North Bergen High School valedictorian Raider Alvarez told his graduating classmates that everything they had learned and accomplished over the last four years wasn’t just so that they could pass a test, but because they were studying for lifelong success.
“Remember what matters most, the rarest resource on this planet, isn’t money or oil, but the people who care about you,” said Alvarez during his valedictory address.
Around 550 seniors graduated on June 25 at Bruins Stadium, located in James J. Braddock Park. Their parents, family, and friends watched on from the bleachers as speeches were made and diplomas were handed to each student.
“Within each and every one of us beats the heart of a Bruin.” – Brenda Argueta
“I wish the best for you and I hope that you do meet all the goals and objectives that you are going to set for yourself,” said Superintendent Robert Dandorph. “You are absolutely the best of the state of New Jersey. Congratulations, gang.”
‘Heart of a Bruin’
Guttenberg resident Brenda Argueta earned the title as this year’s salutatorian, meaning she was ranked second in the class. Mayor and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Nicholas Sacco said that not only had Argueta been academically successful, earning a full scholarship to study bio-engineering at Syracuse University, but she was a well-rounded student who took part in everything from clubs to soccer.
“The class of 2010 is a venerable carnival of diversity and talent,” said Argueta. “From our fierce fashionistas, to our amazing artists, to our unstoppable athletes, to our innovating minds, we are all truly unique. Uniqueness is what sets us apart, what brings us together as a family. Within each and every one of us beats the heart of a Bruin.”
Argueta urged for the class of 2010 to follow their dreams “to the most special places your heart has ever known.”
Rewarded for a stressful year
Sacco said that senior year is really much more stressful for students than other years, because “everything becomes real.”
He told them that he had changed his major five times and wanted to drop out of school, but stuck with it instead. He told them that they could change their major or career as much as they needed to.
Sacco said that many choices that are made in life involve “toughing it out.”
“Each and every one of you has toughness,” said Sacco. “When it all works out, you are going to be exactly where you were supposed to be as adults.”
Dandorph thanked the parents and said the students hadn’t “fallen too far from the tree.”
Principal Pascual Tennaro joked that students were probably yearning to hear his famous “pain of discipline as opposed to the pain of regret speech.”
“It is obvious that you have gone through the pain of discipline and that you have no regrets,” said Pascual. “Today is about your accomplishments, your success. I’ve come to know and respect each and every one of you.”
He added, “I look forward to seeing you as alumni this evening [at Project Graduation].”
Tricia Tirella may be reached at TriciaT@hudsonreporter.com.