essex commissioners honor recipients of the 2023 njac foundation vo-tech scholarships

(Newark, NJ) – On Wednesday, July 12, the Essex County Board of County Commissioners honored six students for being named Essex County recipients of the 2023 NJAC (NJ Association of Counties) Foundation scholarships. The award recognizes distinguished students from technical and vocational schools who plan to pursue higher education in New Jersey.

The 2023 scholarship recipients are:

  • Obaloluwa Fasoro of Newark School of Technology, who will be attending Montclair State University to study engineering
  • Aniella Lopez of Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology, who will be attending Montclair State University
  • Brandon Brantley-Owens of Donald M. Payne, Sr. School of Technology, who will be attending NJIT to study mechanical engineering
  • Anthony Penafiel Torres of West Caldwell School of Technology, who will be attending Rutgers-New Brunswick to study aerospace engineering
  • aida Lagarez of West Caldwell School of Technology, who will be attending Rutgers University to study mechanical engineering
  • Brenda Pereira of Newark School of Technology, who will be attending Montclair State University to study biology/pre-med

The NJAC Foundation - in conjunction with corporate partners Investors Bank, Amazon, PSE&G, AT&T, and SHI International - award the grants to fund the honorees continuing education at a county college, or a state college or university.

Brandon Brantley-Owens is a determined, hard-working, and outstanding student who is constantly striving to be the best version of himself. He has shown dedication not only to his classes but also the school community. He is an important part of the Robotics club and led the team in a competition. Brandon dedicates so much of his time and his passion in everything he does.

Obaloluwa Fasoro has worked hard to be part of the top 10% of his senior class, with straight A’s throughout his senior year. As part of the Dual Enrollment program, he will graduate high school also with an Associates degree from Essex County Community College. Outside of the classroom, he is one of the captains of Newark Tech’s track team.

Zaida Lagarez is a driven and intelligent student who works diligently and exemplifies leadership qualities. She was recognized as a Cooperman Scholar for her exceptional academics, and she studied robotics and engineering throughout high school, demonstrating strong problem-solving skills and a love of learning. Ms. Lagarez has been a mentor for younger students, and volunteers in a local kindergarten classroom to help teach children how to tell time.

Aniella Lopez has persevered through many obstacles, and she never let that stop her from pursuing her dreams. She is an outstanding student who has continued to stay levelheaded and push through challenges to reach her goals. She approaches everything she does with commitment and dedication.

Anthony Penafiel Torres is a dedicated, model student who has worked diligently and has been a positive role model for his peers, including working with and supporting underclassmen ELL students. He is ambitious and works hard to seize advancement opportunities, such as taking dual enrollment courses at Essex County College.

Brenda Pereira is the first member of her family to go to college. She achieved Honor Roll throughout her high school career and was active in extracurricular activities including volleyball, the Yearbook Committee, Student Council, and the Senior Mentor program. She is also in a small group of seniors in Newark Tech’s Dual Enrollment program where she will earn her Associates degree from Essex County College along with her high school diploma. Ms. Pereira cares deeply for the wellbeing of others, with great concern and compassion for her class and teammates. She hopes to be an oncology nurse one day.

The Essex County Board of County Commissioners congratulates Brenda, Anthony, Aniella, Zaida, Brandon, and Obaloluwa on receiving their scholarships awards, and wishes them great success in all their future endeavors.

More pictures can be seen here. A recording of the ceremony can be viewed here.

(Top image L to R: Commissioner Rufus Johnson, Commissioner President Wayne Richardson, Obaloluwa Fasoro, Aniella Lopez, Brandon Brantley-Owens, Anthony Penafiel Torres, Commissioner Patricia Sebold, NJAC President John Donnadio)

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For Additional Information - Contact:
Adam Tucker, Public Information Officer
Essex County Board of County Commissioners
973-621-4452 (phone) 973-621-5695 (fax)
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Board of County Commissioners,
County of Essex
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