SUMMIT, NJ - Five graduating Summit High Schools seniors -- Nkozi Abdur-Rahman, Saniya Jones, Steve Molina, Daniel Campos, and Icisys Sadler -- each of whom participated in the Pride in Educational Pursuits (PEP) Program were celebrated at a dinner attended by students, parents, Summit High School Principal Stacy Grimaldi along with PEP staff and Board Members.
The PEP Program is a Summit-based nonprofit offering academic support, college and career readiness to Summit public middle and high school students with demonstrated financial need. Based in a home-like setting, PEP is privately funded by members of the Summit community. Programming includes an array of after-school and summer activities provided free of charge to participants. Upon successful completion of the PEP program, students are eligible for up to $10,000 per year of funding toward college or vocational school.
During the celebration, the five Class of 2018 students announced their college plans for the fall, and acknowledged PEP’s role in their success. In addition, two PEP college alumni, Brianna Brown (B.A., Rutgers University) and Asia Beamon (B.F.A., The University of the Arts), offered reflections on the role that PEP had in their college success.
“Next year I will be studying mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University,” said Steve Molina. “The first college I ever visited was actually Princeton in sixth grade with PEP, when we were first being exposed to the college process. We were told that anyone of us could wind up here if we were willing to work hard enough. This stuck with me and pushed me. Thanks to all of the PEP staff, here I am, ready to go off to Princeton and make PEP proud.”
“PEP has guided me through elementary, middle and high school with discipline, dedication and guidance — allowing me to be the best me possible. PEP had been the foundation of my education,” said Icisys Sadler. An accomplished athlete, Sadler won the 100 hurdles and 200-meter dash at the Union County Championships, setting Summit High School school records in the process. She will enroll at Rutgers University in the fall.
“My experience at PEP has been amazing,” said Saniya Jones. The staff have become like an extended family to me over the last nine years, and they played a tremendous role in my academic success.” Saniya will matriculate at Union County College in September.
“We could not be prouder of our graduating seniors, " said Michael McCook, PEP’s executive director. "They have demonstrated commitment and tenacity and have bright futures ahead."
Founded in 1996, The PEP Program has active partnerships with a number of local organizations, and PEP students completed community service work at The Connection Summit Helping its People (SHIP), Bridges Outreach, The Summit Public Library, the Summit Area YMCA, the Junior League Thrift Shop, Central Presbyterian Church, and the Summit Department of Community Programs.
Applications are accepted in the sixth grade. For more information about eligibility please call 908-277-1106 or visit pepprogramnj.org/contact-us/.