In a ceremony in which several students and guests had to be treated for heat exhaustion, North Bergen High School’s largest graduating class received their diplomas Wednesday morning at Bruin Stadium. Six hundred and forty seniors graduated.
North Bergen pride
“Today is a marvelous day,” Mayor Nicholas Sacco said in his speech. “Forty years ago there were 430 graduates. Today there are 640. We’re becoming more popular. This is your life, your world; it’s going to be marvelous.”
Sacco, who is also the assistant superintendent of schools and a state senator, introduced salutatorian Shivam Patel and said Patel had started as a bilingual student in Jersey City. Shivam’s family moved to North Bergen, and he attended Kennedy School. In the high school, Shivam was the leader of the Math Club and was a member of the National Honor Society. Shivam has won a Dean’s Scholarship to Rutgers University.
“Our roots lie with the school that has helped shape and foster our development.” - Mabel Oviedo
Snatched up by NBHS
Superintendent of Schools Robert Dandorph introduced Melanie DeLeon, the valedictorian.
“This is the biggest class we’ve ever had and it’s also the smartest class we’ve ever had,” said Dandorph. “You’re the best in Hudson County and the state of New Jersey. Everybody here is a team, everybody here is a family. I can tell you that your collective family, your teachers, us, the board members...we are very proud of you we love you and we honor you today.”
Dandorph said that before coming to North Bergen High School, Melanie was offered scholarships for private boarding schools and other high schools. He said that fortunately NBHS was lucky to keep her.
Melanie was also the valedictorian in her grammar school, and Dandorph said her dream is to be the first person in her family to graduate college and become a successful engineer.
“We are forever indebted to all of you and to North Bergen High School, for it is in high school that we have learned the importance of academics, character, and friendship,” said Melanie. “To the many valiant teachers that have infused their passion for learning in me. To my peers for making the classroom environment an edifying one and to my family, for the principals and priorities that they instilled in me. With the conclusion of high school, our transition from child to young adolescent is sealed. No matter the path that each and every one of us has chosen to take...all of us have the potential to achieve greatness.”
Melanie refered to a quote by Winston Churchill, saying that it is the courage to continue that counts.
From academic accomplishments to the future
The school announced its top 10 highest achievers: Melanie De Leon, Shivam Patel, Lauren Fabrizio, Pi J. Lin, Mabel Oviedo, Pavan Dodla, Lydiargentina Najar, Maria Camilla Sanchez Palma, Luisa Car, Albery C. Paula.
The seniors’ gift were three entrance mats to the school and five trees.
“These three entrance mats will welcome many generations of Bruins,” said Class President Mabel Oviedo. “The trees we wish to donate represent the lives of the class of 2012. The branches of these trees represent the many paths our lives will take. The roots of these trees signify that no matter what we accomplish in life, it all began in North Bergen. Our roots lie with the school that has helped shape and foster our development.”
With temperatures reaching upwards of 90 degrees on Wednesday, at least two students and a small number of guests complained of heat exhaustion. The students were treated at Palisade Medical Center, said town spokesman Phil Swibinski. . He said that both were alert and didn't appear to have suffered any serious injury. EMT’s and police were at the ceremony to deal with any potential problems.
More than 5,000 people attended the ceremony, he said.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org