Seventeen Linden High School seniors were honored on Wednesday, June 12, for completion of the school’s EMAP program, which gives students practical exposure to entrepreneurship and the business world.
Administrators, community leaders, alumni, and business leaders gathered at III Amici Ristorante in Linden for the 12th anniversary graduation of EMAP, which stands for Entrepreneurial Management Achievement Program.
“We idolize people who can throw a football or a baseball; we idolize people who can sing and dance,” Sy Mayerson, the founder, chairman and CEO of EMAP, told the gathered guests. “But we don’t hear much about the average person who goes to work every day who is a hero. To me a hero is anyone who supports another person. I think this room is filled with heroes.”
EMAP is an independent program that has worked closely with the city and school district for 12 years to give LHS students a reality-based education that prepares them for entrepreneurship after high school. It also focuses on character development as a key to success in all walks of life.
Throughout the year, students in the program visit and partner with New Jersey companies with a global presence, including Philips Lighting in Somerset, and the Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery and Cutting Edge Industries, both in Linden.
They also work to complete a yearlong project that culminates with a presentation at the graduation. This year’s students created a company called Techniche that envisions what a home of the future would look like and creates products that people would be able to use in the home.
“The needs we considered were safety, healthy, security, and of course, comfort,” said Techniche President Angelo McNeill, pictured at top, one of the graduating seniors. “We sought a style that would inspire every family member in the family of the future. As you witness the exhibit of Techniche, you will be witnessing an ideal future.”
McNeil, along with fellow senior David Augustyn, presented their concept for Robotigami, a combination of robotics and origami, the oriental art of paper folding. Combining the two would greatly increase the versatility of robotics, giving robots the ability to complete big and small tasks while conserving space. It could be applied in the household as well as biological, medical and astronomical fields.
Senior Yuliia Sul gave a presentation on understanding ergonomics and how the needs of the human body would be met to a greater degree in the home of the future, such as a refrigerator that dispenses nutritional advice.
Graphic presentations for other products were lined up in the banquet room to allow visitors to see and read about how they would work and make for a better tomorrow. Among the products were Ex-Pack, a backpack that would grow as the wearer grows; Pawtrol, a dog harness fitted with home security cameras; and Cera, a mirror that could identify and help diagnose skin disorders.
Future fashions were designed to change colors and shift shapes, and could be produced through 3-D printing.
Each of the products were presented with marketing plans and designs that could help them become reality.
The EMAP students also learn that charity is a part of business, and so they have partnered with three groups: Smile Train, which gives medical treatment to children in developing nations born with deformities; Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which helps the children of fallen soldiers; and Friends of Linden Animal Shelter, a local animal-rescue and adoption group.
“I was very impressed by the ideas our students came up with for their vision of the future,” said Acting Superintendent Denise Cleary. “The EMAP program is unique because it fosters their creativity while giving them a reality-based education in business, teamwork, and service to community. These graduates are well-positioned for taking their first steps into the world of entrepreneurship.”
All of the graduating seniors were singled out to receive their diplomas and take photos with their families, Cleary, Principal Yelena Horré, Board of Education member Dawn Beviano, and EMAP co-founder and president Dianne Blazier-Jiosi.
Three of the graduates were also honored for completing a program where they act as mentors for other students. They are Allan Pierre, Jannice Quevedo and Katrina Remo.
The other graduates are David Augustyn, Alison Benitez, Thomas Blahuta, Melanie Churampi, Nahuel D’Elias, Sha’kur Martin, Angelo McNeill, Meghna Mehta, Samantha Mejia, Ludmila Muntian, Natalie Ortiz, Briana Picado, Gabriela Punda and Yuliia Sul.
Mayor Derek Armstead read a resolution from the city congratulating all the seniors on their achievement and recognizing the unique value EMAP presents to Linden High School.