September Students of the Month

Pooja Nahar

Pooja Nahar is a driven young woman from Clifton who is pursuing education as part of PCTI’s Academy of Medical Arts program. Her interest in the sciences allowed her to discover a passion that is both intellectually stimulating and helps others. This active Bulldog is all about getting things done.

Pooja is wildly active in her educational pursuits. She ranks 7th in the Class of 2017 with a GPA of 4.45, which is no doubt credited to her outstanding grades in the academic realm. In this year’s first marking period alone, Pooja elected to take three AP courses! She will graduate with a potential thirty-six college credits towards her college career. As part of the Academy of Medical Arts, Pooja is a licensed CNA and is both First Aid and Basic Life Support certified. She is currently working towards her EMT certification.

She is involved in the Sound Chasers, Gifted and Talented, HOSA, and the Yearbook Club – of which she is the Editor. Pooja is also a student representative for the Class of 2017 and was selected for the National Honor Society. Outside of school, she served as the Vice President of Passaic County’s 4-H Teen Crusaders and the Youth Leader of the EduCare Charity.

Pooja credits her extensive community involvement to PCTI. “I’ve learned to take advantage of every opportunity,” she said. Such motivation for self-betterment is evident in Pooja’s application and acceptance into two prestigious summer programs: the NJ Governor’s School in the Sciences and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program (HOPP). Experience with the latter has kindled her interest in the Oncology field.

It’s no surprise that after graduation, Pooja seeks to further her education and become a doctor. She’s got everything planned out. “I aim to enter directly into a medical program in my dream school of Brown University. Their Program in Liberal Medical Education runs for eight years and combines undergraduate education with professional studies in medicine.”

When asked if she has any advice for her fellow classmates, Pooja replied, “Don’t be afraid of choosing a program you’re not sure you’ll like. There’s benefits to having new experiences!”

Congratulations to this positive young woman on all her outstanding accomplishments.


  • Ranked in the top 1% of her class
  • Licensed CNA, First Aid & Basic Life Support certified
  • Selected for NJ Governor’s School in the Sciences & Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s HOPP programs
  • Vice President of Passaic County 4-H Crusaders, Editor of Yearbook Club, Youth Leader of the EduCare Charity
  • Member of Sound Chasers, Gifted & Talented, HOSA, & NHS
  • Goal: Graduate from a university that combines a bachelors/ medical degree program; become a doctor

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Christopher Valencia

Christopher Valencia is a Clifton native who found his home as a member of the School of Engineering. What urged him to choose this particular path? “I’ve always loved math and science. Creating things defines who I am.” It’s no surprise that at the age of four, this Bulldog built his own computer. The intrigue of learning how things work – by taking them apart and putting them together – sparked an interest in STEM programs, particularly the engineering field. Christopher recounts how he assembles the motivation required to succeed. “The more something challenges me, the more I want to be successful at it.” Christopher adds that he has high expectations for himself due to all the opportunities that are open to him. “As an only child of an immigrant family, I’m encouraged to really go after my hopes and dreams.”

He’s doing a fantastic job so far. Christopher ranks 5th in the Class of 2017 with a 4.5 GPA. His ambition knows no bounds. Christopher has taken honor courses every year during his high school career and has earned a potential thirty-eight credits to be used towards a college degree. He has been declared an AP Scholar with Distinction, a title earned by achieving a score of 4 or higher on his AP exams. He’s also received the Honor Cadet award for having the highest GPA in all of PCTI’s NJROTC for three years in a row.

Christopher is the Vice President of PCTI’s SkillsUSA, an NJROTC Officer, and is a member of the Boys Varsity Volleyball team, Gifted and Talented, and the History Club. He was even selected for National Honor Society and serves as the acting Vice President. Outside of PCTI, he’s involved in ensuring the community is a better place for all. Christopher’s passion for education knows no bounds.

To this end, he created the Peer-Tutoring initiative with the help of the NJCDC – a non-profit Paterson organization. The program had twenty participants during last winter alone. “I really enjoy helping people better themselves,” he added. “It drives me to do more.” Christopher went on to elaborate that combining his passion for engineering, problem- solving, and an interest in anatomy will have him pursuing further education in Biomedical Engineering. “I look forward to learning about stem cell research, biomechanical prosthesis, and more.”

One thing’s for certain, Christopher will go on to impact the lives of many. This self-starter truly believes he can make a difference in the world. His powerful drive and passion will ensure that he does!


  • Ranked in the top 1% of his class
  • Earned AP Scholar with Distinction title
  • Received PCTI’s NJROTC Honor Cadet Award
  • Vice President of SkillsUSA, NJROTC Officer, member of Boys Varsity Volleyball, Gifted and Talented, NHS, & the History Club
  • Created Peer-Tutoring Initiative for Paterson youth
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering, pursue a master’s degree

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