Despite Venue Change, Spirit High at Teaneck Graduation
Commencement saluted the achievements of 363 graduating Teaneck High School seniors
North Jersey has recently experienced extreme heat, and state officials have warned of air quality and health issues through Thursday. School district officials decided on Wednesday to move the commencement ceremony to FDU as a precaution.
While those in attendance expressed gratitude for the air conditioned backdrop, many graduating seniors and family members stated that the acoustic system left much to be desired. Still, friends and relatives of the students cheered and applauded when it mattered most: when their loved ones received diplomas.
The 363 graduating seniors had their own fun during the ceremony, bouncing around the occasional beach ball. And in the end, kisses and hugs were exchanged and many iPads and cameras were passed around to capture images from the momentous occasion.
Speakers for the night included Teaneck High School Principal Dennis Heck, Superintendent of Schools Barbara Pinsak, Board of Education President Ardie Walser, senior class president Jordan Jeanty, salutatorian Sarah Brathwaite, and valedictorian Amalya Megerman.
Graduate Samantha Waye said she wished the ceremony took place at the high school so she could see the building in the background.
At last year’s commencement, students were seated in bleachers near the outdoor track. They faced both the high school building and the attendees sitting in the stands.
“It wasn’t so bad being here,” Waye said of the FDU venue. “I didn’t cry during the ceremony, but I had fun.”
In the fall, Waye will study biology at FDU.
Graduate Ishmael Sweeney said it was nice not to feel hot inside his graduation gown.
“I enjoyed [the ceremony],” he said. “It was pretty hard to hear, but we already knew what they were going to say.”
Sweeney, who will study business management at Clayton State University in Atlanta, said he had a “love-and-hate relationship” with the high school at first.
“I love Teaneck High School now,” he said. “It was a great four years for me, and now I’m going into the next chapter of my life.”
Sweeney’s older sister Hannah, who was a 2008 graduate of THS, was very happy for her brother’s recent accomplishment.
“I’m extremely proud of him for achieving all the things he has achieved and being miraculous, talented and artistic. And I love him very much,” she said. “This was a really big graduating class and a very tight-knit class. It was a very wonderful experience.”
Rhonda Bryant was one of the many proud parents who gathered outside to take pictures of her high school graduate.
“I want to wish the Class of 2012 much success,” she said.
Rhonda’s son, Corey, will study biology this fall at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He said he enjoyed his time at THS and spending one last evening with all his classmates.
“It’s been a great experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he said.