April Students of the Month

Diana Espinal

Diana Espinal’s desire to teach was evident from an extremely young age. This Paterson local boasts a very fun fact, “I used to make my sister sit while I made up lesson plans and instructed her every day.” It’s no surprise she selected PCTI’s School of Education and Human Services as her choice of study.

Within her program, Diana has earned eleven credits towards college via the Child Development Associate course with Passaic County Community College. She is both CPR and First Aid certified. As far as being involved in clubs and activities, Diana is a member of SkillsUSA, Book Club, Sign Language Club, Environmental Club, willPower for girlPower, ERASE and is a dedicated Class Representative. In conjunction with her program of study, she volunteers as a Teacher’s Assistant at the La Vida II Childcare Center.

Given her stellar academic record, it’s no surprise that Diana has been recognized for her grades with an honors standing. This is further reinforced by her rank in the top three percent of the Class of 2016 and a GPA of 4.12!

When asked about the education she’s received at PCTI, Diana said, “I’m so thankful for the experience that I’ve gotten while in high school. I feel super prepared for the next step in life.” Diana candidly added, that college is definitely on her agenda.

“I’ve already committed to Kean University where I’ll be pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.” Eventually, Diana plans on going to graduate school to become a Counselor.

Her lifelong dream is to realize a passion that began in early youth. Diana says she especially connects with children and finds great reward in being kind and helping others.

“You never know what a person is going through, so being considerate goes a long way.”

That’s some fantastic advice from an incredibly caring young woman. In fact, Diana has another gem she wishes to share with her fellow Bulldogs.

“You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit,” she laughs, knowing how silly it sounds. Diana went on to explain that it took a lot for her to open up and get involved throughout her high school career. “My grades improved and I became a lot more outgoing. The effort was really worth it.”

Congratulations on being selected as April’s Student of the Month, Diana. Your big heart, passion, and drive will ensure unlimited success in the future!

  • Achieved stellar grades with a GPA of 4.12
  • Earned a potential 11 college credits
  • Consistently achieved Honor Roll status
  • Class Representative, involved in SkillsUSA, Book Club, Environmental Club, willPower for girlPower, & ERASE
  • Communications Officer of the Sign Language Club
  • CPR and First Aid certified
  • Goal: Graduate from Kean University with a degree in Early Childhood education, attend graduate school and become a School Counselor

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Raphael Garcia Jr.

Raphael Garcia Jr. is a young man from Haledon who’s known for his foresight when it comes to managing his future. “I’ve always been good at working with my hands, so I decided to join the School of Construction Technology.” Raphael set his focus on Plumbing, which has allowed him to help his father and uncles with work around the house.

He’s about keeping his options open and planning for the future. Raphael’s ambition in the academic realm has led him to take multiple honors courses and this year, he’s embraced the challenge of enrolling in a SUPA American History class. He’s received honor roll accolades throughout most of his high school career and was even selected as a previous Circle of Success member. Such accomplishments are well-deserved as evidenced by his rank in the top eleven percent of the Class of 2016 and a GPA of 3.89!

When not devoting time to his studies, Raphael can be found at Henry’s Plumbing Supply in Hawthorne where he works an average of thirty hours a week. During vacations his schedule advances to a whopping sixty hours!

It takes a special brand of dedication to manage, not only a demanding course load, but a job as well. Raphael truly sets the standard for excellence in academics as well as in life.

In fact, he’s already applied and been accepted into the University of New Haven. When asked what he plans to study, Raphael said, “I’m really interested in producing music.” He elaborated that he has a few EDM projects in the works and is teaching himself to play piano, guitar, and even drums.

If, for some reason, the college route does not work out, Raphael has thought of that too. “I’ve already applied to two unions and plan on applying to two more.” He went on to explain that he’s open to all areas of work, though he has the most experience in plumbing.

This advantageous Bulldog would love to combine the best of both worlds. “Apprenticing in the morning and going to school at night would be my top choice.”

Raphael’s can-do attitude is supplemented by the fact that he truly enjoys working and learning. One thing’s for certain, embracing the idea of perpetual growth has served him well throughout his entire high school career.

When asked how he felt about being selected as a PCTI Student of the Month, Raphael said, “I never thought that would happen to me. It was a goal of mine, so I feel really accomplished.”

Congratulations to this inspiring young man. Your work ethic is truly unparalleled!

  • Ranked in the top 11% of his class
  • Achieved great academic standing with a GPA of 3.89
  • Selected for Circle of Success
  • Works at Henry's Plumbing Supply
  • Goal: Attend New Haven University, receive an education in Music Production/ join a union and become an Apprentice

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