Celebrating the Class of 2020
By Jennifer Ersalesi
This year the Rutherford High School graduating class of 2020 has been dealing with a challenging conclusion to their school year. After missing out on milestones such as award ceremonies, the prom, yearbook signings, final sports seasons, choral and instrumental performances, a regular graduation ceremony, and other special culminating events, Rutherford High School Seniors are finding ways to celebrate what they have accomplished. Additionally, they are recognizing how the challenges they are facing will make them stronger as they embark on life after high school.
Senior Class Advisors, Ms. Holly Bacino and Ms. Chelsea Leary, wished to share some thoughts about this year's Senior class, “During the past four years we have had the pleasure of watching the class of 2020 grow both as students and as people. They have showcased their school and town spirit throughout their time in High School and we have had so much fun as their class advisors. Although the circumstances are not what we had imagined for this special time in their lives, we are proud of how they are handling the adversity. We know that they will accomplish all of their goals in the future, we cannot wait to see them follow their dreams. Good luck and we will miss you!”
This is Rutherford interviewed the three Senior Student Council officers about the way their Senior year is ending. President Brian Inguanti, Vice President Emilia McCarthy, and Treasurer Mia Capobianco discussed their feelings and provided their fellow classmates with words of encouragement and support. TIR also spoke to administrators, teachers, and coaches who have influenced these students. Each week prior to Rutherford High School's graduation date (June 23rd), TIR will post parts of the interview, which will include quotes from some of these students' beloved mentors.
Pictured above from left to right: Brian Inguanti, Mia Capobianco, and Emily McCarthy.
TIR: Senior year is such an important year and to say it is disappointing for you that it has ended this way is an understatement. What are some things that upset you the most about the way your Senior year is ending?
Brian Inguanti: Without a doubt losing things like my senior Track season, the senior breakfast, prom, and possibly graduation on Tryon Field on June 23rd are heartbreaking. These are things all High School students look forward to throughout their 4 years, and to not have them like we pictured it is really sad. What really upsets me is that I won’t have those small moments at the end of the school year - things like the last lunch, spending time with my peers, and teachers signing your yearbook, having graduation practices.
Mia Capobianco: There are many things that I will be missing out on my senior year! Personally, the thing that I will miss most is graduation. Not being able to be with all of my childhood friends and end this chapter in my life with them makes me very sad. We have all grown up together, changing and shaping into young adults and not being able to have a normal graduation ceremony is something that is very hard to deal with. But, this situation is something that can only make us stronger and there have been accommodations to make the best out of this situation.
Emilia McCarthy: I feel as if seniors deserved a better ending to their high school career. We were all expecting the traditional graduation, prom, and other events while the year came to an end. For it to be taken away so quickly without any last goodbyes had a tremendous impact. What upsets me the most is how much I looked forward to these events for years and counted down the days till it came, yet now I am devastated to say I will never experience it.
"J.K. Rowling said, ‘It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.’ To Rutherford High School's Class of 2020, you are stepping into an unknown world for many reasons and there is a lot you cannot control. What you do have control over is living life to the fullest and manifesting your own destiny. It is ok to fail, it is how you respond to that failure that will determine your life's trajectory. So take chances, don't be afraid to fail, and above all live,” Dr. Shannon Hopkins, Director of Guidance explained.
English Teacher, Mrs. Dawn Pasquale wished to let the Seniors know, ‘Although your senior year hasn't been ideal, the resourcefulness, creativity, and kindness you displayed are traits that will continue to bring you success and happiness throughout the rest of your lives.”
TIR: As a Class Advisor, what do you wish to tell your fellow Senior classmates who are feeling the same sadness and anxiety that you are feeling?
BI: I have spoken to my classmates. It’s no secret the general mood throughout our grade is one of disappointment and general sadness. A lot of us don’t want to end our senior year quarantined in our houses watching virtual ceremonies. I would tell my fellow classmates to stay strong and have hope: this too shall pass. While it’s unfortunate that things have not gone to plan, we will go back to normal soon, and I really think we’ll be able to have things like traditional graduation and prom at least later in the summer.
MC: I understand that many of my classmates are feeling the same way as I. I would like to tell my classmates that we need to keep making an effort and just try our best to work through everything that is going on. Many of my past and current teachers have been kind and have reached out to me. By sending a small email, asking about anything that is going on, really shows that they truly care about us as students. I would just tell my fellow classmates to talk to teachers or even other classmates to share how they are feeling. We are all going through this together and are all dealing with the struggle together.
EM: I wish to tell them that good things do take time, and for this pandemic, although it took out such an essential part of our high school career, it will eventually come to an end. When this day does come, we will be able to return to our everyday lives and hopefully have our senior events we have been looking forward to later on. I also wish to tell them that they should be remaining calm and doing things that help relieve the stress they are feeling, such as outdoor activities or even learning new hobbies.
Guidance Counselor, Mr. Paul Scutti, shared some inspiration, “Make the most of the cards you are dealt. Play hard, work harder. Enjoy the moment.”
Mrs. Cheryl Bott-Melfa, Business teacher, wished to let the RHS Seniors know, “It has been an honor and a privilege to have watched you all grow into amazing young men and women throughout your four years at Rutherford High School. All the best in all your future endeavors and always be true to yourself, be kind, and remember what fuels your passion. In the words of Dr. Seuss, ‘Today is your day, you're off to great places. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.’”
English teacher, Mr. Michael Stracco, provided this message, “So, Class of 2020, it has been a year. We didn’t have all the answers, we experienced 'what will I do now?' together, and we endured many uncertainties, but you made it and you are ok. You are leaving a legacy, but have all the skills and tools that you need to be successful in the future. You will be ok, all will be ok, just remember: do not be afraid.”