The Emerson High School Class of 2001 celebrated their title as the first class of the millennium with a celestial theme that followed them throughout the year. With the help of class advisor, Josephine Russo, and the rest of the senior committee, headed by Xiomara Colon and Marcel Cordero, most of the events that the seniors held were a huge success.
Their prom, which was held at Westmount Country Club in West Paterson, was one of the highlights of the year. The class also traveled together on a trip to Disney World in late April and a few of them participated in the National Honors Society/Italian Club adventure to Italy and Greece. The seniors helped to make this year something to be proud of for the whole school with lead roles in this year's production of Grease.
Valedictorian Huwaida Hassan will be going on Yale University next year, and salutatorian Vilma Cabrera will be attending Smith College. Cabrera expressed her thoughts on the unity of the class.
"I think that the class will try to keep in touch since we've been through a lot together," she said.
The entire class is excited about being on their own after they graduate, and Cabrera said she is sure that it will give them all a chance to "realize our potential."
"I was impressed with the mature way that they accepted me," said Principal Frank Scarafile. He said he preached three major elements when he first entered the school this year: pride, tradition, and respect. He commented that the class of 2001 took them all on very well.
The senior Bulldogs will be graduating on Monday, June 25.
The valedictorian of Union Hill, Isis Burgos, will go on to Brown University next year. She has already been accepted in a pre-medical program that will guarantee her admittance into the graduate school. Salutatorian Jose Munoz, who will be attending Swarthmore College in the fall, is also looking to pursue a career as a doctor. Munoz received recognition at this year's state Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and took home fourth place along with the chance to go on to the national level competition.
"Academically, we've accomplished a lot," said Munoz of his class.
The Hillers did do very well this year. Many students received awards at county, state, and national competitions and 17 seniors were declared Urban Scholars, an honor that came from their SATs, GPAs and class rank.
The Hillers Varsity Baseball team had a successful year, making it to the county and then state levels. The seniors hosted the senior citizen prom, which was a big success, and a number of clubs composed mostly of the class of 2001 raised money for children's hospitals and were involved with the veterans. Union Hill's prom, which was held at the Venetian in Garfield, also had a great turn out.
Principal Robert Wendelken is proud of the array of schools that the students will be moving on to. "This class was a challenging one," he said. "In many respects they approach their work diligently and with purpose and are now reaping the rewards for it. It's always a joy to see students achieve what they have, and to watch them begin their path to successful careers."
Union Hill will hold its graduation on June 22.