Valerie Dikitanan Cheers on All Challenges

By Daniella Smajlaj


Valerie Dikitanan is an HHS sophomore who truly achieves her goals.

She is on Varsity Cheerleading and says, “Cheerleading is very hard. There will be bumps on the road, but I have to do my best and push through whatever my coaches tell me I have to do. I just give it all I got.”

When it comes to cheerleading, she takes that sport to heart. “Cheerleading is something I’m passionate about. When I step on the mat it’s like, ‘This is it, this is what I’m gonna do and all my apprehension goes away and it makes me feel happy.'”

Even though cheerleading is something that Valerie is passionate about, she will not be cheering forever. After high school, she aspires to earn her master’s degree in nursing from Penn State. 

Valerie describes herself as exhibiting a good sense of humor. She also has some hobbies outside of cheering such as, playing the flute and piano, tumbling, and cup stacking. 

The sophomore considers these hobbies calming and alleviating as compared to the fast pace of cheerleading. “Whenever I do one of those hobbies, it’s very enjoyable to me,” she says.

Academically, Valerie is a stellar A and B student, she strives to have a 4.0 GPA. Her favorite teachers are Ms. Kropilak, Ms. Krueger, and Mr. Macelli.

Despite how stressful school is at times, she still manages to put forth her best effort towards all her work. “I still manage to do my best, whether it’s in my favorite subject or my least favorite subject,” she says.

Her favorite subject in school is geometry. She works well with numbers and therefore tries to make herself available to help others who have trouble understanding concepts in class. She enjoys helping people out and overall is an amazing athlete and student.

Bryce Drakeford: QB in the Fall, Small Forward in the Winter

By Chaiim Singer-Barber


Throughout high school everybody is worrying about what’s cool, new trends, and trying to blend in. It takes a lot to isolate yourself and form your own trend and creativity. As long as you respect the person you are, and you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’ll get through high school.

Bryce Drakeford, the starting quarterback for the HHS varsity football team and the starting guard for the HHS varsity basketball team, is an example of an individual who has made a name of his own in high school.
Besides being a talented athlete, Bryce is also very outgoing, humble, and joyful. He is very passionate about both sports he plays and puts his heart out into each game played.

Bryce’s motivation during his athletic career has been his cousin Kyle, who has impacted his drive positively since the beginning of it all.

When it comes to his style on the gridiron he is mainly influenced by NFL Free Agent Michael Vick, with whom he proudly shared the jersey number 7.

His basketball style of play is mainly defensive overall and he hits strong transitional threes. Overall, he has shown what he is capable to do on both teams and also that he can transition well from one season into the other.
Like many high school athletes, Bryce wishes he could continue with one of the two sports he plays professionally but as a career plan, he sets his on sights sports analysis, sports trainer, or a future in sports management. He intends to remain around sports and influencing others and helping future athletes.
With all the after school activities that Bryce has, he continues to do well with a GPA of 2.7. His favorite teachers are Dr. Jakubik, Mr. Rhymer, and Ms. Barraco.

Also Bryce loves to write, as his favorite subject is English. What separates Bryce from every other student in Hackensack is, besides being a star athlete, he collects socks on his off time, and not just any plain socks. His socks are brightly colored with some different prints like emojis or words of wisdom.

High school overall seems to be going well for Bryce and he can’t wait to graduate, explore, and make his own path. A college he wishes to go to is Central Connecticut State.

Being a Drakeford and going to HHS is tradition, for a lot of his family has attended the high school. Instead of being compared to them Bryce has his own name and is his own person. His humility makes him the great person he is making him someone that is held high and looked up to by his peers and other athletes on the rise.

Jordon Bailey Balances Soccer and School

By Amia Weldon

Born and raised in Jamaica, Jordon Bailey moved to Hackensack his freshman year. Dreaming of becoming a pro soccer player, he helps carry the HHS varsity soccer team to victory in each game.

Sports seem to be a big part of his life, especially after his brother-in-law passed away. Since Jordon’s brother-in-law inspired his love for the game, he decided to carry on his passion for soccer, in hopes of going to the big leagues.

Other people like Andre Iniesta have also influenced Jordon’s love for the game. “He’s so brilliant in the middle of the field,” Jordon says.

Besides Jordon’s love for sports, he is a very bright student who earns good grades and also dreams of becoming a mechanic. He wants to attend Montclair State University next fall to major in business and hopes to excel in the future by owning a mechanic shop. He states that if “soccer doesn’t workout he thinks entrepreneurship” is the next big thing. 

When asked how he would describe his personality and style, Jordon replied smiling, “I’m just a humble, handsome, tall, Jamaican who likes to get fly. I’m really cool if you get to know me, but if not I like to be by myself, quiet. I’m just a quiet person.” 

The potential future World Cup star states, “They say you have to be dead to become a legend, but do anything the best you can and you’ll become a living legend.” 

Allison Aranda Makes Success Happen

By Jessica Ibrahimian

Life isn’t always easy, but it is better to make the best of it. Some believe that when life gets complicated they should give up, but Allison Aranda is a inspiring example for why continuing to work hard is the best option. 

Senior Allison Aranda arrived in the United States at age 11. Ever since, she has volunteered to aid children with their homework after school. She fell in love with being around children and as a result, She strives to become an elementary school teacher.

Allison’s favorite subject is Sociology and her favorite teacher is Dr. Jakubik. Aranda stated, “I like sociology because it’s about human behavior and recognizing why people act the way they do, so in the future I could understand my students better.” Allison is also taking a Careers In Education class with Dr. Jakubik to learn how to be the best teacher she can be to her students. Additionally, she is enrolled in advanced classes this year to gain a high level of knowledge.  

Aranda says,“I have a little sister, which gives me the responsibility to take her to school and back home everyday.” Taking care of a person isn’t that simple. Allison takes care of her sister and she hardly gets to go out with friends. On top of that, she is involved in activities after school such as Going Green, LASA, Spanish Honor Society, plus a part-time job at Dunkin Donuts after school. Despite all her responsibilities, she still gets amazing grades.

Allison would love to get a little more time to herself but she enjoys everything she does, so she feels it is worth it. Babysitting her sister, studying lot, and working to make money for college next year is her main focus at the moment. The positive thing is that she has the support of her parents with any decision she makes.

If Allison could tell her past self one thing it would be: “To follow my dreams, to not listen to anyone but me. Some people come in your life as a blessing and some come as a lesson.”

Her lifestyle changes frequently and she’s always eager to make changes in the world. Allison says she treats people with respect and honor because she thinks they deserve it. Perhaps this is a policy for more of us to live by.

Tennis Star is Down to Earth

By Joshua Phillips

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Samantha Saeboe is a bubbly, kind, and patient individual. In person she is inviting and a pleasure to be around. However, this is only half of Sam’s personality. The other half belongs to her alter ego on the tennis court.

On the courts Saeboe’s bubbly personality transforms into a killer instinct. Her patience turns into aggression and whoever is on the opposite side of the net should be aware. Sam is a tale of two people. She is a person who plays to her own beat and is a valuable senior player on the HHS Women’s Tennis team. After 4 years of comebacks, blowouts, and tight victories; her love for the game is greater than ever.

When asked about who inspired her to play tennis, Sam gives credit to her mother. “My mom loves tennis,” she says, and apparently that passion was transferred to Sam.

Besides Samantha’s devotion to her favorite sport she is a participant in the musical arts, Sam finds a way to translate her athletic abilities on the tennis court into her guitar playing skills. Sam’s fast reflexes in the athletic field are also portrayed when she plays guitar.

However, Sam’s high school career is more than just tennis. She is a consistent A and B student, Sam’s grades are just as important to her as her athletic career. Sam’s favorite subject has been culinary and she appreciates any situation to hone her cooking skills. 

When asked what she’ll remember most about her high school career, Sam said, “I like the friends I’ve made and although it sounds cliche the experience shaped me into who I am.” Sam looks fondly onto her high school life and as a senior it will be the good memories that she hangs on to. After asking her closest friend how she views Sam, the response was, “Sam is vibrant, sunny, and excitable”, which are all inviting and colorful personality traits.

Samantha is undoubtedly an open and welcoming individual. Although she is undecided about where she wants to go to school , surely she will be a positive influence at whatever university she chooses to go to.

Amani Marshall has a Guru Mentality

By Breeya Gandy 


Students at HHS often have dreams and aspirations for their future but may not take action to create them. Amani Marshall who is a junior at HHS isn’t your typical student. He is a 16 year old rapper who has been stepping out on a limb with his career since he was 14.

Marshall enjoys the energy of the crowd while performing. “Rapping gives me motivation, it takes me to my own place where I have my own vibe,” he said in a recent interview.

During freshman year Marshall discovered his talent when he started to make and produce videos incorporating his own music. 

He is also one of the pioneers of the group Guru Mentality which is a clique of rappers such as himself trying to build a career in the business.

During his late sophomore year he was signed to a small record label called Blvck Rebel$. His style inspiration includes two mainstream artists G-Herbo and Lil Bibby. 

Besides his rapping career, Marshall has other after school hobbies such as writing, recording, listening to music, and musical engineering.

Academically, Marshall is a C+ student with the favorite subject of history. His favorite teachers are Mr. Bercovick, Mrs. Hooper, and Mrs. Dos Anjos. He describes his high school experience to be a bit of a nuisance but overall pretty smooth.

His dreams aren’t going to end at HHS. He plans to attend William Paterson University to major in musical engineering. His future goals are to open his own studio, produce under his name, and continue his career as a rapper.

You can follow Amani’s music updates on his Instagram @guru_mentality

Allison Aranda Manages a Full Schedule

By Jessica Ibrahimian

Life isn’t always easy, but we try to make the best of it. We walk among almost 2,000 students at HHS but we don’t get to know how their lives go. Some people think just because life gets complicated we should give up, but that isn’t true.

Senior Allison Aranda arrived in the United States at age 11, not knowing what she wanted to do here, but ever since she volunteered to help kids with their homework after school, she fell in love with being around children. Her dream is to be an elementary school teacher.

Allison is an accomplishing student. She can easily be described as an intelligent, confident and motivated girl.

Her favorite subject is Sociology. She stated, “I like sociology because it’s about human behavior and recognizing why people act the way they do, so in the future I will understand my students better.”

Allison is also taking a Careers in Education class with her favorite teacher, Dr. Jakubik, to learn as much as she can about what a teacher needs to know to succeed in the classroom. She also takes advanced classes to get prepared for her future.

Allison has experience in child care already.  “I have a little sister, which gives me the responsibility to take her to school and back every day,” she says.  

Taking care of a person isn’t that simple. Besides babysitting her sister, Allison also has a part-time job at Dunkin Donuts after school, and yet still manages to get amazing grades.

While Allison believes she would love to get a little more time to herself, she loves everything she does. Babysitting her sister, studying lot, and working to make money for college next year are her main focuses at the moment.

The positive thing is she has the support of her parents with any decision she makes.


Her life consists of going to school, activities after school such as (Going Green, LASA, and Spanish Honor Society), then to her job, and finishing all her homework when she gets back home, a much fuller life than she may have envisioned when she first arrived here.

If she could tell her past self one thing, it would be, “To follow my dreams, to not listen to anyone but me. Some people come in your life as a blessing and some come as a lesson.”

Sepideh Shamouil Lives by a Golden Rule

By Jessica Williams

Between getting a job and turning in homework on time, the life of a student can be both tiring and eventful. While we worry about ourselves and our own future, it can be almost unheard of when we are faced with the idea of clearing our schedule to help someone else. Senior Sepideh Shamouil provides an example to students, as she not only pushes herself to the limit with her schoolwork, but she also gives back to the community whenever she can.

Sepidah is keen on completing her schoolwork. She is a firm believer in getting work done early by doing anything she needs to do to get things handed in beforehand.

Her study habits include studying for a test multiple days prior instead of pulling an all-nighter the night before. In addition, she spends a lot of time in quiet areas so she can get her work done without any distractions.

Sepideh’s study habits and steadfast attitude towards her schoolwork is highly influenced by her goal in life, which is to “never stop learning.”

In addition to the hours she spends studying and finishing schoolwork, she volunteers at the Maywood Public Library. She stacks books, and sometimes packages them to be shipped.

“It’s important to give back to the community,” she says. “It also makes you feel good about the work you do.”

She expresses interest in becoming a pharmacist in the future, as she says that she enjoys helping people with any issue they face. Sepidah states that when she becomes a pharmacist, she would like to study the human body and how it works so she can help in the search for the cures to many debilitating diseases.

Sepideh says that one of the most important things is to “keep doing the good things in life,” whether it is helping people,  animals, or anyone with a goal of their own to pursue.  

“It just feels good to help people,” she states.

Sepideh Shamouil currently has a 3.4 GPA, and plans to go to Rutgers University to study medicine.


Belah Watson Remains Positive and Busy

By Treasure Clarke

During our daily lives we face many different obstacles and challenges. We are the change in the world that we want to see. At HHS, many students welcome new things, face many challenges, and accomplish things that they don’t, at first, think they can achieve.

Belah Watson, a senior at the HHS, is great example of this. She is a pretty good student that gets a’s and b’s. Belah has a gothic style, is carefree and has fun personality. Her favorite teachers are Mr. Maselli and Mr. Colombo.

Belah says, “My high school experience so far for me has been okay.” Belah considers high school the most important part of her life because everything she does here helps her in the future.

There are many words to describes students and and how they go along their path in school. Being a student is adaptable, adventurous, ambitious, compassionate, and many more.

Belah has a great personality, wants to improve the world for the better. Belah say the world can change for the good or for the bad, but we as people have the power to make that decision.

Belah’s passions in life are art, music, and science. “I have been playing trombone (she also plays guitar) since fourth grade, drawing since five, and I love science,” she says. 

She wants to enroll in Montclair University. “The reason why I want to go to Montclair because they have a marching band and biochemistry major,” she says.

What Watson wants to study in college is Biochemistry. She loves science but most importantly biology and chemistry so putting them together is a plus for her. Watson’s future goals are to be a successful and have a lot of money.

As a student Belah has many more obstacles to face before she can make to the big leagues. Today she knocks down any walls that can stop her from achieving and being where she’s supposed to be. Belah aims to make her opportunities in life, future goals, and passions a reality.

Najerrei Thompson Balances HHS Life Well


By Celestine Aboagye

Najerrei Thompson, also known as Naj to many people, is a sophomore with aspirations and already has many achievements from the beneficial things she has done. Being a student and athlete is sometimes challenging in a student’s life, however, she has many tactics that she uses to help her balance her academic, athletic, and social life.

As a student and soccer player Najerrei encounters some difficulties along the way. Sometimes she gets anxiety from the pressure of finishing homework and having to also play a soccer game. She solves these problems by meditating and managing her time a lot.

As she is prepares for each soccer game, Najerrei usually gets very nervous about having the first touch of the ball. However, when she’s playing she feels stress free of all the heavy duty homework she might have and problems she may be dealing with outside the game.

She says, “Whenever have I have a game, I’m nervous, but I cannot wait to play. I get really excited, and when I am finally on the field playing, I love the adrenaline that pumps me to really have a great game.”

On a daily basis she looks forward to a new day, filled with positive vibes. For Najerrei, even though things can be difficult to accomplish, she gets them done. She was inspired to play soccer by watching her brother play and as well as other sports. “His dedication to his sports inspired me to start playing, especially with soccer,” she said. Najerrei models her playing style after Kelly O’ Hara.

She finds that the easiest thing for her to do is maintain her grades. “I take advantage of 10th period and go to my teachers for help if I don’t understand something,” Najerrei says.

She schedules her day specifically so that everything is as organized as possible in her life. “I make sure that I schedule the events I have so that things don’t intervene or I let people down because all of a sudden I cannot attend something,” she says. 

The things that concern her about academic life is being able in the end to get the best grades she can. She strives to have a 3.6 or 3.7 GPA that will lead her to a successful future. Najerrei also wants to attend Florida State University, and out of all the subjects and classes she takes during her school year, her favorite subject/class is math. She is a unique person by the way she carries herself in uncomfortable situations, her intelligence, and sense of humor connect with many people and make her a confident person.

By surrounding herself with people that have goals and are doing good for themselves it makes her want to do even better for herself. Having people that will always be there to support her decisions makes Najerrei even more confident, and for her, that’s a key to success.