High School Things

High School



This issue is conceived, developed, researched, written, edited, designed, and published by Briana Williams, Sekhena Sembenu, Wendy GUaman, Kimberly Meneces, Dylan Nicholson, Angelica Contreras, Kelsey More, Carol Cobos, Madison Rahn, and Ryan Evande.
This is dedicated to those who face everyday obstacles, such as dealing with procrastination to more serious problems like self-improvement and sexuality. You are not alone. We are here to help you.
Table of Contents

Part I: Preparation

  • How do juniors feel about entering senior year?                                              5
  • Tips on how to prepare for junior year                                                                 6
  • How are 9th, 10th, and 11th graders getting ready  for college?                 7

Part II: Improvements and Accomplishments

  • What is something you have accomplished this year and                      9-10
  • What else do you want to accomplish?
  • What is needed to be done for the ceilings in the East  wing?                  11
  • Motivation for Self-Improvement                                                                       12
  • The struggle of procrastination throughout the school years              13-14
  • How has the high school improved its security ?                                         16

Part III: Unique

  • Choose Happiness                                                                                                   17-19
  • Being a new student                                                                                                  20

Part I: Preparation

How Do Juniors Feel About Entering Senior Year?

By Briana Williams

The transition between two grades can be challenging, especially going from junior year to senior year. Here are some juniors who shared how they felt about the big change.

“I’m excited yet scared because I’m worrying about colleges, and what’s to come after high school.”

  • Evelyn Ceballos

“It’s nerve-wracking but exciting at the same time.”

  • Kathryn Davis

“I’m excited to be coming closer to experiencing a college lifestyle.”

  • Matthew Tieleman

“Going into senior year, I feel like my hard work and positive attitude has contributed a lot to my academics and sports. I feel confident, and although this year has been stressful, I made it through and am ready for what senior year has to bring my way.”

  • Leah Gomez


Tips On How to Prepare For Junior Year

By Sekhena Sembenu

The first two years of high school is when students are transitioning from middle school to high school, trying to find their balance. When many hear the word “junior,” they start stressing. Don’t stress. Here are some tips from juniors themselves, on how to prepare for junior year.

“The most important things to remember for junior year are to not procrastinate, manage your time wisely, think about what you want to do for your future, and just make sure you’re mentally prepared for what’s to come.”

-Valerie Dikitanan

“Always stay on top of your schoolwork and make sure you maintain a good GPA when applying to colleges.”

-Jaylynn Washington

Other Tips

  • Prepare for standardized tests (SAT/ACT)
  • Consider possible majors
  • Start researching colleges
  • Search for scholarships
  • Interact with teachers
  • Challenge yourself




How are 9th, 10th, and 11th Graders Getting Ready For Their Future?

By Dylan Nicholson

With seniors getting ready for graduation, we wondered how the underclassmen prepare themselves for doing the same.

Ninth, tenth, and eleventh graders have been interviewed for insight on how they will prepare.

Freshman Vincent Meglil, said, “I’m preparing for college by looking at schools, tuition rates, and acceptance rates.”

Sophomore Keyannia Munroe, said, “looking at colleges, scholarships that could work for me. What’s most important is what I can afford.”

Juniors are likely to start doing a full search of colleges to attend. Junior Xavier Cherry said he’s preparing himself by, “taking SAT prep classes, and I’m looking at schools and stuff, seeing the requirements for the colleges I’m thinking of going to.” Another junior, Dailyn Nicholson, who attends Bergen Tech, said she has been preparing for college “by getting good grades and getting involved in extracurricular activities so that when I apply for a college, they’ll accept me.” She has even been on six college tours so far, already looking into a college she’d like to attend.

It certainly seems freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are doing what they can to prepare themselves for college.

Part II: Improvements and Accomplishments

What is Something You Have Accomplished this Year and What Else Do You Want to Accomplish?  

By Angelica Contreras

The school year can be rough and you may want it to end because you have been stressed with overloads of work, but being in school teaches you many things that are to come in the future. It’s good to share your recent accomplishments because it boosts your self-confidence. No accomplishment is too small, it’s still a big achievement.

I went around my high school asking someone from each grade what they accomplished this school year and the freshman that I ultimately decided to interview was Mekhi Walker. When I first asked him about his big achievements he made this year he couldn’t think of any because other people didn’t see them as big accomplishments. No one should ever think that way because any accomplishment is very important and it deserves praise. I told him, “Your accomplishment still is an accomplishment even if you think it’s not one.” One of the accomplishments he made was getting gold honor roll two times. That achievement is really spectacular because when you’re a freshman, everything is nerve-racking to you since you’re at a new school and adjusting to different ways of teaching. Another accomplishment he made was in varsity track running the 400 in 55.8 seconds.

During my sophomore school year I have been really proud of myself because I have finally did what I’ve been saying I wanted to do for three years; my proudest achievements were eating healthy, mainly vegetables and fruits. I go for walks and I’m being more active which resulted in losing 10 pounds in two months and I’m still striving to do more.  Another one was not getting any F’s or D’s. That accomplishment may seem unimpressive but I struggled keeping my grades up.The accomplishments I want to achieve in the near future, including getting gold honor roll each marking period while having a nice job and saving up money for college.

My brother, a junior, had a lot of accomplishments, one being changing his lifestyle and being more caring and helping around the house as well as outside of the house. Another accomplishment was keeping his grades up to only A’s and B’s. He was so surprised with what he has accomplished.

Remember that your dreams can come true, and anything is possible. You can pursue any dream you want. The accomplishments that are made in high school is just the start of your magnificent life.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” ~ Yolanda Gail Devers, retired track and field athlete


Repairing the Ceilings in East Wing and the Main Gym

By Kelsey More

A Comet reporter spoke to Principal Montesanto to interview him about the ceilings and what his plans are to fix them. Rooms on the second floor of the east wing and the main gym roof have been damaged by leaks.

The Hackensack High School building was built in 1918 which means the building has been experiencing a century’s worth of damage. The main gym and east wing have been approved to have any needed repairs done.

The repairs are going to start the day after graduation and may last until the end of summer vacation.

The cost of all the repairs is still unknown. The funding has been approved by the Board of Ed.

Mr. Montesano explained they have a new company that will maintain and stay proactive to any damages.

Roof leaks damaged ceilings in classrooms and in the main gym but with the school taking action, all repairs should be completed by the next school year.


Motivation for Improvement  

By Kimberly Meneses

Throughout our lifetime, we set goals for ourselves Whether it’s for the new year, or simply because we want to become a better version of ourselves. While some of us will manage to achieve these goals, others will simply give up or never start. A big part of whether or not you succeed is how dedicated and motivated you are to achieving your goal.

Motivation has everything to do with the success of your journey to achieving what you want. For example, people whose goal is to lose weight and become healthy may do it to prove their ex wrong. Of course, this will serve its purpose. At some point, that motivation will run out since you can only prove them wrong once.

What is going to motivate you after you have reached that goal? You! You have to believe in yourself and continue and build off of that.

Another example is cutting toxic people out of your life. It is going to be one of the hardest things you have to do. Those people that you have become dependent on and comfortable around, that are no good for you, need to leave. You deserve to be happy and if they’re not helping you, they’re only hurting you. They do not deserve you.

To be emotionally, mentally, and physically stable is hard. It is something we all want but we don’t always get, whether it’s through improving our health or creating a better surrounding. In order to achieve this, we must work for it. It is best to do it for yourself, because as long as you know it’s for you and no one else, you will continue to work hard and want better for yourself. To all those who are working towards their goals, you got this!


The Struggle of Procrastination Throughout the School Year

By Madison Rahn

Procrastination is the action of delaying or postponing something, or the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. This is a big issue;  even I procrastinated while writing this article (how ironic). Yes, everyone deals with it, some have it more severe than others. Usually it’s more common within students of levels that obtain endless assignments and exams. In my perspective, I deal with this issue pretty often and it becomes extreme. Fortunately, there are ways of coping with procrastination.

There are daily coping mechanisms that can be easily used. First, the cause of avoiding a task must be identified and how it’s stopping the certain engagement. In most cases, anxiety is the foundation of the problem, which leads to putting the objective until the last minute or just not doing anything at all. When stuck in the state of procrastination you must reward yourself when completing said task to provide motivation and concentration. For example, let’s say you have to clean your room. Obviously cleaning is one of the most avoided chores, but think about the end result. Once the task is accomplished, gift yourself one of your favorite beverages or snacks that you’ve been craving, which makes the responsibility worthwhile.

Another main reason as to why everything gets put to the last minute is because of overthinking. This is when you have to notify yourself that any task is never as complicated as rocket science. Unwind and relax with ways that create you to maintain calm and productive. Then the starting of accomplishing the task is the next step. Be sure that there are no distractions around the area that could create you to avoid the responsibilities even more, such as the TV, talking to a friend, a cell phone, or even a computer that can lead you to all sorts of social media and other forms of entertainment.

According to Psychology Today and U.S.News, procrastination itself isn’t a mental illness, at times it ties in with other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and so on. If someone is dealing with one of these chronic conflicts, they must first receive help for those specific issues, which could cure or at least reduce the procrastination being dealt with as well. There are medications that allegedly diminish its tendencies, such as Modafinil, Provigil, Adderall, and Ritalin.

The various treatments are used as study aids for students from high school to medical school and then to the professors that teach them. Estimates proved that about one in ten college students use these medications for chronic procrastination and other issues. Psychology Today reveals that the most often utilized drug is Ritalin (usually prescribed to ADHD sufferers), which provides the best results in decreasing the conflict while also increasing spatial memory, concentration, and alertness. Therefore, there are medications for the issue being discussed, however, there is currently no treatment that specifically cures only procrastination.

Overall, numerous amounts of people deal with procrastination, some more severe than others. Thankfully, the issue can be dealt with using various coping mechanisms or medication. In the end, find the resolution and don’t procrastinate because if a task is put off to the last minute, the only person suffering is you.

How Has the High School Improved its Security?

By Wendy Guaman

      In the last couple of years, some schools have implemented cameras or security guards throughout their schools. The cameras allow supervisors to ensure both students and staff are safe.

In the high school, there is an officer patroling the areas that the cameras can’t see. A couple weeks ago in the wrestling gym a door was added, but why? It was added to improve safety because a person could easily walk in without anyone seeing and everyone would be in danger.           

Principal Motensano said, ‘“Yes it had because it makes us and the students step back and  realize what’s happening. Next year we will have more security, three officers. One is going to be on duty from 7:00 am to 11:00 am. The other officer would be walking around in the school. The third officer would exchange with the first officer to 11:00am to 3:00 p.m because students have practices.”                                                


Part III: Unique
Choose Happiness

By Carol Cobos

“Don’t tell me, tell me what I feel’’ -Hayley Kiyoko

As both a lesbian and Hispanic teen, I have faced many struggles that the average teen would not have to. Not only have I overcome coming out to my family and friends, but other stigmas surrounding the “norm” for a hispanic girl.

I just want to be clear and say that if you know for a fact that if it is not safe to come out to your family, please don’t. Always look out for your well being, but if you’re hesitating and waiting for the right time to tell your parents who have reassured you many times they do not mind, go for it.

In December, I was basically forced to tell my mother that I was a lesbian even though I was not ready. From that day on, I have learned that if you wait for the right moment, it will never happen. I had many fears of coming out to my mom due to how spiritual most Hispanics are. Although my mom raised me telling me gay was okay, there was always a factor that would make her hesitate to say her statement. I had been dragged down a hole of lies. I was never happy about the character I made myself to be around my family. I stopped advocating for the LGBT+ community, I made up fake boys to talk about, or sometimes I would pretend the girl I liked was actually a boy so that my mom wouldn’t become curious as to why I never talked about boys. I was suddenly being swallowed alive, and I became more and more depressed as I had built a space between the relationship my mom and I had because I was extremely scared to say something that might suggest that I was gay.

The first day I came out, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I felt so free and the lies were just gone. As days passed, my mood started to go down, I became even more depressed than when I was lying to my family. My mom would barely look at me, it was like all our ties had been cut. What I failed to see was a struggling mother, who was raised on spiritual beliefs, about how being gay was bad. She grew up thinking that it was unacceptable, and when she had three girls, she envisioned her daughters’ future with a husband and kids. The typical thing a cisgender heterosexual person would offer a family. She began talking to people, telling them what she was worried about; me being alone, not bringing her grandchildren, just overall worries any parent would have.

Throughout these days I began to question myself a lot. I tried to look at boys and develop an interest in them. I tried to fit myself into a box where I did not belong. I wanted to please my mother but I couldn’t. I had to stay true to myself and choose happiness. Yes, I could potentially fit myself into the straight heterosexual box, but that would harm me both emotionally and mentally. After breaking down in front of my mother, she explained to me that I only had to please myself, not her. She told me to choose happiness, and although I thought she was lying and not being serious about accepting me as a lesbian, I have seen her character grow. The acceptance she has for it, the way she is so opened to talking about girls.

Although, the problem was solved with my mother, I still have to live with the stigma of a Hispanic lesbian. Overall, the media represents the LGBT+ as skinny white kids who look cisgender and fail to show Hispanics overall. Therefore, having us grow up thinking only kids that look like them could be gay. Not only that, but Hispanic girls are conditioned to prepare to have a husband. You need to clean, cook, do housewife duties to fulfill the tasks a woman has. Especially with the “Y el novio?” question that tias ask when you go over for dinner. I remember when I was 10 and was asked how I would get a boyfriend if I did not know how to cook. Hispanic kids have to grow up around a sexist culture. This makes the process harder because a lot of us grow up thinking a man has to take care of us. In reality, the only person who will take care of you, is yourself. You know your needs and what you feel, no matter how much people like to tell you otherwise. Having a partner is just a bonus for all of this.

Tying everything together, the struggles of being Hispanic and gay, are just the beginning. Overall, we make the minority and growing up in a predominantly white male world, can crush our spirits. We not only have to put up with the typical gay slurs, but also how we are put down by men, if we dare to take a position higher than them. For example, last year a white male who held rank over me, argued with me about what the A in LGBTQIA stood for. He claimed that it stood for allies, and I argued that it didn’t. Keep in mind he is not part of the LGBT community. He failed to include asexuals, aromantics, and agenders. Although we do appreciate the support, but the LGBT community is for LGBT people. It is our safe place and when people say the A stands for allies, it excludes the people it actually stands for and makes them feel like they do not belong.

Lastly, you don’t have to be an activist just because you’re gay. I know that people sometimes attack me for sometimes choosing to stay quiet. Although, yes, we should fight for our rights, we can’t be forced to do it. Especially with all the different reasons as to why you personally cannot participate in any of the activism. Just not wanting to participate is okay. People who shame you for it should be ignored.

No matter if it’s physical, emotional, political, choose happiness and do you.

Being a New Student at a School

By Ryan Evande

Being a new student at a school and not knowing anyone prior to your arrival can be very stressful. I can relate to this problem because I transferred to Hackensack High School. Dealing with this struggle lays a heavy burden on a lot of kids. The new kid on the block is mostly known for either making a big impact as a fun person or a quiet introvert. Here are some tips to help you make friends in your new school::

  • Don’t be afraid to make conversation with someone
  • If you are lost, ask for help
  • Learn to adapt to your new surroundings
  • Stay positive!
  • Popularity means absolutely nothing

How do you adjust if you’re a transfer to a new school?

The easiest way to adjust to a new school is to learn the ins and outs. Talk to your teachers, read the school handbook, and know your schedule.


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