WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - A few raindrops didn't stop the Wood-Ridge High School Class of 2020 from graduating on Donna Ricker Field on Thursday evening.

The service was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but severe weather postponed the event until Thursday. 

Students gathered at the gym and walked down Windsor Street, behind the school's administrators and teachers. They entered Ricker Field through a blue and white balloon arch while "Pomp and Circumstance" played over the loudspeakers. Parents stood outside the track fence or in the stands. Student Council president Toral Patel lead those assembled in the "Pledge of Allegiance" and "The National Anthem."

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Superintendent of Schools Nicholas Cipriano welcomed the parents and students. He said that while everyone learned new words during the ongoing health crisis like essential workers, coronavirus, and social distancing, this class learned about common, overlooked words like strength, service, and hard work, which hes said were the graduates' "keys to the future." He said that "no one will ever forget the Class of 2020" and told them to "embrace the future with what you have gained from this year."

High school principal Joseph Sutera told the graduates that they dealt with the crisis with "dignity and class" and that they "left an indelible mark in the school and the community." His parting advice was it was "better to look forward and prepare than look backward and regret."

Class president Lyndsey Scherdel addressed the audience, recounting the class's time at the school beginning freshman year through to the start of senior year, "a year we all had been waiting for." Despite being "shocked and saddened" by the way the senior year ended, she said they "created powerful videos," celebrated Friday nights under the lights, and enjoyed birthday parades, and saying that the class "made history."

Salutatorian Christina Vazquez said that the class was "grateful to say a proper goodbye to the teachers and friends"  Despite the school's shutdown, she said it could "never take away our memories, hard work and pride" saying they can "overcome anything that comes our way."

Valedictorian Maria Tevletidis noted that the class was born in the aftermath of 9/11 and was graduating during a pandemic. She observed that she and her classmates were "timid and reserved as freshman" ... "didn't get lostin the hallways" as sophomores and entered the "first stages of senioritis" as juniors. As seniors, they "felt unstoppable."  She encourged her classmates "to cherish the good times before they're over" and "appreciate the moments we've been given."

Assistant principal Maria Barrows announced each of the students, who came to the front and posed for photos with their diploma, which they had received in a car parade service at the end of June.

Mayor Paul Sarlo was the final speaker of the night. He noted that the evening was a collaborative effort with the Wood-Ridge Department of Public Works, the Police Chief, Board of Education, teachers and administrators. He observed that he had "never seen a community come together for a bunch of kids" to provide them a proper graduation.

The evening rounded out with the singing of the Alma Mater. Afterward, graduates stayed on the field and at the school to take their final photos with classmates and families.

Members of the Wood-Ridge High School Class of 2020

 

Melissa Acosta
Domenico Altamura
Florence Anthony Arañez
Ashif Arman
Elizabeth Juliet Autino
Andrew Aziz
Bradford Bahr
Skylar Amanda Basich
Lizbeth I. Bermejo
Nicola O. Bruno
Julia Nicole Calvo
Boubou Camara
Fatoumata Baye Camara
Kelly Ann Carrig
Jenna N. Castellano*
Amya Simone Clarke
Ryan Nasir Clendenin
Kennia Michelle Cojon Chajon
Nikki C. Coluccio
Kaylyn Marie Coppola
Nayeli Corea
Brendan Cormack
Emily Alexis Cupo
Angel DeLeon
Erica Michele DiMarco
Bryan Dunlap-Albert
Michael Fernandez
Anthony W. Finke
David E. Flores
Christian Freeze
*Denotes National Honor Society
Brooke Alexandra Geis
Nikolas J. Giglio
Alessia Guerriero
Christopher Grant Hargrave, Jr.
Shane C. Herford
Tatiana Herrera
Greta Hilzen
Jillian Nicole Hynes*
Philip Mathew Iacovelli
Isabella Louise Iacovino*
Katie Lynn Jones
Anahid Khudyan
Thomas King
John T. Kurz
Tenzin Nyima Lama
Michael Francis Latoracca
Noah Leone
Robert Lewis
Jason Jordan Lopez
Philip LoPrimo
Scott Michael Mangino
Madylin Reese Marino*
Axel I. Martinez
Emily Rose Masucci
Sophia Mavrorasakis*
Kera Nicole McNaught
Joshua James Meyer
Yasmin H. Mohamed
Mia A. Nebab-Perez*
Nicole Jennifer Ordoñez
Christine Andrea Ortiz
Luigi Pangol
Toral Patel*
Jaylin Perez
Samantha Perez
Domenico Antonio Petruzzella
Angela C. Picheo*
Andy R. Quituizaca
Yailin L. Ramirez
Jessica Rodriguez
Joseph Anthony Rose III
Steve Anthony Sanchez
Ryan David Sarver
Lyndsey Anne Scherdel*
Paul Schnackenberg
Maggie Shi
Skylar Marie Skorski
John William Sloan
Maria Tevletidis*
Yosuke J. Tobe
Victoria Tomczyk*
Christina D. Vazquez*
Ricardo Vera
Luis Angel Vicioso-Gil
Pranvera Vukaj
Kylie Wasserman*
Brian V. Waytowich
Shaye Ellyse Whaley*
Liam Henry Winslow
Alexus Young
Jillian Elise Zamski
Andy Zhang

 

 

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