PATERSON, NJ - Tiona Harris’ latest academic achievement, graduating from William Paterson University with a double major in Psychology and English-Writing was “amazing.” While, she told TAPinto Paterson, it “took dedication, time and persistence,” to achieve her goals it was all worth it, “especially coming from an urban neighborhood and background when you're more likely to not go to college than actually pursue a college education.”

On Saturday Tiona was one of the many Paterson graduates, ranging from pre-kindergarten all the way through college, to be celebrated at a barbecue by Paterson Cares. While she is quick to point out that she didn’t go after a bachelor's degree for praise, the acknowledgement, including spending time with Mayor Andre Sayegh who later congratulated her in a Facebook post that was liked more than 400 times, was “humbling.”

Tiona reflected that she attended Paterson Public Schools up to and including Eastside High School where she graduated from before entering Passaic County Community College (PCCC), which she called “a great stepping stones to get adjusted into the environment of college life and academics.

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“I wanted to further my education and be knowledgeable enough to dive into the careers that I desire.”

That desire to gain knowledge isn’t past her, Tiona said, adding that she is going to return to WPU to pursue an MFA in creative and professional writing. “Going to college is not only about getting an education, and gaining a great job, it's about the experiences, the people, and the knowledge you take away from,” she said before concluding by sharing some advice for students coming up behind her.

"Go for your dreams and push to be the best while remaining humble and gracious for the opportunities that you are afforded."

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