Hudson County Community College’s Class of 2013 Reflects the Hopes and Dreams of Area Residents

May 16, 2013

JERSEY CITY, N.J. / May 16, 2013 - On the evening of May 23, 2013, more than 850 students of Hudson County Community College (HCCC) will walk across the stage at Prudential Hall in Newark and become college graduates. For all, the evening marks a new beginning ... the start of a more promising future. For many, it is the culmination of journeys that began halfway around the world, or several years ago.

“We are extremely proud of all of our graduates, and applaud them for all they have done to reach this milestone occasion,” said HCCC President Dr. Glen Gabert. “We are equally proud to be able to share some of the inspiring stories of their courage and determination.”

Glo-an Ramos, who was born and raised in the Philippines, completed 3½ years of studies in chemical engineering at De La Salle University in Manila. In 1999, she moved to the U.S. and attended Windsor Tractor Trailer School in Linden, N.J. where she earned a Class A Commercial Driver’s License. For nine years, she worked as a Professional Truck Driver, and in 2008, she enrolled in the Licensed Practical Nursing program at Merit School of Allied Health in Harrison, N.J. After graduating from Merit in 2010, she enrolled at HCCC where she was a member of Beta Alpha Phi, the College’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society. Next Thursday night, Ms. Ramos will be graduating from HCCC — summa cum laude — with her Associate degree in Applied Science. She is already attending Bloomfield College and working towards her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Lisa Sambula graduated from a Washington, D.C. high school in 1994 and returned to New York to live with her mother. During a period she describes as “an extremely rebellious phase,” she began frequenting — and later working in — a bar. Heavy drinking for more than a dozen years led to a downward spiral that ended with her mother’s passing. “I then took control of my life and began taking the necessary steps to change it,” she said. Now 38 years of age, she will be presented with her Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from HCCC where she, too, has been a member of Beta Alpha Phi and an Academic Mentor. She has been invited to participate in the NEW Leadership New Jersey Program at Rutgers University - New Brunswick in June. The first in her family to graduate college, she is fulfilling the dream her mother had for her, and she intends to go on and earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

In 1992, Yvonne Andreula migrated to the United States from West Africa (the Ivory Coast) where she was born and raised. She says she “worked very hard to learn the English language,” and obviously succeeded as she will be presented with her Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts on May 23. Ms. Andreula credits Prof. Siroun Meguerditchian and other members of the HCCC Culinary Arts Institute faculty with helping make her dream a reality.

Diana Lawrence-Jackson possesses a dogged determination that is sure to stand her in good stead for all of her life. The 48-year-young Jersey City resident was unemployed for most of the time she was pursuing her studies at HCCC, and since she could not afford bus fare, she walked to and from campus. Her mantra is, “Never give up! You will get to the finish line.” And get to the finish line she will when she is presented with her Associate of Arts degree in Human Services at the 2013 HCCC Commencement ceremonies. However, this is not the end of the line for her academic studies, as Ms. Lawrence-Jackson intends to continue her studies and pursue a Bachelor’s degree.

Jamilah Tyler, who will graduate magna cum laude with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts, knows that dreams shared are sometimes the most precious and enjoyable of all aspirations. Ms. Tyler has experienced the distinct pleasure of attending classes with her mother, Debra Croskey, who mustered the courage to go back to school after 20 years and is also a HCCC student. “What’s made this journey so special for me is that I get to take it with my mother, as we are both in the Culinary program,” she stated. “One day, I would love to own and operate a restaurant with my mother.”

It’s only been three years since Andrea Romero came to this country from her native Guayaquil, Ecuador. “I moved to the United States in Spring 2010 and began to study at HCCC in Fall 2010,” she says. She was intent on earning the Associate of Science degree in Human Services that she will be awarded on Thursday evening, deciding to opt for HCCC online courses rather than dropping classes so she could care for her newborn daughter, who is now 11 months old. A member of the HCCC Phi Theta Kappa honor society, she is now completing an internship at Queens Council for Social Welfare in New York.

Gloria Crawley, a native of Salter, South Carolina, is the only one of her ten siblings to attend college. The Newark resident is a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and the head greeter at her church who, after losing a son four years ago, could not return to her job as the general manager of a multimillion-dollar company. Realizing that life must go on, Ms. Crawley decided to fulfill her mother’s dream of having a child graduate college, and thereby enrolled in the HCCC CAI program. On Thursday, she will be the recipient of an Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts from HCCC. A member of the Essex County Board of Elections and Essex County Senior Citizens Organization, Ms. Crawley is also on the road to becoming an ordained Evangelist, and wants to be a chef and business owner.

Hudson County Community College’s (HCCC) 35th Annual Commencement Ceremonies. will be held on Thursday evening, May 23 at 6:00 p.m. in Prudential Hall at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J.