Plainfield Senior's whirlwind effort lands him at top University in New Jersey to study Music

Eddy Veliz and Dr. Johanna Amaro, ESL/Language Arts Teacher Credits: Gloria Montealegre, PPSD
Eddy Veliz Credits: Gloria Montealegre, PPSD

Plainfield, NJ – Three months ago Eddy Veliz, 18, a senior at Plainfield High School had no plans to attend college, didn’t know what the SAT was, and had no idea that a conversation with his teacher would land him at a top-ten university to study music.

In March Dr. Johanna Amaro, an English as a Second Language/Language Arts Teacher, asked her senior class what their post-high school plans were. Eddy, one of her top students, had no plans. Maybe he was going to work as a security guard or maybe as an electrician.

“He had no solid plan,” said Dr. Amaro, and “This didn’t sound right.”

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With some research she found out there would be an “Instant Decision Day” at New Jersey City University so she invited a few of her students to attend, including Eddy. Eddy immediately took the opportunity.

“I am so proud of him! In March he did not think he was going to college, and in a few months not only did he apply to go to college, he took the SAT's, took the university's placement test, auditioned for the university by singing and playing his guitar and was accepted to the summer program with a scholarship from the university. He is a great person and an example to follow.”

As for Eddy, “This has been overwhelming because one minute, I was'n going to college and the next minute I am filling out applications. It has been a bit stressful. I’m still filing papers for financial aid and tomorrow I have to go see about my health records.”

Eddy was 15-years-old when he arrived alone from Guatemala to live with three older sisters in Plainfield, but they soon parted ways for economic reasons. He has since reunited with his father, Ramiro, but they don’t see each other often because of work. His mother Dora lives in Guatemala. Eddy goes to Plainfield High School, works part-time and joins local bands to play Latin music on the weekends.

He started playing guitar at 12 when the only person he knew “Tio Cabo” (Uncle Cabo) taught him all he knew. He said he made his decision at 12 and went looking for “Tio Cabo”. He would sing along with the radio but he knew he wanted to play the guitar. His motivation then was the music he heard on the radio and now he is motivated by the prospect of earning a college degree.

“I feel nervous about going to university but I am excited for it. I am really grateful for the scholarship I received and really happy to have a teacher like Dr. Amaro who motivated me to go to the university. I am grateful for that.”

New Jersey City University’s Music Business Program is ranked among the top-ten music business schools by the U.S. News & World Report. Eddy will start at New Jersey City University in July 2018.

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