After a missed prom and an abandoned senior trip to Disneyworld, seniors at Hoboken High School will get one high school rite of passage: an in-person graduation ceremony.
Hoboken students have been learning from home since March as the COVID-19 virus spread across the state infecting more than 18,744 Hudson County residents and causing more than 1,262 county fatalities.
“It means so much to me to have an in-person graduation ceremony,” said graduating senior Rebecca Weintraub. “After being together for four years, it means a lot.”
“It means a lot to me that my parents will be able to see me walk across that stage,” said graduating senior Jihad McCall.
The Hoboken High School graduation is set for July 8 on JFK field. The governor has increased outdoor capacity restrictions, but all guidelines such as social distancing will be enforced.
Hoboken Public School District’s Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson said the students “stayed focused and committed to completing their high school education during a period that was and remains complex and anxiety producing. They have developed courage and resilience, and a voice that deserves to be heard. I wish them the best of luck as they enter this new phase of their lives.”
An unexpected year
“It’s been crazy,” McCall continued. “Like a roller coaster.”
“It is not what I thought senior year would look like,” Weintraub continued. “We had an amazing football season and pep rallies, but I didn’t even get to say bye to teachers and friends.”
It took a while to adjust to remote learning.
“It was very different then what thought it would be, but no other class could say they’ve been through what we’ve been through,” Weintraub said.
They missed out on prom, the senior skip day, breakfast, trip, and barbecue, yearbook signings, senior football players’ signing day for McCall, and the Harvard Model Congress trip to Spain for Weintraub.
“Last year I wasn’t able to go to prom,” McCall said, “and now I’ll never get to go to prom, but I understand why we couldn’t have one.”
“We are very excited to have some form of an outside graduation,” Weintraub said. “It is a brighter spot at last.”
Weintraub said that the Hoboken community has been “incredibly gracious and generous” noting that she did at least get to wear her prom dress.
Little Hoboken Photography offered free prom photo shoots and pictures to download.
As for living through a global pandemic?
“I’m doing my best to follow guidelines and stay safe and keep others safe, but I’m still trying to be a teenager and see friends, so its been about trying to figure out the right way to best protect myself while still being myself,” Weintraub said.
McCall said hes’s met with a few friends and worked out with teammates outside or played video games virtually together.
What the future holds
According to Johnson, there are 87 seniors at Hoboken High School.Ninety-seven percent applied to college, and which 94 percent will attend college in the fall
The class earned $17.6 million in academic and athletic scholarships.
Weintraub will be heading to Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
Weintraub said HHS helped prepare her for what is ahead, particularly her experiences on the debate team, Model UN team, and mock trial.
“We got to compete all around the world, and my teachers showed me I could do it,” Weintraub said.
McCall will attend Moorhead State University, where he plans to report for football camp in August and study physical therapy.
He said he is looking forward to living on campus and meeting new people.
“I have a lot of pride in being a Redwing because when people know I went to Hoboken High School they know I can defeat adversity, and that I’m a tough kid,” he said.
He plans on returning to HHS on alumni day to talk with current HHS students about college, and the recruiting process.
“Being an alum to me is continuing to show who we are and where we can go,” Weintraub said. “To continue to spread the message about what Hoboken High School can do for students.”