Reynaldo Acevedo ’95 is assistant principal at Passaic High School and an alumnus of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program. Acevedo recently shared his personal story during a hearing on the state budget, at which April 9 was designated as EOF Awareness Day in the State of New Jersey.
When asked how Montclair State prepared him for his career path, Acevedo notes, “In so many ways, obviously more than just academics – the overall experience is what really prepared me.”
“There were so many things to take advantage of and focus on”, says Acevedo. “I was not an involved high school student, but when it came to Montclair State, I said, ‘When I get there, I’m going to do everything.’”
And so he did, quickly joining Latin American Student Organization (LASO) his freshman year and eventually becoming Vice President and then President. Acevedo also joined the Student Government Association (SGA) and became a legislator. “When I started, I knew nothing about student government. But being in that environment really made you think. I learned so much about leadership, running an organization, business and different priorities on campus,” Acevedo recalls.
Acevedo’s quest to “do it all” did not stop there. He was also a member of Lambda Theta Phi – Latin Fraternity, Inc., and the Educational Opportunity Fund program. Being involved in so many organizations made Acevedo a natural leader and mentor, something that he takes pride in now in his role at Passaic High School.
When asked about his favorite memories of campus, given his level of involvement, it is easy to see why Acevedo cannot choose just one. However, one major experience comes to mind. “Living on campus,” he notes, “first in Stone, then in Blanton, which was a real community. We were the headquarters of fun! We took pride in our fraternity, but we also took pride in our academics.”
Acevedo now serves on the newly launched EOF Alumni and Community Advisory Board. Still connected to the friends he made through EOF, Lambda Theta Phi, SGA and LASO, he hopes to bring that sense of community and family to this new endeavor.
“Mentorship is so important. I had great mentors such as Ms. Carmen Reyes-Cuevas, Ms. Bertha Diggs and Dean Harris, and now I am trying to do the same with current EOF scholars,” notes Acevedo.
When asked what advice he would give to current students he says, “building up your resume is not just what you put on the paper – it’s who you become in that process. Get involved, because those experiences will equip you for the real world and the workplace.”
Grateful for the opportunities he had, Acevedo shares with current students that “the work you put in place during college is the starting point for even more opportunities down the road. You can take it from the Student Center meeting rooms to boardrooms.”