Every June, high school seniors around the country face an unfamiliar reward for overcoming a familiar set of obstacles. In the past, finishing assignments was met with three months of summer vacation, but after finally graduating -- which 127 of Hoboken High School’s seniors will do on Monday – the reward is the world.
“I never really thought about the fact that eventually all my hard work was going to pay off,” said Christian Rosa, 18, the valedictorian of the class of 2013. “Now looking back on it, I’m thinking that working my butt off was probably worth it.”
Rosa will attend Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken in the fall, choosing to stay close to home but still eager to experience the daily life of a residential four-year college. Fifty nine percent of Hoboken High’s graduates will attend four-year schools, while 33 percent will attend two-year schools. Two percent of the graduating class will enter the military.
“It’s too good to be true,” he said. “I spent so many years here.”
“It’s too good to be true. I spent so many years here.” – Christian Rosa
“This class handled more adversity than many are faced with,” he said. “They handled it with class and resilience, which I think is very typical of your average Hoboken student.”
His best friend and the class of 2013’s class president, Krystal Barragon, 17, said that leaving Hoboken High will be bittersweet.
“I’m going to miss it,” she said. “It’s been my home, you know? I’m going to miss it but everybody has to move on at some point.”
Barragon will enroll in Union County College next year, but plans to transfer to the Trinitas School of Nursing in Elizabeth, N.J.
“I’ve always wanted to be able to give back to people,” she said. “My mother is a nurse, and I’ve watched her help people my whole life, so I really want to have that experience.”
Rosa, who is not as interested in science as his friend, will study business technology and quantitative finance at Stevens. He won’t be alone in that field, either, as his academic compatriot Sabrina Sanfilippo, 18, the class’ salutatorian, will study finance and accounting at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Sanfilippo said that while she is excited to start her higher studies in the fall, the fall is a long way down the road.
“I love that all the work is finally done,” she said. “I had ‘senioritis’ on the first day of the school year, so it was really hard to keep my grades up, and it paid off, but I’m excited to spend time with my friends for the summer.”
Asked if they will miss anything about Hoboken once they’ve gone, all three students said that they will miss some teachers and all of their friends, but will miss the school, and its daily routines, most of all.
“This was not a place we called home four years ago,” said Barragon. “But now it’s home and I will miss the entire environment.”
Rosa said that college would be “culture shock compared to the routine at Hoboken.”
“Stevens is close but it’s going to be an entirely new world,” he said.
Sanfilippo advised her future seniors to work hard and to take the SAT during their junior year rather than letting it wait. “That way once senior year rolls around you can make sure you spend enough time with your friends before you have to leave them.”
Dean DeChiaro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org