As the school year ends, both of our children busily plan for their summer after high school and college beyond. But as we look ahead, nervous and excited for our kids, I can't help but also reflect back on how we got to this point.
I wrote in these pages two years ago how satisfied we were with the education and experience the Hoboken public district had provided our children. Now, with their graduation day upon us, I find myself just as happy with the choices we made.
Hoboken Junior Senior High School afforded our children numerous opportunities that they wouldn’t have found elsewhere. The school offered them a challenging academic environment with more AP and honors classes than most Hudson County schools (public or otherwise). They’ve learned from passionate teachers that had a powerful and positive impact on them. They freely explored clubs and extracurricular options, and competitive performing arts, visual arts and athletic programs. Unlike so many other public districts, these programs were also fully funded, from AP test fees to arts resources and sports equipment.
Yet, what our school does for other children in the community – offering social services and a safe space to at-risk kids, and providing for special needs students whatever their circumstances – is just as important to the growth of my children. HJSHS truly achieves its mandate of not only representing its community but of serving the needs of its students. It has also made my children into better people in the process. They have grown into young adults in an environment that actually reflects the world they live in and, in classrooms and hallways and on stage and playing fields, they have learned compassion and sensitivity towards others. And they are not alone.
The sense of family that pervades this small student community is one of its greatest, if underappreciated, virtues and it appears in ways big and small every day at HJSHS. The school truly cares for its students and the students care about one another. The year has seen numerous state and national awards, recognizing student excellence in performing and visual arts; for the school newspaper and literary magazine; at Harvard Model Congress, and by both the softball and football teams. Significant academic gains were also realized, with continued up-trends in benchmark performance. And nearly 80 percent of this year’s graduates are heading to a college or university. Notable placements include Bucknell, UC Berkeley, Drexel, NYU, Rutgers, SCAD, and full ride scholarships to Stevens and others.
But the school’s most important success is its ongoing mission to accept all children regardless of background or circumstances, and help them explore who they are and grow into confident and capable young adults. I am proud to say that my kids are included in this group. For this I must thank all the teachers, administrators, board members, parents and children that play a role in this school community. We are truly grateful for what our children have achieved under your care.