Hudson Catholic and St. Anthony held commencement ceremonies on May 31; St. Peter's Prep, St. Dominic Academy, and St. Mary on June 1; and Caritas Academy on June 7.
There were 216 students graduating from St. Peter's Prep, 118 from St. Dominic, 130 from Hudson Catholic, 52 from St. Mary, 47 from Caritas Academy, and 59 from St. Anthony.
Of the public schools that are holding graduations on Thursday, Dickinson High School will have the most grads with 622. McNair Academic will have 150 graduates. Information on the other schools was not available.
CREATE Charter High School was scheduled to hold its graduation on June 20, with 93 students graduating.
County Prep, a public high school operated by the Hudson County Schools of Technology, will see the graduation of 160 seniors this coming Monday, June 23.
Last week, officials at several of the public high schools said that they are not releasing the names of valedictorians and salutatorians or the number of students graduating, pending the outcome of year-end exams.One survives, one closes
Hudson Catholic Regional High School on Bergen Avenue and Caritas Academy on Kennedy Blvd. were two schools on the verge of closing earlier this year.
While Hudson Catholic survived, Caritas Academy was not as fortunate; this year was its last.
Caritas Academy formed nearly two years ago as the result of a merger of two now-defunct schools - Academy of St. Aloysius in Jersey City and Sacred Heart in Hoboken.
The Caritas Academy's valedictorian was Tabinda Riaz, while the salutatorian was Megan Marti.
Riaz will be attending College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, while Marti will be enrolled at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Both students spoke about being the top two graduates of the school's final senior class.
"I feel for not just the seniors, but for the students who in the grades below us, and how they will have to start at a new school like I did," said Riaz, who had previously attended Sacred Heart.
Marti said, "It's a little sad that this school will not be open any longer."
Hudson Catholic survived almost closing with help from alumni as well as current students, faculty, and parents.
Both Hudson Catholic valedictorian Philip Caleja and salutatorian Ra-Twoine Fields were inspired by the effort to keep the school open.
Caleja will attend the New Jersey Institute of Technology to study industrial design.
"It was a great learning experience to see all of us come together to keep our school open," he said.
Fields, who will attend the University of Richmond in Virginia to major in English and law, said the effort showed how "a small group of people can make a difference."
For two downtown high schools - St. Mary on Third Street and St. Anthony on Eighth Street - three is the magic number. The three top students in each school talked about their college plans.
St. Anthony valedictorian Ryan Gallagher will attend New York University in the fall for his freshman year and then plans to transfer to Cornell University for veterinary studies. Co-salutatorians Ivette Morel and Yuliza Rivera will be going to St. John University and Albright College, with Rivera studying fashion design and English and Morel to major in mathematics and finance.
St. Mary's top three students were valedictorian Marie Joanne Borqueza, salutatorian Nelson Maldonado, and the number three student Keyuana Reid.
In the fall, Borqueza will attend Hudson County Community College to study nursing; Maldonado will head to New Jersey City University but hasn't decided on a major; and Reid will be enrolled at the College of St. Elizabeth where she will major in psychology. Overcoming obstacles
By now, it is well known that McNair Academic High School on Coles Street has been ranked by Newsweek magazine as the best public high school in New Jersey and No. 30 in the U.S. The school requires admissions testing for applicants.
So what is it like to be the top two students in McNair's graduating senior class?
Valedictorian Vineet Tyagi, who will be a freshman in the fall at Princeton University next year, and salutatorian Cindy Tong, who will be a freshman at New York University, spoke about their accomplishments in a school with such rigorous academic standards.
"As I was going through it, you don't really feel it, but after four years I had to step back and I saw how special this school is," Tyagi said.
Tong concurred by saying, "The fact that this school is one of the top schools in the nation makes you feel really proud of where you are, and challenges you to work harder."
At CREATE Charter High School on Lembeck Avenue, what challenged both the school's valedictorian Yeniss Ventura and salutatorian Chante Dingle to become the best in their class were the deaths of loved ones. Ventura's uncle died in 2006.
There was something that affected me when he had cancer and fought it," said Ventura, who will attend Drew University in Madison where she will be pre-med. "His death was one of the reasons why I wanted to become a doctor."
Dingle's aunt died before she entered high school. Dingle will be entering Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. where she will study biology.
"My aunt was very much into education and knowledge is power, and I wanted to graduate from high school to honor her," Dingle said. Head of the class
In other schools, St. Peter's Prep bestowed its Golden General Excellence Award (equivalent to valedictorian) on Michael Stefanelli, who will attend The College of New Jersey. The Silver General Excellence Award (equivalent to salutatorian) will go to Daniel Librojo, attending Stanford University.
St. Dominic Academy's valedictorian, Kerri Rogers, will head to Seton Hall University. The salutatorian, Maryann Savulich, will attend the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.