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 livestream 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 livestreamed 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 Mr. John Rotondo, a member of UC’s Class of 2007 and current faculty member.

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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 Mr. 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 huge 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


Valedictorian – Sarah Abood
Salutatorian – Andrew Palacio

Julianna Zamorksi
Next in Merit – Anthony Ikemoto & Yimeng Yu

Jacquelyn Coyne
Next in Merit – Tiffany Acosta

Sean Thal
Next in Merit – Gabriella Pollard

Kaitlyn Valendo
Next in Merit – Olivia Kelly

Andrew Palacio
Next in Merit – Gabriela Hernandez

Jacquelyn Coyne
Next in Merit – Lauren-Marie Diawatan

Justina Benvenuto
Next in Merit – Natalie Walker

Amelia Casale
Next in Merit – Kai Chiang

Jacquelyn Coyne & Andrew Palacio

Zhichao Guo

Sean Thal
Next in Merit – Lauren-Marie Diawatan

Jacquelyn Coyne
Next in Merit – Sarah Abood

Cara Leegan
Next in Merit – Sarah Abood

Tiffany Acosta
Next in Merit – Kacey Brennan

Ziji Guo & Hunter Lee


* National Honor Society
^ World Language Honor Society
> National Art Honor Society
< International Thespian Honor Society

Gabriel Edmund Abood*^
Madeleine Elisabeth Abood*^<
Sarah Rose Abood*^
Adian Seth Abrams
Sean Christopher Acevedo
Tiffany Sarah Acosta*^
Stewart C. Adams III
Megha Treasa Alexander*
Arthur Rodrigues Almeida
Chelsea Anne Alves*^
Sofia Letra Alves*^
Theodore Amo
Oluwafemi Asenuga
Matthew Axt
Jacqueline Grace Ayers
Duane Banks
Liam James Bennett
Justina Alexa Benvenuto*^
Catherine Boccher^
Kyle Richard Bree
Kacey Ann Brennan*^
Elijah Brown
Jordan Tyler Brown
Christopher Eugene Buerle*
Lyndsey Rose Buren*^<
Benjamin Arnold Campos><
Sihan Cao*^
Yingying Cao*>
John Michael Carolan<
Amelia R. Casale
Samantha Miranda Casero>
Alicia Bra-lynn Castro
Juliana Cerqueira*^
Kai W. Chiang
Gia Ann Collucci
Antonio Constable
Jordan Nicholas Costin
Paula Cotto
Justin Couto
Jacquelyn Noelle Coyne*^
Angelina Marie Dineen Crotty^
Jacob Madison Cunha*^
Anthony John Goncalves DaSilva
Jonathan DiDario
Lauren-Marie Diawatan*^<
Gianna Angeline Diaz
Justin DiGesu
Zifeng Ding>
Kyra Jade Eason
Ashia Carolyn Ellison*
Julienne M. Emmons^
Brianna Ervin
Brian Espinosa
Diego Fajardo
Lukas Jack Famula
Susan Mercedes Feingold
Carissa Fernandez
Jordan Caroline Flint
Jaden Michael Forteau
Michael Patrick Fox*
Dylan Blaine France*
Michael Charles Frangella
Keanu Franklin
Isabella Fuentes
Haley Rose Gallahue
Laila Gallo
Meghan Ann Gelcius*^
Nola Ann Gialanella*^<
Natalie Lynne Gibson
Richard Anthony Gonzales, Jr.
Daniel Alejandro Gonzalez
Anna Margaret Gordon*^
Alexander Gorodensky
Isabella Maria Gray
Tayla R. Gunn
Enxi Guo*
Zhichao Guo
Ziji Guo*
Maxwell Kenneth Handler
Xihan He*
Daniel A. Hernandez
Gabriela Alexa Hernandez<
Gabriella Hernandez
Madison Hnatowski*^
Isaac Jamaal Holmes
Runpeng Hua*
Alanna Mary Huggins
Alexis Taylor Hutchison
Uyiosa Igori
Prince Quincy Igwe
Anthony T. Ikemoto>
Alexxa Alyssa Irizarry^
Karissa Bianca Isaac
Jillian Mariano Jacinto*^
Morgan Ashley Jackson
Laura Alexis Jacus*>
Nicholas Jacus*^
Nicholas Adam Janusz
CaMai Joy Jones
Tyhir Jones
Zoe Isabel Kalebota*
Grace Elizabeth Kane*^
Matthew Jacob Kelly
Olivia Rose Kelly
Zoie Breanna Kelly
Madelyn Kemler
Courtney Leeann Kenderes
Daniel Michael Labrie
Melanie Ruth Gonzalez Kennedy
Alexandra Olivia Kwasnik
David Joseph Laguitan*^
Christopher Allen Lassiter
Hunter B. Lee*
Zoe Nicole Sheffield-Lee
Cara Anne Leegan*^<
Christopher Jose Leon
Tatiana Rosa Leveque^
Huaying Li
Jiatong Li
Grace Anna Lo Stuto
Sarah Montague Lustig
Isabel Margaret Magistro
Jordan Nicole Mamouzette^
Christine T. Marti-Millward
Gabriella E. Martinez
Gabriella Santo Martins^
Mia Martins
Jaren Mateo
John Timothy McElroy*^<
Isabelle McGovern^
Colin Joseph McKenna
Connor James McParland
Jaden McReynolds
Nicholas Allen Mehno<
Rosalie Case Merelman>
John David Mintel*^
Jonathan Mizhirumbay*^<
Leena Morant
Daniel Mota
Najah Nelson
Chidumga Nkulume
Christian Xavier Nowicki<
Sarah Margaret Ohnmeiss
Abigale Ortiz
Andrew Alexander Palacio*^
Ashleigh Marie Patterson
David V. Penevolpe
Rebecca Penevolpe*
Julien Alexandre Pereira
Tamia Janae Peterson-Ligon
Gabriella Oladunni Pollard*
Felicia Quainoo^
Liam Matthew Quinn
Nicole C. Rada*^
Caleb A. Reed
Zachary Stiller Reichgut
Conor G. Reilly*
Zachary Ryan Revuelta
Allan Richardson
Olivia Rose Rittenhouse*^
Christopher Robateau Jr.*
Caitlin Grace Roder*^<
Clarise Ann Rueda*^
Edward Manuel Ruela
Kenneth Ryder
Alexandra Lily Scerbo
Paige Jillian Scheidemann*<
Silvana Schifano*^
Mia Josephine Schutz*^><
Anthony Stephen Sepulveda
Declan Patrick Sheehan
Sara Sofia Simoes*^
Harjit Singh
Savana Lynn Small
Victoria A. Smith>
Dynajah Monét Speight
Sophia Natalie Spera^
Matthew Hunter Stotz
Emily Sweeney
Olivia Catherine Szyszkiewicz*^
Catherine Joan Tangreti*^
Kai Sebastian Tann
Allison Caitlin Temo><
Sean Michael Thal*^<
Matthew Donovan Tracey
Madison Ford Truesdale*^
Sydney Sophia Tucker
Zachary Thomas Turner
Kaitlyn Alis Valendo*^
Michael Albert Valentin*^
Gabriella M. Velona
Ryan James Villani
Jolene Joie Villanueva
Paige Vincent
Andrea Vira*^
Natalie Theresa Walker*^
Patrick J. White
Aiyana Sole Williams<
Najlaa Rae Williams
John Karl Wodzinski
YuLiang Xiao
Zamira Elena Ysaac^
Chenming Yu*
Yimeng Yu>
Julianna Diane Zamorski>
Wantong Zhu
Yizhou Zhu