Under clear skies on a brisk Monday in June, 131 members of the Hoboken High School class of 2012 received diplomas at JFK Stadium.
The evening featured performances from various students, including valedictorian Gabrielle Frederick, who kicked off the ceremony with her rendition of “God Bless America.”
“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be standing here right now,” said Frederick during her speech.
“No matter where we end up, in our heart we will always be Red Wings.” – Salutatorian Erin Ranieri.
“[Hoboken is] the place that has defined us for the last few years, the place that has made us who we are,” said Frederick, adding, “I encourage you to not look at this moment as an end but as a stepping stone for what is to come.”
“We’re finally on our way,” added Frederick.
Salutatorian Erin Ranieri stressed the bond that the class has shared over the years.
“It seems like just yesterday we were heading out the door on the way to kindergarten, meeting the lifelong friends who are on our side tonight,” said Ranieri. “No matter where we end up, in our hearts we will always be Red Wings.”
Lending a hand
Students praised their families and the school’s faculty.
“The one constant we can always rely on is our family,” said Ranieri. “They listen to our problems and are always there by our side every step of the way. If I did not have the support of my family, I would have never pushed myself hard enough or be standing here today.”
Ranieri also expressed her appreciation for the staff, specifically class advisors Patrick Ciriello and Judy Burrell.
Dr. Mark Toback, superintendent of schools, also spoke of the impact of parents and faculty had on the students.
“Every successful graduate has a parental support figure that has tirelessly contributed to your success,” said Toback. “This certification of graduation represents all of your work. It represents an enormous amount of work on your part and the part of your parents.”
Principal Noreen Lazariuk delivered several anecdotes in her speech about success and character.
“Always be yourself,” said Lazariuk. “It’s never about how many times we fall; it’s about how many times we get back up.”
Stephen LaMarca may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.