CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Students lined up across the front entrance to the Cedar Grove High School auditorium as the ceremonial ribbon is pulled across them during the grand re-opening of the Marie McGuire Auditorium on Tuesday evening, Dec. 13.

Cedar Grove Education Association President Christopher Cannella stepped forward asking senior Gianna Duran, of the Drama Club, to do the honors and cut the ribbon. Fellow classmates burst out singing “Hallelujah” loudly in praise as the orange strip falls.

The doors are opened for the first time since they shut eight months ago, on April 1.  The students rushed in and danced there way happily down the aisles to “Come on Eileen” booming clearly from the new sound system.

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Cannella approached the podium, as parents and their children took their seats for the first time. “We are here today for this grand occasion,” he said. “Last year you could hear the speakers go in and out and see the kids’ hearts break that they didn’t have the right equipment,” Cannella continued.

“These kids deserve this. In 2000 these schools were in bad shape. In the last 10 years improvements have been made. This is amazing. It’s all about the kids,” Cannella told TAPinto.

“It is all about the kids, that’s why they cut the ribbon,” chimed in David Shoener of the BOE, in agreement.

Superintendent Michael Fetherman proceeded to the podium to deliver his speech on the completion. He thanked the CGEA and the team of teachers throughout the district. He explained to the crowd that there were a lot of starts and stops on the way.

“A lot of our kids had to navigate in choppy waters,” he claimed. “The kids bursting out with “Hallelujah” it was so uplifting. It exemplifies the emotions,” he continued.

Fetherman explained to the audience that this all started in 2014 thanks to the referendum votes. “It wasn’t hard to sell it. We knew what we had to do. It’s still Cedar Grove High School; it’s still home. There is no greater feeling; like a proud parent to watch this all unfold,” the former principal noted.

Board of Education President Christine Dye took the stage next. “Cool, awesome, nice… it’s time for a celebration. There is so much to celebrate, look at this amazing new auditorium. We are so incredibly grateful. New bathrooms, new locker rooms and a new athletic department to come,” she pointed out.

Dye introduced what she called the most important person of the evening, All School Council president senior Samuel Almodovar.

“Welcome to the official opening. I’m very happy with this project being completed. Thanks parents for passing the referendum,” Almodovar said.

“I think it’s been a long time coming, but worth the wait. It’s so exciting to see the kids and staff creating again; that’s what it’s all about,” Fetherman told TAPinto.

“It's fantastic to see the project completed and the amazing facility that's resulted," Dye said.  "We now have a great place to showcase our incredible music and drama program."

Ninth grader and saxophonist Owen Posnett was all dressed up for the evening. “I think this is definitely an improvement for sound. I am in the band and the acoustics are better,” he told TAPinto.  

“It’s crazy compared to last year. It looks more professional and going to make this year more fun,” explained senior Josiah Daniel.

The students and parents were treated to a glimpse of the school’s production of “Charlotte’s Web.” The play will be presented this weekend, Dec. 16 – 18, with a 7 p.m. showing on Friday, a matinee performance 2 p.m. Saturday, as well as an evening viewing at 7. The final show is 2 p.m. Sunday.