Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Executive Director of the North Hudson Campus, Yeurys Pujols, was honored at Save Latin America’s “Los Tres Proceres Antillanos” Gala.
The event was held on Friday, Jan.31 at the Chart House in Weehawken. HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber delivered the keynote speech.
Save Latin America (SLA) is a Union City-based nonprofit organization that works to conserve Hispanic identity, values, and traditions. SLA provides educational, health, social, and economic development services to the people of Hudson County.
The annual “Los Tres Proceres Antillanos” Gala celebrates the work of Save Latin America, and the critical importance of education. The “Los Tres Proceres Antillanos Award” was inspired by Puerto Rico’s Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Cuba’s Jose Marti, and the Dominican Republic’s Juan Pablo Duarte.
This year’s honorees exemplify educational excellence and include John Melendez, Ph.D., a Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at New Jersey City University (Puerto Rico); Silvia Abbato, the Superintendent of the Union City Public Schools (Cuba); and Mr. Pujols (Dominican Republic).
“Save Latin America and Hudson County Community College are engaged in complementary work. Work that promotes the public good, work that empowers the community, and work that increases the human potential,” Dr. Reber said. “I congratulate our esteemed colleagues, Dr. John Melendez, Silvia Abbato, and our gifted and valued colleague, Yeurys Pujols, for their recognitions, which are all so well deserved.”
Dr. Reber noted that Yeurys Pujols’ life story mirrors that of many Hudson County Community College students and members of the community. Mr. Pujols emigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic when he was 13 years old, and struggled with English as a Second Language courses throughout high school.
Language and other obstacles challenged his academic achievements. His mother was a single parent who worked long hours to pay for food and rent, and at the age of 13, Yeurys began working to help his family make ends meet.
In time, Yeurys enrolled at Hudson County Community College, working 40 hours a week during his entire HCCC experience. As a result of his perseverance and commitment, he excelled in his studies, and was awarded an Associate of Arts degree.
He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from New Jersey City University, and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Seton Hall University.
Mr. Pujols returned to HCCC 14 years ago as a counselor, and, as one of the College’s exceptionally talented, committed and productive employees, has been promoted several times since. He serves on the Advisory Board of Save Latin America’s “Reaching Our Dreams” program, and is often a panelist on Juventud Educaoriana forums.
Mr. Pujols served as an advisor to the HCCC Key Club, which organizes community fundraisers, food drives and more, and presently, he is the co-chair of the HCCC President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Mr. Pujols’ life and work philosophies are the cornerstones of how he prepares students to be self-sufficient, lifelong learners. “One may not know all the answers. I don’t have all the answers, but to empower others, one must be proactive and help students find the answers despite obstacles,” Mr. Pujols said.