CLASS OF 2014
Spotlight on our Graduates
From High School Underachiever to PCCC Valedictorian
Omar Abbasi turns 22 years old on May 22, 2014,the same day he will graduate from PCCC. This year, the Wayne resident received an unexpected birthday gift when he was selected as one of the two valedictorians for the Class of 2014.
“I hadn’t expected it,” said Omar. “I knew I was in the top one per cent of the class, but I wasn’t thinking I’d be valedictorian. Omar will speak at the morning ceremonies, and he hinted at a few of the ideas he will touch on.
“I want to tell the graduates that this is only the beginning. Our baccalaureate degrees are right around the corner, and our master’s degrees are down the block.”
A 2010 graduate of Wayne Hills High School, Omar says he was an underachiever in high school. “I wasn’t motivated or using my potential, “ he explained. “
When faced with college, he made a decision to change. “I knew I had to do something with my life. I wouldn’t allow myself to fall off again.”
Coming to PCCC enabled Omar to start fresh . “I had a new attitude,” he said. “I expected more from myself and put forth the effort.”
Last December, he completed his Associate in Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration on International Business. Omar was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society and recently received an award from the New Jersey Collegiate Business Administration Honor Society, a prestigious organization for the top 1% of undergraduate students pursuing business degrees.
He has not yet chosen where he will pursue his bachelor’s degree, but is considering William Paterson or Rutgers University and plans to apply to Columbia and Fordham.
Fascinated by global enterprises and economics, Omar aims for a career studying global markets and “exploring ways to make the most of global resources and build economies around the world.”
But he also “loves cars and technical things,” and hopes to minor in engineering and perhaps develop a career in the auto industry.
Thoughtful and reserved, the self-described “deep thinker” sees his technical skills as a balance to his academic pursuits.
Active in the Boy Scouts since 2001, Omar learned both practical and leadership skills there, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout at age 17. He also financed much of his own education by working a alongside his father in a factory.
As president of the PCCC Business Club, Omar took on the challenge to revitalize both the membership and activity levels. “I decided to approach this as if it were my own business,” he said.
Omar organized a field trip to the factory where he worked. “I was really proud of that,” he recalls.
But he was disappointed by the lack of commitment or failure to honor commitments in some of the members. “We had some good ideas that did not come to fruition,” he said, “but everything’s a learning experience.”
His analytical nature was challenged by a critical thinking course he took with Professor Mark Hillringhouse who also helped Omar understand that an underlying perfectionism caused his tendency to procrastinate with assignments.
“He is what I look for in a professor,” said Omar. “He is very kind, but is also someone who will give his perspective and advice.”
Omar is also very grateful to his mother for her support. “She has been my guiding light, a tremendous support,” he said “She’s really the reason I ended up here, I have her to thank for that.”