NY Giants star, Paterson native Victor Cruz helps celebrate new NJ school
🏈 Victor Cruz grew up in Paterson before becoming an NFL pro and Super Bowl champ
⚙️ He has created a foundation that supports STEAM and STEM learning for kids
🏫 Cruz went to Paterson Catholic, which is the new home of Paterson STEAM High
PATERSON — Retired New York Giants star Victor Cruz was back in his home city this week, helping celebrate a new chapter at his old school.
Paterson STEAM High School has been open for classes since September, after years of it being shuttered.
“I used to walk these very halls when this place was Paterson Catholic High School,” Cruz said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, D-Bergen also attended Monday’s event, with his own personal connection to the school.
Wimberly was the head football coach at Paterson Catholic High School from 1995 to 2010.
He led the team to seven state championships — including an undefeated season in 2003, with Cruz among his players.
“Victor Cruz was there to talk about the importance of STEAM and to support the program. This is a great opportunity for PPS students,” Wimberly said, while sharing a few photos to Twitter.
Cruz has always remembered his roots and gave a shout-out to Paterson Catholic after the Giant’s dramatic Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in 2008.
The athlete then created the Victor Cruz Foundation, which is “committed to promoting educational and financial literacy programs, college readiness and S.T.E.M initiatives.”
Last fall, he also helped launch a Cruz Scholars program, which offers student fun incentives to do their best in school — such as a winter outing to a New York Knicks game with Cruz.
“You don’t have to be a Super Bowl champion to give back to your community,” Cruz said during the ceremony, adding “There are people who work in everyday society who come back and give their time and effort.”
After Monday’s ceremony, it was back to class for the school’s ninth-graders, who took part in four different sessions to help decide on a STEAM pathway.
The BrainCo company, one of several educational partners with the school district, led sessions on brain cognition and robotic “neuromaker” hands.
Another partner, Engineering Tomorrow, offered students a chance to race electric vehicles they had built from kits during a freshman seminar in the fall.
A teacher and the Rutgers University 4-H Youth Development program also ran a session on solar towers, which use the heat of the sun to power turbines.
Cruz is among NJ natives who have moved on after their NFL careers — but there are dozens of Jersey born football players currently active in the league.