“I came when I was five years old, and when I came, everything was a struggle,” he said. “But the one thing I was always attracted to was mathematics, and that’s something I always excelled at. For me, math is the same in every single country. So I was able to adapt quickly.”
Rivera received an NJAC Foundation Scholarship in conjunction with Investors Bank.
The bank, through the Investors Foundation, awarded the NJAC Foundation a grant of $21,000 for county vocational-technical school graduates who plan on continuing their education at a county college or state college or university.
“Investors Bank and Investors Foundation are proud to support the NJAC Foundation,” said Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings. “NJAC has been integral in providing educational opportunities to so many of our bright students here in New Jersey – work that is vital for the long-term success of our communities. We applaud NJAC and wish the scholarship winners all the best in their future endeavors.”
Deeply involved in church activities as well as organizing events, Rivera earlier this year took part in SkillsUSA, and won third place in the State Competition for Entrepreneurship.
Rivera plans to pursue a career in business, and is scheduled to start at Rutgers University in Newark in the fall. But he also has an impressive legacy of advanced placement classes at County Prep that includes calculus, physics, banking and finance along with taking part in the school’s business program.
“For me, math is the same in every single country. So I was able to adapt quickly.” – Jeremy Lewan
Rivera was one of three students honored in August by the county Board of Freeholders for achievements in education.
Jeremy Lewan, a Bayonne resident, received a scholarship from the New Jersey Association of Counties Foundation and PSE&G. Rivera and Melina Soriano, both of Jersey City, received the Investors Bank/NJAC Foundation Scholarships. Soriano was unable to attend the ceremony.
The PSE&G Foundation awarded the NJAC Foundation a grant of $12,000 for county vocational-technical school graduates who plan to study environmental science, green design, green technology, alternative energy, and other related subjects at a county college or state college or university in the fall.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the NJAC Foundation, I commend PSE&G for its continued commitment and generosity to the communities in which it serves; and, I look forward to working with our county vocational-technical schools in selecting talented students dedicated to creating green solutions and advancing their education right here in the great state of New Jersey,” said Donald De Leo, president of NJAC, and a former Hudson County surrogate judge.
Lewan loves the environment
For Lewan, who attended Woodrow Wilson School in Bayonne before going onto Hudson County Schools of Technology, the scholarship came as a result of his “unwavering dedication to environmentalism.”
Lewan has a passion for meteorology. He already attended Penn State’s Advanced Weather Camp on his $1,000 scholarship, where he was able to experience professional weather forecasting and receive a realistic appreciation of the work that meteorologists do by touring the National Weather Service and Accuweather studios, according to the resolution passed by the freeholders.
At Hudson County Schools of Technology, Lewan is credited with revitalizing the school’s Environmental Club, serving as vice president and later president.
Under his leadership, the club initiated two annual Earth Day celebrations at the high school. In these events, the students brought in materials to be recycled and learned about environmental concerns and what they might do to resolve them.
When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last year, Lewan raised $800 at fundraisers to be used to help purchase solar power generators to help answer the island’s desperate need for electricity.
Lewan graduated from Hudson County Schools of Technology in June, majoring in Environmental Science and earning a final grade of A-plus in every course for an overall grade point average of 4.5.
“Everybody at Hudson County Schools of Technology has been like family to me,” Lewan said. “They nurtured my talents.”
Lewan is enrolled in the Honors College at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where he will major in meteorology.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.