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Rising High School Seniors Experience the Rigors (and Fun) of College Life

 Drone captured picture of students who completed a Summer College at Caldwell experience
High School Seniors in Caldwell Univeristy laboratory
High School Seniors in Caldwell Univeristy laboratory
High School Seniors in Caldwell Univeristy laboratory
High School Seniors in Caldwell Univeristy laboratory

Fifty high-achieving high school students have completed a Summer College at Caldwell experience. “Enlightening” is how  students Andrew Sosanya and Roesha Andre described their time at the Aim High Academy on Caldwell University’s campus in July.

The students were selected to attend the rigorous science and math program that has been offered for the past five summers at Caldwell, thanks to the U.S. Department of Education College Access Grant made available through the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. The intensive three-week program was open to excellent rising high school seniors who will be the first generation in their families to attend college.

The program was not for the faint of heart. It involved “late nights and not a lot of sleep,” but was totally worthwhile, said Sosanya, a student at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark.  The other students, faculty and staff made everything easier and motivated the students to want to do the work.  They got “a real taste of professors…fast-paced … no holding hands … they treated us like college students,” said Sosanya.

The students lived in the dormitories and attended lectures and labs with the chance to earn three college credits. They studied biology, chemistry, environmental science, statistics, green reactions, medicine and vectors. College prep workshops focused on topics like financial aid, admissions, conflict resolution and SAT skills. The students were exposed to cutting-edge scientific knowledge tools like robotic surgery, 3D printing design and Google technology.

They went on field trips to the Liberty Science Center, Duke Farms and a Jackals game, where they learned how physics and statistics are used in baseball. Their final projects were presented at a reception attended by community leaders, teachers, and the students’ family members. Research subjects included water resource management, biochemistry and eating disorders, biochemistry medicine and health, and alternative energy and agriculture.

Julaisei Caguana, from St. Vincent Academy in Newark, said the students tutored and tested one another and helped each other with homework. “We all had something we were good at (and) balanced each other out,” she said.

They appreciated the student tutors. The resident life assistants were like their “older siblings,” said Caguana.   One RA taught knitting, another sang for them, some did hair and manicures, while others cooked pancakes for dinner one night. “They tried to make it fun for us,”  said Andre, who attends Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon. “I will miss them,” said Caguana.

Perhaps best of all, they made friends with people who shared their commitment to academics. “We were chosen for how seriously we take our work, and we knew we had to band together to get things done. We bonded and enjoyed each other’s presence,” said Andre.

Brenda Petersen, director of the program, said it was a thrill for the faculty to work with the students, who were among the best and the brightest in New Jersey.  “Our entire SCAC team enjoyed the opportunity to engage with each of these students, seeking to ignite a passion within each of them to search for the answers to address the challenges that face our future generations.”

The students who completed the program were:

Kristen Cubillos                 Dumont High School
Theresa D’Errico  North Arlington High School
 Ana Quinones Passaic County Technical/Vocational
 Grecia Manrique Ridgefield Memorial High School
 Roesha Andre Mary Help of Christians
 Yuvenca Georges Cicely Tyson High School
Jastin Rana Clifton High School
 Kaitlyn Lopez Bloomfield High School
 Irma Morales Bloomfield High School
 Annemarie Robinson Saint Vincent Academy
 Julaisei Caguana Saint Vincent Academy
 Paris Walker Saint Vincent Academy
 Catarina Neves Saint Vincent Academy
 Andrew Sosanya St. Benedict’s Preparatory School
 Gloria Rodriguez West Caldwell Vocational School
 Leslie Tobar West Caldwell Vocational School
 Martha Asfeha Boonton High School
 Moboluwape Adeoti Hackettstown High School
 Jaquelin Ortega Somerset County Vo-Tech School
 Aspen Goodman Rahway High School
 Jada Little Rahway High School
 David Bellande Rahway High School
 Micaela  Rebelo  Union Catholic Regional High School
 Cherelle McLean Benedictine Academy
 Jyotsana Thapa Elizabeth High School
 Laila Olivera Hillside High School
 Vanessa Espino Academy for Urban Leadership
 Lauren Petillo East Brunswick High School
 YuQing Zhou Highland Park High School
 Yuhui Chen John P. Stevens High School
 Safaya Mukhtar Metuchen High School
 Jen-Dung Chang Hillsborough High School
 Tamara Basantes Hillsborough High School
 Shelsea Abreu Immaculate Conception High School, Lodi,NJ
 Madison Chalmers Holmdel High School
 Alexis Diaz Freehold Regional High School
 Katelin Dittmar Toms River East High School
 Jasmine Zhang Kingsway Regional High School
 Sunky Chang Memorial High School
 Deanna Tran Timber Creek High School
 Diana Rodas Serna Weehawken High School
 Alejandro Marquez Camden Academy Charter High School
 Jaylene  Estevez New Brunswick Health Services
 Davon Dickson Kingsway Regional High School
Ediha Choudhury Belleville High School
Leja Agnieszka Pompton Lakes High School
Rachel Mercado High Tech High School
Jessica Roman Elizabeth High School
Jennifer Santos Science Park High School
Noor Tahir Boonton High School