PATERSON, NJ – A glimmer of hope emerged from an otherwise locked down city Thursday with the announcement that Emily Cruz, a senior in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at International High School (IHS), has been accepted at Johns Hopkins University. Cruz will begin attending the prestigious university in the fall.

Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer shared the news in a press release saying that everyone in the district is proud of Emily’s accomplishments. Shafer went on to congratulate Emily’s mother and stepfather for the “devotion and support that helped her get this far.”

Shafer added praise to Emily teachers and administrators who have helped the student through her academic career. “We all look forward to Emily’s success in college,” Shafer said.

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Emily is a first generation American, the statement said, her mother, Cinthia Diaz, an immigrant from Peru that came to the United States when she was just 17. Two years later, she gave birth to Emily and now work as a surgical technician at Hackensack Meridian Health. Cruz’s stepfather, Hector Cruz, is from Puerto Rico.

“Growing up, my parents always tried to make sure that I would be educationally prepared. For instance, they would buy me books teaching third grade subject material while I was still in kindergarten,” said Cruz. “This helped to not only prepare me for my future classes, but it taught me the value of education at a young age, and this is something I continue to carry with me.”

Cruz, a member of the National Honor Society member and the Paterson Youth Council hasn’t just been busy in the classroom, the statement read, and last summer volunteered 100 hours at Hackensack University Medical Center, an experience she described as “life changing.”

“It solidified that my career interest lies within the medical field,” said Cruz. “I was able to interact with patients and observe how selfless the medical staff was at the hospital. It was the highlight of my summer.” 

“I am grateful for everything the IB Program at International High School has taught me, and I will continue to carry on these lessons for the rest of my life,” she said, adding that the program, the only one in Passaic County and one of only 17 in New Jersey, shaped her as a person by encouraging her to take risks and engage in different learning activities. “The IB Program has set a strong foundation for me and, because of this program, I am ready and looking forward to the rest of my journey.”