Class of 2019 Graduation Ceremony Highlights Outstanding Student Achievements

A bird’s eye view of the graduation ceremony for Foundation Collegiate Academy at Kendall Hall at The College of New Jersey.

On Wednesday, June 19 at 4 p.m., friends and FAmily gathered to celebrate the Foundation Collegiate Academy Charter School (FCA) graduation ceremony of the Class of 2019 at The College of New Jersey’s Kendall Hall. 

Foundation Academies is especially proud of the 65 members of the Class of 2019, who have set a new school record; collectively earning $13.1M in academic scholarships and grants. This class is also the sixth consecutive class of FCA graduates achieving 100 percent college acceptance.

During the ceremony, one graduate was presented with the John D. Spears Knight Scholar Award, a $5,000 scholarship awarded annually at graduation to the scholar who best represents the essence of Foundation Academy’s mascot, the Knight. 

Audrey Vargas-Cruz Celebrates her win of the John D. Spears Knight Scholar Award
Audrey Vargas-Cruz Celebrates her win of the John D. Spears Knight Scholar Award

The Knight personifies our core values of caring, respect, responsibility, and honesty. A knight is caring when they choose to extend a helping hand over their sword; respectful each time they stand tall to advocate for themselves and those they serve; responsible as they honor their duties to their kingdom; and honest when holding themselves accountable to the moral code by which they have pledged to live.

This year’s recipient of the John D. Spears’ Knight Scholar Award, Audrey Vargas-Cruz, was chosen due to her continued belief that her actions are capable of making a positive difference at FCA. This belief has been the main driving force for all of her goals. From her shining spirit as an FCA cheerleader, to her participation in Mercer County Community College classes, as well as volunteering at most school events, she is an individual that can always be depended upon as being a leader that her peers respect, value, trust, and genuinely find to be a friend. Her continued aspirations to pursue a degree in Justice Studies at Montclair State University to become a Criminal Justice Lawyer will strengthen her beliefs and knowledge in order to become the best in her field. Congratulations, Audrey! Wishing you all the best at Montclair State University!

Parting Words from Our Graduates

In the days leading up to graduation, we caught up with a few of the members of the Class of 2019 and asked them to share with us their thoughts on their time at Foundation Academies. Check out their stories, below. 

Ciani Nazario
Attending The College of New Jersey, pursuing a major in Education

“My favorite thing about FCA is the post-secondary focus. I attended public schools up until 9th grade when I started at FCA. In my previous schools, I always had individual teachers who cared for my success, but at Foundation, EVERYONE cares. The system is designed to have every student succeed – whether it be at a 4 year institution, military, or trade school. I wish everyone could experience that kind of support on a daily basis and I am glad that now my siblings are able to.” 

Elmer Solbalbarro-Umana
Attending the University of Richmond, pursuing a major in Biochemistry

“Foundation is unique because it is a school based in the beautiful city of Trenton. This school has raised many great scholars and will continue to do so. These are people who will go into the world knowing what issues matter and will be ready to tackle them.”

Audrey Vargas-Cruz, 2019 John D. Spears Knight Scholar Award winner, Attending Montclair State University, pursuing a major in Justice Studies to become a Criminal Justice Lawyer

“Foundation gives its students a great opportunity to get on the right path. All of the teachers and staff made me who I am today; everyone made a big impact.”

Julio Delgado, Class of 2019 Valedictorian, Attending Tufts University – The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, pursuing a major in Film Production

“These past four years have been some of the most transformative years of our lives. The people that walked into that building all those years ago are not the same as the people leaving today. And it’s no surprise either; I know for a fact we have all been pushed into situations that have been uncomfortable, arduous, and at the moment it probably felt like the end of the world.

But that’s the one thing I do treasure about Foundation Collegiate Academy. Despite the challenges that we have had together, the bond established between students and teachers is something unique about this school. The connections made with one another are irreplaceable and I can’t imagine finding the same warmth and affinity in any other place. Foundation Collegiate Academy is a special place that fosters the building of strong relationships that have uplifted us and made us the people we are today.”

Every graduation is bittersweet, because while we are excited to see these students move forward on their chosen life paths, we will miss their presence each day on campus. 

However, we take pride in knowing that no matter where they may go, their experience at Foundation has helped shape them into caring, respectful, responsible, and honest individuals who will certainly make an impact on their communities and the world at large. 

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Michelle Lawlor

Michelle Lawlor, Marketing and Communications Associate, spearheads Foundation Academies’ marketing and communication efforts. Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Multimedia Communications from Rider University.