Diana Deonate

Diana Deonate is a young woman from Paterson who has always been fascinated with solving puzzles in the literal and figurative sense. “I used to do lot of those in youth, but I would never look at the picture on the box. It was figuring things out on my own that I really enjoyed.”

It’s no surprise that this young woman’s penchant for abstract thinking has carried through to her educational pursuits. As a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Diana aims to use her problem solving capabilities to help the wrongfully accused, by embracing a career as a lawyer.

She’s well on her way to achieving her dream. Diana currently holds a position with Batista Law Office in Clifton. Through PCTI’s STC program, she works twenty hours a week. The job has allowed Diana to use her bilingual talents to communicate effectively with clients. “Working under a lawyer and municipal judge gave me a real taste of the legal system,” she says. “It’s like my third home, with PCTI being my second.”

Amidst a packed schedule, Diana is also involved in numerous activities, including Mock Trial, ERASE, and Book Club. She is a Certified Dispatcher and is CPR Certified. Additionally, Diana has been selected for the World Language Honor Society.

It comes as no surprise that this Bulldog ranks in the top four percent of her class with a GPA of 4.19. She also has the potential to graduate with fifteen college credits.

Diana has worked hard to achieve her dreams. She’s already earned full rides to Fairleigh Dickinson University, Felician College, and William Paterson University. She’s also been accepted to Seton Hall and Rutgers University.

Whatever university she chooses, Diana’s goal is the same; she will pursue a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies and will eventually attend Law School.

When asked what direction her life will take after all that education, Diana says, “I enjoy Criminal Law so maybe I’ll become a Prosecutor.”

While Diana is direct in her academic pursuits, she is equally clear on what she values. In short, it’s finding out the truth. “Ever since coming to PCTI, I’ve realized that you need to personally do the research to reach your own conclusions. It’s important to think for yourself and question everything.”

This particular quality will serve her well in her career endeavors. Congratulations Diana, a young woman who knows the value of hard work!


  • Ranks in the top 4% of her class
  • Will graduate with a potential 15 college credits
  • Certified Dispatcher and licensed in CPR
  • Involved in Mock Trial, ERASE, & Book Club; selected for WLHS
  • Holds job at Batista Law Office
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies, attend Law School, become a Prosecutor

View the PDF

Grace Khezam

Grace Khezam is a resident of Totowa who transferred to Passaic County Technical Institute as a sophomore. Her reason? “I wasn’t being as challenged as much I wanted to be in high school. PCTI offered more opportunities for me to excel and grow.”

As a member of the Academy of Information Technology, Grace believes that becoming proficient in tasks such as web design and coding will help her secure a successful future. “Right now, I can get a job making websites,” she says.

Grace is involved in numerous school activities, including Concert Band, Marching Band, LEAP, and the Environmental Club. She was also selected for the Tri-M Music Honor Society and serves as the Co-Vice President of the Class of 2017. With a GPA of 3.94, Grace ranks in the top ten percent of her class and has earned Principal’s Honor Roll status. She has the potential to graduate with seventeen college credits.

Outside of PCTI, she is a gymnast, has worked as a life guard (and is CPR certified), and has volunteered with organizations that include St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, the Special Olympics, at her local public library, and in Marching Band parades. Within the past year, she’s accumulated more than sixty service hours in an area she’s truly passionate about: Dentistry.

As a volunteer at Dental2000, Grace shadows dentists and hygienists, sterilizes instruments, and communicates effectively with patients. “I’ve always been interested in biology and the medical arts, so getting this opportunity allowed me to gain experience in a career I want to pursue.”

It was Grace’s proactive approach - of going after what she wants in life - that allowed her to discover her passion.

As far as life after graduation is concerned, Grace has already been accepted into Pennsylvania State University, Pace University, Temple University, Arcadia University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She will pursue her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and will later attend dental school.

When asked how she’s grown from her time as a sophomore to a senior, Grace had this to say, “I’ve been working on building my character and really going after what I want.” This ambitious quality ensures that Grace actively seeks out opportunities in every area of her life.

One thing’s for certain, Grace has grown exponentially in her three years at PCTI. Congratulations and best of luck in the future!


  • Ranks in the top 10% of her class
  • Will graduate with a potential 17 college credits
  • Selected for Tri-M Honor Society
  • Member of Concert Band, Marching Band, LEAP, & Environmental Club
  • Co-Vice President of the Class of 2017
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, enroll in dental school, become a Dentist

View the PDF

Congratulations to Jennine LaCorte, Educational Specialist of the Year, and Mark Vogel, Educator of the Year!

Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) has announced their Educators of the Year for 2017. The honor goes to Mark Vogel, Educator of the Year, and Jennine LaCorte, Educational Specialist of the Year.

Mark Vogel is an exemplary History Instructor who has been with PCTI since 2009. He consistently seeks greatness every day, hoping to inspire his students by teaching history as a story. This deep personalization of such an important school subject, coupled with his penchant for stirring the imagination and intellect of his students, has earned him the admiration and gratitude of many. Additionally, Mark is a devoted GED Instructor at the Passaic County Jail. “I firmly believe these inmates deserve the same compassion, kindness, and patience as my students,” he says. Mark has also published more than fifty history essays, as well as three dozen feature articles for magazines and newspapers.

On the educational front, Mark has earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Delaware, his Master of Science in Journalism from Boston University, and will soon be receiving his Master of Arts in American History from Adams State University. While at PCTI, Mark was the recipient of two consecutive “Highly Effective” ratings and aims to add another to the list this year. His dynamic instructional style, as well as his passion both in and outside of the classroom, is recognized by all.

Jennine LaCorte’s main goal in life is to help people. Through graduate school internships, she realized her affinity for working with teenagers and became a member of Bulldog family in 1999. Her unrivaled passion for fostering a connection with students, as well as her ability to aid in navigating through life’s difficulties, has left lasting impressions on all of those she’s mentored.

For seven years, she served as the Transition Coordinator of PCTI’s Child Study Team and was previously a Social Worker at the Passaic County Juvenile Detention Center. While there, Jennine designed and implemented two successful programs – the Young Father’s Training program and a Criminal Division Waiver Support group. Today, she provides an unparalleled support system for students and families as the Student Assistance Coordinator/Crisis Counselor. Her caring demeanor allows her to truly thrive at PCTI. “I’m able to really help some kids,” she says, “which is all I ever really wanted to do.”

Jennine graduated from Rutgers University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. In 1996, she earned her Master of Social Work. She recently received her Student Assistance Counselor certification from Montclair State University.

Congratulations to January’s student-athletes of the month, Carly Spinnler (Girls Winter Track) and Christian Przybyla (Boys Basketball)

Carly Spinnler is a second-year varsity letter winner who:

During the month of January, ranked #1 in Passaic County and in Northern Jersey in the 800-meter race with an outstanding personal best time of 2:19. Carly’s 800-meter time is the seventh best time this season in the State of New Jersey. She also has two major wins in the 800m at both the Big North-Liberty Divisional Championship meet and at the Passaic County Championship meet. Carly took home two medals at the BNC-Liberty meet and three medals at the PCCA meet.

Christian Przybyla is a second-year varsity letter winner and a senior captain who:

Helped lead the Bulldogs to a 5-3 record and qualifications for the PCCA Tournament and the NJSIAA Tournament. He averaged 14.8 points per game along with 4.8 rebounds. Christian is known as the team’s “shooter” and connected 21 out of 48 three-point attempts for an impressive 44% average. On January 19 against Kennedy High School, Christian netted 15 points, which helped the Bulldogs take down a heated rival. Two days later, Christian put the team on his back and scored a career record-high of 27 points in a 83-70 victory over the Raiders of Dwight Morrow. On January 26th against Bergen Tech, Christian scored 18 - 2nd half points including 5 “triples,” 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals, which allowed the Bulldogs to overcome a 9 point half-time deficit in a convincing 68-46 win over the Knights. What made Christian’s 2nd half performance even more impressive was that he accomplished all of this after sustaining a second-half wrist injury to his shooting hand, an injury that later ended his senior season. A positive aspect to the story is that Christian proudly owns a 3.6 GPA and is still being courted by several Division III schools.

Gabriela Juniewicz

Gabriela Juniewicz is a young woman from North Haledon who is determined to push her educational limits. As a member of the Academy of Medical Arts, she is CPR and CNA certified and is currently working towards her EMT certification.

Gabriela is an involved Bulldog who is known for participating in numerous service initiatives, clubs & activities, as well as honors and AP courses. This includes being a youth group member, a religious education instructor, working at a catholic camp, as well as participating in PCTI’s HOSA, Gifted & Talented, the Astronomy Club, Book Club, Varsity Tennis and Varsity Golf. Gabriela was also selected for Foundation for Success, Girls State, the Youth Advisory Council, National Honor Society, and World Language Honor Society. She has achieved Principal’s Honor Roll throughout her time in high school. It comes as no surprise that Gabriela ranks 4th in her class with a GPA of 4.53. She even has the potential to graduate with thirty-five college credits!

When asked where her career interest lies, Gabriela beams. “I’ve always loved Biology. Learning about the human body - what it’s capable of and how to treat it - is what I’m passionate about.”

She goes on to explain her desire to enter the medical field stems from her experiences in middle school. Today, she enjoys every facet of her education, from labs, to hands on projects, and lectures.

Gabriela will pursue double majors in Biology and Anthropology. She has already been accepted into Rutgers, Seton Hall, Fordham, Villa Nova, and Manhattan University, and has applied to Yale, Columbia, and NYU. After receiving an undergraduate degree, Gabriela intends to receive her Masters in Physician Assisting.

This hardworking young woman is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. She’s also had a lot practice in perfecting her work-life balance.

“I aim to have a life, not just a job, while remaining open to all the world has to offer.”

There may even be some traveling in Gabriela’s future. Her interest in biology extends to Medical Anthropology. “It would be great if I get the opportunity to study abroad,” she adds.

When asked what lessons she’ll take with her after graduation, Gabriela explains, “All the opportunities I’ve had at PCTI allowed me to find myself. I know who I am. My participation in the clubs and activities in high school allowed me to develop and grow.”

Congratulations, Gabriela! Your thirst for knowledge and desire to heal the world will ensure a successful future!


  • Ranks in the top 1% of her class
  • Will graduate with a potential thirty college credits
  • CPR & CNA certified, working towards EMT certification
  • Selected for Girls State, Youth Advisory Council, NHS, & WLHS
  • Involved in HOSA, Gifted & Talented, the Astronomy Club, Book Club, Varsity Tennis & Varsity Golf
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with undergraduate degrees in Biology and Anthropology, pursue a master’s degree in Physician Assisting, become a Physician’s Assistant

View the PDF

Jakub Zarski

Jakub Zarski is a Clifton local whose long fascination with Legos evolved into a prospective career. “I’ve always been interested in building model planes,” Jakub offers. In fact, the reason he chose to attend PCTI is due to the School of Engineering Technology - of which he is a member. It’s the thrill of design and product completion that drives Jakub to pursue a future career in Aeronautical Engineering.

He’s already taking advantage of all the educational experiences PCTI has to offer. Jakub is a member of Gifted & Talented and the Engineering Club. He was also selected for Boys State, Circle of Success, and will be participating in the SkillsUSA competition this year.

Jakub’s academic savvy has secured him a spot on the Principal’s Honor Roll during his entire high school career. Enrollment in high level courses, with fantastic grades to match, has ensured Jakub is ranked in the top two percent of the Class of 2017 with a GPA of 4.38! He also has the potential to graduate with twenty-four college credits.

Outside of PCTI, Jakub enjoys playing soccer and even works as a referee with EDP for youth competitive games.

Future prospects for this bright young man include attending a university to receive a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He has already been accepted into fifteen colleges, a few of which include: FDU, NJIT, Bradley University, Liberty University, Michigan Technological University, the University of Dayton (with scholarship) and many more.

Aside from pursuing educational endeavors in a traditional institution, Jakub has thoughts of creating his own startup. “The aerospace industry needs capital, so my goal would be to focus on contracting and design. Ultimately I want to create environmental solutions.”

Jakub has also expressed an interest to work with the CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk. “He’s a visionary on the right track in the industry,” he adds.

When asked about his experience at Passaic County Technical Institute, Jakub explains that attending the career and technical high school was a no brainer.

“I always knew that I wanted to study engineering. Coming here allowed me to be receptive to learning and to gain more knowledge about my future career.”

Jakub’s strong work ethic and logical approach to life will surely pave the path to success, especially in the field of engineering. Congratulations to this studious young man!


  • Ranks in the top 2% of his class
  • Will graduate with a potential twenty-four college credits
  • Selected for Boys State & Circle of Success
  • Achieved Principal’s Honor Roll throughout all four years
  • Member of Gifted & Talented and Engineering Club
  • Goal: Graduate from a university with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, create his own startup, work in the Aeronautical Engineering field

View the PDF

Congratulations to Demetrius Pagan, Hamzeh Sheika, Ashley Gayle, and Mikayla Magna, PCTI’s February Athletes of the Month!

Demetrius Pagan and Hamzeh Sheika are four-year varsity letter winners and senior team captains who:

Have led the Bulldogs Wrestling Team to achieve a historic 2016-2017 season with a 15-2 record. Demetrius and Hamzeh were the core of the squad’s middle weight line-up. Along with their teammates, they presented a daunting line-up to which most teams fell victim. This coined the phrase “Murder’s Row.” Their leadership, weight-class flexibility, and relentless approach on the mat was the backbone of the team’s first State Sectional Championship in over 23 years. Their personal marks in 2016-2017 Wrestling season include the following:

Demetrius Pagan
  • Four-year varsity letter winner and team captain
  • Overall season record of 24-9
  • 2nd place finish for District 5
  • 1st Team All Big North Liberty Division
  • 2nd Team All Passaic County

Hamzeh Sheika
  • Four- year varsity letter winner and team captain
  • Overall season record of 26-8
  • 2nd place finish for District 5
  • 1st Team All Big North Liberty Division
  • 2nd Team All Passaic County

Ashley Gayle and Mikayla Magna, both senior Co-captains who:

Have earned their roles through unbelievable dedication and heart. They are vital to the program and have worked hard to motivate their team. Both women have been working since last June to bring out the best in all of our athletes. They are also hardworking students of the Academy of Medical Arts program who have kept up their grades while participating in cheerleading. Their talents are impeccable and will truly be missed. Both individuals were a huge factor in the competition cheerleading team's great performances this season. The Competition Cheerleading team won their mini-meet against Eastside, placed second at the Wayne Valley Invitational Cheerleading Competition, placed second at the Hackensack Invitational Cheerleading Competition, placed first at the Ramapo "Have a Heart" Cheerleading competition. On Sunday March 5th at the NJDCDA State Championship, the team took first place overall in the Co-Ed Intermediate Varsity Cheer category - a tremendous end to a fantastic cheer career!