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Notes to the Class of 2020

Compiled By Mrs. Dalton and Mrs. Davis

For as long as we can remember, The Thunderbird has honored the graduating class in the final issue of the school year, often referred to as the Senior Issue. This has become a beloved tradition with reflections from seniors, highlights from spring activities and sports, and the always highly anticipated list of post-graduation plans. This year, however, is ending a little differently than years past. When we left the grounds of HSE on March 13th, no one knew that it would be the last time we would gather in person for this school year. No one knew that closure was not something we would get as we have in years past, finishing up finals and anxiously racing toward the summer sun. No one knew how our lives were about to change in unprecedented ways. As it has always been, with all great change, comes great opportunity to create new traditions. The class of 2020 deserves all of the pomp and circumstance afforded to graduating classes of past years. You are unique in so many ways, in part because you will always be remembered as a piece of something bigger. No matter where your journey takes you, never forget where you came from because you will always have a home here, and you will always be a TBird. With this in mind, it is with great pride that we present you with a compilation of notes to the Class of 2020. 

To the Class of 2020,

Your collective strength and resolve has been an inspiration. These moments have prepared you for many of life’s obstacles that you have yet to encounter. As I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, remain safe, stay healthy….BE STRONG! -Dr. Strong

Although we never could’ve predicted your senior year ending as it did, I am extremely proud of the way that you all have handled it.  It has been a pleasure working closely with you as the senior class administrator and wish you great luck on all of your future endeavors. -Mr. Kindelmann

I congratulate all of you for successfully completing the requirements for graduation. You have worked so hard, and it is now time to enjoy this achievement. I hope your futures are full of many opportunities and even more great achievements. – Ms. Trotter

At the end of each day, take a long, deep breath and remember what is most important to you.  Hold true to your values and goals, and don’t settle for anything else.  The adversity you have had to contend with will only make your success that much sweeter.  It has been a true pleasure walking the halls with you.  Until we meet again…-Mr. Perskin

I had the privilege of working with you as both a Teacher and as an Administrator. Your high school career began with a transition from middle school and concludes as society transitions from a life-changing season. You could not have anticipated this interruption; however as we honor your graduation, I hope you can ponder the lessons and experiences that have come from the past three months and your four years at High School East. As you enter the next transition I encourage you to find joy in both your blessings and trials, as the testing of your resolve brings perseverance and strength to your character and spirit. Peace, Comfort, and Congratulations!-Mr. Hantzschel

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths” (Walt Disney).  Best of luck to the class of 2020!!! -Mrs. Angileri

“Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.” I will miss you but know that you are prepared to go out there and conquer the world! For my Hills East musicians, the music wing will never be the same without you, and I hope that you keep in touch. Remember to always keep music in your life, one way or another. -Mrs. Benstock

Congratulations to the class of 2020! You will definitely go down in the history books.  Although we are not able to physically be together to celebrate this momentous occasion, your High School East family is with you in spirit.  We are wishing you all the best and continued success in your futures! You will certainly be missed! -Ms. Blackburn

I have had the privilege to work with and get to know so many of you.  Each of you has left a lasting mark on me.  You have been an extraordinary group that will go on to accomplish greatness.  Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!  You will always remain an important part of High School East’s history. With love and admiration. -Sra. Blitzer

I wish each of you happiness and success in the future! That road to success, it’s always under construction, as you know. May your journey be filled with love, determination, gratitude, and peace. Be kind with yourself and others. HSE will always remember you. Now go and be awesome out there!!  -Ms. Booth 

Congratulations, Class of 2020! I wish you all of the best on your new endeavors. I want to leave you with the following words from Steve Jobs: ”Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”-Mrs. Brown

To one of the most unique high school classes of all time, best of luck in all you do! -Mr. Beatty

I wish you joy and happiness today and always. You are now a high school graduate, and as you begin your new life, try to stay true to yourself.  While a college student, realize that it is more than taking classes and becoming more independent. You are transitioning into an adult and hopefully a productive member of our society. I always liked these two quotes from Mark Twain:“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.” -Mrs. Carroll

You’ve spent the last four years building memories in high school; don’t let the last 3 months of that overshadow everything else you’ve experienced. You’ve built relationships, discovered new people, developed new interests, and started developing into the person you want to be. High school may be over, but don’t view this as an ending; it is time to take everything you’ve learned and built here into the next step of your life. We are all so proud and hope for the best for each and every one of you, and don’t forget where you came from! -Mr. Joe Campanelli (Science Teacher, not Guidance Counselor)

Michael Scott from “The Office” may have the best line to remember your senior year and this pandemic: “And I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” One day you will all look back on this and realize you survived the craziness. Just remember, all the hard work you put in up until this point does not get negated by these last few months. You have all earned this. – Mr. Gary Campanelli (Guidance Counselor, not Science teacher)

Congratulations Class of 2020! Our future looks bright because of you! Thanks for the memories. You will be missed!-Mr. Cappiello

Congratulations Class of 2020! Be the change you want to see in the world!!-Mrs. Cappiello

Your senior year is not how any of us imagined. Watching you mature throughout your time at East has been a true pleasure. This growth has prepared you well for the transition to distance learning and beyond. I am honored to have been a part of your journey. Thank you!– Mrs. Carusillo

This is one of my favorite quotes from the book Life of Pi: “Things didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, but what can you do? You must take life

the way it comes at you and make the best of it.” Believe in yourself; you will do amazing things. -Jung Kim-Cho

And so the adventure begins…Congratulations today and best wishes for all of your tomorrows! -Mrs. Ciofrone

To the graduating class of 2020, I want to express how proud I am to have been a part of your high school experience. The energy you generated and the compassion you demonstrated during your time at High School East is unforgettable. Although your senior year ended in a bittersweet way, I want to say “thank you” for enriching the lives of so many whose paths you crossed. A new chapter begins for you now. Shine on!  -Mr. Citrano

Best of luck in the coming years.  You are a great class with so many unforgettable memories.  Some of you I first met at West Hollow on the football field as 7th graders.  Although we may have to go to the spread in the Fall, fear not for the Wedge will return.  -Coach Conway

Recent events have given us a harsh reminder of what matters most in life. You understand this more than any other graduating class that has come before you.  Stay true to yourself, and the sky is the limit.  Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. Best wishes for a happy and successful future.-Ms. Cunningham

This may not be the way you expected your senior year to end, but it is most certainly a reminder that this is not the end; this is only the beginning. Don’t let the last few months define your past or control your future; your purpose is so much bigger than all of this. Remember, “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day!” Your tomorrow is up to you, so seize the opportunity to make it magical.  -Mrs. Dalton  

Congratulations to the Class of 2020. I know you all did not get your high schoolending that was expected but remember that graduation marks a beginning to a whole new adventure. You will always have warm memories of your years at HSE and big dreams for the future.You’ve worked hard to achieve your goals, and now you’re on your way to seek new ones. Best of luck and congratulations! -Mrs. Davis

It’s times like these that help you see how much strength you truly have, when you are able to see the positives in a tough situation and celebrate a moment that turned out differently than expected. I wish you the best of luck in your next chapter! You are the most acknowledged graduating class of all time. Congratulations!-Mrs. Diodato 

The ending to your senior year may not have been what you expected but don’t forget about all of your accomplishments. Graduation marks the end of a huge part of your life that helped frame who you are today. I wish you all the best of luck in wherever life takes you next. Remember you are always a TBird, and the class of 2020 will never be forgotten! Congratulations, you did it! -Ms. D’Onofrio

We are very proud of all of your accomplishments as you graduate from HS East. Keep in touch with your high school friends while also branching out and making new friends in college. Join a variety of clubs in college, explore electives that weren’t offered in high school, and know how to balance both your academics and your social life. The next four years will be exciting for you. We will miss you very much! Thanks for being the wonderful class of 2020.-Mrs. Elgavisch

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020.  I know that we never imagined a pandemic could alter our lives so much.  As you graduate, look forward to your bright future and enjoy this next chapter in your lives. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.-Ms. Friscia

Congratulations!  I know this isn’t the way you wanted your last year of high school to end, but here we are. Try not to think about what you’ve lost, but rather think about what you’ve gained, which hopefully is some perspective. You will carry this experience for the rest of your life, which will help you be an even better person than you were before all of this happened. I wish you the best of luck, health, and happiness as you continue on your lifelong journey.-Mr. Goldman

You are a very special group. I want to wish you all the best in your future. Sending hugs and lots of love, keep smiling! -Mrs Grant

Congratulations on a job well done! While this journey may not be as you anticipated, know that you are a group of very special individuals who will make a tremendous impact on this world. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness! -Mrs. Hardenburgh 

Look forward to the future. Look forward to defining yourself in this world. Find the thing that means everything to you and go after it. Whether that thing is as grand as going to Mars or as simple as planting a garden here on Earth, enjoy it to the fullest. Love your life. Love where you come from, love where you’re going, and, in the meantime, love the journey. Good luck class of 2020!-Mr. Harrigan

Congratulations on your accomplishments and graduation! Wishing you all the best in the future. -Mrs. Hodermarsky

An Irish blessing: May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness comes through your door. Best of luck to the Class of 2020! -Miss Hogan

I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate the class of 2020 on all your achievements throughout your high school career.  I know that this is not the way anyone wanted it to end but I know the memories you have all made will last a lifetime.  Stay positive and Stay strong.  We will miss you all and thank you for everything you have done for High School East. – Mrs. Horbach

Congratulations Seniors! Ok, so this year didn’t end the way we all thought it would, but whatever- you’re still amazing and should totally be proud of all you’ve accomplished. Curtain is rising on the next Act of your lives. Get out there and enjoy it! Standing ovations for all!!! -Mr. Iconis

This may not be how you pictured the end of your senior year, but may it be a reminder of your strength to overcome adversity and your ability to succeed. Congratulations and best wishes to you all! -Mrs. Jacobs

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Although this was not the ending you were hoping for, it will be one you will always remember!  I have enjoyed working with so many of you over these last four years, and one thing I will always remember is the laughter we shared.  Good luck as you begin the next chapter, and remember we will always be here, cheering you on! -Mrs. Kane

I know this isn’t how you envisioned your senior year ending, but there are brighter days ahead. Remember a few things…ALWAYS go to class (even if they’re online), check in with your family at least once a week, and know that you’ve got this! -Mrs. Kramer

Congratulations on your well-deserved success and graduation from high school. I’m so proud of all of your accomplishments, and I know your futures hold so much promise. May you never allow circumstances beyond your control to cloud your wonderful memories of high school. Often, in the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity – use this as a chance to excel and live the life you’ve always dreamed of.  -Ms. Lagis

I know this is not how we planned to end our year together, but I want  you to know that despite the distance and having to stay at home, I have never felt closer to all of you.  Hearing about all of your great news on Commitment Day and about your future plans makes me so excited for you! I am so proud of all of your accomplishments and hope that you continue to work hard. Remember the lessons that you learned in my class. Explore the world, embrace new cultures, and most importantly practice your Spanish! Congratulations Class of 2020 and best of luck!– Señora Lantier

We are used to telling our seniors that a whole new world lies in front of them; never has this been more true than it is for you. We have missed so much these past couple of months, and it’s so hard to say goodbye and good luck from a computer, but it is what we have to do. I can’t wait to hear from all of you about the great things you are involved in after HSE. Please stay in touch, stay informed, and do what makes YOU happy. Cheers to our seniors!– Liegey

Hi Chicos, First of all, I’m sorry that your final year of high school had to end so abruptly and in this way, but I do have a rainbow at the end of the rain storm. “Every exit is an entrance to somewhere else.” Don’t think about this negatively; think about what you have learned from this and what it will do to help you in your future, in our future. I know that you will all go on to have great success in whatever you choose to do. Take a look at the positive side of what is going on here; I hope your glass is half full. Best of luck to you all, and I hope that you will let us know how you are in the future. ¡Buena suerte y que estén bien!-Sr. Lorusso

Congratulations to the High School East graduating class of 2020. Wishing you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors! -Señora Lipman

You’re graduating! A heartfelt congratulations for a bright, successful future! You’ve worked hard to get here but have only just begun. Having been where you are now, I would like to share a tip from personal life experience: work hard for others and apply your talents for the good of others and the planet, and you will be handsomely rewarded! Your graduation is a change, and it’s a big one! The greater lesson: Father Time continues his cadence, marking the years, a reminder that everything is changing and growing, that you are changing and growing and that change is inevitable and a constant of nature – she is always changing; take a quiet moment and meditate on this; it provides solace in a rapidly changing world and allows one, at least for a moment, to regain their center, to be in harmony with that greater world and universe above and beyond. Take that moment! May I also suggest reading the great poem “High Flight” by John Gillepsie Magee. -Mr. Madigan

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves” (William Shakespeare). Seniors always have a unique story to tell about their final year of high school. Your story is very different from every class before you.  Tell your story.  Celebrate your story.  Celebrate everything about you. Congratulations High School East Class of 2020.  Cheers to the next chapter in your story!-Mrs. Mahoney

Congratulations Class of 2020! I am immensely proud of you and share in the disappointment of not seeing you celebrated in person, but my advice to you is to focus on the positive. This occasion marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter. Remember to go after what you want and to stay humble along the way because there is a lot that awaits you. Best of luck for your future. -Ms. Martinez

What a long, strange trip it’s been!  With a little luck, one day, this pandemic will be just another brick in the wall.  As Pink Floyd suggested teachers should, I hope we have done you little harm, and rather, done something good. Perhaps in meeting all those deadlines and rising above difficulty, teachers did actually help you develop some resiliency; I hope so.  One day this pandemic will be nothing more than a story you will tell your children and perhaps grandchildren; a lesson for maintaining perspective.  So keep on truckin, and don’t let difficulty define you because the past is just a bunch of bricks in the wall.  You’ve got the ways and means, so look to the future and become the change you hope for- even if you have to do that from a computer in your bedroom for a while.  Love you all, and miss you all, Mac. PS- I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge The Grateful Dead whose lyrics I paraphrased along with those of Pink Floyd.-McCormack

Congratulations to the HSE class of 2020! Walt Disney once said, “First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare.” My wish for you all is to go out and dream big. I can’t wait to see what you do!-Ms. McNierney

It has been said that “difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations”….I have no doubt all of you will find yourselves somewhere beautiful many times in your lives. Treasure those places, and celebrate how strong you had to be to get there!-Dr. McRoy

Well, you are off and well prepared for the great life you will discover ahead. Know that I will think of you often and fondly, and I wish you all many successes. Be sure to take all that you have learned from being part of the Art room and pay it forward.  -Mrs. Mead 

Wishing you all much success! Remember to stay positive and see the brighter side of things.  Find what inspires you, gives you passion, and brings you joy. Stay strong and focused. You can reach your goals. Be well and stay safe! -Ms. B. Merejo

To all you seniors, especially those of you that I have been lucky to call my students these past four years, I am so excited for you all as you’re about to graduate and begin this next chapter of your life!!! Always remember to appreciate the simple things, stop and smell the roses, and whatever it is that makes you happy, follow your heart and live your very own “dolce vita.” I miss you all, as you know because I tell you every week, and I wish you all the absolute best in your futures!!! I’m here for you always; stay in touch!-Signora Miller

Wishing the HSE class of 2020 all great things as they move on to their next adventure !!! Be Confident, Be Patient,Be you!!!!-Ms. Mouzakes

Good Luck class of 2020! I can’t wait to hear about all the amazing things you will do in the future. Wishing you all good luck and happiness. We will miss you!-Mrs. Nolan

I wish you all the best and most wonderful things in this world.  I will miss you and look forward to hearing all your tales of life and success. Here are a few words of wisdom to keep in mind as you navigate your journey. Remember to live in the NOW. Life is in the now, there is no past and there is no future, “When the future comes it will be a moment of now” (Mo Gawdat). Remember always to take responsibility for yourself: your actions, your failures, your successes, your happiness. “Happiness is not a coincidence, it is not given to you by life, it’s entirely our responsibility” (Mo Gawdat). XO.  -Ms. Pakula

“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it” (Charles Swindoll). I truly believe this quote will help you find your way through all the chapters of your life. You can’t control what happens all the time, but you can always control how you react to and handle a situation. Wishing you all the best for whatever path you might choose in the future. Be kind. Love with all your heart. And never give up.-Mrs. Prinzevalli

Soon you are going to college. For me, it is like seeing my toddler walk on his own. Some of you  might feel uncomfortable as you walk unsteadily. Some of you might fall at first. Some of you might walk tentatively because you are afraid of falling. I want to assure you, it is all normal. It takes time to walk confidently, but as long as you keep taking baby steps, you will see with surprise that you will reach your destination. Please also remember to call your parents and tell them, “Don’t worry, I am safe and I love you!” -Mrs. Reitz

You’re the only class in all of the classes that this has happened to; therefore, your class is special and will live in perpetuity. This is a good lesson to take with you on life’s journey;  you’re going to run into stumbling blocks, no doubt, but see the positive, no matter how bleak it may seem. What matters is not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up!  -Mr. Repper

Congratulations on leaving High School East! I know this uncertain time has negatively impacted your end-of-the-year festivities but think of it as a little bump in the road. You will come back strong, and you are a very special bunch. Good luck on going off to college or other endeavors, and please stay in touch along the way. I know I enjoyed forming relationships with my former students, and I’ll miss seeing so many of you! Work hard, have some fun along the way, and may good fortune and health follow you always! -Mr. Russo

Congratulations!! Take a deep breath. Continue to inspire others as you have me. I will miss you! -Mrs. Schebece (HSE Nurse)

Sending hugs and warm wishes for a future filled with opportunity to be the best you can be! -Ms. Schmitt

To quote Walt Disney:  “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” So very sorry that your Senior year of high school had to end this way; however, there is so much more excitement, adventure, and exploring for you to do in the years ahead! Wishing you all everything that you would wish for yourselves!-Mrs. Schwartz



Petite note pour mes élèves adorés – Quatre années d’aventure avec vous! Quatre belle années avec des rires et des pleurs mais quatre inoubliables et mémorables années. Vous allez me manquer mais avant de vous quitter, je voulais vous envoyer ce petit message pour vous féliciter et vous souhaiter le meilleur que la vie puisse vous offrir. N’oubliez pas de créer des liens. Pensez que vous serez toujours unique pour moi et je serai toujours unique pour vous comme la rose dans le Petit Prince. “On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux” (Antoine de Saint Exupéry).  La classe est ……. !-Madame Si

Congratulations Hills East Class of 2020!  While your final days at HSE were not typical, use that experience to remind yourself that you should also strive to be more than typical!  Always follow your own path in life…unless you are lost in the woods, then follow that path.  Best of luck and much love! -Mr. Simon 

I wish you all the goodness and happiness life has to offer. Be kind, work hard, and love all! Pax et Bonum! -Mr. Smyrk

Congratulations!  You are a class that is innovative, determined and resilient.  I am confident that with your talents and skills, that you will make a positive difference in the world. I wish you the best of everything that life has to offer you!  Best wishes in all of your future endeavors!  -Mrs. Southard

Congratulations on all of your accomplishments. You’ve worked extremely hard for several years, and you deserve great things. Even though we haven’t seen you in many months, you will never be forgotten.Follow your heart and good luck with what I’m sure will be a bright future. Love and miss you all.-Dr. Stabile

As a graduating class, you may have had the most practice of this idea than any other graduating class before you. Focus on what you can control, and don’t worry about what you can’t! You control your reactions and responses to what you face everyday, so focus on those, and you will be able to achieve great things. Fall in love with the process of becoming great because under pressure you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training. Go be great!-Mr. Strack

The memories we’ve made with you in the HSE Music Wing will never be forgotten. Through your study of music you have shown dedication, expanded your talent, and become more compassionate human beings!  You are now a part of the incredible legacy of the High School East Music Program, and we could not be more proud. You understand the amazing impact music can have, and we encourage you to share this gift with others. It has truly been an honor and privilege to see you all grow up these past four years. We wish you all nothing but the best and will miss you!  -Mrs. Strom and Ms. Schwarzman

Behind you, all your memories. Before you, all your dreams. Around you, all who love you. Within you, all you need. Although it wasn’t the ending we envisioned, you did it! Congratulations on your graduation! All the best. -Ms. Talleur

I am so proud of all of you.  You all have worked so hard, and it has finally paid off!  I wish you wondrous things for your future.  Remember these words from John D. Rockefeller: “Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.” Congratulations!  -Ms. Toneatti

Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors! I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you over the past four years, and I wish you all the best as you move forward to face the challenges and opportunities ahead. Best of luck in your future endeavors, be kind to each other, and remember to take good care of this fantastic planet that we all share! -Ms. Watson

As a photography teacher, I can’t help but connect our lives to a camera.  Always focus on the positive, and if life gets blurry, take a deep breath and refocus. I wish you a lifetime of success, happiness, and adventure. Sending love and well wishes now and always.-Mrs. Uttendorfer 


Wishing you all the best of luck in the future. Remember that true character is built through excelling through challenges, and no one is promised an easy life. Be honest, work hard, and stand up and protect those who are less fortunate than you. Be cautious but not so cautious you avoid challenges. Failure is temporary and you will be an example of a success story for some other graduating senior one day. Don’t sip at life…Gulp it. -Mr Zaiff


And, so, we wish you congratulations for all you’ve accomplished, hope for all you’ve yet to achieve, and strength to create a future that will change the world for the better. We know that we are the lucky ones because we’ve been a part of your journey. We’ll always be here cheering you on from afar. Once a TBird, always a TBird.