Graduation 2021

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When the Verona High School Class of 2021 assembled for a pep rally its freshman year, the chant was “We’re not done until 2021.” Back then, none of the class that graduated on Friday, June 25, 2021 could have imagined what was going to happen in the last 18 months of their time at VHS. Speaker after speaker who addressed the class at the graduation ceremony, held once again on the upper field at VHS, commended them for their resiliency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the months of largely distanced learning.

Befitting a time dominated by health, the key speaker at graduation was Dina Rizzuto-Francis, the nurse at VHS. She expressed her gratitude to the students for their efforts during the pandemic and to all of the school nurses in Verona, who, she said, “have gone above and beyond to help students remain safe.”

Valedictorian Rio Marie Gagnon, who will major in computational biology at UCLA, reminded her fellow students that they all have potential and urged them to follow the words of Henry David Thoreau and “live deliberately.” Salutatorian Veronica Valera, who will major in chemical engineering at Princeton, read an original poem that chronicled the class’ rise from elementary school to graduation, including its mastery of the dress code at H.B. Whitehorne. You can watch the full ceremony on YouTube, and enjoy some photo highlights below.

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The Verona High School Class of 2021

Israel Abalos, Anna Abramovich, Diana Aleynikov, Peter Alfano, Ryan Aloia, Iviana Anderson, Karen Andre #**, Ronald Arias Jr.**, Emilia Arias Calderon #**

Dylan Bakst, Anna Barile **, Matthew Barnett **, Ben Batson, Ethan Beninghof **, Kidus Berhanu **, Killian Blitz
Grace Boutcher **, Gabriel Breitenbach #**, Kristen Brown #**, Matthew Brown, Tawanna Brown **, Zachary Bucher #**

Sabastien Cabrera, Amanda Caldera #**, Olivia Camuti #**, Julia Caprari #**, Peter Caputo IV

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Selena Caraballo, Christian Castner *, Kayla Catalano-Ott, Leonardo Celi #**, Harmonie Chang #**, Nia Chesney #**, Byron Chu **, Elyse Chu #**, Paul Cillik Jr., Aaron Clarion **, Mia Cole, Sarah Cole #**, Cailan Compierchio #**, Grace Cooney *, Pierce Coppola **, Brian Curry, Robert Curtis III,

Tyler DaCosta #**, Michale Dastis, Hannah Davey, James Davey, Matthew Day #**, Robert DeGennaro, Jessica DeVito **, Jacqueline DeVivo #**, Emma DiClemente, Ethan DiClemente, Derek Diskant **, Aidan Dyer #**,

Gianna Ehrhardt #**, Vincent Eremita, Angel Fauerbach, Faith Fauerbach, Dylan Ferrara **, Jordan Ferry, Evan Fersch *, Sarah Fiedler, Keith Fraser Jr., Isabella Freda, #**

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Rio Marie Gagnon #**, Olivia Garcia, Lia Gardner #**, Olivia Gasin **, Mariam Girgis #**, Daphne Glatter #**, Carlie Goldstein #** Sarah Greene *, Nicholas Grossberg, Sofia Guide **, Mete Gumusayak #**

Maryclare Hahula, Ryan Hajtovik **, Katherine Hensal #**, Paige Hensal #**, Peter Hoogterp **, Andrew Hunt **, Isabella Hussar #**, Sinclaire Infusino #**

Claire Jackson #**, Shelby Jeklinski, Kara Johansen #**, Sophia Josephson #**, Adam Karpinski, Maggie Kenny **, Geena Klinger #**, Woody Klose III, Colvin Kramer **, Jack Lambert #**, Luke Lambert #**, Samantha Larkey **, Isabelle Leagon **, Michael Lipesky, Jack Lonsinger **, Jessica Loudon #**

Breianna Magardino **, Hannah Maida *, Sean Maida #**, Declan Maisano **, Giancarlo Maladorno *, Kyle Malanga, Philip Mancuso Jr., Thomas Manganello III, Leila Marcillo-Gomez #**, Laila Martes #**, Cole Martin *, Michael Matarazzo *, Abigail McAneney *, Kyle McCaffrey **, John McCarthy Jr., Grace McKeown #**, Megan Meehan **, Andrew Meyer **, Jake Milmoe, Paige Mizia, Jeffrey Monacelli Jr. #**, Thomas Monroe #**, Caitlin Moore **, Ivan Morales, Megan Moran, Dylan Munjack **

Melanie Naeris #**, Audrey Ng #**, James Nicolai, John Nicolai, Benjamin Niesmertelny **, Madison Nigro #**, Kelly Ann Nulty, Bridget O’Donnell #**, Willian O’ Donnell **, Frank O’Neill *, Jack O’Neill, Cayla Okafor #**

Dean Palmer, Nikhil Parekh #**, Steven Petro, Ciana Popolizio, Andrew Priscoe, Thomas Radigan #**, Emma Ramsthaler #**, Emma Rice #**, Frank Riggio **, Madrid Rodner #**, Alyana Roehrig-Turbitt, Kathryn Romanyshyn #**, Natalie Romanyshyn **, Nicola Rosamilia, Madison Ruggiero *

Joshua Salerno, Jackson Seawright, Edward Selimi *, Maria Serra #**, Aaron Shamouil **, Buster Shick **, Matthew Siegel *,

Brianna Silva, Evan Silvia #**, Stefan Slawski, Gerard Sona *, Taylor Spinelli **, Trevor Spinelli **, Karina Squilanti #**, Savannah Szamborski #**

Steven Tafuri #**, Niko Tietjen **, Wiliam Toomsoo, Dakota Tramel, Arthea Valderrama **, Daniel Valentine **, Veronica Valera #**, Joshua Steven Vargas **, Joshua Tyler Vargas *, Sebastian Vargas *, Olivia Vasalani, Maria Vega, Sophia Villani #**, Joseph Visone **, Mary Elizabeth Wallace #**, Graham Weber **, Drew Weisser **, Catherine Welsh **, Alissa Wendling, Griffin Willner #**, Emily Wynne #**, Daniel Zamloot #**, Alison Zanders #**, Jason Zerin*

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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. Now back in Verona, she contributes to a variety of publications and Web sites, and consults on social media. In Verona, she serves on the Verona Environmental Commission and HBW SCA, and has been part of many other civic and religious groups in town. A graduate of Rutgers University’s Environmental Stewards program, she has also run an after-school program on the environment for elementary school children here. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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