September Students of the Month

Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang is a young woman from Paterson whose interest in the business field paved the way for her enrollment in PCTI’s Academy of Finance.

“Many people don’t know that I spent the first five years of my life in Fujian, China,” she adds. This information led to another realization. Yan is trilingual, fluent in Fujianese, Mandarin Chinese, and English. Fun fact: one translation for “business” in Chinese is “life with meaning.” Yan elaborated, “I want to use my affinity for math to help people ... to be an accounting hero.”

Yan’s focus is second to none, most accurately demonstrated in her stellar academic achievements. She has challenged herself with a rigorous course load of AP and Honors classes and has earned the proud distinction of graduating with a potential 24 college credits. Most remarkable is Yan’s impressive GPA of 4.52 and currently ranking number one in the Class of 2018!

This prestigious young woman is a member of the FBLA, Gifted & Talented, Student Council/Interact, and Book Club. She was selected for the 2017 Leadership Excellence Direct Results Program, a summer program which enhances leadership skills and prepares students for college.

Yan has received the nationaldistinction of being declared a 2017 QuestBridge Prep Scholar. She was also selected as a PCTI Circle of Success member, has shared in the award of being declared Consumer Bowl Passaic County Champions, and has achieved regional and state awards in FBLA competitions.

It’s no surprise that Yan excels in calculation and thorough planning. Her penchant for hard work has earned her a position as a Student Intern for the Business Office through the School-To-Careers program.

When it comes to her future studies, Yan’s pragmatic approach hints at maturity far beyond her years. “I’m among the first generation in my family to go to college, so I want to work hard and expand my career to work in different parts of the world.” Yan further explains that she aims to become an accountant who specializes in auditing. “It’s like being a detective for a company’s financial documents,” she adds.

When asked about some of the best opportunities she’s received at PCTI, Yan cited that meeting people from all walks of life was definitely at the top of her list. “Creating lifelong bonds through academic resources has been life changing.” She also praised the value of being exposed to a professional work environment while in high school.

Yan sees the potential in every situation and holds hard work in high regard. Congratulations to this young woman!


  • Ranks in the top 1% of her class
  • Will graduate with a potential 24 college credits
  • Member of FBLA, Gifted & Talented, Student Council/Interact, and Book Club
  • Selected for the Leadership Excellence Direct Results program, declared QuestBridge Prep Scholar
  • Trilingual: Fujianese, Mandarin Chinese, & English
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with a degree in Accounting, work in Auditing

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Chris Zuniga

Chris Zuniga is a young man from Passaic who is committed to serving others. As a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice, his participation in profound citizenship and leadership activities has earned him numerous awards and accolades.

The most recent and prevalent honor Chris received was being selected to attend Boys Nation. Over the summer, he was one of two representatives from NJ to participate in the national event. Consequently, Chris is the first student in all of PCTI history to receive this honor. Furthermore, he was also selected as the Boys Nation Senator for 2017, which is the most prestigious position in the entire program!

Embarking on the path to these achievements requires a great deal of dedication and organization. Such outstanding qualities are reflected in Chris’ amazing academic record. He ranks in the top six percent of his class with a GPA of 4.11 and has achieved Principal’s Honor Roll throughout most of his high school career. Chris enjoys a challenge, as demonstrated by his penchant for enrolling in AP and Honors courses. In fact, he has the potential to graduate with 21 college credits!

At PCTI, Chris is involved in a host of activities, including Student Council/Interact, ERASE, the Christian Student Association, American Sign Language Club and Astronomy Club. He is also an active member in the NJROTC where he holds the position of Assistant Operations Officer.

Outside of PCTI, Chris has been involved in numerous events of volunteerism, some of which include Memorial Parades, the Wayne A.M. Rotary International 5K Run, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Food Pantry Assistance, and acting as a Vacation Bible School Staff Member. In addition, he is an avid public speaker who enjoys getting involved in politics.

“After graduation, I want to give back and run for the Passaic County Tech Board of Education,” Chris says.

In college, Chris will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and a minor in Political Science. He seeks to become a Civil Lawyer who deals in civil disputes and business.

When asked about an experience that profoundly impacted his time at PCTI, he cited, “My courses with a now retired teacher, Ms. Pagano, shaped my experiences in Boys State and Boys Nation. It’s because of her that I got involved and became so invested in the community.”

Congratulations to this incredibly genuine young man who has proved himself to be a dedicated and selfless leader. He’s sure to succeed in all future endeavors!


  • Ranks in the top 6% of his class
  • Will graduate with a potential 21 college credits
  • Involved in Student Council/Interact, ERASE, the Christian Student Association, ASL Club, & Astronomy Club
  • Member of NJROTC Drill Team, selected as Assistant Operations Officer
  • American Boys State & Boys Nation delegate, selected Boys Nation Senator for 2017
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with a law degree, become a Civil Lawyer

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