Best of HHS in 2016

By Lindsay Pacheco

Every year at HHS there are school events students are excited about. Whether its clubs, sports games, pep rallies, or prom, students are always willing to participate.

Recently, we interviewed students to determine what they think were the top activities of 2016. Here are the results:

  1. Pep Rally
  2. School Spirit Week
  3. Water Fountains
  4. Football Games
  5. Clubs

There are also some activities that didn’t get as many votes. If you believe any of these deserve to be talked about, let us know in the comments section below!

  1. College Fairs
  2. Prom
  3. The Plays
  4. Field Trips
  5. The Futsal Tournaments
  6. Hispanic Heritage Month Presentation
  7. Graduation
  8. Mock Election
  9. The Winter Concert
  10. AP Classes
  11. Cheer Competition Wins
  12. Basketball State Sectional Champs!
  13. The New, Improved Morning Report
  14. Penn Relays
  15. Journalism (we just put this in here to make Mr. Ryan feel better)

Student Profile: Nicholas Edis

By Iris Ocasio

HHS is admired for many things including the drama program. Often times, students cannot wait to get to HHS to begin their acting career and pursue their passions. However, many students like Nicholas Edis, junior, have had acting experience before high school.

Nicholas Edis began acting in the 4th grade where his first production was “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” starring as Mike Teavee. Edis claims that the decision to begin acting was partially his and partially motivation from his mother. Before he began acting, he was a member of chorus which has stuck with him throughout his high school career. Then, graduating from Maywood Avenue School he recognized that acting was a hobby that he wanted to be relevant in his future.

During his sophomore year, Edis landed the role of Nicky, one of the major characters in the Avenue Q production. The fact that the play was ambitious, he states that there was an “overwhelming amount of work” to get done. However, Edis explains that he “likes challenges and enjoyed the difficulty that the puppets brought and with the participation of other talented actors, they were able to pull off the show”.

The drama program requires immense dedication, but when the final product has been pieced to perfection, the sense of gratification is indescribable. Despite the time that he commits to his acting, Nicholas still manages to excel academically as an honors student.

He explains that “school is my first priority and my parents truly remind me of that”.

In addition to being an honors student, Edis also plays soccer in his town actively.

Next year, as a senior, Nicholas hopes to acquire the lead role of Dewey in the 2017 production of School of Rock. Beyond high school, he plans to continue acting in the community as a hobby. Edis’ major goal is to be a professional actor either on broadway or in films. He explains that “I love singing, but I want to act no matter what the opportunity is”.

When Nicholas began acting, he claims to have had significant stage fright, and he “had to get accustomed to performing in front of people.”  Edis states that for those who are afraid to pursue performing “they should be themselves, the great thing about acting is that the people around you share the same goal and that is to put on an exceptional show”. Discovering what you love to do as a teenager, is difficult, but once you surmount your fear, you will be able to devote yourself to your passion.


HHS is going “Into The Woods”

This weekend HHS will present the popular Broadway musical Into The Woods,  debuting on Thursday evening. Students have been working with director/producer Mr. Gaines,  musical director Mrs. Platte, choreographer Ms. Stein (from Hackensack Middle School), and technical producer Mr. Zisa.

Here’s a peek at what you’ll miss if you don’t get yourself Into The Woods this weekend …


The cast of Into The Woods …


… looks great and ready to delight.

behind the scenes

A special look behind-the-scenes (photo by Alexis Norman).

behind 2

Once again, the set is wonderful, thanks to the Woodworking class! (photo by Alexis Norman)


Mr. Gaines and Mrs. Platte (bottom center) hard at work. (photo by Alexis Norman)

Performances will be on March 17, 18, 19 at 7:30 pm and March 20 at 2:30 pm. Tickets are available at the door or through



By Iris Ocasio

More often than not, one will go into a field of study during college and then decide to change his major. Mr. Zisa, who is a multifaceted English and media studies teacher at HHS, was among that group.

He attended the University of California, Berkeley for his undergraduate degree and later received his masters at New York University. However, during his junior year of college, he realized that he did not enjoy film production, and preferred analyzing films.

Mr. Zisa had enjoyed English as a high school student, but never thought of pursuing this passion as a career. However, during that third year of college, he began to substitute at local high schools during the summer for some extra cash. This lead former HHS principal Mr. Porto (who had also been Mr. Zisa’s teacher when he was an HHS AP student) to suggest that Mr. Zisa take a few classes to get his teaching certification, which he did.

After Mr. Zisa had the necessary certification to teach, a position opened up here at HHS for an English teacher and he has been here ever since.

Mr. Zisa also teaches media studies in the TV studio on the third floor, overseeing The Morning Report as well as other video projects.

One of the other aspects of the job that he enjoys is being able to challenge the misconceptions that students have coming in to freshman year.

“I try to inspire a love of literature,” says Mr. Zisa. He says when students groan with reluctance “ugh Shakespeare” it is his duty to demonstrate that “it is kind of fun.”

Additionally, Mr. Zisa co-produces and oversees lights, sound, and videotaping for the school play, including Into The Woods, being performed this weekend at HHS.




By Curtis Gaines III

For many people in the world, being on national television is just a dream. Many would do anything for their “fifteen minutes of fame” just to say that they’ve been on TV. One HHS student was able to live out many people’s dreams before she even turned 18 years old.

Senior Alexa LaCorte got the chance in 2014 when she appeared in a commercial for the acne fighting product, Clean & Clear. The 30 second ad featured teenagers talking about how the product eliminates acne and allows others to “see the real me” instead of seeing only zits. And there she was smiling in a super close-up.

Being in a national TV commercial is something for which she prepared most of her life. LaCorte has been acting, singing, and dancing in performances throughout Bergen County ever since she was five years old.

“I just fell in love with performing at a young age,” LaCorte said, “I like having the chance to be someone that I’ve never been before.”

LaCorte also has a riveting cameo in the independent movie, Clandestine, from Feenix Films, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals in Houston, New York City, and Singapore, seeking distribution.

Additionally, LaCorte is also on the cover of the novel City of Pain, written by HHS English teacher Christopher Ryan which features a still from the film as part of the book’s cover design.

In addition to performing, LaCorte is able to maintain a solid A/B average in school. Her new dream is to become an english teacher in Korea.

During the summer, LaCorte, who admits that she has an “obsessive personality”, came across K-Pop and fell in love with Korean culture.

“I heard G-Dragon for the first time and instantly became obsessed with K-Pop,” she said. Her new obsession inspired her to read about the culture and join the Korean Club.

This weekend, LaCorte will be featured in Hackensack High School’s spring musical production, Into the Woods.