December Students of the Month

Akash Rana

Akash Rana is a young man from Clifton whose analytic interest drew him to select PCTI’s Academy of Information Technology as his career of choice. This academically apt Bulldog studies Computer Repair and is no stranger to days filled with problem solving and hard work.

Akash nurtured both curiosity and talent to excel in the academic arena. He constantly challenges himself with a rigorous course load of AP and honors classes which will potentially earn him twenty-nine credits towards his college career. What’s more, he currently ranks number four in the Class of 2017 with a GPA of 4.51!

He’s been selected for Freshmen Foundation for Success, Boys State, National Honor Society and World Language Honor Society (French). Akash has earned the following distinctions through the NJROTC program: Honor Cadet, Military Aptitude, and Academic award. He’s even been declared an AP Scholar!

At PCTI, Akash is involved in Boys Varsity Tennis, the NJROTC, and the Engineering Club. He’s even worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at PCTI’s Summer STEM Academy and currently holds a position as a student technician through the Co-Op program.

Outside of school, Akash acts as a mentor and plays violin for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

When asked about his life’s ambition, Akash mentions his desire to further develop future technology.

“I enjoy thinking long term and want to push new technology forward by working with quantum computers.” He goes on to explain that quantum computers exponentially increase the ability for hardware and software to perform, especially in the areas of modeling, data analysis, and artificial intelligence.

It’s no secret that Akash seeks to positively impact the world. After graduation, he aims to pursue an education in either Engineering or Computer Engineering with minors in physics and business administration.

Akash has always sought to study at MIT, a university that would put him on the fast track to success. He’s also applied to Rutgers, NJIT, Cal Tech, Stanford, Princeton, Stevens, Georgia Tech, Boston University, Rice University, and Columbia University.

On his accomplishments and taking advantage of opportunities, he said, “Always put your best foot forward.” Akash elaborated that he changed how he approached challenges. “I learned to speak in front of my class in NJROTC and became more confident in who I am as a person.”

Congratulations to a young man who holds himself to the high standards of success! May you achieve all your dreams!


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Denisse Vargas

Denisse Vargas is a kind young woman who’s long dreamed of working with children. This Clifton local eagerly embraced her passion as a member of the School of Education and Human Services.

“My mom was a teacher so she always practiced her lesson plans on me. It was something I grew up around. I was always in the classroom.”

Denisse was recently inducted into both the World Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society. She was selected for the Circle of Success and has been involved in LEAP, SkillsUSA, the Future Educators Association as Vice President, ERASE, History Club, and the GSA. She’s a student ambassador and a class representative and volunteers as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Innovative Educational Programs of Paterson, as well as at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, and much more.

Denisse ranks in the top seven percent of her class with a GPA of 4.06. She has the potential to graduate with seventeen college credits!

One of her greatest ambitions was to be nominated as a student of the month, which she achieved! A notable quality of this warm-hearted Bulldog is her dedication to pushing past her comfort zone. Denisse thoroughly enjoys working with children, but when it comes to expanding her educational horizons, she’s willing to try something different. “I can always pursue a career as a teacher. It will always be there, but I’ve also discovered a passion for medicine and pediatrics.”

When asked how she arrived as this conclusion, Denisse replied that working with the Head Start program gave her a different perspective. “I went from learning about speech pathology, to medicine, to eventually combining it with my desire to help children,” she explains. “I’m an active learner, so a career path as a Pediatrician should keep me occupied for quite a while.”

Denisse has applied to Montclair State University, Rutgers University, William Paterson University, and Seton Hall University. She will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biology and will eventually obtain both Master’s and Doctorate degrees.

This ambitious young woman has some powerful advice for her fellow classmates. “PCTI lit this fire in me for learning. I don’t want to have any regrets in life, and the only way to truly achieve that is to step outside the box and try new things, to go for something - even if it scares you.”

Congratulations on your accomplishments, Denisse! Your stellar work ethic will ensure success in all future endeavors.


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