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May 15, 2018
May 15, 2018 / Jersey City, NJ – Hudson County Community College (HCCC) has announced that Aminah Chaudhary, a North Bergen resident and mother of three, is the Valedictorian of the College’s Class of 2018. She will take the stage and deliver the valedictory speech during the HCCC Commencement ceremonies at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 17 beginning at 6 p.m. Christopher Jackson, who played the role of President George Washington in the Broadway hit, “Hamilton,” will deliver the keynote speech to graduates, their families, and friends that evening.
Aminah Chaudhary began her college studies in her native Pakistan, but put them aside after marrying, immigrating to the United States, and having her first daughter. “I had always planned to continue my studies when we came here, but my first baby was two months old, and I was frightened of sitters,” she says.
As often happens, life took over. Aminah had another little girl, and she and her husband applied for a visa for her father and mother to come to the States. After her parents were here a year, her father was diagnosed with liver cancer and a herniated disk. Her Dad passed away just seventeen days later, and Aminah and her mother were faced with the sorrowful task of returning him to Pakistan – where her five siblings reside – for the funeral.
She states that she was not herself when she came back to New Jersey, and was frightened to leave the house. Her husband told her, “You were a good student; you should go back to school.”
In January 2015, she phoned the HCCC North Hudson Campus and learned it was the last day to take the placement test. “It had been ten years since I’d been in school and taken tests. I passed the English skills portion, but missed the math skills by two points, so I signed up for Basic Math & Algebra (remedial math), and four other classes.”
With help and encouragement from her husband and her mother – who looks after her three daughters aged 10½ and 8½ years, and nine months – Aminah, who had very little prior background in or knowledge of art, has successfully pursued an associate degree in Studio Arts (Computer Arts Option) A.F.A., and is on her way to becoming a commercial artist. She is a member of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Delta Kappa honor societies, and has been a participant in the Goldman Sachs Collaborative program. She has also been a College Student Success Mentor, and a member of the North Hudson scholarship fundraising committee. Aminah has also dedicated time to volunteering at the Garden State Episcopal Community Development food pantry, the College’s Open Houses, and more.
Aminah, who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA, will study Computer Arts-Graphic Design on a Presidential Scholarship at New Jersey City University. There, she plans to pursue a double major, adding Art Therapy to her coursework. She is also interested in earning a master’s degree.
She and her husband of over 12 years also plan to nurture the educational goals of her daughters, one who wants to be a scientist, and the other an artist. As for achieving her academic dreams she says, “If I can’t do it, how can I expect my kids to do it?”
“I love this College. It turned me into a whole new person,” Aminah Chaudhary states.