More than 150 students graduated from High Tech High School, the public county high school based in North Bergen, on June 27. Their day could be described in one word: transitions.
While many of them were sad to be leaving their classmates, their school, and what is most comfortable to them, they know it’s time to conquer bigger worlds.
High Tech accepts students from all over Hudson County.
“It’s bittersweet really,” said Shaiza Ali, 18, of Jersey City before commencement. “I’m excited about what my future holds, but I’m also going to miss my friends.”
Rutgers University in New Brunswick is the next stop for Ali, to first tackle pre-med courses and eventually become a psychologist.
Sophie Anthony, 18, of Hoboken was not taking the event quite as well as Ali.
“I’m upset. I don’t want to leave my classmates,” she said. “We built a family. I don’t want to break up our family. But it’s a part of life.”
“I’m nervous and excited. I’m finally graduating high school and happy to move on to college.” – Marisol Romano
“I’m very excited,” she said.
For Marisol Romano, 17, of North Bergen the day was one of competing emotions.
“I’m nervous and excited,” she said. “I’m finally graduating high school and happy to move on to college.”
Romano will be attending Montclair State University to pursue a degree in education.
Like Romano, it was a mixed bag of feelings for Nadia Pachas, 17, of Union City.
“I’m feeling good,” she said. “I’m actually really, really excited to be here.”
There were ups and downs in her high school career, so Pachas was happy to have persevered to make this day. She’ll pursue a degree in international politics at American University in the fall.
Two other students also took their graduation more in stride.
“It’s like we overcame the journey,” said Zach Amalfitano, 18, of Bayonne. “It was a good journey. The friendships I made here are the most important thing; friendships and memories.”
“I’m going to miss everybody,” said Joseph Ong, 18, also of Bayonne. “I made a lot of good friends, but it’s not the end; I’m probably going to see them around.”
Amalfitano and Ong are off to Rutgers and the Savannah College of Art & Design to study computer science and architecture, respectively.
The students graduated in ceremonies at the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center in Secaucus.
“There are so many things I could say about them,” said Principal Joseph Giammarella, Ph.D. “They’re a great group of students, always willing to do their part and then some.”
Universities and colleges the students will be attending in the fall include Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Syracuse, and Yale.
The students received $18 million in scholarships and financial aid.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.