UNION, NJ -  Jane Oyem will serve as Union High School's Class of 2020 Salutatorian as students participated in their virtual graduation last week and will hold an in-person celebration on July 8.

Of her high school experiences, Oyem said, “they consisted of me hanging out with friends, talking to teachers, being in a lot of clubs, and finding a balance between my school life and my personal life.”  She said she was looking forward to spending the end of her senior year with her friends, celebrating graduation and her birthday, but the pandemic took away many of these celebrations.

Oyem attend Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark from first grade through seventh grade. “I loved all my experiences there,” she said.  “Newark is a funny place and my best stories are usually about my time in Newark.”  Oyem said she developed her character while living in Newark.  She then attended Burnet Middle School for eighth grade, “which was a fun experience since I was not used to being the ‘new kid’.” 

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“When I was selected as salutatorian I felt uncomfortable at first,” Oyem said.  “I felt like I was put out of my comfort zone and into a spotlight that I wasn't used to. I like to live my quiet but happy life with people who are close to me.”  She said being selected salutatorian gave her a sense of the adult world; “it showed me new insight that I was too naive to see about the world. It's something that pushed me to grow.”  Oyem said it is  an honor to be salutatorian and she’s grateful for all the people who support her. “For me, salutatorian represents the growing I need to do in my life,” she added.

Oyem says she plans on getting a four year degree that will prepare her for medical school.  “I plan to start investing and thinking of business ideas. I hope to create more lifelong connections with the new people I'll meet. I also hope to develop a better self-care routine; I truly want to be a healthy person.  I honestly can't wait to move forward with my life!”

In the ‘note to self’ category, Oyem said, “here's a little code my future self would understand : $1.05 + Time.”