CALDWELL, NJ — Jessica Intili and Matthew Block, both of Caldwell, recently spoke before the Class of 2017 at Essex County College and Caldwell University, respectively.

Intili, 25, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 (Associate in Science in General Science), was named valedictorian and urged her classmates to "go out into the world and let your light singe, and show what Essex County College graduates can do."

She spoke at Essex County College’s 48th annual Commencement Ceremony in May, which delivered 1,318 Associate degrees and certificates to graduates at the Prudential Center in Newark, according to Essex County College. In the fall, Intili will attend William Paterson University, where she will major in Public Health.

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"The point of our time at Essex wasn't to prove that we were better or higher achieving than anybody else,” she said in her speech. “The purpose was to do our best.”

Block, director of human resources for Summit Public Schools, received his Doctor of Education degree in educational leadership and served as the commencement speaker for Caldwell’s graduate ceremony on May 21. At the 75th annual commencement ceremony, Block pointed out that in a time of blurred lines, fake news, and alternative facts, it is important to analyze data, conduct deep research, and use the lessons learned in graduate school to change the world for the better, according to the university. 

“Through our experiences here at Caldwell University, each of us has been given a metaphorical mirror with which to reflect light into dark places,” he said. “We have been given the tools to be a positive force where there is negativity, and to provide clarity where there is ambiguity.”

Intili and Block are both pictured above, courtesy of their respective colleges.