Among private schools, St. Mary's High School downtown saw a graduating class of 78 seniors receive their diplomas on May 29. St. Peter's Prep, also in Downtown Jersey City, held their graduation ceremony for 210 seniors June 9.
The public high schools are scheduling their graduations to take place on the evening of June 25, which according to James Burke, the principal of Dickinson High School, is also the day that the city's public elementary schools hold their graduations.
Burke noted that the high school graduations are in the evening so as not to conflict with the daytime elementary school graduations.
While many of the schools, both private and public, were able to determine who were the valedictorians and salutatorians of their respective high schools, some public high schools will have to wait for the results of the end-of-the-year exams on June 21 and 22 to decide class rankings and the number of students who will actually graduate.
Brian Lang, the recipient of the Gold Medal Award (the equivalent of valedictorian) from St. Peter's Prep High School, was not only the school's top academic achiever but also a top athletic achiever. He was one of the top distance runners in the county. Lang most recently was given the Alfred J. Bundies Memorial Scholarship Award by the Hudson County Track Coaches' Association for his achievements on the track and in the classroom.
Lang, who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and is considering a major in communications, looked back on his four years in high school as time spent learning valuable lessons as a commuting student from the small Bergen County town of Dumont.
"I was the only student from my town and I had to be ready to make changes," said Lang. "It forces you to learn time management to become a well-rounded student, having to travel one hour each way."
Lang also learned and appreciated the value of mistakes.
"That was the theme of my graduating speech. If you make a mistake and learn from that, then the mistake was worth making."
Lang's classmate, Joe Liccardo of Secaucus, who was the student council president, shared how high school prepared him for the challenges ahead in a collegiate environment. Liccardo will be attending Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken this fall.
"Education-wise, I'm very prepared. [St. Peter's Prep] exams count for one-third of the grades," said Liccardo. "It's not an easy school...It helped me to prepare. I don't think I'll be afraid to face anyone."
Dickinson High School valedictorian Krishna Zaveri and salutatorian Sejal Bavishi are separated by hundredths of a point in their grade point average. They take most of the same classes and both want to enter the medical profession.
While those shared interests may create a certain amount of competition, both of the young ladies have been able in their senior year to form a friendship.
"We would see each other in classes and say hello, but we each had our own group of friends," said Bavishi.
But Zaveri said that early in senior year, the two decided to meet with one another to know each other better.
"We both came straight out and let each other know how each felt," said Zaveri. From that moment on, Sejal and Krishna would become the best of friends, working as partners in biology class.
Both students belong to the Science Magnet Program, which has produced students the last several years who would distinguished themselves as the top young scientific minds in the country. Last year's graduate Juliet Girard was the first African-American teenager in the U.S. to win the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition.
Zaveri will be attending Rutgers University in New Brunswick to study biomedical engineering. Bavishi will study at the Rutgers University campus in Newark in a program where in her fourth year in college she will transfer to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Dickinson High School, while a nuturing environment academically, was socially daunting at first, the girls said.
"It was really intimidating but meeting different people, after a while it doesn't seem so scary," said Bavishi.
"It's a family, we learned a lot from each other," said Zaveri.
Both also said that they would miss Dickinson High School, the work they achieved there and the teachers, but were anxious to take on the challenges after high school.
Principal James Burke, with 33 years experience as an educator including a year and a half as principal, has seen many a graduation in his career and appreciates watching the 628 seniors transform in front of his eyes.
"You watch them grow from simple, immature freshmen to complex, mature young men and ladies. And there's a certain pride in that," said Burke.
For Brother Tim Ahern, the principal of Hudson Catholic High School for the past five years, felt a certain amount of sadness in seeing his seniors graduating.
"When you say goodbye, this is the last time you'll see many of them," Ahern said. "A bittersweet occasion, sad on one hand, but happy on the other. I find graduation melancholy."
A list of the public and private high schools, the valedictorian and salutatorian, and their graduation dates:
* Academy of St. Aloysius: 31 seniors; Valedictorian - Sejal Brahmbhatt (Boston University), Salutatorian - Uruj Sheikh (Pace University); June 5.
* Hudson Catholic: 141 seniors; Valedictorian - Steven Torre, Salutatorian - Luigi Cendona (both will be attending Rutgers University - New Brunswick); June 5.
* St. Aloysius High School: 79 students; June 4.
* St. Anthony's High School: 59 students; Valedictorian - Todd Lawson (Rider College), Salutatorian - Ashley Morris (College of St. Elizabeth); June 5.
* St. Mary's High School: 78 seniors; Valedictorian - Karen Pormento (Montclair State), Salutatorian - Maria Nina Armea (Christ Hospital School of Nursing).
* St. Dominic's High School: 113 seniors; Valedictorian - Cadie Winkleman, Salutatorian - Lynn Gerbehy; June 6.
* St. Peter's Prep High School: 210 students; Valedictorian - Brian Lang (University of Pennsylvania), Salutatorian - Denis Egan (Alfred University); graduation date June 9.
* Kenmare High School:10 students; graduation date, June 12.
* Dickinson High School: 624 students; Valedictorian - Krishna Zaveri (Rutgers University - New Brunswick), Salutatorian - Sejal Bavishi (Rutgers University - Newark); graduation date June 25.
* Ferris High School: 328 students; Valedictorian - Nancy Lin (Georgetown), Salutatorian - Christopher Colon; June 25.
* Lincoln High School: Graduation date June 25.
* Liberty High School : 30 students; June 25.
* McNair Academic High School: 123 students; June 25.
* Snyder High School: 288 seniors; June 25.