A Unique and Special Celebration: SRDS Graduates the Class of 2020

Gretchen Lee

On Thursday, July 23rd, Charter Field was the site of the in-person Graduation events for the Saddle River Day School Class of 2020. Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, these celebrations looked very different than in past years, but remained as festive as ever. Administrators, faculty, and staff were committed to making an in-person celebration for students and their families happen as allowed by the State of New Jersey. The day began with graduation rehearsal and was followed by a celebration of student accomplishments at the Senior Awards Ceremony.

In the evening, seniors and their families attended a ceremony where graduating students sat with a limited number of family members in the audience instead of on the dais. They listened to speeches given by Head of the Upper School Tony Maccarella, classmates Jordan Janowski and Stephen Savas, and Head of School Jalaj Desai, all with the theme of “resiliency” and enjoyed time all together on campus as a class. While attendees wore masks and maintained physical distance from one another, it was wonderful to be able to spend time together and officially close the year for our students. 

The Class of 2020 was accepted to a list of schools as varied and accomplished as they are. The strength of college guidance at SRDS is in the care and attention given to each student and family. At SRDS, our families receive expert college guidance that gives our students an advantage in the college admissions process. Over 100 colleges and universities visit SRDS each fall, and many of the best schools in the country admit our students because they know an SRDS grad is an inspired learner who is confident, creative and accomplished. Over 40% of our students enrolled at a first-choice college through Early Decision or Early Action, and 5 of our seniors were recruited athletes enrolling in colleges such as Stanford University and New York University.

Director of College Counseling, Karen Ferretti, who has over 20 years of experience on both sides of the college admissions desk, has this to say about the relationships she builds with our students:

"The hallmark of the SRDS college process has always been the individualized attention that is given to each of our students, counseling each to consider all of their options as well as empowering them to complete their applications which highlight their accomplishments and unique personality traits. As 21st Century learners, these seniors have kept an eye to their futures beyond their undergraduate years, and have spent their time considering the research, internship and career opportunities offered by all of the colleges where they applied.

Each student has made deliberate choices as to where they felt all of their academic and social needs would be met, applying to schools where they “fit" rather than just submitting applications blindly.  By carefully crafting their lists in the fall, our seniors had multiple offers of admission from all types of colleges including large public research flagship institutions, small selective liberal arts colleges, fine arts portfolio based schools, and universities with superior technology at their core. We are proud of how much our seniors have grown during this process and look forward to hearing their college stories when they return to campus in the future."

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!