Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 school year has been drastically affected. Graduation ceremonies, normally a moment of relief and celebration, have been curtailed, and their substitutes differ from each municipality to the next.
Since guidelines did not allow for in-person ceremonies until late June, many municipalities went forward with virtual or drive-thru graduations. In North Bergen, the township waited and rewarded its graduates with an in-person graduation ceremony, albeit far from the usual celebration.
In accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, the North Bergen High School graduation took place in four socially-distanced installments inside Bruin Stadium. The first two installments took place at 9 a.m. and noon on Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 9.
NBHS Principal Richard Locricchio offered the opening remarks and presented the graduating class to the Board of Education. With the students and their families seated in appropriate social distance from their neighbors, Mayor Nicholas Sacco spoke to the crowd about the difficult year they just experienced and the promise of the years ahead.
Schools Superintendent Dr. George Solter shared his congratulations and best wishes with the students and introduced this year’s Valedictorian, Michelle Cazoria, who spoke via a prerecorded video segment. Also addressing his fellow graduates via prerecorded video was Salutatorian Ludwin Chavez, who was introduced by Director of Curriculum and Instruction Allen Pascual.
Overall, the ceremony was orderly and efficient, with social distance maintained and everyone wearing masks. In total, well over 500 students are graduating this year, with dozens of them in the National Honor Society.
The graduates each received a diploma and many posed for photos before exiting the field. Afterward, township employees thoroughly disinfected and cleaned the entire area in preparation for the next event.
The first day’s graduates included homerooms 040, 302, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 312, and STEM. Thursday’s graduates consisted of homerooms 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, and 322.
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