Hudson County Community College 2015 Graduates Come from Near and Far, All Are ‘HCCC Proud’

May 19, 2015

More than 900 graduates to participate in the College's 37th Annual Commencement Ceremonies this Thursday.


May 19, 2015, Jersey City, NJ – This Thursday evening, Hudson County Community College (HCCC) will confer degrees on more than 900 students as the College celebrates its 37th Annual Commencement Exercises. The event will be held at 6:00 p.m. on May 21 at New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Prudential Hall in Newark, NJ.

“Our students are not typical; they are extraordinary,” said HCCC President Glen Gabert, Ph.D. “Our students come from all over the world. The majority start their studies in their twenties. Several have limited command of English when they begin classes. Still others work one, two, even three part-time jobs. Many juggle family responsibilities with their studies and their work. Still others are the first in their families to attend college.”

Ruben Candelaria, Jr. was born in Jersey City and has been living in West New York since he was two years old. The first person to graduate college, Mr. Candelaria has been working as a professional security guard for Goldman Sachs since June 2013. In addition to studies that led him to his Associate of Arts degree in English, Mr. Candelaria was a member of Sigma Kappa Delta honor society and the National Society of Leadership and Success, spent two semesters on the Dean’s List, and served as Secretary of the Model UN. A talented writer, Mr. Candelaria joined the College’s student newspaper, The Orator in 2014 as staff reporter and is now the paper’s Editor-in-Chief and President. He plans to attend New York University in the fall.

Haide Contla is Union City born and bred. The product of a single-parent home, she is the middle child – with two older and two younger sisters – and she will be the first of her siblings to earn an Associate degree. Throughout her time at HCCC, Ms. Contla has been involved in the College’s work-study program and has helped her family economically. A member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, she credits the Theatre Arts program for awarding her a dream opportunity to engage in a private Q & A session with actor, director, and producer Giancarlo Esposito. She stated: “Being a part of Hudson County Community College has been rewarding in the fact that I now have a better understanding of who I am, and I have made friends that will hopefully be in my life for the rest of it.”

Andres Guzman is a North Bergen resident who, when he was younger, had no aspirations to attend college, saw no value in education, and neglected his studies. A graduate of Union City High School, Mr. Guzman is one of four children raised by a single mom; he has a brother and sister who are also HCCC students. In an effort to provide financial assistance, he planned to pursue a career in music. Despite his mother’s encouragement to “go to college,” he attended audio school in New York after high school, but having worked several jobs, realized that he wasn’t making the progress he anticipated, and something had to change. He resolved that he would attend HCCC and approach college differently than he had in high school. While at HCCC, Mr. Guzman became a Teaching Assistant, a Peer Leader for the Office of Student Activities, and worked as an office assistant. This Fall he will be attending University of Southern California (Los Angeles) with plans to pursue his master’s degree at an Ivy League school, and go on to become an English professor or a journalist in the music industry.

Lisa Marie Marte is a New York City native who now resides in Jersey City. As the daughter of parents who were born in the Dominican Republic, she is held in high regard since she is the first person in her family to graduate with an Associate degree. She faced some early challenges with reading. Ms. Marte has managed to overcome those obstacles and excel as a student. She was on the Dean’s List at HCCC in Fall 2013, is graduating with her degree in Accounting, and plans to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Finance.

Corinna Schlinck came to Jersey City from her native Germany in 2013 with her husband, who was transferred to the United States on business. Since she spoke little-to-no English, she enrolled in the ESL program at HCCC. In just 18 months, Ms. Schlinck learned English, and is graduating with an Associate degree in Business, and a grade point average of 3.9. She is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and recently was part of the All-New Jersey Academic Team in Trenton. Ms. Schlinck has been on Dean’s List many times. A former professional accountant and tax advisor in Germany, Ms. Schlinck always dreamed of attending university. In her leisure time, she volunteers at a homeless shelter, plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree, and take the Certified Public Accountant exam.