SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- School spirit shined, Viking pride exuded, horns honked, and confetti flew when Union Catholic’s Class of 2020 passed through the parking lots during a very emotional and energetic drive-thru diploma pick-up ceremony that capped off a memorable Graduation Day at the school on Thursday.

Union Catholic’s 55th annual Commencement festivities, which were moving and inspiring, began with a virtual live-stream pre-show in the morning that featured several photos of the seniors, video messages from the Class of 2020 and the Class of 1970, who celebrated their 50th anniversary, and a clap out from faculty and staff.

That was followed by a virtual graduation ceremony that was live-streamed and featured inspiring, passionate, and heartfelt speeches from Principal Sister Percylee Hart, RSM, Sarah Abood, the Valedictorian, Jacob Cunha, the Student Council President, and Commencement Speaker John Rotondo, a member of UC’s Class of 2007 and current faculty member.

Sign Up for Scotch Plains/Fanwood Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Immediately following the ceremony, the Class of 2020 was invited into a zoom video gathering with Sister Percylee, who pronounced the 207 members of the Class of 2020 graduated, which ignited a celebration as caps were sent flying in the air.

Then in the afternoon, the Class of 2020 came to the campus in their caps and gowns and decorated cars for a spirited drive-thru ceremony where they received a few surprises along the way.



After being greeted by the music of DJ Don Frio, the Music Director at UC, everyone received an Our Lady of Grace medal. Then came the first surprise as they all were handed a Hart Award.

The Hart Award was established in 1981 to recognize a senior who exemplifies constant and outstanding contributions to Union Catholic, while overcoming difficulties and facing adversity in a noble and courageous manner. But after the unprecedented events of the last months, every senior was honored with this prestigious award.

Along the way around the school, photos of every member of the Class of 2020 were scrolled across the scoreboard, and the Alumni station distributed UC Alumni magnets. Then came surprise number two when the Class of 2020 saw poster-size photos of themselves splashed across the windows of the school as they received their diplomas in front of the school from Sister Percylee.



Here's a look at the members of the Class of 2020 who received special awards.

The Spirit Award: Chelsea Alves
The Michael Marotti Award: Andrew Palacio
The Jane Albert Award: Ryan Villani
The School Consultative Board Award: Kacey Brennan and Leena Morant
The Principal’s Award: Catherine Tangreti
The Hart Award: Every member of the Class of 2020

MEDALISTS

GENERAL EXCELLENCE
Valedictorian – Sarah Abood
Salutatorian – Andrew Palacio

ART: Julianna Zamorksi. Next in Merit – Anthony Ikemoto & Yimeng Yu
ENGLISH: Jacquelyn Coyne. Next in Merit – Tiffany Acosta
ENGINEERING: Sean Thal. Next in Merit – Gabriella Pollard
FINE ARTS – CHORUS: Kaitlyn Valendo. Next in Merit – Olivia Kelly
FINE ARTS – INSTRUMENTAL: Andrew Palacio. Next in Merit – Gabriela Hernandez
FRENCH: Jacquelyn Coyne. Next in Merit – Lauren-Marie Diawatan
ITALIAN: Justina Benvenuto. Next in Merit – Natalie Walker
MANDARIN CHINESE: Amelia Casale. Next in Merit – Kai Chiang
MATHEMATICS: Jacquelyn Coyne and Andrew Palacio
PHYSICAL EDUCATION: Zhichao Guo
RELIGION: Sean Thal. Next in Merit – Lauren-Marie Diawatan
SCIENCE: Jacquelyn Coyne. Next in Merit – Sarah Abood
SOCIAL STUDIES: Cara Leegan. Next in Merit – Sarah Abood
SPANISH: Tiffany Acosta. Next in Merit – Kacey Brennan
TECHNOLOGY: Ziji Guo & Hunter Lee

UNION CATHOLIC’S CLASS OF 2020
* National Honor Society
^ World Language Honor Society
> National Art Honor Society
< International Thespian Honor Society

  1. Gabriel Edmund Abood*^
  2. Madeleine Elisabeth Abood*^<
  3. Sarah Rose Abood*^
  4. Adian Seth Abrams
  5. Sean Christopher Acevedo
  6. Tiffany Sarah Acosta*^
  7. Stewart C. Adams III
  8. Megha Treasa Alexander*
  9. Arthur Rodrigues Almeida
  10. Chelsea Anne Alves*^
  11. Sofia Letra Alves*^
  12. Theodore Amo
  13. Oluwafemi Asenuga
  14. Matthew Axt
  15. Jacqueline Grace Ayers
  16. Duane Banks
  17. Liam James Bennett
  18. Justina Alexa Benvenuto*^
  19. Catherine Boccher^
  20. Kyle Richard Bree
  21. Kacey Ann Brennan*^
  22. Elijah Brown
  23. Jordan Tyler Brown
  24. Christopher Eugene Buerle*
  25. Lyndsey Rose Buren*^<
  26. Benjamin Arnold Campos><
  27. Sihan Cao*^
  28. Yingying Cao*>
  29. John Michael Carolan<
  30. Amelia R. Casale
  31. Samantha Miranda Casero>
  32. Alicia Bra-lynn Castro
  33. Juliana Cerqueira*^
  34. Kai W. Chiang
  35. Gia Ann Collucci
  36. Antonio Constable
  37. Jordan Nicholas Costin
  38. Paula Cotto
  39. Justin Couto
  40. Jacquelyn Noelle Coyne*^
  41. Angelina Marie Dineen Crotty^
  42. Jacob Madison Cunha*^
  43. Anthony John Goncalves DaSilva
  44. Jonathan DiDario
  45. Lauren-Marie Diawatan*^<
  46. Gianna Angeline Diaz
  47. Justin DiGesu
  48. Zifeng Ding>
  49. Kyra Jade Eason
  50. Ashia Carolyn Ellison*
  51. Julienne M. Emmons^
  52. Brianna Ervin
  53. Brian Espinosa
  54. Diego Fajardo
  55. Lukas Jack Famula
  56. Susan Mercedes Feingold
  57. Carissa Fernandez
  58. Jordan Caroline Flint
  59. Jaden Michael Forteau
  60. Michael Patrick Fox*
  61. Dylan Blaine France*
  62. Michael Charles Frangella
  63. Keanu Franklin
  64. Isabella Fuentes
  65. Haley Rose Gallahue
  66. Laila Gallo
  67. Meghan Ann Gelcius*^
  68. Nola Ann Gialanella*^<
  69. Natalie Lynne Gibson
  70. Richard Anthony Gonzales, Jr.
  71. Daniel Alejandro Gonzalez
  72. Anna Margaret Gordon*^
  73. Alexander Gorodensky
  74. Isabella Maria Gray
  75. Tayla R. Gunn
  76. Enxi Guo*
  77. Zhichao Guo
  78. Ziji Guo*
  79. Maxwell Kenneth Handler
  80. Xihan He*
  81. Daniel A. Hernandez
  82. Gabriela Alexa Hernandez<
  83. Gabriella Hernandez
  84. Madison Hnatowski*^
  85. Isaac Jamaal Holmes
  86. Runpeng Hua*
  87. Alanna Mary Huggins
  88. Alexis Taylor Hutchison
  89. Uyiosa Igori
  90. Prince Quincy Igwe
  91. Anthony T. Ikemoto>
  92. Alexxa Alyssa Irizarry^
  93. Karissa Bianca Isaac
  94. Jillian Mariano Jacinto*^
  95. Morgan Ashley Jackson
  96. Laura Alexis Jacus*>
  97. Nicholas Jacus*^
  98. Nicholas Adam Janusz
  99. CaMai Joy Jones
  100. Tyhir Jones
  101. Zoe Isabel Kalebota*
  102. Grace Elizabeth Kane*^
  103. Matthew Jacob Kelly
  104. Olivia Rose Kelly
  105. Zoie Breanna Kelly
  106. Madelyn Kemler
  107. Courtney Leeann Kenderes
  108. Daniel Michael Labrie
  109. Melanie Ruth Gonzalez Kennedy
  110. Alexandra Olivia Kwasnik
  111. David Joseph Laguitan*^
  112. Christopher Allen Lassiter
  113. Hunter B. Lee*
  114. Zoe Nicole Sheffield-Lee
  115. Cara Anne Leegan*^<
  116. Christopher Jose Leon
  117. Tatiana Rosa Leveque^
  118. Huaying Li
  119. Jiatong Li
  120. Grace Anna Lo Stuto
  121. Sarah Montague Lustig
  122. Isabel Margaret Magistro
  123. Jordan Nicole Mamouzette^
  124. Christine T. Marti-Millward
  125. Gabriella E. Martinez
  126. Gabriella Santo Martins^
  127. Mia Martins
  128. Jaren Mateo
  129. John Timothy McElroy*^<
  130. Isabelle McGovern^
  131. Colin Joseph McKenna
  132. Connor James McParland
  133. Jaden McReynolds
  134. Nicholas Allen Mehno<
  135. Rosalie Case Merelman>
  136. John David Mintel*^
  137. Jonathan Mizhirumbay*^<
  138. Leena Morant
  139. Daniel Mota
  140. Najah Nelson
  141. Chidumga Nkulume
  142. Christian Xavier Nowicki<
  143. Sarah Margaret Ohnmeiss
  144. Abigale Ortiz
  145. Andrew Alexander Palacio*^
  146. Ashleigh Marie Patterson
  147. David V. Penevolpe
  148. Rebecca Penevolpe*
  149. Julien Alexandre Pereira
  150. Tamia Janae Peterson-Ligon
  151. Gabriella Oladunni Pollard*
  152. Felicia Quainoo^
  153. Liam Matthew Quinn
  154. Nicole C. Rada*^
  155. Caleb A. Reed
  156. Zachary Stiller Reichgut
  157. Conor G. Reilly*
  158. Zachary Ryan Revuelta
  159. Allan Richardson
  160. Olivia Rose Rittenhouse*^
  161. Christopher Robateau Jr.*
  162. Caitlin Grace Roder*^<
  163. Clarise Ann Rueda*^
  164. Edward Manuel Ruela
  165. Kenneth Ryder
  166. Alexandra Lily Scerbo
  167. Paige Jillian Scheidemann*<
  168. Silvana Schifano*^
  169. Mia Josephine Schutz*^><
  170. Anthony Stephen Sepulveda
  171. Declan Patrick Sheehan
  172. Sara Sofia Simoes*^
  173. Harjit Singh
  174. Savana Lynn Small
  175. Victoria A. Smith>
  176. Dynajah Monét Speight
  177. Sophia Natalie Spera^
  178. Matthew Hunter Stotz
  179. Emily Sweeney
  180. Olivia Catherine Szyszkiewicz*^
  181. Catherine Joan Tangreti*^
  182. Kai Sebastian Tann
  183. Allison Caitlin Temo><
  184. Sean Michael Thal*^<
  185. Matthew Donovan Tracey
  186. Madison Ford Truesdale*^
  187. Sydney Sophia Tucker
  188. Zachary Thomas Turner
  189. Kaitlyn Alis Valendo*^
  190. Michael Albert Valentin*^
  191. Gabriella M. Velona
  192. Ryan James Villani
  193. Jolene Joie Villanueva
  194. Paige Vincent
  195. Andrea Vira*^
  196. Natalie Theresa Walker*^
  197. Patrick J. White
  198. Aiyana Sole Williams<
  199. Najlaa Rae Williams
  200. John Karl Wodzinski
  201. YuLiang Xiao
  202. Zamira Elena Ysaac^
  203. Chenming Yu*
  204. Yimeng Yu>
  205. Julianna Diane Zamorski>
  206. Wantong Zhu
  207. Yizhou Zhu

Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to fulfill their college and career goals by cultivating the students' achievement of academic standards of excellence within a value-centered environment, strong in its commitment to our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and community), and to the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit www.unioncatholic.org.