WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - "We are the Class of 2020. A class that is persistent through the unthinkable. A class that has soared over many hurdles."
Those are the opening lines of a video produced by members of the Wood-Ridge High School Class of 2020 as their statement to the current challenges they face as individuals and a class.
The ninety-second video recounts their upbringing, and major events were the backdrop throughout their lives. As babies, they were born in the wake of 9/11, and went on to witness the stock market crash, Boston Marathon bombing, the increase in mass shootings, and rise of smart technology. The students also recount pop culture trends, popular movies and "classic" television shows like SpongeBob Squarepants and iCarly.
"The Wood-Ridge Class of 2020 is a very close class. We are all close and are always supportive of one another," said Jillian Hynes, one of the producers of the piece. "We are heartbroken that our senior year is playing out in quarantine. The decision to put together a video was definitely a group decision. Seeing things that other senior classes across the country were doing, we thought it would be a great idea to put together something as well. We are doing our best to keep our spirits up and hoped that by putting together a video, we would lift others' spirits."
"We wanted to create something that our community and school could be proud of during this trying time," said Lyndsey Scherdel.
Scherdel and Hynes both collaborated on the script, which took them 15 minutes to finalize and then sent it out to their classmates.
"We were inspired as a group to have our voices heard with the challenges we have faced through our lifetimes knowing that at the end of this we would come out stronger and that much closer," said Scherdel. "The challenge was minimal having grown up in the era of smart phones."
According to Hynes, the production took about 12 hours from planning to completion over the course of one day. She said they "tried to get as many of our classmates represented as possible," but not every classmate is featured.
Once the video was finished, they send it to the administration.
"As a class, we have grown close to many of the Wood-Ridge High School staff and knew they would enjoy the video," said Hynes. "Mrs. Barrows, the vice principal, sent us a great response back, telling us how special our class is and how much she misses us. She helped us spread our message and forwarded it to the rest of the staff, and we received lots of love. Many of our teachers reached out to tell us how proud they are of us and how sorry they are that we are missing out on so many of our senior year activities.
"To see it all come together as it did was inspirational," said Scherdel, who will be attending The College of New Jersey as an Elementary Education major in the fall. "The feedback we received from our family, friends and our community was positive and uplifting."
The video was also posted on BlueDevilNationTV's Youtube channel and Facebook page.
"When I watched the final product, I was so happy. It is so amazing to see how even during the hard times, we were able to come together and make something great," said Hynes who looks to attend Rutgers University New Brunswick as a Communications and Media Studies major in the fall. "I sent it to my classmates right away, and everyone was filled with emotions. Some were crying, many were smiling. Everyone was proud of what we had just created."
"Our closeness has continued having been able to lean on each other through social media and communicating virtually," observed Scherdel. "Our bond continues to grow closer. Hoping that at the end of this we will be able to celebrate together as a class."
The Wood-Ridge High School Class of 2020, in order featured: Jillian Zamski, Andrew Aziz, Dom Petruzzella, Dominick Altamura, Shaye Whaley, Anthony Finke, Kaylyn Coppola, Jenna Castellano, Jillian Hynes, Brooke Geis, Christina Vazquez, Melissa Acosta, Isabella Iacovino, Angela Picheo, Elizabeth Autino, Lyndsey Scherdel, Kelly Carrig, Samantha Perez, Emily Cupo, Chris Hargrave, Paul Schnakenburg, Skylar Skorski, Erica DiMarco, Niko Giglio, Nicola Bruno, Kylie Wasserman, Maria Tevletidis, Alessia Guerriero, Philip Iacovelli, Nikki Coluccio, Skylar Basich, Christian Freeze, Jessica Rodriguez, Ryan Sarver, Robert Lewis, Nayeli Corea, Noah Leone, John Kurz, Jason Lopez, Toral Patel, Katie Jones, Emily Masucci, Julia Calvo, Joseph Rose, Madylin Marino
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