New Jersey SEEDS Congratulates College Preparatory Program Graduates Heading to College this Fall

NEWARK, N.J., June 7, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Yesterday, 24 seniors from Orange and Trenton High Schools completed New Jersey SEEDS' three-year College Preparatory Program (CPP), and each one of them is headed for college. New Jersey SEEDS is a nonprofit organization that has been changing the lives of motivated, high-achieving students for nearly 25 years.

The CPP Class of 2016 received 155 acceptances from 60 colleges and universities across the country, including: Boston College, Carnegie Mellon University, Colgate University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Muhlenberg College, Villanova University and Washington University in St. Louis. (A complete list of college acceptances can be found here.)

Since their sophomore year in high school, these scholars have spent two weeks each summer on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY) and every Saturday during the academic year with SEEDS. Students took classes in mathematics, critical reading and grammar, in addition to ACT preparation. As juniors and seniors, these CPP scholars worked closely with SEEDS and their volunteer mentors to identify a list of competitive colleges, complete college applications, and negotiate substantial financial aid packages.

SEEDS' College Preparatory Program scholars have shown us year after year what dedication means," says SEEDS President Ronni Denes. "These high school students have realized the importance of education in their lives, and were committed to spending their Saturdays and summers to improving academic skills. This is not an easy decision to make, and I want to congratulate them – and their families – for earning the college opportunity that will change their lives."

More than 120 family members, friends, mentors and other guests joined graduates last evening at Galloping Hill Caterers (Union). Following keynote speeches by Charles Odei (father of Maya Odei, Scholars '08, Phillips Academy – Andover '12, Stanford University '16) and Brittany Beckley (Orange High School, College Preparatory Program '16), several students were presented with special awards for academic achievements over the past three years:

  • Nehemie Etienne (Orange High School) received the NJ SEEDS Academic Achievement Award;
  • Lounie Germain (Orange High School) received the High School Academic Achievement Award; and
  • Wilmarilys Velazquez (Trenton Central High School) received the CPP Dean's Award.

"One hundred percent of our CPP scholars in the Class of 2016 will enroll in college in the fall," explains Imani K. Gilliam, SEEDS' Dean of Programs. "I'm so proud of these students and what they have accomplished in their high school careers, and especially, during their time with SEEDS. I look forward to hearing about the tremendous opportunities they take advantage of in college and beyond."

Congratulations to the College Preparatory Program Class of 2016:

  • Asheley Ashittey – Washington University in St. Louis
  • Brittany Beckley – Kenyon College
  • Ralph Belony – Rutgers University – New Brunswick
  • Jasmin Calderon – Drew University
  • Paris Campbell – Drew University
  • Bria Coleman – North Carolina Central University
  • Khatiana Constant – Drew University
  • Tyrel Edwards – Drew University
  • Nehemie Etienne – Washington University St. Louis
  • Lounie Germain – Lehigh University
  • Carly Henriquez - Montclair State University
  • Sha'Mika Hertilien – Seton Hall University
  • Saraphina Noel-Jeune – Drew University
  • Clinton Obi – Colgate University
  • Kezia Ofosu Oware – Lehigh University 
  • Precious Onyeukwu – College of St. Elizabeth
  • Jorge Osoria – Mercer County College
  • Malika Payton – Drew University
  • Brandon Rooplal – University of Toledo
  • Angelica Samayoa – Rowan University 
  • Yohance Sampson – Montclair State University
  • Ela Urbina – Villanova University
  • Wilmarilys Velazquez – Rider University
  • Jasmine Williams – Rider University 

For more information on the 2016 CPP Commencement Ceremony, or to receive high resolution photos, please contact Theresa Murray at or at 862.227.9145.

About New Jersey SEEDS

Since its inception in 1992, 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. To date, more than 2,100 scholars have benefited from its programs. For more information, visit
New Jersey SEEDS offers special thanks to Brian and Sandra Maher for their leadership support of the College Preparatory Program, along with major support from: AT &T, C.R. Bard, Inc., Elizabeth and Barets O. Benjamin Charitable Foundation, Mary Owen Borden Foundation,  Educational Testing Service, Horizon Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Laurenti Family Charitable Trust, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Novo Nordisk, Inc., Orange Orphan Society, Piper Sutton/Harbourton Foundation, Princeton Area Community Foundation, Inc. and PSE &G.


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