Robert Treat Academy Charter School Graduates Tenth Class

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The Robert Treat Academy Charter School in Newark held its tenth annual commencement exercises Thursday in the dramatic setting of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Parents, siblings and classmates cheered as the 45 graduates received their diplomas from the K-8 Blue Ribbon school widely considered to be one of the highest-performing elementary schools in the state.

Graduates received more than $3 million in scholarship offers to some of the most prestigious boarding and day schools in the nation, including Choate Rosemary Hall, the Hotchkiss School, the Peddie School, Phillips Academy Andover, Phillips Exeter Academy, St. Andrews School, St. Paul’s School, Newark Academy and Seton Hall Prep.

In his commencement speech, Dr. Stephen N. Adubato, Jr., told the graduates that quitting was not an option as they begin the next phase of their lives.

“Kids in Newark, graduates of the Robert Treat Academy… they have one thing in common: they never give up,” said Adubato, who was raised in Newark and went on to become the youngest state legislator in New Jersey at 25 before launching a distinguished career as a broadcaster, author, university professor and motivational speaker.

Relaying his own story of struggles as a young baseball player who didn’t make his high school team, later as a broadcaster who was rejected for various jobs, and as a doctoral candidate, Adubato said life is about getting knocked down and getting back up again.

“You have succeeded in so many ways, but you will get knocked down,” Adubato said. “Let me tell you something, nobody cares. You out work them, you out hustle them, you let them know you are from the Robert Treat Academy. You let them know you are from Newark, New Jersey. You let them know that quitting is not an option.”

Alumnus speaker Andrew Showers, who graduated from Robert Treat in 2010 and just completed high school at St. Paul’s School, had a similar message for graduates.

“There is a bright future ahead of you, just like there is a bright future for everyone who comes out of Robert Treat Academy” said Showers, who will start Cornell University in the fall. “Work hard, make good choices, stay true to yourself and be the best that you can be.”

Valedictorian Aryana Mercado, who is attending Newark Academy in Livingston, thanked Robert Treat Academy founder Stephen N. Adubato, Sr., for setting the bar so high at the school.

“We had no choice but to meet your expectations and I hope that as future high school graduates, we continue to meet your expectations,” Mercado said.

Robert Treat Principal Theresa Adubato said the hardest part for her about graduation is saying goodbye to the students.

“I will tell you the same thing I have told every graduating class that has come before you,” Theresa Adubato said. “You will always have a home at Robert Treat Academy and I will always be here for you if you should need me. You will be missed.”

Theresa Adubato along with Robert Detore, president of the Robert Treat Board of Trustees, and Adrianne Davis, vice president, handed out diplomas.

“This is always the highlight of the year,” said Davis, who is also the executive director and co-founder of The North Ward Center. “After 10 years of graduations, we are starting to see our students finishing college and entering graduate schools and the workforce. Our students will start making their mark on Newark and the world in ways both small and large.”

During the ceremony, graduating eighth graders Ashley Figueroa and Iris Charneco accepted scholarships from the Anibal Ramos Jr. Civic Association. Both students will attend St. Vincent Academy in the fall.