SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic’s Jasir Clark-Washington, Christina Samuels Lee, Goldera Surles, and Trey Wilson were honored this past Sunday at a special ceremony in Trenton for being chosen as recipients of the 2017 New Jersey Rising Scholars Student Recognition Award.

The New Jersey Rising Scholars Student Student Recognition Program was established by the NJ Department of Education in collaboration with the N.J. Amistad Commission and the Malcolm Bernard HBCU College Fair of New Jersey, which honors the academic achievement of high school seniors from diverse backgrounds who are interested in attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and are leaders in their school and community.

Surles was surprised and honored by the award.

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“I was kind of shocked and it was a very happy moment for me when I found about this,’’ said Surles, who resides in Union. “It shows how much my hard work has paid off.’’

Samuels Lee was thrilled to be honored.

“It is very special to be chosen for this,’’ said Samuels Lee, who lives in Roselle. “It feels great that my achievements count for something and it's nice to be recognized.’’

Clark-Washington is proud to see his hard work pay off.

“This really means a lot to me,’’ said Clark-Washington, who lives in Plainfield. “I’ve worked hard in school, so it’s a pleasure and honor to be named as a rising scholar. I’m really proud that everything I’ve been working toward is coming to fruition.’’

Wilson said it’s great to see his commitment to academics rewarded.

“I’ve done a lot of work in school and out of school for this, so it’s nice to be rewarded,’’ said Wilson, who lives in Plainfield. “It’s a great honor.’’