HAWTHORNE, NJ - The Hawthorne High School Class of 2020 Scholarship Awards Ceremony was held via livestream Wednesday night.

Christine Zakk, counselor and program coordinator, began the ceremony.  “This is such an exciting event to celebrate the accomplishments of some exceptional students in the 2020 graduating class.  Thank you to all the generous contributors that continue to make this evening such an amazing success.  Congratulations to these stellar individuals who have been awarded these scholarships.  This year, we had 96 total scholarship applicants with 62 winners.  Of the 59 organizations that are participating, we’ll be awarding nearly $104,000.  It’s truly amazing.”

This was the first time the scholarship ceremony had been held virtually.  “Let me take this opportunity to thank you for being so understanding to the adjustments we needed to make in order to ensure everybody’s safety," Zakk said.  "I’d also like to thank my administrators Mr. Cunningham, Mr. Jandoli, Mr. Mazzacca, Ms. Wegert, and Mrs. Pasquale for assisting me in the audio component of this program.  I also want to thank our Guidance Administrative Assistant Mrs. Hartmann for her consistent and tireless efforts to help this program be successful."

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Superintendent Richard Spirito next addressed the virtual audience of students, families, faculty, and staff.  “I realize that this is not our conventional program, however, as a school district we felt it was extremely important to recognize these 62 seniors for their hard work over the past four years, and thus, we are hosting this virtual program tonight.  I would like to begin by thanking the guidance department at Hawthorne High School, particularly Mrs. Zakk, for her efforts for organizing this event.  I can tell you it is no easy task to organize this event in a normal year, and to organize this event virtually is even more challenging… I’d also like to take a moment to thank the 59 organizations who are providing approximately $104,000 in scholarships to 62 high school seniors tonight.  A famous quote reads, ‘A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.’  By providing these scholarships tonight, you are providing our high school seniors with that gift as you support their future education.  On behalf of our school district, I think you for supporting that very important gift."

Spirito continued, referencing the fact that the ceremony had to be held via livestream.  "I also want to thank you for your flexibility and cooperation in this new virtual format.  I know that we all wish that we could be together to honor these students, but we appreciate your understanding and trust in allowing us to recognize these students on your behalf.  To our seniors, I want to congratulate all of you on receiving a scholarship this evening.  This night is a culmination your hard work, and it is obvious that you’ve all put in that that work and earned the opportunity to receive a scholarship tonight.  Once again I apologize that we’re unable to be together to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment with you, but I offer you and all your families my congratulations.”

  • Mark A. Sasso Memorial Scholarship – Patricia Jacobsen, Caleigh McCarthy, Alisha Vanderhook
  • Hawthorne Lions Club Scholarship – Adam Deitrich, Patricia Jacobsen
  • Hawthorne Republican Club – Andrew Ciali, Aliysha Malone
  • Ximena Clavijo Memorial Scholarship – Alexander Nadirashvili, Alexsandra Ximena Clavijo
  • Be a Transformer Scholarship – Anthony Bertollo
  • Louis Gatto Memorial Scholarship – Thomas Finch
  • Susheel Srikonda Memorial Scholarship – Michael Brown, Patricia Jacobsen
  • Lincoln Middle School PTO Scholarships – Gabriella Barbarisi and Jason Dion
  • Hawthorne Chamber of Commerce, Eugene Meyers Memorial Scholarship – Ezekiel Somma
  • Class of 1975 Memorial Scholarship – Anthony Bertollo, Josue Carrasco
  • Howard Anthony Roth Memorial Scholarship – Joseph Aliano, Trevor Savage
  • Custom Cut Salon Scholarship – Tiffany Penna
  • Hawthorne PBA #200 Martin H. Boyd Memorial Scholarship – Shane Carr, Michael Galland, Alisha Vanderhook
  • Brave Minds Project Scholarship – Andrew Caradonna, Dreena Alvarez
  • Scott Schroeder Memorial Scholarship – Trevor Savage
  • Thomas G. Phillips Memorial Scholarship – Joshua Kobuskie
  • Daniel Vanderhook Jr. Memorial Scholarship – Sydney Bavaro
  • Patricia Ann Vanderhook Memorial Scholarship – Alisha Vanderhook
  • Hope Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund – Isabella Schwarz, Erol Gungor
  • Hawthorne Domestic Violence Response Team Scholarships – Michael Galland, Alexsandra Clavijo
  • John A. Pasquale III Memorial Scholarship – Erol Gungor
  • Albert & Marilyn Bertollo Memorial Scholarship – Anthony Bertollo
  • The MDS Foundation – Anthony Bertollo, Michael Brown, Thomas Butman, Shane Carr, Gianna Gurriell
  • Hawthorne Baseball/Softball Association Bernard W. Dykstra Memorial & Richard Garthwait Memorial Scholarship - Danielle D’Ascoli, Jason Dion, Michael Galland, Melissa Martin, Caleigh McCarthy Kristopher Miller, Shane Rooney, Heather Scott
  • Roosevelt School PTO Gloria Topiz Scholarships – Sydney Bavaro, Samantha Caso, Serena Hillburn-Michel, Joshua Kobuskie
  • Hawthorne Soccer Association Scholarship – Maria Del-Carmen Angeles Molinelli, Andrew Caradonna, Gabriela Castellanos, Alejandra Castillo, Alexsandra Clavijo, Jason Dion, Patricia Jacobsen, Neal Mendez, Kristopher Miller, Ezekiel Somma
  • Hawthorne High School Band Parents Association – Maria Del-Carmen Angeles Molinelli, Caitlin Carone, Heather Scott
  • Hawthorne Community Library Foundation – Kayla Cabascango
  • Hawtohrne Ecumenical Council Scholarship – Caitlin Carone, Alexsandra Clavijo, Julia Van Der Eems
  • The Sjaardema Family Foundation: Frank F & Louise Bokma Sjaadrema Memorial Scholarship - Grace Boonstra, Kayla Cabascango, Caitlin Carone, Alexsandra Clavijo, Patricia Jacobsen, Joshua Kobuskie, Timothy Mercurio, Julia Van Der Eems
  • Friends of Louis Bay 2nd Library – Samantha Caso, Lila Kawash, Ezekiel Somma
  • Democrats for Hawthorne: In Memory of Mary Lou Frankel Scholarship – Alexander Nadirashvili
  • The Vivian B. Peene Memorial Scholarship – Danielle D’Ascoli
  • Hawthorne Teacher Association Philanthropic Scholarship – Kayla Cabascango, Samantha Caso, Zarina Ray
  • Student Council Mary Jo De Franco Memorial Scholarship – Sydney Bavaro, Adam Deitrich, Patricia Jacobsen, Aubrey Lewis, Caleigh McCarthy, Nicole Spirito
  • Hawthorne High School Italian Club Award – Sydney Bavaro, Nicole Giovanniello, Patricia Jacobsen, Jasmin Le Page, Aubrey Lewis, Francesca Valenti
  • William B. Mawhinney VFW Post #1593 & Ladies Auxiliary Scholarship – Patricia Jacobsen, Ezekiel Somma
  • Browning-Forshay Award – Joshua Kobuskie
  • Thomas Irvolino Jr. Scholarship Fund – Marlena Alvino, Nicholas Sokolofsky
  • Dr. David Thaler Memorial Scholarship – Melanie Bilbao
  • Washington School PTO Scholarships – Alexsandra Clavijo, Alexander Nadirashvili
  • Jefferson School PTO Keira Quinn Memorial Scholarships – Andrew Caradonna, Mackenzie De Prima, Ezekiel Somma
  • Hawthorne Education Foundation Awards – Caleigh McCarthy, Kristopher Miller, Nicole Spirito
  • Friends of Marcus Ruta Scholarships – Joseph Aliano, Danielle D’Ascoli
  • Hawthorne High School PTO Scholarships – Joseph Aliano, Sydney Bavaro, Alexsandra Clavijo, Adam Deitrich, Mackenzie De Prima, Jason Dion, Kristopher Miller, Gianna Molenaro, Shane Rooney, Nicole Spirito
  • Hawthorne Cubs Cheerleading Association – Sydney Bavaro, Nia Canales, Karina Claros, Nicole Giovanniello, Serena Hilburn-Michel, Gianna Innocenti, Jasmin Le Page, Caleigh McCarthy, Nicole Spirito
  • Hawthorne Cubs Football Association – Joseph Aliano, Thomas Butman, Shane Carr, Adam Deitrich, Jason Dion, Jalen Palmer, Trevor Savage, Nicholas Sokolofsky, Shane Rooney
  • Jack DiSalvo Leadership Scholarship – Thomas Finch
  • Dawn Dolling Puente Memorial Scholarship – Dreena Alvarez, Danielle D’Ascoli
  • Hawthorne Rotary Scholarships: Charles Tanis and Stephanie P. Walilko Memorial – Gabriella Barbarisi, Danielle D’Ascoli, Joshua Kobuskie, Alexander Nadirashvili
  • Hawthorne High School Athletic Boosters Club Scholarship – Joseph Aliano, Danielle D’Ascoli, Shane Rooney
  • Richard A. Yearwood Memorial Fund – Maria Del-Carmen Angeles-Molinelli
  • Linda V. Harmon Scholarship - Maria Del-Carmen Angeles-Molinelli
  • Hawthorne High School Volleyball Scholarship – Rana Guney, Kelsey McFarlane
  • Hawthorne Junior Development Baseball Association – Thomas Butman, Adam Deitrich, Thomas Finch, Michael Galland, Kristopher Miller
  • Hawthorne Roller Hockey Association – Jasmin Le Page, Gianna Molenaro, Trevor Savage
  • Van Dyk Park Place Assisted Living Scholarship – Lila Kawash
  • DeCunzo Family Scholarship – Aliysha Malone, Francesca Valenti
  • Leon R. Van Stone Educational Fund Award – Marlena Alvino, Patricia Jacobsen, Joshua Kobuskie, Caleigh McCarthy, Alexander Nadirashvili

The ceremony also recognized the following:

Board of Education

President Michael Doyle, Vice President Alex Clavijo, Abigail Goff, Tania Sanford, Anthony Puluse, Marco Totaro, Bruce Reicher, Louis Turco


Superintendent Richard Spirito, Business Administrator/Board Secretary Trude Engle, Principal Billy Cunningham, Assistant Principal Craig Jandoli, Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Art Mazzacca, STEM Supervisor Cheryl Pasquale, Director of School Counseling Services Christine Wegert.

Counseling Staff

John Codomo, Michael Galluccio, Christine Zakk

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