2016, Jersey City, NJ – This Thursday, May 19, Hudson County Community
College (HCCC) will confer degrees and
honor the HCCC Class of 2016 at its 39th Annual Commencement
Exercises. The event will be held at 6:00 p.m. at New Jersey Performing Arts
Center’s Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ.
President Glen Gabert, Ph.D. said many of this year’s 1,150 graduates have had
challenging paths in the pursuit of their degrees and certificates. “The
College is so proud of these men and women, and for the determination,
commitment and persistence they have demonstrated while working full-time,
raising children, and overcoming illnesses and other challenges,” Dr. Gabert
said. “We are also proud of their families and friends, and the HCCC faculty
and staff who have supported and encouraged them throughout their journey.”
of Jersey City was determined to manage her full-time
job while retaining a 4.0 grade-point average and supporting her son. Although she
already earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Saint Peter’s
University and studied at the Teacher’s College of Columbia University, she
enrolled at Hudson County Community College to pursue her degree in business
administration. She plans to attend law school, and down the line earn her doctorate
degree in history.
had her first son
shortly after graduating high school. As a single mom and financial provider to
her four children, she sacrificed her hope of attaining a college education so
she could work. Ms. Ferrer believes that it’s never too late to pursue your
dreams and will be presented with her associate degree Thursday evening. She states
she is proud that her children can look up to her as a role model, and wants
them to know they should never settle for less.
of Hobokendreamed of one day graduating college,
and that dream has finally become a reality. Marriage and children led to her
postponing her college dream, and in the interim, she earned her CPR and EMT
certification and worked as a volunteer with her local ambulance squad. On her
first day as a volunteer, she used her CPR skills to save a life. Although she
delivered babies and attended to 9/11 victims, it was her mother’s passing that
motivated Ms. Frey to pursue a degree and she enrolled in nursing. The twists
and turns of life placed roadblocks in her college path, and she left her studies
for work. It was when her father passed that she committed to fulfilling his philosophy
of always going after one’s dreams. In 2013, she enrolled at HCCC to become a
medical assistant, which she has now accomplished, having worked two jobs and
had the support and encouragement of her children, boyfriend and HCCC faculty.
She plans to pursue a nursing degree.
of Jersey City said
that when she looks at her associate degree, she cannot help but smile. The
single mother of two was working
a full-time job when she returned to school after 19 years. With the
support of her children, she put on her backpack and headed off for her new
adventure in education. She says her two-and-a-half years at HCCC expanded her
knowledge, solidified her confidence and brought her new friends ... as well as
her degree in business.
of East Newark sees
attaining her Associate in Science degree in Engineering Science as a start to
her new life in the United States. A student at HCCC from 2011 to 2015, she and
her husband – who will also graduate this Thursday with the same degree – both
started their studies in ESL Level I. Throughout her studies, the mother of two
small children worked as secretary for the College’s Center for Online Learning.
Both Zakia and her husband are now pursuing their bachelor’s degrees in civil
engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology.
of Jersey City came to
this country from Morocco, where he had studied mathematics in college. Not
knowing English and cultural challenges had him struggling as he worked in
various places here in the U.S. In 2011, he began his studies at HCCC by
enrolling in ESL classes. A HCCC professor and one of Hassan’s
roommates inspired him to pursue and earn his math degree. He stated that at
the College he came to learn many things he needed to accomplish great success,
and he met “amazing” students and faculty who helped build his confidence. “I’m
forever grateful,” Mr. Ouanir said.
of Jersey City and her
sister Puvitha are graduating HCCC together. Dilani began her college studies
at HCCC with ESL and basic math courses. Majoring in accounting, she earned a
3.7 grade-point average and was on the Dean’s List; she credits her professors
for leading her on the best path to achieve her goals. Dilani and Puvitha (who majored
in biology and was also on the Dean’s List) are the first in their family to
earn college degrees. Dilani will attend New Jersey City University on a
of Jersey City is a
single dad who cares for his two young children. While enrolled full-time in
the HCCC Culinary Arts Institute Baking & Pastry degree course, Mr. Markey
also worked a 3-to-11 a.m. shifts so he could not only financially support his
family, but also be there to assist his children with their homework and take
care of their other needs.
of Newark attended New
Jersey’s Caldwell College (now University) after graduating high school in
1983. Life challenges prevented her from completing her studies at the time.
However, she was determined not to let obstacles, including blindness in one
eye, prevent her from her goal. So the mother of two and grandmother of three enrolled
at HCCC as a full-time student while working full-time. While pursuing her
degree in Restaurant Management through the HCCC Culinary Arts Institute, she
was a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, and the
English Honor Society (Sigma Kappa Delta) and made the Dean’s List. She plans
to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University and to
own a banquet hall.
of Kearny left HCCC
after his first few semesters to become a police officer with the New Jersey
Department of Corrections. After nearly two years in that arena, he was motivated
to complete his degree and re-enrolled at the College. His quest in attaining
his degree in accounting was complicated by financial
hardships, the responsibilities of fatherhood and his own health
. He believes that in order to succeed, you must be
willing to fight – to overcome any obstacles and to not settle for that which
other people think is best for you.
Chanel Monique Reeves
of Jersey City left her
home in Alabama in 1984 with the dream of becoming a superstar singer – a dream
she has not abandoned. She began pursuing her degree in psychology by taking
two classes a night at HCCC while working at PaineWebber some 20 years ago. With
her sights set on graduating in 2012, Ms. Reeves was diagnosed with cancer and spent
two more years undergoing chemotherapy and rehabilitation. She is grateful and
honored to be graduating this week, and celebrating her 50th
birthday next month. “Thank you, HCCC; it’s been a wonderful journey,” Ms.
of Bayonne is a New
York City native who was once determined to become a ballerina. After attending
New York’s famed School of Performing Arts, Ms. Rue went on to dance with the
Joffrey Ballet, The School of American Ballet, Alvin Ailey, and in the Broadway
musical “Cats” and Radio City Music Hall’s “Christmas Spectacular.” Despite
these accomplishments, she never completed her high school diploma and as the mother
of two sons – both college graduates – she was determined to earn her high
school diploma and graduated in 2004 as valedictorian. An entrepreneur in the
entertainment field, Ms. Rue decided to pursue a new career and is graduating
HCCC with her degree in Criminal Justice. She will attend Rutgers University
and hopes to go to law school. “Hudson County Community College has given me
something nobody can take away – an education. Thank you for making me a
better, stronger, and brighter person,” she stated.
enrolled in HCCC after high
school, but left when she learned she was pregnant. Encouraging her to stay, Dr.
Ferdinand Orock, HCCC Professor, told her he believed she would return one day.
In the interim, she went to trade school and obtained her medical assistant
certificate and worked in that capacity for 12 years. In 2013, she was laid off
from work and as the single mom of two children (one with special needs), she
decided it was time to fulfill her goal. Putting her fears aside, she
re-enrolled at HCCC in 2014 and majored in Human Services. During a chance
encounter with Prof. Orock her first week back, he assured her that she would
finish this time. A member of the National Honors Society of Leadership and
Success, Ms. Santos is also a Peer Leader. “HCCC has given me a feeling of
importance and the ability to express who I was in the past and who I am
destined to become,” she stated.