Edison, J.P. Stevens high schools finish with some special twists – My Central Jersey

17June 2020

CLOSE Edison and J.P. Stevens high

schools celebrate joyful graduations in distinct methods. Bridgewater Courier News EDISON-Horns blared all around the township, from the southside near Edison High School up Route 27 to the northside near J.P. Stevens High School. Police cars and fire trucks roared sirens and put on light programs. Citizens were encouraged to bang pots and pans and yell as loud as possible.

A small plane even flew by Edison High School with a banner bearing well-wishes. Considering that the trainees couldn't go to the pomp and circumstance of graduation, the pomp and scenario pertained to them.

Tuesday afternoon's graduations, in the middle of a pandemic, differed from any other. Instead of al fresco speeches and roomy walks for diplomas on a charming late spring day, the area's 2 public high schools held virtual ceremonies on YouTube Premieres. While there is still expect outside graduations in late July, innovation replaced the planned events.

Certainly not perfect for the life milestone, but one thing has been apparent during the three-month quarantine– students and school personnel have revealed resourcefulness and resilience. Not surprisingly, Tuesday included lots of hooting and shrieking from happy relative with some twists throughout the day.

Graduation should go on.

“The main point is we wished to make it as special as possible,” Edison High School Principal Charles Ross stated. “And we're so happy with the work of the kids in getting this far and just in general the positive support of the neighborhood has actually been fantastic from our PTSO to the police to the fire, simply everybody's trying to come together to make this as great as possible of a celebration.”

Autoplay Program Thumbnails Show Captions Last Slide Next Slide J.P. Stevens Principal Anthony Shallop stated,”Graduation is expected to be memorable. It is entering the next chapter of their lives. Which's always a memorable minute, whether you have your standard graduation or the graduation that we have this year for our senior citizens. We did whatever we might to make it remarkable for them and I would even venture to say that it's possibly more remarkable than any other graduation prior to it.”

‘Everybody was having a good time'

In the morning, lots of teachers and administrators headed around town with “swag” and “gift” bags. Edison High School representatives flocked to houses with red and gold signs. The J.P. Stevens side went to houses with green and gold.

Students got a series of items, consisting of a T-shirt, class picture, sticker labels, extra tassels and senior awards. Oh, and their diplomas.

Ross got a lot of waves as he dropped off the string bags.

“Everybody was having fun,” he said. “Having fun.”

At 2:30 p.m., the last school bell of the academic year, noise erupted from the Boulevard of the Eagles as much as Grove Avenue. Both administrations planned the honking and ruckus-making together. Rather of the Eagles and Hawks, they were one flock.

“As a society, we've been going through a great deal of battles recently with the pandemic and the racial strife that's been going on,” Shallop said. “So it's great to come together as a neighborhood. Celebrate each other and support each other and do it as a communitywide event.

“… I was outside in front of the school and you could hear it in the surrounding areas. It was really nice to see the community come together for our finishing class.”

Ross said that someone sponsored the plane that flew around south Edison with the banner reading, “We like you! Class of 2020 Eagles fly.”

Buy Photo Edison and J.P. Stevens high schools celebrate joyful graduations in special ways.(Photo: Alexander Lewis/ MyCentralJersey)'I anticipate terrific things to come' At 4 p.m., the schools had their virtual graduations. Each student in the 520-member Edison and 600-member J.P. Stevens finishing classes had a chance to say a few taped words in groupings of around 20 to 25 on Zoom. Member of the family cheered in the background on the couch when their names were called, and a number of had balloons and posters. The filming occurred over the previous weeks and was meticulously assembled by the district's videographer, Patrick MacDonald.

There were lots of kind words about parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers and classmates. One J.P. Stevens student playfully gave thanks for the opportunity to finish in her pajamas. An Edison trainee recorded her message during a break at her task at a coffee bar with co-workers cheering her on. Then, it was back to making lattes.

The graduations consisted of taped speeches by the schools' particular principals and trainee leaders. At J.P. Stevens, valedictorian Akshath Shvetang Anna gave a speech entitled “Souvenirs” and salutatorian Rachel Tam's address was called “Bittersweet.” Senior class President Irene Quan also spoke, while trainee council President Billie Liang stated the Pledge of Allegiance.

At Edison, valedictorian Shruti Garg, salutatorian Brian Chan, student council President Malachi White and senior class President Stacey Zhang offered speeches. In Addition, Kacy Colletto– the very first graduate who will be participating in West Point in more than 25 years– check out the Pledge of Allegiance. Edison's choir performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was tape-recorded by each member in their houses. Choir director Kenneth Brown put it together, so the sound matched.

Each school had their own wrinkles. For instance, at J.P. Stevens, 13 significant alumni varying from the Class of 1974 to 2015 provided quick messages. They differed from astronaut Mark Polansky to 2017 Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg to CEOs like Chieh Huang (Boxed) to entertainers like David Bryan (keyboardist for Bon Jovi) to doctors like Tiffany Peng of New York-Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell.

At Edison, students recreated Edison High School to scale utilizing the video game Minecraft that played throughout the closing credits. Principals from primary and intermediate schools provided speeches to their now developed previous trainees.

“The trainees have lost out on a lot of experiences that normally would have defined their senior year in high school,” Ross stated. “Prom. Fashion shows. Skill contests. You know, video games, plays, shows, that we wanted to try to do as much as we might so that we could give them a various kind of experience that would still have value.”

The last time trainees went to classes in Edison was March 13. Hopes of school reopening dwindled as the coronavirus pandemic gotten worse. Gov. Phil Murphy revealed on May 4 that all New Jersey schools would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

With COVID-19 cases having gone down, both Edison and J.P. Stevens are preparing in-person graduation ceremonies in late July, Edison Superintendent Bernard Bragen announced in a letter to school neighborhood members Monday.

Bragen wrote the graduations will be “sticking to the social distancing specifications and recommended guidelines for gathering limitations in location at that time. … We have gotten ready for a variety of options for ceremonies at John P. Stevens High School on 7/21/2020 and Edison High School on 7/23/2020.”

Clearly, things are fluid, however something makes sure.

“We're extremely happy with our graduates,” Shallop said. “They've always worked hard. They represented our school extraordinarily well. They've been a dedicated group of trainees and it's been an honor to deal with them over the last four years and I expect great things to come.”

Which's a sentiment shared by both schools.

Email: amendlowitz@njpressmedia.com!.?.! Andy Mendlowitz is a reporter for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to local news throughout Central Jersey, please subscribe or trigger your digital account today

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