The New Jersey School Boards Association is proud to highlight one of the students that the Union County School Boards Association recently recognized as one of its Unsung Heroes in this video.

Nicolas Velasquez, a senior at New Providence High School, recently lost two members of his family and temporarily relocated to Chicago with his family to care for a family member, said Brian Henry, principal of New Providence High School and Middle School.

When he returned, Velasquez made up the work he missed but soon found himself battling a medical condition, undergoing surgery and unable to engage in physical activity – and he also supported his mother during a surgery of her own.  Fortunately, Velasquez now has a “clean bill of health,” Henry said.

Through it all, Velasquez maintained a positive attitude and excelled in his studies, Henry said. When he thinks of Velasquez, he thinks of two words: perseverance and resilience, Henry said.

Velasquez plans to attend Montclair University to pursue a career in art education.

“At the end of the day you can’t change the past, but you can change what your future looks like,” Velasquez said, noting that he has to be strong for his family.