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PR # 213 April 4, 2008

RVCC HONORS LOCAL TEENS AT ANNUAL ROBESON RECEPTION

Twenty middle and high school students from Somerset and Hunterdon counties were honored for their achievements at the 18th Annual Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards Reception, held April 3 at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in North Branch.

The evening featured a keynote address by Dr. Randal D. Pinkett of Somerset, Season 4 winner of NBC?s reality television series, The Apprentice .

The National Council of Negro Women and RVCC initiated the Paul Robeson Youth Achievement Awards program in 1990 to pay tribute to the outstanding attainments of students in the two counties. The awards are named in honor of Paul Robeson, a Princeton native who grew up in Somerville and graduated from Somerville High School and Rutgers University. The awards, sponsored by the Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice at RVCC, are given in four areas in which Robeson excelled: scholarship, the arts, community service and athletics. In addition, special ?Renaissance Scholars? awards are given to students who excel in a number of disciplines.

Close to 60 students were nominated for awards by their guidance counselors, teachers and administrators. A special committee of RVCC faculty and administrators selected the award recipients.

?The Robeson Youth Achievement Awards program enables RVCC to recognize and encourage a number of talented young people who, through their acts of leadership and service to the community, are wonderful role models for their peers,? said RVCC President Dr. Casey Crabill. ?We know that this award marks only the beginning of a lifetime of great honors and achievements for these students.?

The following middle school students were recognized:

Athletics
Ryan Wilson, Kingwood Township School

Community Service
Tyshon Murdock, Hillsborough Middle School
Carye Wynn, Somerville Middle School

Scholarship
Shayna Blackwood, Somerville Middle School

The following high school students received special recognition:

Athletics
Eric Fowler, Somerville High School
Yannick Smith, Hillsborough High School
Ebony Young, Hillsborough High School

Arts
Ibidayo Fayanju, Ridge High School
Wendy Ekua Quansah, Montgomery High School
David Robinson, Hillsborough High School

Community Service
Beatriz Bianco, North Hunterdon High School
Emily Kaufman, Immaculata High School
Tiffany Keleman, Bound Brook High School

Scholarship
Oby Ibe, Somerville High School
Victoria Ifan, Hillsborough High School
Michael R. Pitter, Watchung Hills Regional High School

Renaissance
Jasmine Campbell, North Plainfield High School
Gregory McLeod, Hunterdon Central Regional High School
Ramona Ross, North Plainfield High School
Diana Tezock, Hillsborough High School

Paul Robeson, son of an escaped slave, rose from humble beginnings to become a superior athlete, scholar, orator and linguist and a star in theater, film and on the concert stage. His performances in The Emperor Jones , Show Boat and Othello remain theatrical landmarks. Robeson was also an outspoken and controversial advocate of civil rights for African-Americans. In the 1950s, during the McCarthy era, he was persecuted for his political ideas and prevented from working. His passport was revoked for eight years because the US government considered his activities in the 1930s and ?40s treasonable. Throughout Robeson?s career, he remained convinced that ?art can bridge the gulf between white and black races.? Robeson died in Philadelphia in 1976 at the age of 77.

Dr. Pinkett is the founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar, management, technology and policy consulting services firm based in Newark. Dr. Pinkett was selected as one of 18 candidates chosen from among 1 million applicants to compete for the opportunity to run one of Donald Trump?s companies. During his first year, he was responsible for overseeing both renovation and information technology projects for Trump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City. Since then, Dr. Pinkett has maintained a role with the Trump Organization as a boardroom advisor on The Apprentice , national spokesperson for the Trump Institute and faculty member for Trump University.

Dr. Pinkett holds five degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, which he completed while serving as captain of the men?s track and field team; a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Oxford in England; and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, MBA and PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dr. Pinkett has received numerous awards, including the National Society of Black Engineers?National Member of the Year and NCAA Academic All-American, and has been recognized by USA TODAY as one of the top 20 scholars in the country. He also is a Rhodes Scholar and was the first and only African-American ever to receive this prestigious award at Rutgers University.

He is the author of Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur?s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business and No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash . His forthcoming book, Black Faces in White Places , chronicles his experiences as well the experiences of his college roommate, Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, as African-Americans who have successfully navigated predominantly white institutions.

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 80 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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