November Students of the Month

Nicole Arakaki

Nicole Arakaki is a young woman from Clifton who has been passionate about dancing since she was four years old. As she grew, so did her dedication to training. “I was looking to broaden my knowledge and experience and challenge myself,” Nicole says. It’s no wonder she decided to develop her craft as a member of PCTI’s School of Performing Arts, Dance.

She yearns to become a professional dancer and has pursued every avenue to ensure her dream becomes a reality. Nicole has participated in summer programs and intensives to further hone her craft. She’s also danced in numerous choreographed performances while attending PCTI.

It’s clear that Nicole has developed the discipline that’s often associated with those who train their bodies and minds. She’s active in NJROTC, ERASE, and is a Teacher’s Assistant/ Program Representative for dance. In addition, Nicole is a member of the World Language Honor Society, the National Society for High School Scholars, and is an inductee for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. She was selected for PCTI’s Circle of Success and was a Governor’s Award winner for Artistic Excellence and Leadership in Dance.

It comes as no surprise that Nicole has achieved Principal’s Honor Roll throughout her high school career and ranks in the top three percent of her class with a GPA of 4.24! She has the potential to graduate with twenty-three college credits.

When Nicole reflects on the journey of combining her passion with a future career, she mentions how challenging pursuing her dream has been. “I’m not naturally flexible in terms of dancing. Learning to work with my body has taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. Still, I wouldn’t do anything else.”

After high school, Nicole aims to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance, with a focus on the modern dance style. She will apply to Montclair State University, Stockton, Pace, NYU, and Marymount University. She’s also interested in studying Physical Therapy.

When asked about the opportunities presented by PCTI, Nicole expresses gratitude for the experiences afforded by the dance program. “We’ve seen companies perform, took field trips to NJPAC, and learned so much from guest choreographers - my artistry as a dancer has really grown.”

Congratulations to a young woman whose passion has pushed her to persevere in the dancing world. Your diligence and hard work will ensure much future success!


    • Ranks in the top 3% of her class
    • Will graduate with a potential 23 college credits
    • Involved in NJROTC & ERASE, acts as Teacher’s Assistant/Program Representative
    • Selected for PCTI’s Circle of Success, WLHS, the National Society for High School Scholars, & the National Honor Society for Dance Arts
    • Governor’s Award Winner: Artistic Excellence and Leadership in Dance
    • Goal: Graduate from a university with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, become a professional dancer

James Mickens Jr.

James Mickens Jr. is an ambitious Haledon native who elected to study as a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice and Public Safety. When asked why, he says, “I’ve always been intrigued by shows like CSI and Law and Order. I also enjoy helping people and serving my community.”

His decision to enter the Criminal Justice program was also influenced by his mother who immigrated to the United States. “I want to make sure that I can help everyone, especially those who’ve had their voices suppressed or their rights taken away.” It’s no surprise that, in the future, James intends to become a Civil Rights Attorney.

His unparalleled drive has already ensured that he has accomplished much. James has been declared a College Board National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar, has achieved Principal’s Honor throughout his high school career, was selected for PCTI’s Freshmen Foundation for Success and Circle of Success, is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, and participated in New Jersey Boys State. The fully immersive government experience sparked his interest in politics and helped lay the foundation for his current career path.

At PCTI, James is involved in ERASE, Mock Trial, Student Council/Interact, GSA, National History Club, and the World Language Honor Society. In his free time, he volunteers with the March of Dimes and acts as a student ambassador for our school.

Despite his busy schedule, James has maintained a GPA of 4.32 and ranks in the top two percent of his class. He hasthe potential to graduate with thirty-three college credits and holds certifications in CPR, First Aid, as well as a Working APCO Dispatcher.

James looks forward to broadening his horizons and will apply to schools outside of the metropolitan area, including the University of Southern California and the University of California. He will also apply to Rutgers, Seton Hall, and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. James plans to obtain dual undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Philosophy. He will eventually attend law school and receive a Juris Doctorate.

When asked what valuable lesson he’s learned while attending PCTI, James says, “Keep an open mind to different perspectives. There will always be highs and lows in life, but it’s how you deal with them that defines who you are. I’m stronger because of all the people I’ve connected with while attending high school.”

Congratulations to this big-hearted Bulldog who will undoubtedly go on to help others!


      • Ranks in the top 2% of his class
      • Will graduate with a potential 33 college credits
      • Involved in ERASE, Mock Trial, Student Council/Interact, GSA, & National History Club
      • Selected for Freshmen Foundation for Success, Circle of Success, New Jersey Boys State, WLHS, & the National Society of High School Scholars
      • Goal: Graduate from a university with dual degrees in Political Science and Philosophy, attend law school, receive Juris Doctorate, become a Civil Rights Attorney

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