UNION, NJ – Union High School senior Tahjee’ Jean has received the 2017 Union County School Boards Association’s “Unsung Hero” Award.

The award is given each year to high school juniors and seniors who have overcome obstacles in order to succeed. The recognition program took place at the Union County Vocational Technical High School in Scotch Plains.

“Throughout his time at Union High School, TJ has been an integral part of the Peer Ambassador program and the Empowerment Mentoring Group despite dealing with some personal challenges,” said School Counselor Michael Mayes.  “As such, TJ has often times served within a leadership capacity within both mentoring programs.  He will often times lead and organize events in which we need assistance.  In my mind, TJ is the epitome of an agent of change because of his unselfishness, commitment to excellence and desire to help.”

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Mayes said that during the fall TJ played an integral part of helping the incoming class with making the transition from middle school to high school.  He said TJ lead tours, assisted with questions about schedules and provided assistance to incoming students who were anxious about coming into a high school that houses 2,500 students.

Quoting Maya Angelou, Mayes said, “’I think a hero is any person intent on making this a better place for all people.’  While TJ is just a few months away from graduation, I can honestly state that he is one of our students that will truly be missed. TJ has made his mark upon everyone within the high school, from student to administrators because of his unselfishness to give of himself for the well-being of others.”

"Failure is never an option with hard work and perseverance,” said Jean.  “I'm determined to succeed."