HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - After COVID-19, what's a little severe thunderstorm with wind, rain and hail to the Hasbrouck Heights High School Class of 2020?

Services for the 105th graduating class of Hasbrouck Heights High School was scheduled for Monday at 6:30pm. But a severe thunderstorm moved through the area mid-afternoon, with strong winds, driving rains, and hail, and threatened to wash away the ceremony. The storm passed, giving way to blue skies and cooler temperatures in the 70's. Administrators pushed back the service to a 7:30 p.m. start.

It was first graduation ceremony at Depken Field in over 30 years, according to Dr. Matthew Helfant, Superintendent of Schools.

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"During this difficult time, I have been impressed with the persistence of the graduates in trying to keep with tradition while maintaining a sensitivity to the pandemic and its impact on all of us," said Helfant. "Never underestimate the power of your perspective on things and the power it has to influence others."

Principal Linda Simmons acknowledged that the students were graduating "in the traditional Heights way, together as a family."

Third Honors student Joseph Kim lead those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance, and introduced classmate Ryan Quish, who sang "The National Anthem." Kim thanked Simmons, Vice Principal Vincenzo Barchini, and Helfant "for fighting to give us a graduation ceremony."

The top three academic students were recognized by Barchini, Valedictorian Anurag Pratap, Salutatorian is Angelina De Guzman, and Third Honors Joseph Kim.

Pratap said they should be grateful to the family, friends and teachers who had supported them. He reminded his classmates to remember the "fond memories and silliness from the past four years," but encouraged them to "live in the present and create many more special moments."

Simmons reminded the students to remmeber "how important and unique" they are and that "for the rest of your lives, you will be future roles models all future Aviators" for overcoming the challenges during the coronavirus health crisis. She wanted them to "feel proud of yourselves now and forever," and showed off a special plaque featuring a photo of the Class of 2020, with all the names, to be hung in the high school's hallway.

Due to the ongoing health crisis, diplomas were placed on graduates seated before the ceremony. However, each student walked to the sideline, and posed for photos under an orange and black balloon arch with Helfant and Simmons.

De Guzman joked that it was her "second chance at her speech" which she previously gave at the virtual graduation. She thanked the teachers and mentors, and told her to remember "how you made the most of your time here."

The evening ended with the playing of the school's alma mater and a loud salute from the Hasbrouck Heights Fire Department and EMS, who were on stand by at the field.


Mansor Ahmed † ** Joseph H. Kim
Gabrielle Emilie Aiken William John Koukoutsis
Adriana Aliz Angier- Lopez Roberta Emilie LaBarbera
Hamza Anjum James Patrick LaForge
* Ashley Rose Annichiarico Spencer Lee
Kristen Kathleen Auriemma Kellyn Lopez
* Matthew Alan Baker Fisnik J. Lulani
* Mackenzie Clare Balcer Camryn Elizabeth Mahmoudarabi
Victor Barris III Daniella Mancebo Fabian
Ruby Beekman *† *** Alexa Grace Marinelli
* † ** Rebecca C. Beerman Michael Elvio Marinelli
* Siddhartha Bele Andrew Martinez
*† Victoria Ann Bevacqua Gianna Rose Martinez
Andre Jose Brown Joseph Martinez
Nicholas Bua Simon C. Masias
Maliki Hasani Burrell Devin James Metz
Emily Rose Byrne * Cristina Miranda Jarrin
Nathalie Caceres Gabriel C. Moncada-Zuniga
Julia Elyse Campen Mary Mosheqaj
* Joseph Paul Canavatchel Lauren Veronica Mullins
Jarel Carew Sophie Murphy
Enrique Ivan Castro * Matteo Robert Ochoa
Veronica Cerezo *† ** Layla Ayman Odeh
Alessia Nicole Chapin Penarreta Joshua Ray Ortiz
* Timothy J. Cheng †* Erin Faith Owens
*† Carmen Cheung ** Viviana Mia Padron
* Daniel R. Chmielewski * Manan P. Patel
* Chiara Blaise Colletti * Priyal Keyur Patel
Christopher Michael Cravotta *** Liam Alexander Perfetti
Eric Christian Dammann Jr. *** Nicholas Simone Petrosino
*† Angelina Marie Pante De Guzman Josue Alexander Pineda Castellanos
Cherlowe Floyd A. De Guzman Raymond Pizzo
Steven Gage DeLorenzo Jasmin Sophia Poole
Aneliq Dirienzo Maxwell Powers
* Pema Dorjee * † Anurag Pratap
Ahmed Elboghdady Ryan Quish
Emiland Elezaj Aleksey A. Rega
Richard Anthony Elmo Jessica Ava Rigolosi
Alec Michael Escalante * † Michael Joseph Robertson
Kyle Nino Espinas Sean Michael Roche
Natalia Leana Facchini Nelson A. Rodriguez
Teodoro Joseph Feliciano * Isabel Alyssa Ruiz
Talia T. Ferguson Remi Omar Sanchez
Michelle Andrea Flores * Katelyn Anne Scannell
Max J. Franzoi Lamari Schuler
Dakota Freschi * John Francis Sedlmeir
Norma Andres Garcia Vincent James Sedlmeir
Ryan Joseph Garden Marvin Maher Shafik
* Amanda Nicole Gasparino Kyle Patrick Shannon
Jessica Geigges * Jasrup Singh
Elitsa Georgieva * Tajinder Singh
* Michael Gerges Alex Smajlaj
Jessica Godfrey Robinique Wayne-Sue Antonia Smith
Jessly Y. Gomez Nikola Lukach Stefanoski
Mario Antonio Gomez Cassandra Lynn Stenborg
* Mia Rose Guerra Indiana Paul Stone
Morgan Hand Damian Christopher Summers
Jacob Joseph Hanna Ronald Francis Tagliabue
Christopher Honeycutt Hector Manuel Taveras
Ronnye Hurtado * † Tejasi Thool
Daniel Iglesias Joseph Toscano
Justin Thomas Ike * ** Caitlyn Noelle Traverso
*† Hanna Jamaldeen Elias Gregory Tsapelis
Zaiheer Jenkins Ridghen Tsogyal
Zaria Nicole Jenkins Killian Turner
*† Jacqueline Jera * Grace Elizabeth Tutelo
*† Dechen Tenzin Kalden Michael Marciano Urra
Briana Nicole Kashuba Daniel Valenzuela, Jr.
Thomas Kyle Kasper John David Van Dam
Kathleen Mary Olivia Moran Keezer Dylan VanRyn
Steven John Kelly Jennifer Carol Vilca
Logan Martin Kennedy Nicole Wojtkielewicz
Mohamad Khawam Nicholas Zarillo
* Indicates National Honor Society, † Indicates Top 10% of Class,
** Indicates Spanish Honor Society, *** Indicates Italian Honor Society


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