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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:

KristenCubillos                 Dumont High School 
TheresaD’Errico North Arlington High School
 AnaQuinonesPassaic County Technical/Vocational
 GreciaManriqueRidgefield Memorial High School
 RoeshaAndreMary Help of Christians
 YuvencaGeorgesCicely Tyson High School
JastinRanaClifton High School
 KaitlynLopezBloomfield High School
 IrmaMoralesBloomfield High School
 AnnemarieRobinsonSaint Vincent Academy
 JulaiseiCaguanaSaint Vincent Academy
 ParisWalkerSaint Vincent Academy
 CatarinaNevesSaint Vincent Academy
 AndrewSosanyaSt. Benedict’s Preparatory School
 GloriaRodriguezWest Caldwell Vocational School
 LeslieTobarWest Caldwell Vocational School
 MarthaAsfehaBoonton High School
 MoboluwapeAdeotiHackettstown High School
 JaquelinOrtegaSomerset County Vo-Tech School
 AspenGoodmanRahway High School
 JadaLittleRahway High School
 DavidBellandeRahway High School
 Micaela Rebelo Union Catholic Regional High School
 CherelleMcLeanBenedictine Academy
 JyotsanaThapaElizabeth High School
 LailaOliveraHillside High School
 VanessaEspinoAcademy for Urban Leadership
 LaurenPetilloEast Brunswick High School
 YuQingZhouHighland Park High School
 YuhuiChenJohn P. Stevens High School
 SafayaMukhtarMetuchen High School
 Jen-DungChangHillsborough High School
 TamaraBasantesHillsborough High School
 ShelseaAbreuImmaculate Conception High School, Lodi,NJ
 MadisonChalmersHolmdel High School
 AlexisDiazFreehold Regional High School
 KatelinDittmarToms River East High School
 JasmineZhangKingsway Regional High School
 SunkyChangMemorial High School
 DeannaTranTimber Creek High School
 Diana RodasSernaWeehawken High School
 AlejandroMarquezCamden Academy Charter High School
 Jaylene EstevezNew Brunswick Health Services
 DavonDicksonKingsway Regional High School
EdihaChoudhuryBelleville High School
LejaAgnieszkaPompton Lakes High School
RachelMercadoHigh Tech High School
JessicaRomanElizabeth High School
JenniferSantosScience Park High School
NoorTahirBoonton High School