Hats off!

Weehawken High School Class of 2019 graduates

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The class of 2019 is moving onward and upward.
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Salutatorian Soleil Santana.
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Valedictorian Veronica Varghese.
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Principal Robert Ferullo.
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Interim Superintendent Dr. Terrence Brennan.
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Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner discussed the highlights of Project Graduation.
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Loen Albuquerque and Briana Mera received the Alex Cabrera Memorial Scholarship.
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Alejandro Cosme received the Anthony Colasurdo Memorial Scholarship.
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Melissa Cruz and Zheng Li received the Ch2M Hill Award.
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Manuel Encarnacion received the Chiara Ziek Memorial Scholarship.
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Jimmy Lopez received the Louis A. Ferullo Memorial Scholarship.
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Ryan Banos, Robert Luque, Adriana Morales, and Desiree Valle received the Martin Roti Memorial Scholarship.
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Loen Albuquerque received the New Jersey Elks Most Valuable Students Award.
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Zara Ashan, Rocio Andrade, Bradely Chipe, and Kenneth Herrera received the PArk Avenue Pharmacy Scholarship.
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Over 20 students received awards from the Ramsaye College Scholarship Trust.
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Gabriel Baez received the Richard Arricale Memorial Scholarship.
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Loen Albuquerque and Niasia Dukes received the Senior Class Recognition Award.
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Brianna Mera received the Student Council Award.
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Loen Albuquerque and Rafael Sanchez received the Valerie Aljian Hammer Memorial Scholarship.
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Rafael Sanchez and Zheng Li received the Wehawken and You Civic Association Award.
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Gianni Notaro received the Weehawken Education Association Scholarship.
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Alice Yao received the Weehawken Elks Association Peer Leadership Award.
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Brianna Mera and Victoria Vion received the Weehawken PBA Award.
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Emily Yang, Marco Garcia, Karl Stever, and Niasia Dukes received awards from the Women's Club of Weehawken.
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Cesar Cordero and Emily Yang received the Zog Sports New Jersey Award.
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The class of 2019 is moving onward and upward.
  52 / 114 
Salutatorian Soleil Santana.
  53 / 114 
Valedictorian Veronica Varghese.
  54 / 114 
Principal Robert Ferullo.
  55 / 114 
Interim Superintendent Dr. Terrence Brennan.
  56 / 114 
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner discussed the highlights of Project Graduation.
  57 / 114 
Loen Albuquerque and Briana Mera received the Alex Cabrera Memorial Scholarship.
  58 / 114 
Alejandro Cosme received the Anthony Colasurdo Memorial Scholarship.
  59 / 114 
Melissa Cruz and Zheng Li received the Ch2M Hill Award.
  60 / 114 
Manuel Encarnacion received the Chiara Ziek Memorial Scholarship.
  61 / 114 
Jimmy Lopez received the Louis A. Ferullo Memorial Scholarship.
  62 / 114 
Ryan Banos, Robert Luque, Adriana Morales, and Desiree Valle received the Martin Roti Memorial Scholarship.
  63 / 114 
Loen Albuquerque received the New Jersey Elks Most Valuable Students Award.
  64 / 114 
Zara Ashan, Rocio Andrade, Bradely Chipe, and Kenneth Herrera received the PArk Avenue Pharmacy Scholarship.
  65 / 114 
Over 20 students received awards from the Ramsaye College Scholarship Trust.
  66 / 114 
Gabriel Baez received the Richard Arricale Memorial Scholarship.
  67 / 114 
Loen Albuquerque and Niasia Dukes received the Senior Class Recognition Award.
  68 / 114 
Brianna Mera received the Student Council Award.
  69 / 114 
Loen Albuquerque and Rafael Sanchez received the Valerie Aljian Hammer Memorial Scholarship.
  70 / 114 
Rafael Sanchez and Zheng Li received the Wehawken and You Civic Association Award.
  71 / 114 
Gianni Notaro received the Weehawken Education Association Scholarship.
  72 / 114 
Alice Yao received the Weehawken Elks Association Peer Leadership Award.
  73 / 114 
Brianna Mera and Victoria Vion received the Weehawken PBA Award.
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Emily Yang, Marco Garcia, Karl Stever, and Niasia Dukes received awards from the Women's Club of Weehawken.
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Cesar Cordero and Emily Yang received the Zog Sports New Jersey Award.
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Weehawken High School’s Class of 2019 held its graduation ceremony in the school’s auditorium on June 20.

The graduating class, composed of 96 seniors out of a student body of more than 500, were given a proper sendoff by town officials, Board of Education members, community leaders, friends, and family.

The class received a total of $7,523,802 in academic scholarships. Dozens of students received more than 20 community scholarships and awards, contributed by Weehawken neighbors.

The college entrance percentage is 94 percent. Another two percent will be headed to trade and technical schools, and others will go straight into jobs. One student, Rex Fukuda, will attend the Naval Academy.

The salute to the flag was led by Loen Albuquerque, class vice president. President Niasia Dukes delivered the invocation.

Salutatorian’s, Valedictorian’s reflections

Salutatorian Soleil Santana talked about her experience as an honors student with an interest in coding. She served as drum major for the marching band.

She offered this advice: “I’ve always found comfort in the wisdom of Master Yoda, who said ‘Much to learn, you have, old Padawans. This is just the beginning. Mind what you have learned. Save you, it can.'”

Valedictorian Veronica Varghese spoke nostalgically of her high school years.

“I’m not sure if I’m the best representative of the class of 2019, but I’m sure that the past four years of high school have been a learning experience for us all,” Varghese said. “We made long-lasting friendships, maybe after going through many short ones. We’ve gained mentoring and support from our teachers and staff, and we’ve also probably annoyed them at points throughout our careers, let’s be honest.”

Varghese said that, in place of offering her own life advice, she would part with a quote from rapper RM, from the South Korean boy band BTS:

“Maybe I made a mistake yesterday. I am who I am today with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me too. I have many faults and I have many fears, but I’ll embrace myself as hard as I can.”

Looking back on senior year

Before the commencement began, attendees recognized two members of Weehawken High School’s staff who died in 2018: Principal Anthony Colasurdo in July, and student counselor Chiara Ziek in October.

“Though they’re gone, their spirit lives on in Weehawken High School,” Principal Robert Ferullo said. “Their families are here tonight, which we’re extremely grateful for. We love them, and we hope they’re watching over us tonight.”

He went on, “So much goes on here that it’s hard to keep up.”

Two students, Alice Yao and Rex Fukuda, were granted Unsung Hero Awards from the Hudson County Board of Education. The girls’ tennis team broke a school record with 16 match wins. The freshmen volleyball team won the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference (NJIC) tournament, and the varsity volleyball team earned 12 wins this season, breaking a school record. Girls’ cross country placed second in the NJIC, and boys’ cross country placed third. The girls’ basketball team advanced to the state championships for the first time. Girls on the swim team took home the first two wins in school history. Girls’ softball made it to the county semifinals for the first time in school history.

The school’s baseball and softball teams played in the Autism Challenge, raising more than $5,000 for the cause. Students in the TREP$ program launched their own businesses, and sold their products at a local marketplace event.

Students traveled to Spain on exchange trips, while some visited Germany and Poland a few days after receiving their diplomas.

The high school established an exchange program this year with the A. Harry Moore Special Education School in Jersey City. This year’s theater productions sold out. Students had internships in Palisades Medical Center.

“In September, I sat down with the seniors and told them to enjoy the year, as it would go by in a snap, and here we are,” Ferullo said. “I also told them that there is no group I would want to share the stage with more than them. I meant it in September, and I mean it today. Today, we return your children to continue the journey without us, no longer children, but adults ready to take on the world.”

The class then bused over to Stevens Institute of Technology, for an all-nighter party for Project Graduation.

The full list of Class of 2019 Graduates: Bryan Acosta, Zara Ahsan, Loen Albuquerque, Marvin Amaro, Elizabeth Andrade, Rocio Andrade, Gabriel Baez, Natalie Bakke, Ryan Banos, Katrina Brando, Barbara Carrera, Angel Carrillo, Aristotle Casquete, Bradley Chipe, Ciara Colapietro, Julio Conde, Cesar Cordero, Alejandro Cosme, Matthew Cozzino, Melissa Cruz, Allish DeLeon, Nadine Dewan, Isaac Dominguez, Asha Duerden, Niasia Dukes, Manuel Encarnacion, Madelin Espinal, Steven Feliciano, Jolie Figueroa, Michael Fitzgerald, Andrew Florez, Rez Fukuda, Marco Garcia, Elvira Gonzalez, Donna Gutierrez, Idenise Guzman, Shariff Hache, Sasha Hernandez, Kenneth Herrera, Paraskevi Iordamlis, Christian Janssen, Carlos Jimenez, Duilio Leon, Zheng Li, Vincent Lipka, Ashely Lirianno, An-Chieh Lo, Jennie London, Jason Lopez, Jimmy Lopez, Max Lorenz, Robert Luque, Maahir Singh Malhotra, Roshan Marquez, Yeridania Marte Jimenez, David Martinez, Jacob Medina, Brianna Mera, Deanna Mezzina, Nicole Molano, Adriana Morales, Julian Morales, Sebastian Morales, Rosie Moran, Gianni Notaro, Belkis Obregon, Joshua Ocasio, James Ontiveros, Piero Padilla, Sharon Padilla, Britta Pohl, Erin Purcell, Felipe Ramirez, Jonathon Ramon, Sebastian Rios Urrea, Yazid Rivera, Jaden Rodriguez, Miguel Rosado, Annabelle Salvatore, Rafael Sanchez, Duran Santana, Soleil Santana, Crystal Serrano, Jibrael Sinibaldi, Karl Stever, Scott Stites, Jose Taveras, Matthew Tidwell, David Trejos, Brigitte Trinidad, Eeshan Tripurana, Desiree Valle, Veronica Varghese, Ana Veras, Victoria Vion, Angel Vives, Tyler Williams, Marcus Wilson, Rosa Xique, Emily Yang, Alice Yao.

For updates on this and more stories check hudsonreporter.com or follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Mike Montemarano can be reached at mikem@hudsonreporter.com.