Bloomfield resident and Essex County College honor student Carla Alvarez-Valverde delivered one of the keynote addresses at the 18th annual Phi Theta Kappa Day celebration on Thursday, May 3, at the Trenton Marriott Hotel. She was also named a Coca-Cola Foundation New Century Scholar, and will also receive a $2,000 scholarship for being New Jersey’s top community college student.
The New Jersey Council of County Colleges hosted the event honoring New Jersey’s best and brightest community college students and their families. Phi Theta Kappa is the honor society for two-year college students.
A Business Administration major, Alvarez-Valverde was recently named a recipient of the renowned Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer scholarship, worth $30,000 a year for up to three years. The Coca-Cola Foundation established the new Century Scholars Program in 2001 to provide additional scholarships and national recognition to the top honors student from each state.
“My parents always told me your life is your responsibility,” Alvarez-Valverde, who is originally from Ecuador, told the audience. She took an English as a Second Language class at ECC prior to entering the Honors Program and joining PTK where she served as president this past year.
“Big dreams can be supported by concrete plans,” said Alvarez-Valverde, adding that students should harness challenges they face into opportunities.
“This is great recognition for Carla and our local chapter. She is an exceptional student who exemplivies PTK’s mission both locally and nationally,” said ECC Biology Instructor Lynn Wilson, a co-advisor of Essex’ PTK chapter. “We were privileged to support her in the first tier of her collegiate career.”
Michelle Ruiz-Taylor, also of Bloomfield, joins her classmate as a 2012 New Jersey All-State Academic Team member. Ruiz-Taylor, also recognized during the PTK Day, is majoring in Social Sciences at ECC.
“Each year, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges hosts this program to recognize the members of the New Jersey All-State Academic Team, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges, the Coca-Cola Foundation and the New Jersey Education Association,” said NJCCC President Dr. Lawrence Nespoli. “These students are recognized for their outstanding academic achievement and exceptional service to their communities as members of Phi Theta Kappa at their local community colleges.”
The New Jersey Phi Theta Kappa Day Celebration is sponsored by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).