VHS Graduation 2020


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It ran almost twice as long as a typical Verona High School graduation, but much more needed to be said about the VHS Class Of 2020 and the unusual end to its senior year.

The graduation of the class of 2020 was stitched together from hours of individual footage of its 183 members, speeches given by its school and student leaders and, in a first for VHS, celebrity cameos. Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, country pop singer Kelsea Ballerini, hip-hop pioneer Darryl Matthews McDaniels of Run–D.M.C., New York Jets radio personality Bob Wischusen, former professional basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and local celebrities from Saint Barnabas Medical Center all had words of wisdom for the class. Nathan Scott, a chemistry teacher at VHS, gave the faculty remarks this year and they focused, fittingly, on embracing change.

And that was just what happened before intermission. After Verona’s first responders led a raucous town-wide clap-out for VHS ’20, the video resumed with another first, recorded tributes from their families. That meant that Jessica Sidrak’s father, who could not participate in the taping in late May and early June because he was on the front line of fighting COVID-19, could add a message of congratulations to the class valedictorian. There were carefully scripted message complete with signs, reflections on memories made and missed, and many best wishes for next steps. And the tears were there, too, just as they usually are when a Verona class graduates in person.

School officials surprised the class by announcing during the virtual ceremony that there will, in fact, be an in-person ceremony. It will be held on Wednesday, July 8 on the upper field of VHS and, as of now, will only include the graduates and not an audience. The rain date will be Thursday, July 9.

VHS has created a downloadable version of the graduation ceremony, which you can access on Vimeo here. The password is Ver2020gradlive .

This is the Class of 2020:

Nicholas Algieri, Britney Allteni, Vincent Anello, Brooke Anquillare

Elijah Baker, Ashley Baumgard, Xavier Beltran, Jonathan Ben-Israel, Julianna Berman, Abigail Bermeo, Ava Biasco, Maisy Blane, Erika Boone, Stephanie Boyle, Mikayla Bush, William Butler

Aidan Callari, Brianna Camp, Julia Campbell, Arianna Canal, Cole Cantwell, Julia Capriglione, Sean Carney, Andrew Castillo, Alejandro Celi, Alexander Cheung, Joseph Ciccolini, Simone Conforti, Sawyer Conlon, Nicholas Coppola, Renata Curcio

Jenna Da Rin, Valentina Del Barba, Paige Dennis, Colleen Dennis, Alyssa Deo, Jayson Despecci, Richard DiGeronimo, Christian Dionisio, Jacob Duffy, Kiernan E. Dunphy

Kiera Egan, Monica Egnezzo, Samuel Eisenstein, Meaghan Elliott, Andrew Emanuilidis

Carolyn Feeley, Sofia Fiorita, Owen Fogarty, Ethan Forrest, Austin Frank, Skyler Freedman, Alexa Friedman, Clara Frizzi

Jenna Gabbe, Alena Gabbe, Will Gaccione, Amanda Galarowicz, Madison Gallagher, Kylee Gallagher, Caroline Gault, Antonio Giannini, Alexandra Gluzberg, Nicholas Gonzalez, Maggie Gorman, Lily Greenberg, Julia Grise, Chelsea Gruskin

Emily Morgan Hack, Maximilian Handler, Olivia Hasel, Selin Hekimgil, Serena Henderson, Cole Hildebrandt, Vincent J. Hogan, Patrick Hogan Jr., Jaime Hoimark, Julia Holland, Trinity Hughes-Arciuch, Ryan Huze

Nicole T. Imbriano, Derek Jocelyn, Griffin Jordan

Rebecca Katsios, Anna Konrad-Parisi, Alexander Kosulin, Nicolas Kozachuk, Maegan Kuhlmann

Christopher Lakin, Andrew Lange, Shane Lawless, Sloan Lawless, Madeline Leonard, John Lermi, Evan LiCalsi, Priya Limbachiya, Margaret Lonsinger, Steven Luehs

Steven Macawili, Nina Machnowski, Gerald Madjarov, Jake Maisano, Harry Mastrogiannis, Chloe Mathewson, Thomas Mayer, Jake McConnachie, Bryan McKeen, Caitlin McKeown, Matthew McNally, Morgan Michelson, Jasmine Mickens, Gabriella Montagna, Camila Mora Caicedo, Thomas Mulligan, Aidan Murphy

Kathleen Nagy, Nicholas Napoli, David Navarro, Alessandra Newman, Dominic Newton, Jeanette Nguyen

Gillian O’Donnell, Emily Osborne

Leah Pandian, Liam Patel, Belinda Pecci, Emily Pecora, Mia Pego, Julia Pennella, Erin Petrino, Gabriella Petti, Nikoloz Pilauri, Nahirah Prince

Alyssa Raimondi, Madeline Remington, Caitlin Remler, Adam Renna, Zachary Rienecker, Thomas Romano, Jenna Romano, Michael Ruggiero, Jack Rysavy

Alessandra Sales-Muhar, Marian Salib, Vincent Schwartz, Michael Serio-Simmons, Sara Sexton, Jhil Sharma, Abigail Shorter, Rebecca Siclari, Jessica Sidrak, Isaac Skrivanic, Michael Sluck, Robert Sposato, Ryan Stanisci, Jack Stocker, Emilia Stopka, Jeremiah Strippoli, Edward Strong, Brady Swanstrom, Catherine Swanstrom

Arianna Tietjen, Mikhail Tizhgarten, Andrew Tracy, Gavin Tremper, Ethan Triggiano, Grace Trupia

Katie Valentine, Francesca Valle, Olivia Vogel

Jessica Waldron, Jordan Warner, Kelly Waterman, Emily Weisser, Rebecca Wenzel-Rideout, Henry Wertz, Carolyn Wynd

Leonidas Xanthakos, Patrick Yeates, Jenika Ying

Samuel Zamloot, Ava Zecchino, Selina Zheng

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


  1. What a great job the school did on the virtual graduation video. Congrats to all 2020 VHS grads. It was so great to see Herb Bab (my 6th grade teacher to whom I gave way too much trouble) and Doug Gaffney (great guy, a neighbor down the street for awhile, and I was one of the managers of his 68/69 Suburban Conf Basketball Team). Again, great job.


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