Class of 2023 Graduation cap toss

Foundation Academies congratulates the Class of ’23 as they step across the stage and into purpose-filled lives pursuing engineering, business, biology, computer science, education, nursing, psychology and more at colleges, universities, technical schools and the US military.

”This class has truly demonstrated what it means to persist,” said FA CEO Sheria McRae. “With life comes many challenges and you all have stayed the course, demonstrated your determination, and now, here you are!

“I am so proud of each and every one of you! You are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.”

The Class of 2023, Foundation Academies’ tenth graduating class, includes more than 70 scholars living in Trenton. The Class already has achieved many goals — succeeding through high school years including virtual, hybrid and in-person instruction. About two dozen scholars are the first generation committed to college.

“Our seniors have worked relentlessly through many obstacles to reach their goals,” said Collegiate School Leader Isabel Goss. “I am very proud of who they are – and who they will become as they continue on their path to a purpose-filled life.” 

Graduating Seniors Are Widely Accepted

At Foundation Academies, we promise to equip scholars to excel in learning and empower them to lead purpose-filled lives. Graduating seniors have been accepted into colleges or universities including Fairleigh Dickinson University, Kean University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rider University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Stockton University, The College of New Jersey, and Mercer County Community College, among others. 

Class members have been awarded more than $9 million total in scholarship and awards. Three graduating seniors are entering military service, JanCarlo Corado and Emmanuel Morrissey are joining the US Marine Corps, and Lauren Colop is joining the US Air Force.

Featured Speeches

This year’s graduation ceremony featured speeches by valedictorian Deena Vincente-De Leon, salutatorian Giselle Torres, and keynote remarks by Jennica Carmona, founder of Sí Se Puede Productions, LLC, a theater and film production company whose mission is to produce artistic projects that raise awareness of social justice issues.

Each year, the John D. Spears’ Knight Scholarship awards are announced at graduation for scholars nominated by classmates and selected by teachers, who best represent the essence of Foundation Academy’s mascot, the Knight, by personifying our core values of caring, respect, responsibility, and honesty.

The 2023 Knight Scholars are Emonie Eugene, who will be studying electrical and computer engineering at The College of New Jersey, and Nodalys Garcia-Soto, who will study communications at Rider University. 

Thanks to Our Families and Staff

Mrs. McRae welcomed FA families and thanked them for the “endless guidance, support and flexibility over the years” empowering scholars to achieve their goals.  “We would not be here without you,” she said.

Speaking as a longtime educator, Mrs. McRae also praised FA teachers and staff who “pour their time, efforts and energy” into ensuring each scholar succeeds. “It’s a responsibility that none of your teachers takes lightly,” she said. 

Mrs. McRae reminded scholars that a community stands behind them. Members of the FA Board of Trustees, Friends of Foundation Academies, and FA Leadership Council volunteer their time and resources to ensure scholars receive the educational opportunities that they deserve. 

“They do so because they believe in all of you,” she said. “They do so because they see  your greatness.”

Graduates: Find Your Own Greatness

Finding your own greatness was the challenge issued by keynote speaker Jennica Carmona, founder of Si Se Puede Productions, LLC, a theater and film production company whose mission is to produce artistic projects that raise awareness of social justice issues. 

Ms. Carmona called on scholars to “be intentional about quieting the noise around you, about really making time to listen to your own voice, and hear what that voice is guiding you to do.”

She urged scholars to remember three lessons:

  • Find your song and sing it!
    “Don’t get so busy listening to other people's songs that you forget to sing your own! We all have a voice, and the world needs to hear yours!”
  • Stay involved and stand up for what is right.
    “We can make the world a better place by supporting one another in our struggles, because what hurts one community hurts us all.”
  • Stay the course.
    “Be clear in your vision and lead your life in a way that supports those goals.”

Valedictorian: Put in the Effort

Class of 2023 valedictorian Deena Vincente-De Leon also encouraged her classmates to find their purpose and pursue it.  Deena, who earned a 4.13 – breaking the GPA record for Foundation Academies’ senior class valedictorian, will be attending The College of New Jersey and plans to study biology with the goal of becoming a medical examiner. 

“Even if you don’t do it in the exact way you picture it, progress is progress,” she noted. “As long as you’re putting in the effort and moving forward, it means you’re doing something right.”

Salutatorian: Challenges Can Be Overcome

Giselle Torres, class salutatorian, will be attending The College of New Jersey as a biology major with the hopes of pursuing a career as an eye doctor or dentist. Giselle reminded her classmates of how far they have come and encouraged them to draw on their strength and willpower to overcome inevitable challenges.

“We all know that our futures will not be easy, and we will face many more obstacles,” she said. “But we acknowledge that with determination and perseverance we can achieve our goals.”

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Foundation Academies Support Staff