Hudson County Community College Celebrates 497 Students Who Progressed from English as a Second Language Studies to College Graduation

May 25, 2022

Non-native English-speaking students shared stories of their academic journeys at May 24 event.


Hudson County Community College honored graduating students from the Classes of 2020-22 who began their journeys in Hudson’s ESL Program during the “ESL to Graduation: A Celebration” event.

Hudson County Community College honored graduating students from the Classes of 2020-22 who began their journeys in Hudson’s ESL Program during the “ESL to Graduation: A Celebration” event.

May 25, 2022, Jersey City, NJ – Hudson County Community College (HCCC) is one of the most ethnically diverse higher education institutions in the United States, with students who were born in 119 different countries and speak 29 different languages. Many are recent arrivals to the United States coping with unfamiliar surroundings, cultural differences, and a new language. The College’s commitment to students’ success often begins by helping them overcome language challenges through the Academic English as a Second Language (AESL) program. 

On Tuesday evening, May 24, 2022, the College honored graduates from the Classes of 2020-22 who began their academic journeys in the HCCC ESL Program. The “ESL to Graduation: A Celebration” event was held at the HCCC Culinary Conference Center, 161 Newkirk Street in Jersey City. The celebration featured welcoming remarks by Jed Palmer, Interim Director of ESL and Academic Foundations English (AFE); and “Tales of Immigration: Past and Present” presented by Linda Joy Miller, Associate Professor, ESL. 

HCCC 2005 graduate Bahmini Ketheesan, Manager, SERV Finances and Accounts Group, Stevens Institute of Technology, spoke about “Student Success Stories: Past”.

Simone Ebeid, a member of the Class of 2021 who earned her Associate in Science, Medical Sciences degree, and Elie Natuwila, Class of 2022 who will receive his Associate in Science, Criminal Justice degree at commencement ceremonies on May 26th, spoke on “Student Success Stories: Present.”

HCCC President Dr. Christopher Reber, and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Yeurys Pujols offered congratulatory remarks to the graduates who are receiving degrees in Business, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Digital Arts, Early Childhood Education, Engineering, English, Health Services, Hospitality Management, Human Services, Mathematics, Medical Assisting, Medical Coding, Nursing, Psychology, Radiography, Studio Arts, and several other disciplines.

“The Classes of 2020-22 include 497 students who came to the United States from all around the world and began their higher education journey in the HCCC ESL program,” Dr. Reber said. “Attendees hail from Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, and Senegal. We are enormously proud of them for the courage, determination, and persistence they demonstrated in navigating the challenges of learning to read, write, and speak a new language, and then continuing on to earn their associate degrees.”

The HCCC Academic ESL program provides students with the high-level English language skills needed to study at a United States college or university, and to succeed and advance in careers. Classes focus on academic essay writing, grammar, reading, and speaking and listening skills. Overall, HCCC ESL students are from 45 different countries. Students enrolled in the Academic ESL program are eligible to apply for the Johanna Van Gandt (JVG) Scholarship for ESL Students that provides tuition support.

For more information on the Academic ESL program, please email eslFREEHUDSONCOUNTYCOMMUNITYCOLLEGE or call 201-360-4384.