American Dream surprises Paterson students with attraction tickets

Kimberly Redmond//December 28, 2022

American Dream surprises Paterson students with attraction tickets

Kimberly Redmond//December 28, 2022

As a reward for outstanding results on the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA), American Dream gave each of the 1,500 students at College Achieve Paterson Charter School (CAPS Paterson) a $50 ticket to enjoy one of the many attractions at the Meadowlands megamall.

In addition to impressive scores in reading, math and written expression, students showed gains on the Start Strong assessments this past fall, which is a test designed by the state Department of Education (DOE) to gauge learning loss that may have occurred as a result of extended school closures during the pandemic.

After American Dream learned of how CAPS Paterson students continued to demonstrate academic growth – despite the challenges presented by COVID – it committed $75,000 as a reward.

American Dream
The Nickelodeon Universe theme park at American Dream. – MATTHEW FAZELPOOR

Don Ghermezian, the mall’s chief executive officer, said, “CAPS Paterson serves students with enormous potential but limited resources. We at American Dream wanted to say to each of the 1,500 students that we see you, we recognize your hard work and we applaud your achievements, especially coming out of a very difficult few years.”

Just a few of the attractions at the mall include the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, DreamWorks indoor water park, Angry Birds Mini Golf, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Big SNOW indoor ski and snow park.

Founded in 2013, College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) is a network of K-12 schools in Paterson, Plainfield, Asbury Park and Neptune Township that aims to serve youth with potential, but limited resources, by preparing them to excel and graduate from the top colleges and universities in the country.

“We are so grateful to American Dream for wanting to bring a smile to our scholars’ faces this holiday season by generously recognizing their hard work. Our scholars have proven time and again that if you set high standards and provide a robust curriculum and resources, all students can and will rise to the top,” said Gemar Mills, chief academic officer and executive director, CAPS Paterson. “Seeing them live up to this potential through hard work, grit and determination is one of the highlights of my professional career.”