Summer Issue

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This issue was conceived, developed, researched,

written, edited, designed, and published by

Eleni Tsirikos, Geraldine Castro, John Velecela,

Samiha Miah, Kelly Toalongo, and Aaron Frias


Summer Plans in New Jersey

By Eleni Tsirikos

There are a variety of activities to do during the summer.

Van Saun Park, Metlife Stadium, the Jersey Shore, Six Flags/Hurricane Harbor, Adventure Aquarium, and Turtle Back Zoo are some places that are within a decent distance from or within the Bergen County area.

Here is a list of some places nearby and their costs:

Name of Location City, State Minimum Cost – Maximum Cost
Van Saun Park Paramus, NJ Free- $8.00
Metlife Stadium (Concert) East Rutherford, NJ $30-$1,000
Jersey Shore Sandy Hook, NJ

Atlantic City, NJ

Point Pleasant, NJ

$15 per car

$8-$14 ($18 season badge)

$6-$10 ($100 season pass)

Six Flags Jackson, NJ $60
Adventure Aquarium Camden, NJ $20-$35
Turtle Back Zoo West Orange, NJ Free- $15


The chart depicted above displays the many possibilities that can be experienced during the summertime, with coordinating, reasonably priced fees. You can spend an entire day at the zoo, park, or at an aquarium. You don’t always have to go across seas or to a different country, in order to have fun over the break. Others may think going on vacation is better than staying home or visiting attractions nearby, but that is merely up to the person.

There are many local venues across New Jersey that many vacationers overlook. Summer memories can still be cherished and experienced at these places.


Affordable Summer Activities

By Geraldine Castro

Many people are excited for the upcoming summer, but don’t even know what they’re going to do over the next two months―two months in which they will probably sit at home, scrolling through their phones, looking at all the fun other people are having. Now is the time to plan, plan, plan, and talk to people about how much fun you’re going to have even if you’re on a budget―it can still be a fun summer. This article will help those in need of affordable activities to do.

One thing many people love doing over the summer is going to music festivals, but if you’re on a budget you may find it hard to go to one, but have no fear: there’s always a way. One of those ways is litter picking; because festival sites get completely covered in trash, many festivals sites hire a temporary staff to help clear away the garbage. You’ll need to sign up with the company in advance and complete certain shifts over the weekend. You will also need to know that it’s not the nicest job you can have, but hey―it does give you the chance to watch your favourite band for free, which is the bonus.

Another thing you can do over the summer is go on a hike anywhere because walking is free, and walking in nature can be liberating. Even in Japan, they have something called a Shinrin-Yoku, which is a “forest bathing trip.” You can take as many of these as you want. Depending on where you live, you might have to drive or pay parking fees, but look for a little spot of nature and enjoy some time to yourself.

Do you have friends who have their own kayaks or canoes? Offer to clean for them or house sit for them on their next trip, in exchange for borrowing their gear. You can also do an online search for free kayaking in your city; some cities offer days where you can rent the boats for free. One place you can go kayaking is the Downtown Boathouse which opened on Saturday, May 19th. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, kayaking on the Hudson River is a great way to spend an afternoon in New York.

New York is known as an expensive city. Many of the city’s premier attractions including museums, galleries and performances offer free entry or pay-what-you-wish options, why not indulge in those free museum days? Therefore, check for the museums that will offer free days, weekly or monthly, and go early to enjoy the art and culture. There are also tons of free museums in NJ such as the Heritage Glass Museum where you can see antique glassworker tools, hand blown glass to vintage bottles, and paperweights. It features more than 200 years of South Jersey glass. The museum is located in the Stately Hollybush Mansion.

Productive Summer Activities

By John Velecela

Volunteering for different activities over the summer can help a student get back into the habit of being in school. Finding websites and searching through the internet, or even going to different places can help students find something productive to do. Students can put their time and effort into helping others while learning something over the summer.

Older students can help younger students with their summer assignments or just simply through tutoring. The older students can start earning money for college by tutoring younger students, and it can also help them sharpen their skills. By helping other students with subjects they struggle with, they can also learn new techniques or even develop a passion for the subject.

The library can be an ideal place to develop good study habits. Students can look for books that they find interesting, can read a book, or even find a website where the audio of a book is provided and listen to that instead. Looking for websites applicable to mathematics can help a student develop skills, and try different lessons for that type of math.

Students can help out at shelters by taking dogs out for a walk or feeding them along with other animals that are in the shelter. Some shelters can provide money for your labor, but typically volunteering is unpaid.

All in all, there are many different options to stimulate a student’s brain over the summer. Some can benefit the student as they may get paid, but they’re all useful for a student’s resume/college application.

Community Service Opportunities

By Samiha Miah

As of now, many colleges require community service hours when applying to their institute. Schools prefer to enroll students who have donated some of their time to their community. Many applicants don’t realize until they’re submitting portfolios to specific colleges, which causes them to scramble around seeking hours. It’s better to research every aspect of a potential school, before submitting an application.

Schools such as Adelphi, Stanford, and other Ivy Leagues, as well as most colleges, appreciate community service hours. Although some colleges don’t require community service on a student’s application, they value whatever community service is included. Admissions essays reflect upon one’s personal experiences and community service hours provides for a good basis.

A possibly effective method for getting community service hours done is to gradually complete them over the summer. During the summer time―unless on vacation―most people are typically free; this leads to a clean mindset, which then enables you to focus on time management. Managing your time is the most pivotal point when completing hours. If you aren’t able to pace yourself, then whatever hours still existing will be procrastinated over, and most likely to remain incomplete.

A list of possible volunteer opportunities is provided below:

Name of Location City, State Minimum Age Requirement
Hackensack University Medical Center Hackensack, NJ 16 years old
CareOne at Wellington Hackensack, NJ n/a
Pawsitively Furever Dog Rescue Hackensack, NJ 16 years old
Buddies of New Jersey Hackensack, NJ n/a
Pony Power Therapies Mahwah, NJ 14 years old
Johnson Public Library Hackensack, NJ 15 years old

Getting community service hours done as soon as possible during early high school years is key to gaining the attention of universities/colleges when applying. Service hours are significant to prospective students as schools recognize the fact that you were able to provide some sort of service to the community.

Summer Jobs

By Kelly Toalongo

Many teens try to get jobs during the summer in an effort to earn extra money. The minimum age to legally start working at a part-time job is 16 years old. If you are able to get a job, the minimum wage is $8.60. During the summer, there a lot of jobs that become available. There might be a lot of opportunities such as working at an ice cream store. There might be openings for that specific job since it’s during the summer and people go out for ice cream.

In the summer it can get extremely hot and if you know how to swim, then you can pursue a job as a lifeguard if certified. You can earn up to $9.25 an hour.

Something easy that you can do is babysitting. If you are good with little kids or kids in general you can actually work and get paid. When you take care of kids, pay can range from $10-15 an hour.

While the summer is in progress, students don’t have school, which causes some to start forgetting what they’ve learned, so some parents may want to hire tutors. This is another option to earn some money. If you can get a good tutoring job the average amount you get paid per hour is $17.28.

One last option, you can work at helping at a zoo or somewhere outside which can pay $16 per hour. This option tends to stick with animal lovers or those who can entertain kids that come to the zoo.

Movies Coming Out

By Aaron Frias

A school comes to an end, students find themselves with more time on their hands. A simple and fun way to spend time is by going to the movies and enjoying a film. As always, new and amazing movies come out every week, whether you’re into horror, thriller, romance, or comedy. If you go to an AMC on Ticket Tuesdays, you can purchase a movie ticket for as little as five bucks. All you have to do is set up an account that takes no longer than five minutes to make.

He’s tall, slim, lurks in the woods, and you’d hope he doesn’t find you because if he does―no one else ever will. If you’re into horror, you’ve most likely heard of the frightening legend, Slenderman: countless sightings, legends, and games. He might as well be slumming it with Bigfoot. One of the most feared characters on the web is being brought to life on the big screen on August 24 of this year. The plot is described as, “Terror strikes when four teenage girls in a small town perform a ritual to debunk the lore of a tall, thin, horrifying figure known as the Slender Man. They soon fear that the legend is true when one of them suddenly goes missing.”

Tag: a fun game known around the playground by nearly every kid. This comedy movie takes the game we’ve all come to know and love, and turns it into a hilarious and zany movie. The story is centered around a group of friends who have been playing a game of tag for years, while attempting to get one of their friends to be “It,” since he has never been tagged in all the years of them playing the game. The greatest part of the movie? It was based on a true event! This film has been out since June 15. The description of this movie is, “One month every year, five highly competitive friends hit the ground running for a no-holds-barred game of tag―risking their necks, their jobs and their relationships to take one another down. This time, the game coincides with the wedding of the only undefeated player. What should be an easy target soon becomes an all-out war as he knows they’re coming to get him.”

An amazing blast from 2004, this movie is exciting many people of all ages. The Incredibles 2, a sequel to the oh so beloved family adventure movie The Incredibles, is premiering on June 15 of this year. This superpowered family is coming back to the big screen with Elastigirl springing to action, fighting crime and kicking butt, while her husband deals with what seems to be his greatest enemy―staying home and taking care of the kids. The movie is described as, “Elastigirl springs into action to save the day, while Mr. Incredible faces his greatest challenge yet―taking care of the problems of his three children.”

This romance thriller of a movie might just be the perfect movie to watch with your significant other. Love, drugs, and drama all wrapped under hot summer nights. This movie will be premiering July 27th and is centered around a boy who sells drugs. He starts to fall for his boss’s sister. Packed with drama and dangers, it will be a great movie to watch. The movie description is, “A teen winds up in over his head while dealing drugs with a rebellious partner and chasing the young man’s enigmatic sister during one scorching summer in Cape Cod, Mass.”


Grad Issue

————————————-THE COMET———————————–

——————-The Graduation Issue————–

This issue is conceived, developed, researched, written, edited, and produced by Ashley Sloan, Loren Friedman,             Alanis Martinez, Angelina Rosado, Melissa Minchala, Kamani Dupree, Erick Espinoza, Josue Cortorreal, Amaya Tiozon, Xavier Cherry, and Jonathan Becker.

HHS Graduate Destinations

The Comet sent out a survey to the senior class. A total of 109 students answered the poll, which accounts for approximately 24% of the graduating class. Here is a breakdown of destinations the Hackensack senior class is going to next year:

65.1% of students are going to a four year college.

The top four year school being attended is Montclair State University.

Why some of us chose a four year school:

  • Job dependability
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • “College experience”
  • Time to decide what kind of career is desired
  • Ability to attend a program such as EOF – chance to get into a 4 year school at no cost
  • A sense of responsibility/independence

25.7% of students are going to a two year college.

The top two year school being attended is Bergen Community College.

Why some of us chose a two year school:

  • Associate’s degree
  • Job right after school
  • Ability to get a degree undecided
  • Less expensive than a 4 year school

2.8% of students are going to tech/trade school.

The top tech/trade school being attended is Lincoln Tech.

Why some of us chose a tech/trade school:

  • Prepares you for one specific job
  • Inexpensive versus a four year school
  • Job security

2.8% of students are going into the military

Why some of us chose to go into the military:

  • Ability to attend a four year school after serving at little to no cost
  • Gives a chance for undecided students to decide what they want to do
  • Feel like college isn’t for them
  • Benefits after service
  • Guaranteed job after service

2.8% of students are going into the workforce

*One student answered that they are attending a nine month school.

Here is a wrap-up of Hackensack athletics for the 2017-2018 seasons.


  • Women’s Cross Country
    • The Women’s Cross Country team had a successful season filled with ups and downs but ultimately was successful.
  • Men’s Cross Country
    • The Men’s Cross Country team reached many highpoints in their season and found themselves winning championships.
  • Football
    • The Football team had a subpar year finishing 5-6, but it finished their season as they completed a miraculous comeback against rival Teaneck Highwaymen, winning 19-18 on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Women’s Soccer
    • Even with a 6-10 record this season the Women’s Soccer team played hard and to the best of their abilities this season.
  • Field Hockey
    • The Field Hockey team has spent the past two seasons rebuilding their team and gaining strength. With an 0-16-1 final record they are improving.
  • Women’s Volleyball
    • With a 20-11 record, the Women’s Volleyball team had a successful season overall.
  • Men’s Soccer
    • The Soccer team this year did not play up to its potential this year, finishing with 7 wins and 10 losses.
  • Women’s Tennis
    • The Women’s Tennis team finished their season 11-11-1, a solid record.


  • Men’s Basketball
    • The Men’s Basketball team had a great year finishing with a 23-7 record and winning the Sectional Championship for the 2nd time in 3 years.
  • Women’s Basketball
    • The Women’s Basketball team finished 10-16, but they ended the season strong winning their final 3 games before losing in the Sectional Championship. This year had a very underrated roster.
  • Indoor Track
    • The Indoor Track team competed in several meets this winter and was a strong team overall.
  • Cheerleading
    • The Cheerleading team took home many championships this winter including a first place win in a Florida Championship.
  • Bowling
    • The Women’s Bowling team had a successful season with the Men’s team trying to follow in their footsteps.
  • Women’s Swimming
    • The Women’s Swim team had a great season, finishing 8-4. They had five girls make it to the State Meet of Champions, the first time in many years. Three school records were broken this year as well.
  • Men’s Swimming
    • An ever building team, the Men’s Swim team finished the season 4-8. One swimmer also made it into the State Meet of Champions. Nonetheless, a school record was still broken.
  • Ice Hockey
    • Hackensack merges with Paramus and Lyndhurst to form a Hockey team and finished with a 7-9-5 record this season.
  • Wrestling
    • The Wrestling team finished with a mediocre record of 9-8, and collapsed in the District 6 regionals, placing 8th.


  • Baseball
    • The Men’s Baseball team started their season on a high note but ended struggling with a record of 6-7. Even with a losing record, there had been some bright moments throughout the season.
  • Softball
    • With a 2-4 record, the Softball team is playing hard and doing their best.
  • Outdoor Track
    • The Track teams are off to a great start this season, including a strong showing at Penn Relays by both the men’s and women’s 4×100 and 4×400 teams. Many athletes moved on to the Sectional championship as well as the State championship.
  • Golf
    • With an 0-6 record, the golf team may not be on top but fought to do well.
  • Men’s Volleyball
    • The Men’s Volleyball Team had a great year with a record of 18-8-1.
  • Men’s Tennis
    • The Men’s Tennis team is struggling this season and has only won one game thus far.
  • Ashley Sloan and Xavier Cherry

Advice to Underclassmen from Graduating Seniors

To Underclassmen,

High school goes by quickly. It will be easy for you if you just do these few things: Work hard because you won’t want to try to cram in those few extra credit points at the end of the marking periods. Do all your work on time so that you get good grades and don’t fall behind. If you don’t understand something, ask for help. Skipping class isn’t cool, it is dumb and yes you will get in trouble so don’t do it. Lastly, stay positive and have fun. You only have four quick years in high school which fly past you in no time. Cherish the moments that you remember and be yourself.

Jonathan Becker


To Underclassmen,

If I could leave any piece of advice to the freshmen, it’d be simply, if you’re going to join a club or sport do it now. I spent my high school career hesitating and doubting myself. In my senior year, I decided that since it was my last year as a student at HHS I would join the school play. I have to admit, it was one of the most if not the most fun I have had in my years in Hackensack High School. And after all was said and done and goodbyes were given, I regretted that I could not return next year. If there is an activity you wish to join it is best to do it now; you’ll make some new friends to take on this high school journey with you and to help you grow.

Josue Cortorreal

To Underclassmen,

Expect the unexpected. High school truly has its positives and negatives, and you will experience new and scary things. This is the time you are developing into a teenager, so you should be ready and prepare for your independence. Be expected to change and experience change, it will happen. Whether it is emotional, physical, or your group of friends, things will change. These changes can come from either traumatic experiences or learning from your mistakes, but don’t be discouraged when it happens. It is important to be on top of your school game, however, having time to yourself is also very important, time to cool down from success.

Even through all the advice given, no one could possibly understand high school more than one who has been through it all. Gathered from a senior herself, Sophia Valenzuela had wished to tell her freshman self, “I wish I could tell my freshman self that not everyone is going to be nice and sometimes it’s okay to be mean. I would also say that I need to leave the habit of procrastinating everything because of the other three years will be hard. Grades aren’t everything it’s okay to let loose and have fun. Also not every friend you go into high school with is going to stay your friends, people come and go all the time and it’s just how life is. The last thing would be to stay true to yourself, there is no need to impress anyone or a reason to try to fit in, being you goes a long way.”

By taking her advice into consideration, anyone could have a successful high school experience. School will be challenging, but success will come from it.

Amaya Tiozon

To Underclassmen,

These four years are going to be quick; it might not seem like it right now. You might be counting down the days until you become a senior. But you should enjoy everyday here, join clubs, play sports, go support the Comets at games. Try to be a part of the school, it’s going to make high school more enjoyable. You’ll make new friends and grow as a person. Strive to be the best and always keep your head up. Also be yourself, don’t try to be someone you’re not, you’ll just end up hurting yourself and the people around you. High school gets better if you stay positive, trust me.

Melissa Minchala

To Underclassmen,

When I was a freshman, I told myself I couldn’t wait to graduate and I hoped my high school years went by fast. Well, they did go by fast, but too fast. After high school, you enter the real world, and that is a little scary to me. My point is, do not take these four years of high school for granted because it’s the time to only focus on school work and having fun. You’re still young, so don’t take these precious years lightly, because we’re all growing up way too fast.

If someone told me freshman year that each course counted, and every single grade matters for your future, I would’ve paid more attention to my classes and worked harder. Instead, I did not take my grades or classes seriously, and I regret it extremely. Your GPA (grade point average) is a grade based on all your grades so far, and the college you apply to checks that grade, and if it’s too low, you will not get in. Therefore, you should pay attention to your classes from the beginning, work hard, and still have fun because it’s high school, and you’re not going to have another chance.

Loren Friedman

To Underclassmen,

This is my last year of attending Hackensack High School. Being in this school for four years has taught me a lot throughout my time here. I learned that if you do not push yourself to do your work to the best of your ability then it can affect your grade a lot. The teachers here are helpful and want to see everyone succeed and graduate. Senior year is when the teachers start to teach you like you are an adult, so you will be ready for college when the time comes. You have to reach out to them and make sure you go for extra help after school when needed.

However, there will be drama throughout your years of high school. The best thing to do is ignore the negativity and the slick remarks. All drama does is get you off track of your focus and in a lot of trouble especially if you are a senior. Your privileges get taken away if you fight, such as prom and even walking for graduation and it looks bad on your record to see you got suspended for fighting. There are many sports and afterschool activities to keep students occupied.

Kamani Dupree

Farewell Letters to Hackensack High School

Dear Hackensack High School,

It is the beginning of May in which I am writing this letter. Prom is right around the corner, and my fellow classmates have decided what they are doing after high school. It still boggles me that it will be June next month and how June 25th is coming faster than expected. These four years have formed me into the person that I am today.

Hackensack High School made my high school years unforgettable, wild, stressful, eye opening and challenging. Going into HHS as a freshman, I was extremely shy. I never really wanted to talk in front of class, I just talked to small group of people, and tried my best to fit in and blend with the crowd. It wasn’t until my sophomore year and the following years  when everything took a turn for the better. I interacted more, I made myself noticeable, and looked more as to how I envisioned myself being in high school.

This school has taught me so much about myself and has made me into the man that I am today. Next month is graduation, we the graduating class of 2018 are going to embark on a journey that will last us a lifetime. HHS will always be my home and now is the time to shoot like a comet and fly to bigger and better opportunities in the world. I will never forget this place and all the great memories that will be left here, now it is time to move on and start a new chapter.

Erick Espinoza

Dear Hackensack High School,

The time has finally come where I begin my journey and build the pathway to my desired life. You’ve taught me many life lessons and introduced me to obstacles that I needed to overcome in order to not only strengthen my own character, but prepare myself for the future. I’ve suffered countless, restless nights, high levels of anxiety, and stress overload. Yet, that’s the catch when you work hard and truly devote yourself to a higher education, which Hackensack was able to offer me. With people of my financial background, in other states, AP courses, SAT testing, and other courses and exams don’t come by as easy as Hackensack made it out to be.

Hard work is never the cost of a dime and Hackensack has provided me with the assistance I needed to not only pass these courses, but create a satisfactory, and stable path for myself. You’ve helped me overcome my own insecurities and introduced me to people that I hold very dear to my heart. As a wise Japanese poet once said, “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” Goodbyes are so bittersweet, but till next time.

Angelina Rosado

Dear Hackensack High School,

High school is almost over. The journey has been difficult but the rewards? Great. When I entered high school my mind swirled with overwhelming thoughts and concerns. How would high school treat me? How am I supposed to survive the next four years?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned at HHS is there will be many more questions than there will be answers, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not know the answers to the overwhelming questions. It’s okay to be confused. You’re young, you have time to figure things out, and Hackensack High School will help you with that.

I’ve struggled here, had battles with myself, struggled with school, with family life, but here I found help, with my teachers, my friends, my guidance counselors. At HHS I learned asking for help is not weakness but a sign of strength.

High school has given me opportunities to meet friends, create relationships, and begin to understand myself. Because of my journey here I feel fully prepared to continue finding myself, knowing I have been given the proper tools to move on. So farewell HHS, thank you for the memories.

Alanis Martinez