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Passing on the Legacy

EHS Students Take Part in Family Businesses
At+EHS%2C+many+students+are+a+part+of+family+businesses%2C+whether+that+be++custom-made+candles+or+a+Portuguese-Italian+restaurant.
SHRIADITI KANCHERLA ‘26
At EHS, many students are a part of family businesses, whether that be custom-made candles or a Portuguese-Italian restaurant.

Family businesses carry tradition, connection, and integrity. The Garden State boasts a large number of family businesses, whether they be the small “mom-and-pop” shops on a corner street or the larger chains ran for generations under the same name. At a young age, many are introduced to the family business and are expected to help continue the legacy—and throughout the bustling halls of Edison High School, many students partake in such tradition. 

When it comes to family businesses, there are a variety in which students may be a part of. Students could work in restaurants and stores, or take part in fairs and exclusive events, each with their unique experiences. 

“I feel that being part of a family business provides a different experience in comparison to having a regular job. My family runs a candle business, and my family’s business allows me to be exposed to so many things I would never have been able to experience,” said Naisha Sonawala ‘26, part of Nairu Creations, a candle business based in Edison. After Sonawala’s father spent a year familiarizing himself with candles through perfecting scents and recipes, Nairu Creations maintains a strong reputation, selling both online and at local fairs. They recently opened their first store in late 2023 in the Wick Shopping Plaza in Edison and have plans to open their second store in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. 

“I’ve gotten to be closer with my family in a very different way. I get to see my brother more often and connect with the rest of my family on a deeper level,” said Jay Romero Gomez ‘26, whose family owns Romero’s Tavern and Grill, a Portuguese-Italian restaurant in Rahway, New Jersey. The Romero family also owns 4 Boys Deli 2 in Avenel,. Romero is a waitress at her family restaurant, and helps out with orders and getting supplies at 4 Boys Deli 2. 

By contributing to the family business, students gain a variety of skills from their work. This includes not only learning new lessons from work experience, but also allowing students to improve on skills developed from hobbies and passions outside of school. 

All of these ‘street skills’ are important and I wouldn’t have learned them in a different extracurricular or on my own.

— Queena Liu ‘26

“My time at my family business has equipped me with a solid foundation in photography, enabling me to continually grow and refine my skills in capturing memorable moments. Photography is my passion,” said Om Patel ‘26, a photographer for Universal Photography located in Edison, New Jersey. Universal Photography specializes in photography for weddings, sweet sixteens, birthdays, and other special occasions. 

Working in a family business provides a unique opportunity for students to acquire new skills and work experience that could provide them the upper hand when it comes to applying for jobs in high school and post-graduation. While school and clubs can help foster skills essential for academic success, many “street-smarts” skills are learned through work experience, which are necessary in the real world post-graduation. 

“I’ve improved my mental math skills with managing money, learned how to make small talk, use transaction machines, determine counterfeit bills, and be a mature communicator with different types of people,” said Queena Liu ‘26. Her family owns a 99¢ store in Perth Amboy, where Liu works as a cashier and helps with inventory. 

“All of these ‘street skills’ are important and I wouldn’t have learned them in a different extracurricular or on my own,” adds Liu. 

Balancing school, extracurriculars, and work may pose various challenges for students part of family businesses. Not only must they spend time working at their family business, but also manage the stress that comes along with high school. 

“I make sure to plan my time commitments, set realistic goals, and allocate time for photography, schoolwork, and social activities. I try to use organization tools to stay on top of deadlines for both photography and school,” said Patel. 

Students also note that being part of a family business gives them more flexibility in managing various responsibilities, such as schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and social activities. 

“My parents are my ‘bosses,’ and I’m grateful that they are more negotiable than a regular boss. It gives me the chance to put more focus on school and extracurricular activities but still participate in helping in the family business,” said Ria Shah ‘23. Her family owns Bonhamtown Deli in Edison, New Jersey. The Shah family has owned the deli since 2007, where she helps out in a variety of tasks such as restocking items and filing records. 

Working at a family business allows students to gain skills needed to succeed academically in school. Skills such as communication, time management, and diligence are vital for succeeding in life both academically and professionally. 

“I’ve learned how to communicate better and be more confident in speaking with others,” said Romero. “I’ve also learned how to manage my time better, so that even with all my responsibilities at school and at my family business, I still have time to relax and have fun. I’m able to get my schoolwork done faster and feel more productive academically.” 

As students venture through their high school journey at the nest, the question of inheriting the family business post-graduation arises. Students have their own aspirations for college, trade school, work, and even future involvement in the family business, and have various opinions regarding the matter. For some, a future in the family business is certain. 

“I definitely want to attend college as I can gain skills I cannot learn elsewhere that could benefit our business. At the same time, I would love to take charge of Nairu Creations someday and continue the legacy and impact my family has had with our scented candles,” said Sonawala. 

For others, inheritance is not preferred, but they still wish to continue on the legacy in the family. 

I’ve learned how to communicate better and be more confident in speaking with others. I’ve also learned how to manage my time better, so that even with all my responsibilities at school and at my family business, I still have time to relax and have fun. I’m able to get my schoolwork done faster and feel more productive academically.

— Jay Romero Gomez ‘26

“Personally, I still see myself working there in the future, but not as the sole inheritor. I think that I wish to continue to work at the restaurants, but help teach my younger brother so they can inherit the business,” said Romero. 

Whether or not these students stay with the family business or not, the memories and skills learned from these experiences will continue to have a lasting impact. 

“Working at the store was a big part of my life, but I’m looking to broaden my horizons,” said Shah. “I am looking to become a doctor in the near future, and I believe that my experiences at work play a large part in my decision.”

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About the Contributor
SHRIADITI KANCHERLA ‘26
SHRIADITI KANCHERLA ‘26, Features Editor
Shriaditi Kancherla is currently a sophomore and an editor for the Features section, and has written for the publication since her freshman year. In addition to the "Eagle's Eye", she is the co-chair for the Rotary club and is a dedicated member of the marching band, DECA, and Peacock Society. During her free time, she enjoys reading, binge-watching Food Network, and singing. She is excited to meet the rest of "The Eagle's Eye" throughout the year!
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