A Valedictorian’s Speech

Laelah is the granddaughter of Kenneth and Estelle Council of Queen Creek, Arizona

By: Laelah Nuriddin

My journey to get to this evening, to be able to be in this cap and gown, was full of many ups and downs. As a student of CEC College I can full heartedly say they have helped me more than I can imagine. Not only have they helped me graduate but they have also helped me overcome some of the hardest times in my life. They have helped me grow into the person I am today.

In 2021 I decided to attend this school. I had completely failed my sophomore year because of Covid. My father was also sick with cancer, and I was at my lowest point in life. I was truly depressed, I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. My grades were the least of my worries. Since I absolutely bombed 10th grade, my family reviewed the options presented to me and we decided that CEC would be the best option for me. I was skeptical because I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle the program and its way of learning.

A few weeks after my family met with the former administrator, Mr. Mitchell, my father passed away. My sister and I visited him in the hospital for the last time on May 19, 2021. I still have regrets on how I acted during that time. I regret not saying goodbye correctly. After my father died I made it my mission to redeem myself, to be successful, and to do my best in school. I did just that.

“Be grateful for the people
who are here for you. And
be grateful that you are here
today even if you don’t want
to be, it will get better.”

I worked my hardest and I got the best results I’ve ever received in my life. I began to love subjects I never loved before. Chemistry and Math easily became my favorites. You can ask my family and they will tell you I used to have tantrums at the table not being able to comprehend Math. I used to say I will always be someone who prefers English to Math and I would stand by it, Until CEC.

I want to thank them for helping me learn to appreciate and love all subjects. That being said, I still love English. You can catch me buried in a different book every other day and I will write and finish an essay with ease. My father always believed I would learn to love both, and he was right. I even remember him telling me stories on how chemistry was so cool and that I would enjoy it and I looked at him like he was crazy because at that time Chemistry was a subject I told myself I would hate.

Graduates, people here that are still in high school, even elementary school students, be grateful. Be grateful for everything you have right now. Be grateful for the people who are here for you. And be grateful that you are here today even if you don’t want to be, it will get better. In fact, I completed English 102 as well as Spanish 102 this semester from CGCC. Although it has been a challenge, I persevered.

Never give up, believe in yourself. There will be ups and downs but that’s life. You just have to look forward to the ups. Seniors, I’m betting this moment right here is a big up for all of you. It is for me. We’re finally finished with high school! I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for all of CEC, and most of all I’m grateful I’m able to be standing here right now.

Laelah graduated from Chandler Early College High School in Chandler, Arizona.

Former US Congressman Edolphus Towns joins PHEN in the fight against prostate cancer

PHEN’s 2023 Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally: A prostate cancer crisis is hitting Black communities around...

Choose Healthy Life’s Service of Renewal and Healing

Union Baptist Church in Harlem Pastor Rev. Brian D. Scott hosted Choose Healthy Life’s (CHL)...

U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. shares his experience with losing a friend to prostate cancer

Session III: September 20, 2023 Enhancing Clinical Trial Awareness and Increasing Participation of Black Patients...

Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller joins PHEN in the fight against prostate cancer

PHEN’s 2023 Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally: Have you heard that Black men get diagnosed with...

Shavonda E. Sumter, State Representative for Patterson, NJ introduces PHEN

Shavonda E. Sumter, State Representative for Patterson, NJ introduces PHEN and shares her experience about...

First Corinthian Youth Sunday

Members and visitors packed the sanctuary of Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church for Youth Sunday. Youth Pastor Rev. Tre Walrond...
Read More

Newark’s Gospel Music Month Kick-Off Celebration

For 38 years, Gospel Music Month has been celebrated in Newark, NJ, the state’s Gospel Capital. Dr. Albert Lewis proposed...
Read More

Gospel in the City

Sounds of praise and joy were in the air at the East Orange Campus High School on June 10. Mayor...
Read More

I Remember Harlem By Percy E. Sutton

By Percy E. Sutton (1920-2009) Chairman of the Executive Board Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce I remember the so-called “Harlem...
Read More

NTAC Gala 2023

Neighborhood Technical Assistance Clinic (NTAC) Founder and CEO Rev. Dr. Valerie Oliver Durrah welcomed guests to the organization’s White Party...
Read More

More than 4,500 Volunteers Packed 1.5 Million Meals For New Yorkers In Need in Observance of 9/11 Day

September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance 22 years after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the 9/11 anniversary...
Read More

Honoring Newark Heroes: Wayne Brooks Jr. and Augusto Acabou

By Steve Walkers To their families and coworkers they were know as “Bear” and ” Augie.” We know them as...
Read More

I Remember Harlem

by Voza Rivers I grew up on West 132nd Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues. My street, during the ’40s...
Read More

Jim Harding’s Never Ending Service to the Community

By Jean Nash Wells Called out of retirement, Jim Harding, now the Assistant Fire Commissioner and Senior Advisor of External...
Read More

Newark Students Develop Workforce Skills during Summer Youth Employment Program, Hosted by Berkeley College

Students practice CPR during the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) on July 26, 2023. This summer, nearly 300 Newark residents...

Berkeley College Announces Opportunity Grant for Qualified New Jersey Residents to Earn a Degree Debt-Free

Qualified New Jersey residents can enroll in a full-time Associate’s degree program without incurring any loans for tuition and fees...

Berkeley College Appoints Patricia Greer, JD, as Provost

Share the News: @BerkeleyCollege #NewsBerkeley   Berkeley College has named Patricia “Patty” Bennett Greer, JD, as Provost, effective August 7, 2023...

Jobs, Wages and Education

In the summer of 1963, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial facing our nation’s Capitol...

Kool and the Gang co-founder donates thousands to NJ schools for music education

A co-founder of one of the most successful music groups to come out of New Jersey is helping the next...

Kean University President Repollet Attends White House’s National Summit on Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

Kean University President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D., today joined U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, key members of the Biden-Harris...

DV Connector Network Presents – Precious Williams – The Killer Pitch Master

Securing Our Legacy Through UJAMAA DV Connector Network Series Hear from our Special Guest… Precious...

New Jersey Reparations Council Announced

On June 19, 2023, the second anniversary of our newest federal holiday, Juneteenth, celebrations marked...

AACCNJ’s First Juneteenth Black Business Expo

Black-owned businesses connected with private and public companies at the well-attended, inaugural Black Business Expo...

On Harlem, Business, and the Economics of Culture: Brothers Gonna’ Work it Out

“The ability to augment the profit motive with a service motive is a positive, life-affirming...

Summer in and out of the City

BY R.L. WITTER My husband at the wheel, the road stretches in front of me...

Why the Habit of Saving is Key to Becoming Financially Healthier

Savings is a foundational piece to financial health since research has found that unexpected expenses...