This year’s valedictorian was Kenzi Fukuda, who received scholarship offers from the University of South Carolina, Northeastern University, and Babson College. The salutatorian was Kathleen Dewan, who received scholarship offers from Tulane University and Northwestern University.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the mayor [Richard Turner] talk about how the graduating class gets better and better every year; he says it because it’s true,” Fukuda said in his parting speech. He noted that this year’s boys’ soccer team, football team, basketball team, and baseball team made their respective state playoffs. The girls’ basketball team won the NJIC (North Jersey Interscholastic Conference) Championship, he added. The softball team made the state playoffs. Three of his classmates are headed to play collegiate sports.
“I don’t want to argue anything, but juniors, the bar has been raised,” he said. Fukuda soon became emotional as he began thanking key people in his achievement. After a brief pause, he said, “My work ethic and my desire to achieve greatness is the direct result of my parents. A strong thanks to my mother, who inspires me every day to live like it’s my last. You are proof that if you believe in something, and are willing to work hard enough, anything’s possible.”
“I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the mayor [Richard Turner] talk about how the graduating class gets better and better every year; he says it because it’s true.” – Kenzi Fukuda
According to Principal Anthony Colasurdo, 52 students in this year’s graduating class took a total of 121 AP exams.
“Weehawken has been ranked in the top 12 percent of high schools in the nation by the Washington Post, as one of America’s most challenging high school,” Colasurdo proudly shared in his speech. “Weehawken Township School District has also been named in the top 100 districts by Niche.com. To me, those are some truly amazing feats.”
The graduation was also part awards ceremony.
Mayor Turner presented the Weehawken And You Civic Association Award to students Nicole Primero and Daniel Sanchez.
“Weehawken received a lot of accolades over the years,” Turner said. “But look at the list of schools students are going to. It’s phenomenal. Look at the amount of grants. It’s a testament to the work of everyone.”
Other awards given out included the Senior Class Recognition Award to Samantha Chong and Christopher Devaney; the Weehawken Policeman’s Benevolent Association Award to Devaney; and the Student Council Award, given to Sophie Chong.
“This is my second time I’m addressing the graduating class in Weehawken,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Zywicki. “It’s truly exceptional. You know how amazing you are as individuals. That’s a reflection of you.”
Hannington Dia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org