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


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.


Taking a Chance on New Tastes Can Expand Your World

By `Shianda Palmer

Have you ever found yourself sitting in class and thinking about was food? Or your next lunch period? Or how about how much guacamole you’re gonna get on that burrito from Chipotle?

Food is not only vital to the human survival because of the nutrients that it brings to the body, it also gives people the chance to get together and experience diversity.

No matter the race, gender, or cultural background, people have the ability to taste history and experience life through their taste buds.

You don’t have to travel the world to taste the world (and, being an average high school student, there is a 90 percent chance that you do not have the money to do that), you can simply join a friend at dinner at their own home or stroll on down with a group of friends to a restaurant that you have never been to before and order an unfamiliar dish that you have never experienced.

This will give you the opportunity to encounter fresh tastes, encouraging you to feel a part of the world around you and become happy for allowing yourself to try something new and different.

A delicious meal does not just fill up on someone’s stomach, it also inspires families and friends to come together no matter the occasion. Ever wonder why so many people show up to your uncle’s BBQ or why there are so many people in your house when your mom makes her famous chicken alfredo? ITS BECAUSE …FOOD! Everyone loves to eat regardless of what it is.

So next time you sit at a table in a restaurant be sure to order something that is unfamiliar to you and I can guarantee you’ll be in for a world-expanding treat.

HHS 2017 Art Show

By Lindsay Pacheco

On Wednesday, May 10th, HHS held our annual art show in the east wing gym. The artwork shown was made by HHS students from grades 10-12 in art and photography classes. These students have worked hard since September to showcase their artwork to faculty, friends and family.

By utilizing gym mats is a unique way, the art teachers were able to significantly expand the display space, improving the show’s capabilities.













This Month’s Video Game Releases: Featuring Injustice 2, Fire Emblem Echoes, and Battalion 1944

By Jessica Williams

The fifth wave of video game releases is quickly approaching. Here are some of the games being released for this month. The dates, names, and consoles they are available on, are as follows:

May 5th- Prey, PC-PS4-Xbox1

May 9th- LocoRoco Remastered, PS4

May 11th- Minecraft, Nintendo Switch

May 16th- Injustice 2, PS4, Xbox1

   –Farpoint, PSVR

   -The Surge, PC, PS4, Xbox1

May 19th- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, 3DS

May 23rd- Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, WiiU

May 30th- Star Trek: Bridge Crew, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PSVR

TBA- Battalion 1944, PC, PS4, Xbox1


Injustice 2 is a fighting-style video game featuring heroes and villains from DC comics. It is developed by NetherRealm Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive, who also developed and published fighting games in the Mortal Kombat series.

It is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Injustice: Gods Among Us game. Not surprisingly, the second installment is just as well received by critics and fans alike for its incredible special moves and compelling story mode.

The character roster was said to have 31 playable fighters, and the newer features of the game includes costume and gear customization, new RPG elements, and an entirely new storyline.

Injustice 2 is set to release for PS4 and Xbox1 on May 16th, 2017.

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a tactical role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems, and published by Nintendo. The video game is an entire remake of the 1992 game Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second entry of the Fire Emblem series developed by Famicom.

The game carries mechanics from the original Fire Emblem Gaiden game, while also expanding on the current story and gameplay from the recent installments in the series.

The story follows two childhood friends named Alm and Cecilia who fight on opposite sides of a war taking place in the land of Valentia. Players can command either of the armies on a Normal or Hard difficulty setting, in which both modes can determine the fate of the characters that are defeated in battle.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is set to release on May 19th, 2017 for the Nintendo 3DS.

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Battalion: 1944 is a first-person-shooter developed by Bulkhead Studios, and published by Square Enix. It is the first game to be developed by the newly formed Bulkhead Studios, which is a British-based developer located in Derby, U.K. It was established after two companies named Deco Digital and Bevel Studios merged together.

The WWII-based shooter was first announced as a Kickstarter campaign in February 2016, and was successfully funded in under three days. It will run on the Unreal Engine 4, and will have multiplayer servers that make use of certain anti-cheat measures. The game is based heavily on skill, and the developers stated that any unlockables will not boost the stats of other players.

The game will feature infantry-based fighting in real world locations, such as the streets of Carentan in France and the Bastogne forests in Belgium. Additionally, players will be able to compete season to season in the global competition system named BattleRank. Doing so would also allow players to unlock cosmetics for their soldiers, including their weapons and gadgets.

Battalion: 1944 is set to release some time this May for PC, PS4, and Xbox1.

Senior Prom Day Schedule Set

By Natasha Wilson

On May 18th, 2017 all seniors (even if they will not be going to the prom) are to report to the HHS Auditorium at 8:15 a.m to 8:20 a.m. for attendance.

Students are also asked to participate in the Special Presentation from 8:20 a.m to 10:45 a.m.

From 10:45-11:25, all upperclassmen attending the prom who have submitted an early permission slip are to report to the auditorium for post presentation attendance. Those in the graduating class  who have not submitted an early dismissal permission slip are to report to their period 5 class and follow their regular schedule of class for the remainder for the school day from 10:45 a.m to 2:25 p.m.

Those that have submitted an early dismissal permission slip to main office, may leave after post Special Presentation attendance has been taken in the auditorium.

The Signs of Relationship Abuse

By Daniella Smajlaj, Chaiim Singer Barber, Hailey Russo and Damani Eason


There have been many reported cases of relationship abuse among celebrities ranging from Chris Brown and Rihanna to, more recently, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp (The Comet makes no judgement on those relationships). Since many teenagers follow these celebrities and hear accusations of abuse, it’s time for teens to learn the actual signs of being in an abusive relationship.

Relationship abuse often happens because the abuser has a lack of power which causes him or her to need to be more dominating. S/he usually feels insecure and takes it out on the significant other.

Violence in relationships can happen anywhere at anytime, and it just as easily can be obvious or hard to detect.

According to, published online by the Department of Health and Human Services, obvious signs that you’re in an abusive relationship start with one person humiliating the other person, hurting them physically, monitoring their every move time, and/or threatening to use a weapon against them. On the other hand, hidden signs would be discouraging the person from seeing and/or contacting their family, isolating them from going out and even going to important places; such as  work or school.   

According to, published by The National Domestic Violence Hotline, one  in four men have been victims of physical abuse by intimate partner throughout their lifetime and one in three women have faced abuse throughout their lifetime.

Several HHS psychologists and social workers visited the school’s Journalism Class to discuss the topic of relationship abuse. Ms. S Millard, a community educator specialist and Bergen County Alternative to Domestic Violence, also spoke to the class and started off her powerpoint presentation by saying, “One in three high school students are involved in some kind of physical, emotional and/ or sexual abuse.”

 According to, the majority of relationship abuse is committed by men against women in a heterosexual relationship. However, one in four women will experience domestic violence throughout their lifetime. It’s scary to know that one in four women will be abused in their lifetime while one in 71 men would also face abuse in their relationships also.

Mr. Sanchez, an HHS Licensed Clinical Social Worker, was asked, “What is a male supposed to do if he was the one being abused?” He responded, “Males [are] less likely [to] report the situation because of common [gender] roles in a relationship [which is that] a male is suppose to have the power in the relationship and it could be embarrassing and [even] more humiliating more for the guy due to society and gender roles.”

Mr. Sanchez also elaborated by saying, “(the guy) is being emasculated (for not controlling the abuse that) the female (is doing), which is why they would be less likely to report the situations.”

According to the website, 16,800 homicides happen due to abusive relationships while  two million dollars each year is spent medically to take care of victims in an abusive relationship.

So what can people do to lower these rates? Mr.Sanchez, “Bringing it to people’s attention is the first step. Second is discussing the problem and acknowledging the situation and finding strategies. A third step is to look for a person’s reasoning for abuse. Lastly, put something in place so (that) they have an escape plan to get themselves out of that situation.”

The HHS Dodgeball Tournament Offers Big Fun … and New Champs

The recent FBLA fundraising event Dodgeball Tournament offered HHS a chance to let off some steam, have some laughs, see some fun competition, and see new champions arise to claim bragging rights around the school.

Ms. Andrews and her Photography class offered this photo essay to document the day.


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