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MCCC's Youth College Celebrates Great Beginnings and
Happy Endings For High School and Middle School Students


West Windsor, N.J. -- In an annual tribute to young people who are making the right decisions with their education and their lives, earlier this month Mercer County Community College saluted more than 200 middle and high school students who are benefiting from MCCC's enrichment programs that will prepare them for higher education. Offered through Mercer's James Kerney Campus in downtown Trenton under the direction of Donald Davis, programs include SMILE/GEAR UP, Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and the Urban Academic Academy.

The ceremony took place at the college's West Windsor Campus Student Center in a room packed with students and their proud families.

MCCC President Patricia C. Donohue addressed her comments to all the students, but especially to graduating seniors. "You have demonstrated that you are committed to learning and have made the decision to be the best person you can be. Remember that wherever life takes you, you are welcome here at Mercer, to visit, to seek advice, and, of course, to attend classes. Our door is always open."

Keynote speaker was Thabiti Boone, a gifted athlete who made some tough choices in his life to become a role model for others. Additional participants included students Amy Belot and Cedric Howard, from the Upward Bound Class of 2011; Rakima Stokes-Little, assistant director of SMILE/GEAR UP; Stacy Denton, assistant director for Upward Bound; Darius Dove, assistant director of the Urban Academic Academy; Beverly Higgins, a member of the Parent Association who was selected as Parent of the Year; and Wayne Murray, director of SMILE/GEAR UP.

Scholarships were awarded to a number of seniors for academic achievement. As each member of the graduating class crossed the stage, an announcement was made of where they would be attending college in the fall. Almost all will stay in state, with approximately one-third expected to attend MCCC.

For more about MCCC's Youth College programs, click here.

Thabiti Boone delivers an inspirational message of citizenship and leadership.

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Youth College seniors, front row, from left: Shanice Gardner, Tyjahnae Stoddard, Brittany Johnson,Lamone Burgess and Amy Belot; back row, from left, Keynote Speaker Thabiti Boone, Mrs. Gregory, and Darius Dove, assistant director of the Urban Academic Academy.
GEARUP is all smiles. From left are Director Wayne Murray, Guest Speaker Thabiti Boone, students F. Mason-Robbin, J. Wright, T. Lane, S. Williams, K. Keese, C. Howard, K. Collins, S. Barlow, S. Banks, A.Lewis and Rakima Stokes-Little, assistant director of Upward Bound.
With speaker Thabiti Boone, far left, are F. Brian Cody, Upward Bound seniors Luis Calderon and DeAndre Allen, and Asst. Dir. Stacy Denton.
The Trenton Central High School Jazz Band performs.