ECC Class of 2024 Moving Forward Following May 23 Commencement

Class Valedictorian Sergio L. Cubas-Roman, is flanked by ECC’s President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye (left), and College Board of Trustees Chair Marion A. Bolden.

Grand Marshal Ines Figueiras

Aleiyia Brown, Class of 2024, performs the National Anthem

New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Tahesha L. Way

Members of the Class of 2024

Essex County College awarded 1,191 Associate degrees an Academic Certificates to members of the Class of 2024 on Thursday May 23. The College’s 55th annual Commencement was held at Newark’s Prudential Center with cheering family and friends filling the arena’s lower level.

“Class of 2024, we did it! Each and every one of us has worked tirelessly to reach this moment, and it’s a testament to our dedication and resilience. So, as we bid farewell to this chapter of our lives and set out to conquer the world, let’s do so with our heads held high and our hearts full of hope. The best is yet to come,” said class Valedictorian Sergio L. Cubas-Roman. The Engineering major with a 3.98 grade point average is transferring to NJIT.

Esther Okie, a Finance major, served as Salutatorian. She has a 4.0 GPA and will transfer to NJIT.

In her keynote address, New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way talked about the power of education. “I hope your time at Essex County College helped to make you more confident. You’ve taken a huge stop forward. But your journey doesn’t end today. I can’t wait to see what you can do next.” Lieutenant Governor Way received an honorary Essex County College Associate degree.

ECC’s President, Dr. Augustine A. Boakye, presided over the Commencement.

There were five Assistant Marshals in this year’s class. All five graduated with perfect 4.0 GPAs. Pharell Kenda (Engineering); Daniel Youn Suh Lee (Physical Therapist Assistant); Monica Sanchez Plasencia (Finance); Joanna Vicente (Social Science), and Jasmine Williams (Social Science) had the honor of leading the Class of 2024 Commencement procession.

The youngest graduate was Ademide Johnson, 16, with an Associate degree in Business Administration. This year’s oldest grad was Jean Claude Therlong, 74, with a degree in Finance.

Math Professor Ines Figueiras served as this year’s Grand Marshal. “Be a lifelong learner. Learning doesn’t stop here. Make this world a better place,” she said in her charge to the graduates. 

Each Academic Division Chair read the names of graduates in their areas. Dr. William Tooma, Chair of Humanities and Bilingual Studies, had the unique honor of calling his father, William Tooma, 67, to receive his hard earned Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. “It’s certainly a rare moment for a son to bestow a degree on his father,” said Dr. Tooma to thunderous applause.      

Among this year’s graduates were 131 high school students in the College’s Dual Enrollment program. They represent East Side High School (83 in Liberal Arts), West Side High School (13 in Business Administration), University High School (3 in Liberal Arts), Orange High School (10 in Liberal Arts) and Essex County Schools of Technology – Newark Tech (22 in Liberal Arts). They were recognized during the ceremony and called up by name to receive their degrees.