NBTHS graduates will ‘be successful because you’re from North Brunswick’

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Although the graduates of North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS) have undergone a tough few months, dealing with the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, missing prom and not finishing out the school year with their friends, they were still treated to a few surprises during their virtual graduation.

Tim Howard, a 1997 graduate and professional soccer superstar, shared a special message during the June 17 broadcast.

“I know 2020 has been a trying year, but it’s one you will always remember because it’s your year,” he said. “You faced social injustice, a pandemic, and many other things, but through it all you triumphed. You’re here today.

“The future is ahead of you and brighter than ever. You can go into the world, higher education, workforce, traveling the world, community projects all over New Jersey and America and the world, and you’ll be better for it and you’ll be successful because you’re from North Brunswick.”

Howard said some of his fondest memories are walking through the halls of NBTHS, and that some of his friends from then are still his best friends today. He said to take the priceless memories of high school with you going forward.

“I’m with you. I am honored and blessed to have the chance to be among you and to be counted as one of you,” he said.

The students also received a virtual surprise from the New York Giants. Quarterback Daniel Jones, guard Will Hernandez, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and linebacker Blake Martinez shared special messages for the Class of 2020.

The video opened with the voice of Director of Guidance Kevin Farrell stating, “North Brunswick Township High School: your alma mater, the place where you grew from a child to an adult. 2020 was supposed to be your year, everything senior year had to offer, the culmination of years of schooling, so many experiences to be had – but the world changed.”

As a slideshow began, Farrell reminded the graduating seniors their hard work did not go unnoticed and that staff members hope students smile as they reflect on all the good times.

“As you leave, know that you made your mark at NBTHS, and the time to take your next step is now,” he said.

Valedictorian Sidharth Bejugama acknowledged the tumultuous events of the past few months during his speech.

“Well, here we are, back where it all began, in our living rooms, bedrooms and basements, graduating. We are graduating with less freedom than the day we walked in as freshman. We are engaging with the world from 6 feet away.

“We relied on Netflix and Zoom meetings way too much for our entertainment purposes. We developed an unhealthy relationship with our old friend and adversary Google Classroom. We not only eat because we’re hungry, we started eating because we’re bored.

“We are living through a convoluted, conflicted and chaotically crazy part of history. We’re living through a rising revolution, countless individuals affected by the physical coronavirus, while millions more are affected by its social, economical, racial and ethnic implications.

“They are the members of society that few choose to acknowledge until times get tough. They are those unable to hold onto family businesses and put food on their family tables.

“Those unable to seek necessary care in our country’s profit-seeking hospitals, due to the religion they follow or their economic status. Those unable to breathe because of the color of their skin. Those we were previously watching from outside until the virus put us all under the same roof.

“We are now them. But like the American Revolution of 1776, like the Civil War of 1863, and the riots and protests of 2020, Americans fight back when they hit the wall and have little left to lose. They take great steps to inspire powerful change.”

Bejugama said the Class of 2020 has an advantage in this revolution. He said students have developed tactics as diverse as the high school. He told his fellow classmates to look past white, black or brown; to look past the hijabs and mehndi; to appreciate what is behind the skin, “to know that all of our perspectives make each of us richer.”

He asked his peers to listen instead of argue, understand instead of fighting, and be human to one another.

“We are all composed of the things we have learned from each other. We are forever curious because we seek to discover the hidden aspects from the people around us. We sway from the expected path because we are driven by the innumerable goals and ambitions of our peers,” he said.

“North Brunswick has had the privilege of having our minds and hearts for the better part of 18 years. Now, it’s time for the rest of the world to experience all we have to offer,” he aid.

He told his friends to never compromise their beliefs or morals; to retain their individuality, and to use that power to bring together individuals of all kinds; and to urge others to be themselves.

“Be strong willed, open minded and ruthlessly loving. Don’t be better, be the best,” he said.

Salutatorian Rima Peddi said with every sports win, every club joined, every friend met and every teacher loved, students created “small, spontaneous and sincere moments.”

“When we first walked through those glass doors, we were nervous, scared and definitely a little lost. We had no idea what we were doing. But over the past four years, every one of us experienced a moment when the feeling of fear and anxiety were replaced with feelings of excitement, joy and pure adrenaline.

“…With every new memory, every activity and every person we fell in love with, we felt a little less lost and we found our way, and not without some unforgettable adventures along the way.”

She said although she does not know when things will feel normal again, students should not hold their breath, should not wait, but instead do things that are right here and right now.

“Don’t compromise when it comes to things you love and the person you are,” she said.

Princess Boachie delivered the Senior Class Address, joking at first how freshman year there were scary clowns on the loose, there was a gas leak during sophomore year that almost burned down the school, junior year was met by a mold infestation, and as seniors everyone had to deal with COVID-19.

“We make circumstances that could bring us down lift us up – and laugh about it,” she said.

She said her fellow classmates have a lot of future potential. She said “the struggle was real” but they made it. She asked them to keep a positive and optimistic attitude in the future.

“I know sometimes things can get rough and difficult. We are people who work hard and are dedicated,” she said.

North Brunswick Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack remarked to the Class of 2020: “This year your graduation means more to our township than usual. Your graduation is both symbolic and concrete proof that even in the continuing midst of a crisis that interrupts, upends and disrupts our lives, we do have the ability to overcome, to move forward.

“… In these few short months, the members of this class have been called upon to sacrifice like no other in recent generations, and you have been called to heroic service … to lead our country and the world to stand up and take action and acknowledge Black Lives Matter,” he said.

While Womack noted this is the only class to have worn masks, Gloria Gonzalez, president of the North Brunswick Board of Education, said this pandemic cheated students of many rites of passage.

“We all realize we could not make it look and feel as you had dreamt this day to be,” she said. “We are comforted by knowing that wherever you go you will bring a resilience and a commitment to make things right again, that you will face this world of pandemics and social injustice as you will stand tall …

“That you, the Class of 2020, will forever be remembered in history for empathy, collaboration and social justice … in the middle of a global pandemic. Thank you for being our inspiration.”

Principal Michael Kneller said despite the turn of events this year, the seniors will still keep fond memories of sports teams making school history, homecoming dances, ArtStock, Powder Puff games, the Key Club Carnival, pep rallies, decorating the school for the holidays, and doing the Conga Line at a chorus concert – also applauding the Class of 2020 for being the first to beat the teachers in the annual student-staff basketball game.

“Time will pass and someday you will look back on how those relationships helped shape who you have become,” he said.

“Our society needs future leaders. Each of you has the opportunity to make positive changes in our surroundings and our society. I hope you will embrace that as you are our future.”

After Kneller certified the Class of 2020, he presented them to Superintendent of Schools Brian Zychowski before each student had his or her opportunity to cross the stage.

“It is my belief the Class of 2020 is ready and willing to foster advances in society, science, engineering and business, all the while being guided by a set of ethical principles learned and being reinforced at NBTHS,” Zychowski said.

He said the students will adapt their potential into application, and will transform the integrity of their training and purity of moral path into something that will shape their lives.

“I believe your generation has educated us that progress without humanity, without equity, without accessibility and without sustainability is material advancement overshadowed by spiritual recession,” he said.

He said this generation will learn from the mistakes of prior generations, and will accept responsibility and “be the change.”

“I have no doubt you can and will make a difference in the future,” he said, offering the class the gifts of balance, passion and health.

NBTHS has scheduled an in-person graduation for July 10 as per the governor’s lifted restrictions.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@newspapermediagroup.com.

***

The graduating Class of 2020 from North Brunswick Township High School:

Zarrar Abbasi

Srivasantha Abbineni*

Amir Abdelnaby

Mohammed Amin Abdul Hamid

Janessa Abreu

Ganesh Acharya

Eric Ackerman*

Hubert Addo

Gaelin Adom

Bushra Aftab

Talha Ahmed

James Alba

Ranna Albrolisy

Jan Alford

Sabih Ali

Aidan Almanzor

Davon Alsbrook

Yasmeen Alshami

Abraham Aluboudi

Sergio Alvarez

Mary Amoako*

Shantel Amoakoah

Ritika Anthony

Kwame Apea-Adubufour

Christopher Arnold

Khushi Arora*

Peter-Fouad Attal

Nayeli Aymat Ramos

Shakur Azeez

Amanda Azer

Adeem Aziz

Kashan Aziz

 

Ashley Baez

Danievi Baez Mojica

Paulina Baidoo

Maya Bailey

Myles Bailey

Azan Bakar

Nithyasree Balaji*

Olivia Baldwin

Youssef Baniatiyeh

Michael Baradhi*

Keron Barbour

Jada Barnes

Lovedeep Bassi

Armando Bautista-Mendez

Dania Bayoumi

Leila Bayoumi

Sidharth Bejugama*

Reeme Bendi

Jeremiah Benn

Jayden Bennett

Ramy Berberena

Joanna Bernard

John Berth

Jada Bess*

Jaden Bickers

Laila Birchett

Demonte Blount

Princess Boachie*

Tanya Bonde

Sophia Boni*

Zachary Boni

Jerry DeJesus Bonifacio

Zamir Booker

Yairelys Botiquin

Jonathan Bourdierd

Zaniyah Boykins

Vincent Brancaccio

Christine Brandt

Allison Brower*

Alyssa Brown*

Corey Brown

Raymond Brown

Daniel Bryant

 

Keris Calhoun*

Zunny Calles Villeda

Jose Camarillo

Adamari Camarillo Lopez

Jose Carrasquillo

Jennifer Carrillo

Adrianna Casas-Vera

Oscar Castanos-Reyes

India Caster

Ryean Castillo Carrillo

Samantha Cathcart

Rosa Ceaca

Varun Chari

Julieanne Chavez

Rohit Chhetri

Seairah Chiles*

Azfar Chowdhury

Sarah Clarke

Matthew Cole

Amanda Collado*

Kassidy Connelly

Chas Cooper

Matthew Cooper

Tamara Cortez

Ruben Cruz

Samuel Cruz*+

Yaduani Cruz Cristobal

Nishika D’Souza

Ajay Dalal

Aniya Darko

Nilanjan Datta

Vaibhavi Dave

Julia Davies*

Phibi De Jesus

Estefania De la Rosa Baldobino

Aaliyah DeGeorge

Genesis DeLaCruz Ravello

Christian DeMarco

Avani Deshpande*

Rosa Diaz Rodriguez

Stephanie DiMinno*

Taija Dixon

Jarron Douglas

Kenyar Doyle

Alexis Drew

Laisa Duarte Magana

Michael Duff

Lauren Duffy

Macarena DuQue

 

Margarita Eid*

Michelle Ekwo

Georges El-Hajj

Mohamed Elhomossy

Christian Elliott Vickerie

Abdelrahman Elsayed

Mahmoud Elzayat

Jeffrey Eng

Stephany Espana

Emely Espinal Liranzo

Jeremy Espinosa Acosta

Natasha Estrella

Badr Ettadlaoui

Tobenna Ezeonu

 

Adeniyi Fagbewesa

Nicholas Farah

Kyla Farmer*

Dylan Farrell*

Sarah Feggulis

Sarai Feliciano

Aaliyah Feliciano-Lockhart

Emily Feliz Tejada*

Alondra Fernandez

Daniel Fernandez

Kendall Fields

Hector  M Figueroa

Ricardo Figueroa

Justin Fisher

Lamar Fitz

Layla Fitz

Jasmine Flanders

Omari Fleming

Katelyn Freebern

Lexiss Frimpong

Pedro Fuentes

Edward Funez

Nicolas Fuschini

 

Kusum Gandham*

William Garcia

Giselle Garriga*

Nana Genfi

Matthew Girello*

Terrell Gladden

Dylan Glassman

Ruth Gobena*+

Christian Gomez

Cristian Gomez

Kayla Gomez

Luz Gomez Espinal

Michael Gonzalez

Fabian Gonzalez-Asuncion

Joseph Gosner

AshleyMarie Gracia

Dah’vaina Graham

Saydi Gravesande

Carolyn Greenberg

Aiyana Guzman

Emily Guzman

Yaziana Guzman

 

Yiris Haber

Brittany Hague*

TyAndra Hare

Christina Harvey

Kayla Henry

Aidereh Heredia-Rodriguez

Catherine Hernandez

Jimmy Hernandez

Reynaldo Hernandez Sarmiento

Arnaldo Herrera

Dahvey Hicks

Raheem Holmes

Ania Hoo

Sydnee Hopson*

Nyjah Howard

 

Ahmed Ibrahim

Nadja Ifill

Maha Imran

Iman Iqbal*

Selvin Iraheta-Gutierrez

Yolany Iraheta-Gutierrez

Shayan Ishtiaq Khan

 

Javed Jabar

Tianna Jackson

Sellu Jalloh

Alhaji Mohamed Jalloh Barrie

Lineth Jaquez

Mariah Jarvis

De’Mi Jenkins

I’Yanah Jennings

Shashuda Jerripotula

Kunal Jha

Yahaira Jimenez Lopez

Fay Jah Johnson

Thomas Johnson

Mark Joseph Jose

 

Aymen Kabel*

Shrey Kachhia

Siya Kakumanu*

Khyatishree Kalasapati*

Thomas Kaldan

Anthony Kalogridis*

Alphina Kamara

Alusine Kamara

Ansh Kapoor

Ryan Kappes*

Amad Kargbo

Sanmoy Karmakar*

Mark Keene

Kyree Kelton

Abdullah Khan

Amir Khan

Ayesha Khan*

Zinobia Khan*

Imanuella Khanimov

Harris Khawaja*

Drew Kilheeney

Tiffany Klisch

Brooke Koehler

Ava Kouras

Valerie Kozyrenko*

Zachary Kronish*

Zoe Kronish*

Paul Kuchler

Tiffany Kwakye

 

Xaria La’Mar*

Azja Laberth

Michael Ladjack

Talia Lambert

Sydney Lange

George Lanza-Dubon

Andrew LaVielle

Vernazia Lawson

Hendrix Lekics

Ashley Levitt+

Atharva Lohit*

Jada Long

Olivia Lopez

Christopher Lopez Rojas

Arianely Lovera

Leon Lowery

Kaitlyn Lozewski

 

Gaurav Mahajan

Amaan Maiden

Holly Mairs

Rachel Maisonet

Malcolm Malone

Katherine Manley*

Adarsh Manoj

Samih Mansour

Kevin Marquez

Alizon Martinez

Sara Masloom

Imaad Masood

Arlene Mateo

Ciera Matlock

Parker Maxwell

Jason McCargo

Tyler McGee-Pidgeon

Jaelyn McIver

Kenneth Mehalick

Damian Miller

Mikyle Mirza

Shayla Mitchell

Shonae Mitchell

Dominic Moccio

Emil Montero

Hamlet Montero

Hillary Montilla Mejia

Bahia Moorman

Brianni Morales

Emely Morales

Eduardo Morales Fiallos

Christopher Morel

Jair Mujica

Pritish Mukherjee

Keshav Mukundhan*

Mayely Munoz

Nikhil Murali

 

Veena Nagaprasad

Upsham Naik*

Asaru Napier

Gabriel Narciso

Sara Nayyar

Diana Nouel Isa

Gabriel Nunez

Loribel Nunez Benitez

Angel Nunez Toledo

 

Isaiah Oduro

Emmanuel Olayemi

Caroline Orokos*

Adrian Ortiz

Kevin Ortiz Hernandez

Maria Osorio Fernandez

 

Alexis Palazzola

Vraj Panchal

Dakshal Panicker

Janiz Parra

Deven Patel

Khushi Patel

Kirtan Patel*

Kush Patel

Leah Patel

Pooja Patel*

Ram Patel

Rishita Patel

Marcus Paul

Roman Paz Gonzalez

Mainor Paz Linares

Rima Peddi*

Juan Pena Alvarado

Chrisbette Penalo

Maria Penaloza Vazquez

Gary Peralta

Kenia Peralta Rodriguez

Tyrell Pereira

Yarissa Perez

Rosa Lia Perez-Olivera

Emma Phelps+

Wally Pichardo

Abrianna Pimentel Garcia

Robby Plaha

Elliott Plyam

Matthew Poonai

Emelyn Pozo Colon

Manasi Prakash*

 

Raciel Quiroz-Hernandez

 

Shakib Rahman

Mudassir Rahmani*

Luka Rakonjac

Nikhil Ramavenkat*

Andrew Ramos

Lahari Rani

Danielle Rappolt*

Aarushi Rathaur*

Krishan Rattan

Winnard Franz Ravago

Swarnima Raval

Praneel Reddy

Rachael Reikdal

Daniel Revko

Brenda Reyes

Jonathan Reyes

Antonio Ricardo Reyes

Andrew Richardson

Drew Richardson

Daniel Rivera

Jose Rivera

Joshua Rivera

Nicholas Rivera

Felix Rivera Jr

Paolo Rivera-Pineda

Yudelys Rocha Mendez

Caleb Rodriguez

Emmanuel Rodriguez

Stefan Rojas-Ayala

T’vano Rolle

Melody Roque

Abisola Rosiji

Derek Rossman

Andrew Rudolph*

Kaina Ruiz

 

Asra Saeed

Mohammed Salheiah

Justine Samson

Leonel Sanabria

Emilio Sanchez Mendoza

Luis Sanchez-Ramos

Leyred Santana

Amelia Santiago

Kate Santillan

Rashel Santos Andino*

Cavin Saravanan

Abdul Wahab Savage*

Karan Sehgal

Pradeep Selvaraj*

Param Sengar

Aayushi Sharma

Pratham Sheth*

Shreni Sheth*

Joseph Sidotti

Jared Silva Dias

Naomi Silva-Valencia

Daniel Simpson*

Erika Sinche Sinchi

Emily Slattery

Sandy Sleiman

Alan Smith

Corey Smith

Trinity Solano

Harold Solano Perez

Justin Soto*

Isaiah Stevens

Mark Stouffer*

Vaishnav Sunkireddy*

Landon Surrency

Ta-Cara Swaby

Matthew Szejnrok

Natalia Szulc

 

Steve Taboada

Habiba Tamraz

Cory Taylor

Lauren Taylor

Vikram Thirugnanam

Brodie Thompson

Scarlet Tineo

Saumya Tiwari

Courtney Tomaszewski

Sareda Toribio

Christopher Torres

Faith Torres*

Graziella Torres

Kevin Torres

Ulises Torres

Prince Turay

 

Bianel Urbina

Daniel Urbina-Matos

 

Jaredis Valentin Rosario

SolAngel Van Liew

Brian Vargas

Terelyn Vargas

Arismely Vasquez

Jason Vasquez

Luis Vasquez

Alberto Vazquez-Rivas

Aaliyah Villalba*

Brandon Villegas

Charles Vizthum

 

Nora Walling

Alan Wang

Jack Warren

Nakaja Weaver*

Ihsann Whitehurst

Bryce Williams

Niana Williams

Nigel Williams

Lauren Wilson*

Andrew Wilson-Ratliff

Samod Wingo

Courtney Wint

Haillee Witkowski

George Wolfe

Isiah Wright

 

Ivan Yeddu

Melanie Yi

Christina Yoo

Mona Yousif

*National Honor Society

+Tomorrow’s Teachers