WEST WINDSOR – More than 450 Trenton-area high school students were recognized for their hard work and academic achievements during the annual Youth College Awards Ceremony, held at Kelsey Theatre on Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) West Windsor Campus May 3.
The students honored are participants in the Educational Talent Search, SMILE/GEAR UP, and Upward Bound programs on MCCC’s Trenton Campus. Programs begin as early as sixth grade and continue through high school, and include after-school tutoring, summer programs, field trips, academic counseling, and college entrance exam preparation.
"You have reached farther, and as a result, you have learned more," Wayne Murray, director of the SMILE/GEAR UP program, told the students. "You are going to be winners, and you are going to succeed in our world."
Serving as emcees for the event were high school seniors Hana Sabree and Robert Ponton, SMILE/GEAR UP class of 2014, and Aluxes Brown, Upward Bound class of 2016. Sabree will be attending Kean University this fall, while Ponton will attend Montclair State University.
"SMILE/GEAR UP showed me education can lead to a better life," Ponton said. "With programs like this, I have learned so much. They support everyone who comes through the program."
"Upward Bound has opened many doors for me," Brown said. "Now I’m in a program where I can actually take a college course."