a place where I made the most of second chances, where my potential was recognized and developed, and where my aspirations blossomed. During my time, I have shattered stereotypes and generational curses and have rewritten my story.”

Salerno said, “Community college has allowed me to truly understand what I wish to study and pursue in life. This experience has allowed me to meet great people, learn and take classes that have truly interested me.”

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) celebrated the 38 students in an event at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.

The students, all members of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges, were honored for their outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to their communities and colleges.

They were nominated by their college leaders based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

“The 38 students have achieved high academic excellence while contributing to their college and the broader community. We applaud the New Jersey All-State Academic Team members for their hard work and dedication and for their many contributions to their colleges and communities,” said NJCCC president Aaron Fichtner.

Sheetal Ranjan, NJCCC chairman and a trustee at Bergen Community College, said, “The dedication, creativity, innovative spirit and commitment to service of these amazing students inspires us all. We are confident that they will have bright futures and that they will shape the future of our state.”

New Jersey’s 18 community colleges serve 230,000 students at 49 campus locations.

The students on the All-State Academic Team include both ones who will continue their education and those who will pursue careers after their graduation from community college. The honorees include students with diverse interests and areas of study, including computer science, health care, physics, creative writing, engineering, liberal arts, political science, criminal justice and psychology.

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