Remembering Detective Melvin Vincent Santiago


Hudson Arts and Science Charter School held a dedication ceremony to name the gymnasium/auditorium in memory of charter school graduate and Jersey City Police


Detective Melvin Vincent Santiago.


The glimpses of Detective Santiago’s life shared with us evidence a young man with incredible academic success and a desire to serve others by heroically embracing a career in law enforcement.


Family and friends are quoted as saying that he had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a boy, seeking to follow in his uncle's footsteps. When Santiago accomplished his dream in December of 2013 and joined the Jersey City police force as a rookie officer, he asked to serve in the city's toughest district.  Detective Santiago graduated from CREATE Charter High School in Jersey City; he was an avid sports fan and a gifted athlete, earning the recognition of All-County Goalie in soccer for two years.  He was also a member of the school dance team, and was one of three students from Hudson County to earn the 2008 RISING SCHOLARS award.   The entire charter school community mourns the loss of such a gifted scholar and a young man who made our educational community so very proud; this dedication is intended to honor a fallen officer, a brilliant scholar, and an inspiration to the next generation of students to hail from Hudson County.

Detective Santiago’s family, along with Jersey City Police Captain Michael Kelly, Kearny Police Chief John Dowie and members of the Jersey City and Kearny police departments, Senator Steve Oroho (R-24), Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos, and local officials, clergy, and community leaders gathered at the school to commemorate the life of this gifted charter school student and athlete who fulfilled his life dream of becoming a police officer and to serve in his community.

The ceremony began with the singing of the National Anthem by Maria Cunneely, Kean University student and alumna of Bergen Arts and Science Charter school; she was accompanied by the Kearny Police Department Honor Guard.  Speeches in honor of Santiago were then given by Amanda Vega, Director of Communications for the New Jersey Charter School’s Association, and by Captain Michael Kelly, Commander of the JCPD West District. Students in the choir performed a tribute of Maria Carey’s “Hero”.

“Slain Jersey City Officer Honored: Kearny, NJ” - The National Police Association


Santiago’s mother, Cathy McBride, addressed the students and guests and said, “My fear has always been that Melvin would be forgotten, not by his family, but by everyone else. Clearly that is not going to happen.”


A donation in the amount of $542 was raised by the students and school community and presented to the The Detective Melvin Vincent Santiago Memorial Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund, whose mission is to help provide economic assistance to a qualified graduating Jersey City high school senior student planning for a criminal justice degree who exemplifies academic excellence and community service, as Officer Santiago is remembered. The scholarship will be awarded for the first time to a student of the class of 2017.


School Director Marjorie Marenco read the official proclamation, followed by the ribbon cutting by Mrs. McBride.  The ceremony concluded with the words of Nihat Guvercin, CEO of iLearn schools, who stated:


 “We are happy to have been welcomed into this community by all of you, and we have dedicated ourselves to being a positive, integral part of the greater community. We have but one goal: to help the children reach their fullest academic potential to ensure all students are ready for college, ready for careers, and ready to give back to their communities.  And now, this room is a place of honor. It will forever be a place to remember Detective Santiago.”

The public is welcome to contribute to the scholarship fund by submitting donations to:


The Detective Melvin Vincent Santiago Memorial Law Enforcement Scholarship Fund c/o iLearn Schools, Inc., 465 Boulevard, Elmwood Park, NJ 07407.


For more information regarding the scholarship, please email Dawn Fantasia, Chief Communications Officer at

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