CLASS OF 2019 - Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Jasmine Awad


Jasmine Awad has been crossing her fingers, in hopes that she'd be valedictorian, since her freshman year. "With how well I did after my first semester, I told myself I could be valedictorian. It sounded too premature, but I knew I started off right and I could continue down that path," says Awad. She credits her academic achievement to her mother, who reinforced the idea of being independent and determined. "My mother was a strict parent. There were times when I would get upset about having a curfew, but as I got older, I was thankful because she instilled a sense of discipline in me." As Student Council President, Awad prided herself on listening to her fellow classmates and creating the change that they needed. One of Awad's favorite moments during her tenure as President was when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited the College. Awad walked on the stage to welcome everyone to the event and the students cheered like crazy for her. "It made me so happy knowing that they knew I was there for them." Awad was also involved in the Youth Justice Club and the Honors Program, where she learned about the problems with mass incarceration and the juvenile justice system. Aspiring to advocate for criminal justice involved youth, Awad plans to get her master's degree in social work and public policy. "There are many problems youth face when they are incarcerated at a young age and not given the chance for rehabilitation," she says. "When you find out the reasons for why they are in prison, it's incredibly disheartening. Whether it's advocating for youth directly, or working to create policy change, I would like to help them."

Kendall Cubicciotti

Kendall Cubicciotti, SALUTATORIAN

Kendall Cubicciotti's usual train ride home took an exciting turn when she received a call saying she was the 2019 John Jay salutatorian. "The first thing I thought was 'I can't wait to tell my parents.' Then I just sat there internally screaming with excitement because it showed that all my hard work paid off," says Cubicciotti. The recognition and excitement is well-deserved. Cubicciotti, a Forensic Psychology major, earned her bachelor's degree from John Jay in just three years, and aside from being named salutatorian, she has also been named the winner of the Robert S. Morrow Prize, awarded to only the top graduating seniors who have demonstrated academic excellence in the major. "I've always had a passion for Forensic Psychology. Growing up, I loved the TV show Criminal Minds and remember being fascinated by what they did on the show. I researched what profession these characters had and the kind of profiling they did, and Forensic Psychology kept corning up," says Cubicciotti. "So, when it came time to choose a college, I knew John Jay was perfect for me and that it would help me achieve my dream of becoming a detective.'' Following graduation, she will take the police exam for both the NYPD and Suffolk County. "It's because of John Jay I'm ready to start working immediately. I'm confident in my abilities and I know I have what it takes to become a Detective in the NYPD's Homicide Squad."