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.
"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.
|CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATES|
|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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