June 14, 2019 – Newark, NJ –New Jersey SEEDS, a nonprofit providing educational access to high-achieving students from low-income families, celebrated the graduation of its College Scholars Program on Saturday, June 8, 2019.
The 40 high school seniors enrolled in SEEDS’ third class of College Scholars will enroll all in colleges and universities. Eighty-five percent of these students will attend schools ranked Most, Highly or Very Competitive, according to Barron’s. This class received more than 130 acceptances from 51 colleges and universities.
Students graduating from the College Scholars Program have spent the past 17 months in academic classes with SEEDS each Saturday during the school year and for three weeks last summer on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. During that time, students worked closely with SEEDS on test preparation, personal statement writing, college research, college applications, financial aid literacy, and mastering skills that will make them successful in college and beyond.
At Saturday’s ceremony, John F. Castano, New Jersey SEEDS’ Executive Director, shared his advice with graduating seniors. “You have worked so hard on Saturdays and summers and made sacrifices to get to a different place with a different view, new people, new experiences and new excitements. I want you to enjoy that perspective. If you had had your head down during the past 17 months, think of all the things you might have missed. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Be proud. See the people who are around you, and speak to them. When necessary, speak for them. You were seen, and look how much your life has changed.”
In order to apply for the College Scholars Program, students must reside in New Jersey, attend an eligible College Scholars high school, be in the top 10 percent of their class, be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and meet SEEDS’ financial requirements. This year’s College Scholars class will graduate from 19 different high schools from 15 cities across five counties in New Jersey. The average annual income for a family in the College Scholars Class of 2019 is $33,581.
The College Scholars Class of 2019 Commencement Ceremony was held at Montclair State University with more than 150 family members and friends in attendance. Guests first heard from Michael Fletcher (SEEDS ’95), the morning’s Commencement Speaker. Jose Melendez (College Scholars ’19, Hackensack High School ’19, University of Michigan ’23) then shared his SEEDS story with guests. (View commencement photos.)
In addition to a formal presentation of diplomas, several students also received special awards in recognition of their accomplishments.
Congratulations to the New Jersey SEEDS College Scholars Class of 2019!
For high resolution graduation photos or video from the event, please contact Theresa Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 862.227.9145.
ABOUT NEW JERSEY SEEDS
For more than 25 years, New Jersey SEEDS has provided educational access for highly motivated, low-income students and created a viable path for them to achieve their full potential. SEEDS strives for a world in which young people’s initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status. Since SEEDS’ founding in 1992, more than 2,600 scholars have graduated from its programs. For more information, visit www.njseeds.org.