Vielka Rodriguez and her friend Adonis Taveras will be heading to Montclair State University in the fall. Both students of the School of Information Technology at Eastside High School were among 128 seniors recognized on Wednesday night for receiving $10,000 or more in scholarships.
“Montclair is very close to home,” said Rodriguez, 16, who plans to commute to the school five miles away. She hasn’t decided on a major yet. She received a $17,000 scholarship from Rider University. A small award came from Montclair State University, she said.
Taveras plans to stay on campus for the “college experience,” he said. He plans to pursue a four-year degree in business administration, he said.
“I’m truly very excited,” said Taveras, 17. He received a $17,500 scholarship from the College of St. Elizabeth. Taveras said over a four-year period Montclair State agreed to provide him $25,000 in scholarship.
Both Rodriguez and Taveras will be first in their families to attend a four-year college. Each was called up in an award ceremony at the auditorium of John F. Kennedy High School to receive a certificate for obtaining $10,000 or more in scholarship money.
Superintendent Eileen Shafer said the ceremony highlighted the “great progress” made in district high schools.
“Each year we have more and more students heading off to college,” said Shafer. She said in 2016, 888 students went to 2 or 4-year colleges; in 2017, that number grew to 922. “Each of tonight’s recipient is a clear and powerful reminder that we’re being successful in our vision to prepare each child for success in the college or university of their choosing or their chosen career.”
The ceremony recognized scholarship recipients, cheerleaders, and athletes. More than 60 people attended the event. Roughly three dozen high school seniors attended. Bad weather dampened the turnout for the annual event that is usually well-attended.