Guttenberg superintendent and grads moving on
Eighth graders get awards; school will have renovated gym
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Jun 24, 2012 | 8573 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SINGING – Anna L. Klein’s eighth grade graduating class sings the theme song, ‘We are the World.’
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Guttenberg’s only elementary school, Anna L. Klein School, honored its eighth grade graduating class with a graduation ceremony on Friday, June 15 and with an awards ceremony the following Monday. At the awards ceremony, students heard two big announcements: Superintendent Thomas Roberts will leave at the end of this summer, and a project has begun to renovate the gymnasium at the school.

“Mr. Roberts did many, many wonderful things for us… We greatly appreciate everything he did for us,” said Vice Principal Joseph Forenza at the student awards ceremony.

Ninety students graduated this month. Seventeen were considered honor students and 12 more were considered high honors, based on their grade point average.

Valedictorian and salutatorian address graduating class

Class valedictorian Maria Henao is a member of the Junior Honor Society, has worked with the Police Academy, and was the recipient of a Wallenberg Character Award, said Principal Pedro Garrido. Henao has been on the honor roll every marking period. For high school, she will attend the Academies at Englewood.


“My heart is always uplifted on the occasion of graduation because I know that you have been given the gift of education.” – Aaron Graham


“Today is the day that we as a class graduate together and advance from the eighth grade,” said Maria in her graduation speech. “To me, graduating is more than completing a class. It means growing up, being mature and ready to handle anything that comes our way. Anna L. Klein has taught me so much as an individual. Each teacher has taught me things…that would be useful in life.”

Maria thanked her parents for always encouraging her to succeed and never giving up on her dreams. She also thanked Garrido, Forenza, and guidance counselor Angela Travelli-White.

Salutatorian Daniel Zapata is a member of the Junior Police Academy, track team, and North Bergen Football League. Daniel will attend Paramus Catholic High School.

“When Super Bowl Champion Antrel Rolle from the New York Giants came to the school, it was a once in a lifetime experience,” Daniel said in his speech. “He… told us to never give up in life and do well in school. I along with many others basically grew up in this school.”

Next step in life

“Remember the people who were there for you to give you the love and encouragement along the way,” Mayor Gerald Drasheff. “The best days are ahead of you. You haven’t seen anything yet. High school is going to be a wonderful experience for you. Always remember that you come from a town, a community and a school that cares about you.”

Hard work pays off

Dr. Aaron Graham, emeritus Bergen County superintendent of schools, was the guest speaker at graduation.

“My heart is always uplifted on the occasion of graduation because I know that you have been given the gift of education by your parents, teachers, school leaders, community members of Guttenberg,” said Dr. Graham.

Dr. Graham said Anna L. Klein had been a student at the school, and he said that perhaps someday the students might have a school named after them. He encouraged students to gain as much education as they could, and to care for their fellow man and community.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at

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June 27, 2012
Ripping off theme song from Class of '85. Way to go!