July 3, 2021


PATERSON, NJ –  While COVID-19 caused the event to go from its traditional in person celebration to a virtual one, the impact of The New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) and Paterson Public Schools’ 7th Annual College Sendoff was in no way diminished.

With only 11 percent of Paterson residents having a Bachelor’s Degree, NJCDC Founder and CEO Robert Guarasci said, the need to not only help local students continue their education past high school, but also celebrate those that do, remains as important as ever.

While the list of schools that Class of 2021 members will attend in the fall is an impressive one, including Barnard College, Columbia University, Jacksonville University,  Kean University, Montclair State University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, Stanford University, The College of New Jersey, and William Paterson University, so too was the list of sponsors helping to make that attendance more affordable.

Thanks to donors, including Lisa Hirsh and Mark Schlossman, Valley Bank, the ADP Foundation, Berkeley College, Yunior Caballero and Stewart Stimson, Mark DeAngelis, Dewberry, and Felisa Van Liew,Guarasci said, nearly $25,000 in scholarships were distributed to more than 60 Paterson students.

Included in the awards were scholarships of $2500 to JFK High School graduates Noor Hassan and Mackiah Henry.

For Hassan, set to attend Stanford University in September, the scholarship, and chance to attend such a prestigious institution is about more than just the education she’ll receive. It’s also, she said, “an opportunity to be a guiding light for other students,” as, she said, the NJCDC has been for her.

Proving Superintendent of Schools Eileen Shafer’s commitment that each student has Paterson behind them “every step of the way,” those being celebrated also heard from Mayor Andre Sayegh and William Paterson University Provost Joshua Powers who said “Young men and women, let me be emphatic and blunt! You were admitted to your college because you deserve to be there and have all the tools to be successful.”


Original article can be found here.