NEWTON, NJ—With the announcement of schools being closed for the remainder of the year, comes the realization that Newton High School Class of 2020, along with seniors throughout the state will be missing out on events many have been looking for to for years:

  • Prom
  • Graduation
  • Awards Night
  • Senior Trip
  • College Acceptance Breakfast
  • Final Season of Sports
  • Hanging out with their friends before they part ways
  • College Open Houses

Newton High School seniors have been invited to submit information about their plans for the fall, following graduation in June.  This is the first installment of a multi part article.  

  • Tamara Barkman will be attending SUNY Cobleskill to study Canine Behavior and Management. “It sucks that my last memory of high school was spent in a gym talking about washing our hands. Had I known that would be the last time I saw my teachers and my friends I would have told them what an impact they made on my life. I would have hugged my girlfriend tighter knowing I won't see her before I go to college because I am an essential worker and I don't want to risk her health by breaking quarantine. I would have told Mr. Runske how much of an inspiration he has been to me and I would have thanked Ms. Cuozzo for helping me through some of the darkest times. I would have taken more photos for yearbook and I would have treasured that day knowing it would be the end of my high school education.”
  • Angela Melillo will be attending Monmouth University where she will be majoring in Marketing and minoring in Graphic Design. “Due to the coronavirus my senior year suddenly came to an end. Although we would still be doing at home instruction, everything else came to a sudden halt. No prom, no senior picnic, no senior trip, and the most upsetting one, no graduation. When you start high school the first thing you think of is graduation. High school prepares you for the future and walking across the stage means the next chapter in our lives. For us seniors, we would never get that page turner that solidifies the next chapter. Even though senior year is not what we had expected it to be I am glad that I have spent my high school experience at Newton and I am always proud to be a Brave.”
  • Mackenzie Lynn Miller will be attending Bloomsburg University this fall and studying early childhood education. “Mackenzie has remained optimistic during this pandemic, although she misses her friends and family. Mackenzie has learned to keep herself in the present moment. She remains positive, keeping positive influences around her. We are all trying to support one another and lift you up instead of dragging you down”- The Miller Family
  • Nicolette Occhifinto will be attending Clemson University and will be majoring in Business with a double minor in Equine Industry and Sports Communication. ‘As the Class of 2020 Vice President, I am absolutely devastated that our class will not get to experience traditional high school milestones. Words cannot describe how it feels to lose this precious time in our lives. As I mourn our senior year, I can only hope that our class will get a chance to safely reunite before the next chapter of our lives begins. The virus has moved my FBLA State Competition virtually, canceled Prom, and has left Graduation uncertain. The uncertainty is worse than knowing. The project that I have been managing for my Sports and Entertainment Class- running a fundraiser lacrosse game for the Lexi Faye Heart of Gold Scholarship Fund- has come to a screeching halt. Over the past four years, the Class of 2020 has suffered so much, and I can only hope we have good things coming our way from this point on”
  • Emily Valentino will be attending Saint Joseph University located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and will be studying Special Education. She hopes to be involved in the Kinney Center on campus for those with Autism, as well as campus ministry. “In speaking with Emily, I think the hardest part of this has been missing out on the things she has worked so hard on this year and not being able to see them come to light. First and foremost, the Unified Track Team at NHS and all the plans made for that this year and Best Buds. (two of her passions). This was going to be a year when the Unified Team had a meet at NHS for the first time. Also, her last performance in the school musical Matilda was canceled after months of hard work. She won’t have a Senior picnic or walk the halls to have her yearbook signed or get to say goodbyes to teachers and friends in person. All the things that we never had to think about missing but create such great memories. Overall she has remained in good spirits, but the day the musical was officially canceled and when she realized there would be no Unified season were the hardest," said her mother said. “As a parent my heart breaks for all the seniors, as this is such a milestone year and a special time in life. They will have a story to tell, but I wish it wasn’t this one.”
  • Emily Brothman will be attending Penn State University to study Immunology and Infectious Diseases. “Quarantine really destroyed the "classic" senior year Newton High School experience. No prom, no senior class trip, no attending in person college open houses, no senior picnic, and many other events, and activities that were canceled. Every week there is something new in one of the activities that I participate in that is being canceled. Looking at all these big events that have been canceled none of them really mattered to me as much as the little moments. I truly miss those the most. Seeing my friends, going to my favorite class, after-school activities, just sitting in the senior lounge, and hundreds of other little moments is what the pandemic took away. All the big moments hurt more because the little moments are not happening. I understand that the world has much bigger problems going on than my senior year getting ruined, but it still hurts the same. The one thing however I know about the Newton High School class of 2020 is that we’re strong and will get through this moment. I will forever miss Newton High School and my classmates and I wish them the best of luck in the future!”
  • Celina Okuzu will be going Pre-Med and attending Stockton University in the fall. “I am bummed out about not having a senior prom, graduation and class trip.  I am sad about the many deaths this pandemic has caused along with all the uncertainties life may bring.  However, I am thankful and blessed to spend more quality time with my family!”

To have your graduate recognized or to be recognized as a graduate, please email dfrancisco@tapinto.net with graduate’s name, school they will attend and what they will study, a picture of them in their Braves’ gear or new school gear, and a small bit about how COVID-19 has affected their senior year.

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