Even when it was announced that the Hoboken High School graduation ceremony would move from JFK Stadium to the school auditorium due to rain, the news didn’t dampen the spirits of the cheerful graduates and their families on Wednesday evening as the Class of 2011 said farewell to the place they’ve called home for four years.
One hundred and thirty seven students and their families packed into the auditorium to celebrate the culmination of four years of hard work.
The salutatorian, James Perez Jr., is off to Rutgers University in the fall, where he will study to become a veterinarian after receiving a four-year scholarship.
‘It is our time to go out into the world and take it for our own.’ – James Perez Jr.
“The comfort of having friends and teachers that care is what brought me back,” Perez said.
He fired up his classmates toward the end of his speech.
“It is our time to go out into the world and take it for our own,” he said to cheers.
The valedictorian of the class, Giovanni Notaro, received a four-year scholarship to study at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.
Notaro told his fellow classmates that “the predictable days of Hoboken High School are over” and challenged them to face all of their obstacles head on.
“I’ve never considered myself a good speaker, especially in front of large crowds,” Notaro said. “I never thought I’d be speaking here today, but we can’t let our weaknesses dictate our lives.”
The guest speaker was Joe Scott, the chief executive officer of Jersey City Medical Center.
“Your required high school education might be over but your education never ends,” Scott said to the graduates. “Even after college, after graduate school, and after many years as a hospital administrator, I continue to learn new skills everyday. Never, ever pass up the opportunity to learn something new.”
Before the diplomas were issued to the excited crowd of graduates, Superintendent Mark Toback, taking in his first Hoboken High School graduation, told the graduates that their lives were about to change, but they should keep working hard.
He told them they were about to enter a world without bells ringing every 43 minutes, and said there are no longer hall passes in life.
The diplomas were distributed, and with one final singing of the Hoboken High School Fight Song, the graduates exited stage left to their waiting parents.
Graduates sound off
Some of the seniors talked last week about the future.
Duke McCourt, 18, will attend Iona College to study criminal justice.
McCourt said that a memorable moment for him during his time at Hoboken High School was when he broke a swimming record that hadn’t been touched since 1968, meaning he is the fastest Red Wing swimmer to graduate from the high school.
Amanda Spano, 18, will study education at William Paterson University, and hopes to become an elementary school teacher.
“A favorite moment for me was last year when I won a MSG Network Varsity Player of the Game Award, and I was a top player of the week after a game against our rival North Bergen,” Spano said.
Samantha Scios, 18, will study to become a veterinarian at Pennsylvania State University. Although Scios only spent two years at Hoboken High School, she was involved in quite a lot, including the National Honor Society and the French Club, and was the captain of the girl’s varsity soccer team.
“I’ll definitely miss the theater program,” Scios said. “One of the reasons why I came here was because of the theatre program. I got one of my first lead roles in ‘Hairspray’ so I was really excited about that.”
Scios landed a summer job at the popular Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, and will save money before she heads out to Penn State University.
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com