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Devin Bristow

Devin Bristow is an inventive member of the Academy of Information Technology whose greatest pleasure is making something do something. He explains, “While engineers build the robot, we provide the robot with codes and instructions for how it should perform.” This Paterson local is best known for his laser-like focus and his insatiable thirst for knowledge.

He’s been interested in Computer Science since the 8th grade. Selecting PCTI as his high school of choice has allowed him to delve deeper into his interests. To say that Devin makes the most of every opportunity would be an understatement. This young man has enrolled in seven AP classes in order to expand his knowledge and will graduate from PCTI with a potential fifteen to twenty college credits. He ranks in the top eight percent of his class with a GPA of 4.0 and is a three-year varsity letter athlete who has received more than fifty medals! Devin has been involved in Football, Varsity Track and Field, Cross Country, and a host of clubs, including FBLA, National History Club, Engineering Club, Environmental Club, and so much more. In his free time, he is the acting CEO of his own company - Bristow Corps. - which seeks to expand the range of what people can design, create, and learn.

Devin is no stranger to receiving awards for his service and academic excellence. Most notably, he had the distinct pleasure of being named a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar, making him one of one thousand students selected to receive this honor. The scholarship program will completely cover the cost of his college education.

Devin has been accepted to and will attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he will pursue degrees in Computer Science/Mathematics with a minor in Psychology.

His ambition is to eventually receive a Master’s degree in Mathematics and PhD’s in Philosophy and Theology.

When asked how he plans on making an impact on the world in which he lives, Devin had this to say, “It’s important to be eager to learn, but a lot of the time, it takes great teachers to confront and fix problems. To be willing to foster change, you have to be part of the solution.” He continued, “Tech has been such a great experience for me. I want to pay it forward.”

Besides receiving a quality post-secondary education, Devin will pursue mission work and will one day work towards receiving licensure as a Pastor/Reverend.

Highlights
  • Ranked in the top 8% of his class
  • Earned a potential 15-20 college credits
  • Selected as Bill Gates Millennium Scholar
  • Involved in Football, Varsity Track/Field, Cross Country, FBLA, National History Club, Engineering Club, Environmental Club, etc.
  • Prior Circle of Success member
  • Goal: Graduate from Pepperdine University with degrees in Computer Science/Math- ematics, receive Master’s degree in Mathematics, and PhD’s in Philosophy/ Theology; become a missionary, eventu- ally becoming a Pastor/Reverend

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Richer Mendiola

Richer Mendiola is a young man of Paterson who prides himself on discovering the interconnectivity of events in life. He was influenced to become a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice due to his interest in police work. “The world needs more people who will work out problems and find a way to help,” Richer says. His desire to assist others is matched by his willingness to learn. Everything else simply fell into place.

He is actively involved in numerous clubs and activities at PCTI, including NJROTC, the Boys Swim team, ERASE, and the National Honor Society. Richer’s high marks earned him the honor of being previously selected as a Circle of Success member. It’s no wonder this eager Bulldog ranks in the top five percent of his class with a GPA of 4.08! He’s even accumulated a potential twelve college credits to be put toward his postsecondary education. Additionally, Richer has earned certifications in FEMA, Telecommunications, First Aid, as a Life Guard, and an Emergency Medical Responder.

While not participating in clubs or tending to his studies, Richer can be found working as a sales representative with Fun Creation Studios and as a seasonal lifeguard with the Paterson Division of Recreation.

This young man is bound for college and will be pursuing an education at the University of New Haven. “My goal is get a Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies, with a focus on security threats and international affairs.”

Richer is surely putting his education from PCTI to good use. Other plans include improving his knowledge in finances and computer science, and possibly blending his interest of psychology with his future schooling. He eventually hopes to become a Federal Agent and work for the CIA.

When asked how high school has shaped the person he is today, Richer says, “I met a lot of good people who influenced me to take risks and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I owe a lot to them, they really helped me grow.”

He continued, “The only way you find out what you’re capable of is to force yourself to do things that people aren’t necessarily willing to do. You don’t stop and that’s how you get better.”

Richer’s self-discipline is the key to a successful future. Coupled with his enthusiasm of helping others and the desire to make a real difference, this young man is surely going places!

Highlights
  • Ranked in the top 5% of his class
  • Earned a potential 12 college credits
  • Involved in NJROTC, Boys Swim team, & ERASE; selected for NHS
  • Circle of Success member
  • Sales Representative for Fun Creation Studios, as well as seasonal Life Guard
  • Certifications include FEMA, Telecommu- nications, First Aid, Lifeguard, and EMS
  • Goal: Graduate from the University of New Haven with a Bachelor of Science in National Security Studies; become a Federal Agent working for the CIA

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Diana Espinal

Diana Espinal’s desire to teach was evident from an extremely young age. This Paterson local boasts a very fun fact, “I used to make my sister sit while I made up lesson plans and instructed her every day.” It’s no surprise she selected PCTI’s School of Education and Human Services as her choice of study.

Within her program, Diana has earned eleven credits towards college via the Child Development Associate course with Passaic County Community College. She is both CPR and First Aid certified. As far as being involved in clubs and activities, Diana is a member of SkillsUSA, Book Club, Sign Language Club, Environmental Club, willPower for girlPower, ERASE and is a dedicated Class Representative. In conjunction with her program of study, she volunteers as a Teacher’s Assistant at the La Vida II Childcare Center.

Given her stellar academic record, it’s no surprise that Diana has been recognized for her grades with an honors standing. This is further reinforced by her rank in the top three percent of the Class of 2016 and a GPA of 4.12!

When asked about the education she’s received at PCTI, Diana said, “I’m so thankful for the experience that I’ve gotten while in high school. I feel super prepared for the next step in life.” Diana candidly added, that college is definitely on her agenda.

“I’ve already committed to Kean University where I’ll be pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education.” Eventually, Diana plans on going to graduate school to become a Counselor.

Her lifelong dream is to realize a passion that began in early youth. Diana says she especially connects with children and finds great reward in being kind and helping others.

“You never know what a person is going through, so being considerate goes a long way.”

That’s some fantastic advice from an incredibly caring young woman. In fact, Diana has another gem she wishes to share with her fellow Bulldogs.

“You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit,” she laughs, knowing how silly it sounds. Diana went on to explain that it took a lot for her to open up and get involved throughout her high school career. “My grades improved and I became a lot more outgoing. The effort was really worth it.”

Congratulations on being selected as April’s Student of the Month, Diana. Your big heart, passion, and drive will ensure unlimited success in the future!

Highlights
  • Achieved stellar grades with a GPA of 4.12
  • Earned a potential 11 college credits
  • Consistently achieved Honor Roll status
  • Class Representative, involved in SkillsUSA, Book Club, Environmental Club, willPower for girlPower, & ERASE
  • Communications Officer of the Sign Language Club
  • CPR and First Aid certified
  • Goal: Graduate from Kean University with a degree in Early Childhood education, attend graduate school and become a School Counselor

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Raphael Garcia Jr.

Raphael Garcia Jr. is a young man from Haledon who’s known for his foresight when it comes to managing his future. “I’ve always been good at working with my hands, so I decided to join the School of Construction Technology.” Raphael set his focus on Plumbing, which has allowed him to help his father and uncles with work around the house.

He’s about keeping his options open and planning for the future. Raphael’s ambition in the academic realm has led him to take multiple honors courses and this year, he’s embraced the challenge of enrolling in a SUPA American History class. He’s received honor roll accolades throughout most of his high school career and was even selected as a previous Circle of Success member. Such accomplishments are well-deserved as evidenced by his rank in the top eleven percent of the Class of 2016 and a GPA of 3.89!

When not devoting time to his studies, Raphael can be found at Henry’s Plumbing Supply in Hawthorne where he works an average of thirty hours a week. During vacations his schedule advances to a whopping sixty hours!

It takes a special brand of dedication to manage, not only a demanding course load, but a job as well. Raphael truly sets the standard for excellence in academics as well as in life.

In fact, he’s already applied and been accepted into the University of New Haven. When asked what he plans to study, Raphael said, “I’m really interested in producing music.” He elaborated that he has a few EDM projects in the works and is teaching himself to play piano, guitar, and even drums.

If, for some reason, the college route does not work out, Raphael has thought of that too. “I’ve already applied to two unions and plan on applying to two more.” He went on to explain that he’s open to all areas of work, though he has the most experience in plumbing.

This advantageous Bulldog would love to combine the best of both worlds. “Apprenticing in the morning and going to school at night would be my top choice.”

Raphael’s can-do attitude is supplemented by the fact that he truly enjoys working and learning. One thing’s for certain, embracing the idea of perpetual growth has served him well throughout his entire high school career.

When asked how he felt about being selected as a PCTI Student of the Month, Raphael said, “I never thought that would happen to me. It was a goal of mine, so I feel really accomplished.”

Congratulations to this inspiring young man. Your work ethic is truly unparalleled!

Highlights
  • Ranked in the top 11% of his class
  • Achieved great academic standing with a GPA of 3.89
  • Selected for Circle of Success
  • Works at Henry's Plumbing Supply
  • Goal: Attend New Haven University, receive an education in Music Production/ join a union and become an Apprentice

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Sophomores Ethan Singh, Stephen Danso, and Jeremy Crespo, are accepted into NJIT’s ESTEMED pre-college program.

PCTI sophomores Jeremy Crespo, Stephen Danso, and Ethan Singh have been accepted into NJIT’s prestigious Experience STEM through Engineering Design (ESTEMED) program. The pre-college course specializes in intermediate robotics and expands the STEM experience through engineering design. Students work in collaborative groups to research real-world problems that can be solved by a robot using the Engineering Design Cycle.

The goal of ESTEMED is to further develop the problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills of high school students. Only twenty students are accepted into this exclusive program.

Congratulations to PCTI students Jeremy Crespo, Stephen Danso, and Ethan Singh!

Congratulations the March Athletes of the Month Nick Legreaux (Wrestling), Denise Callaghan-Crespo, & Azhane Williams (Cheerleaders)!


Azhane Williams and Denise Callaghan-Crespo senior Co-captains are three year varsity letter winners who are united in striving for excellence. They possess irreplaceable work ethic, leadership skills, spirit, drive, and dedication that has earned them the respect of their teammates. Azhane and Denise were instrumental in leading the team to medal at the Big North Cheer Championship, the NJTAC Championship Meet, and for their Second Place Divisional performance in the State Cheer Meet. Coach Burghardt has said, “Both young ladies are great leaders, very helpful, and are mentors to their teammates. This was the longest and most competitive season with six dual matches and a league tournament. Both student-athletes rose to the occasion.”

Nick Legreaux is a four-year varsity starter who, as a senior, led the Bulldog Wrestling team as the program’s premier wrestler. During the 2015-2016 season, Nick was inducted into the PCTI Wrestling “Century Club” for surpassing the 100 win mark. He was also a 2x state qualifier, a District 15 Champion, and he received the Most Valuable Wrester Award in 2016. Nick’s district finish earned him another trip to Atlantic City for the NJSIAA Finals where he won two matches but finished outside the medal mark. Other notable accomplishments include an overall record of 35-5 in his weight class and the following:

  • 1st Place in the Garfield Holiday Tournament
  • 1st Place Bloomfield Tournament
  • 2nd Place in the PCCA Tournament
  • 1st and 3rd Place in District 15 (2015 & 2016)
  • 1st Team Big North Conference All-Liberty Division
  • 1st Team All Passaic County

Students Arianna Joy Song Song and Gianna Aquino received honorable mention and scholarships at the Monroe College event, while classmate Julie Velasquez took home the first prize trophy in the America’s Best High School Pastry Chef competition.

Passaic County Technical Institute’s (PCTI) Julie Velasquez of the School of Culinary Arts competed against high school students at Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY for the coveted title of America’s Best High School Pastry Chef. She took home the gold, earning the much sought-after title and the honor of receiving a full tuition scholarship for the AAS Baking and Pastry Arts Program at Monroe College!

Julie’s award winning dessert featured a delectable vanilla cake layered with strawberry mousse in a chocolate mold, served with raspberry mascarpone sherbet and a tuille.

In addition, PCTI Culinary Arts Students Gianna Aquino and Arianna Joy Song Song received Honorable Mention and $12,500 each in scholarships per year should they choose to attend the university.

Monroe College is dedicated to strengthening the culinary capabilities of high school students by providing high-quality educational experiences.