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Graduation Exercises

T E N A F L Y     H I G H     S C H O O L

led by Dr. Daniel P. Kneuppel, Principal, Tenafly High School

With the welcoming greeting of senior class president, Jack Hexum, the provocative messages of three (3) seniors, and the stimulating address of New Jersey historian, John Cunningham, still fresh in our minds, the distribution of diplomas to the Class of 1976 is about to take place.

For a moment, however, let us join these young people who quote the words of Clement W. Scott in their yearbook -- "All our past acclaims our future and looks to the past." Therefore, let us pause and look back once more before we go forward -- back to acknowledge some of the happenings of the public school years of the Class of 1976.

With John Kennedy still serving as the youngest man ever elected to the presidency of the United States, our seniors entered school as kindergarteners in the fall of 1963. Kennedy had spoken of "The New Frontier -- the frontier of the sixties."  For students of Mrs. Dobson at Maugham School and in our other kindergartens, the rhythm bands with sticks and tambourines developed signs of musical talent slated for Tenafly's "Marching 100" and its other music groups.

Just before the first anniversary of the shocking assassination of President John Kennedy, our young people began first grade and became involved in class dramas. At Smith School, the production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" saw Abby Smith as Snow White accompanied by such actors as Mike Remez in the part of Bashful, Jack Hexum as Dopey, and Bill Krehely as a tree.  Lisa Hafkin played Mother Goose in another dramatic endeavor. Science took on an important role in learning experiences as the astronauts continued to engage in new and daring space flights. As second graders, a class at Maugham made butter while at Smith a production of "The Weatherman on Trial" saw Nora Fischer and Jane Allen as raindrops.  Steve Davis, chased by the girls at Stillman, happened to move on with his family and continued his studies at Maugham. During this period, President Johnson was working on the goals of a "Great Society" -- objectives for achieving peace and freedom, beautifying America, eliminating slums, preventing air and water pollution, checking crime, reducing poverty, encouraging the arts and sciences, and expanding government. Here in Tenafly's third grade, Mrs. Rowland's class at Maugham hatched chickens while at MacKay a play found Eric Wanchal and Darlene Hillard portraying a prince and princess with Charles Schnaars and Lisa Gold as king and queen.  At Stillman, Jeff Cooper won acclaim as Peter Pan and Steve Saydah played a caboose.

Fourth grade saw the launching of such musical groups as "The Gruesomes." Library skills were emphasized in a special production at Maugham.  Ralph Rossetti was a bookworm and Nancy Bree was Red Riding Hood.  Stillman students developed and printed their own cookbook.

With the world yet distressed over the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy, our then fifth graders plunged into such activities as making TV tapes at the PDQ Center.  Stillman students worked on French and pupils at Maugham worked hard and enjoyed Mrs. Plender as their teacher.  Bill Mullen was a star in "Tom Sawyer" at Smith and a production called "Pea Soup Shortie" took place there that year, also.

Fresh from observation of the astronauts' fantastic landing on the moon, our then sixth graders plunged into a new program of activity at the middle school at West Clinton Avenue. These youngsters were destined to be the only class in recent years that did not attend the building at Sunset Lane for middle or high school. A videotaped production about grammar saw Mickey Schoenholdt as "Herb the Verb" and John Gnoffo as Detective Brown. The first break in the dress code enabled the girls to wear slacks to school. Seventh grade learning experiences provided opportunities for becoming well-acquainted with such teachers as Miss Wilson, Miss Cubberley, and Mr. Koellan. Come September of '71, Ira Eisenstein began his term as S.O. President. Amy Miller earned the girls' athletic award.  Our then eighth graders conducted a poll among their peers.  This year's current editor of Echo had his talent for the use of words recognized early when the poll among his classmates voted Dan Segal most talkative. As "most athletic," Tom Kemley's high school basketball and baseball careers were predicted early. Nancy Marder, our top graduating scholar this year, was already recognized then as "Best Student" and "most likely to succeed."

Entering our new facilities here at Columbus Drive as freshmen in the Fall of 1972, our ninth graders were faced with many challenges. Modular scheduling with its 16-period day, semester electives, and individual decision time with all of its choices were as new and as different as the courtyards.  The Dialogue Pit, the Student Center with its extended hours and broader menu, the Resource Center, and all of the other class and lab facilities.  It took a well-developing sense of responsibility to brave all of these changes.  This was the year Tenafly's "Marching 100" traveled cross country to participate in the Rose Bowl Parade. Tenth grade saw Tom Silber as sophomore class president.  "West SIde Story" was an exciting spring production that year.  Eleventh grade classes with Mr. Marain, Mr. Visco, and Mr. Luther left our young people with fond impressions of their teachers.  Such staff members no doubt contributed to the attitude about our faculty reflected by our students in the 1976 Tenakin. And I quote..."The eighty teachers are not merely instructors lecturing on the topic of the day, but people who want to befriend, help, and guide students, willing to devote their after school hours to explaining a math problem or advising a club."   "Carousel's" presentation in the spring of his junior year brought a starring role for Al Sayers.

Beginning with September of this past year, our senior class has culminated its public school career of activity with participation in several happenings worthy of mention.  The press of time makes it impossible to include everyone and every memorable event.

Ira Eisenstein and Steve Yale were among the senior football athletes who received enthusiastic acclaim from such cheerleaders as Robin MacDonald who contributed a great deal to the display of our school spirit over the past four years. Adam Kugler, John Dougherty, David Haas, Stewart Hochberger, and Matt Steinfeld helped earn us the title of state champion in soccer.  Our drama productions were enhanced by the participation of Jessie Kraushaar who won the best actress award at the Rider College Drama Festival. Jeff Grossman was instrumental in the establishment of a well-functioning ham radio station.  Through our task force for urban concerns, Wendy Peck made a significant contribution to the learning program for the children at Holly Center.  Jack Hexum, not only the class's distinguished president but also the school's melodious PA announcer each morning, served capably as drum major for Tenafly's "Marching 100" and set the beat for such other senior performers as Ashley Clark, Kathi Huff, Bob Fuller, an Bob Hirsch.  Lee Bloom achieved recognition as all-around girl athlete while Martha Danon was all-league pitcher for girls' softball and Matt Steinfeld excelled in tennis.  In basketball, Jim Falk achieved an all-time scoring record of 1509 points and played effectively with teammates Tom Kemley and Bill Mullen.  Connie Blickenderfer represented Tenafly's musical prowess by her participation as a string player in the Bergen Youth Orchestra.  Georgina Bonilla gave effectively of her time each day to work with students involved in the English as a second language program.  The presence of Diemut Giesselmann, our AFS student, added a special sparkle to the school year.  Mike Remez swerved ably as student representative to the Board of Education.  Our vocal music program was enhanced by the talents of such individuals as Nancy Redard, a star in each production and not to be forgotten as Santuzza in our first opera, Kathy Brown who played Babe in "Pajama Game", Steve Saydah, Sue Trnka, Betty Harrison, Rhonda Gillenwaters, and Jack Hexum.  Attesting to their academic talents, Steve Davis, Greg Goodman, Jeff Kalmar, Susan Kassman, Laura Molnar, Betsy Redisch, Dan Segal, and Chris Unger placed as National Merit Scholarship finalists.  Michele Lang drew attention to volleyball, and Greg Goodman, Ken Hackbarth, and Steve Yale achieved notoriety in wrestling. Golf at Tenafly High was mightily advanced through the efforts of Adam Kugler who won acclaim as Bergen County champion, state sectional champion, and third place winner in the state finals.  Sue Kassman was a strong asset in the Math Club's program. Track star Van Gothner set new school records in the mile, the two mile, and cross country running. Charlie Schnaars and Steve Schupak, who will also be remembered for his rendition of a fork in the senior talent show, also won acclaim in track, as did Laudrie Short, a female member of the team.

All of these events have been captured by Gerry Spada and his staff in the current Tenakin, a truly fine yearbook.  Attesting to its ability to raise funds for its culminating expenses, the Class of 1976, in the largest magazine sale ever, sold $18,766.88 worth of magazines.  Top salesman Steve Prato turned in $1200 worth of orders 317 young people attended and danced at the senior prom.  Super class service was rendered by such seniors as Peggy Silberthau and Emmy Whitlock, who supervised SO elections.  Emmy was also a member of the Principal's Cabinet for three years.  Peggy and Emmy, together with their classmates, supported their hard-working and dedicated class advisor, Mr. John Mullin, also a graduate of Tenafly High School. Winner of the best school citizen award in an election by his peers was Steve Yale. Kathy Trainor, serving as chairperson of the graduation committee, encouraged the class toward participation in this evening's well-coordinated activities.  Wendy Alling designed a fine cover for our graduation program.  Class President Jack Hexum, making well-directed use of his spirit and vitality, along with is capability to organize, encouraged this class to strive to bring out the best in each of its members.

All of these school experiences were undertaken this year when practical questions and lessons regarding leadership nationally and abroad continued to affect us all.  The resignation of a president, world hunger, unrest and aggression, the coming scarcity of fuel and other resources, and the entire economic situation, including the funding of education in such states as our own New Jersey, are issues that remain as challenges to the integrity, intelligence, and compassion of mankind.  As we and the young adults of the class of 1976 tackle these and all of the other problems of life, we must continue to demand much of ourselves as individuals and as a society.  Our celebration of the Bicentennial comes at a time in the history of our nation when we need to remember the powerful spirits that gave birth to America, some of which were mentioned by Eric Sloane in his Spirits of '76 -- the spirit of patriotism founded on respect for nation, people, and self; the spirit of hard work coupled with enthusiasm; the spirit of frugality that does way with wastefulness; the spirit of thankfulness that does not take life and its opportunities for granted; the spirit of time that uses hours and minutes wisely but practices patience; and the spirit of awareness that makes us cognizant of the vital roles each of us as individuals can play in the achievements of society.

We thank the members of this class for sharing 13 years of learning experiences with us.

May each of us this evening hold fast to the spirit of enthusiasm for life exemplified by these seniors over the years.

And now, it is my privilege, on behalf of the faculty of Tenafly High School, to present to Mrs. Adrienne Berenson, president of the Board of Education of the Tenafly schools, the class of 1976.

Each has fulfilled the school's requirements for graduation and has, thereby, earned a diploma. I present these young people to you with respect for their abilities and pride in their accomplishments.


Throughout your thirteen years of public school education, you young people, as the most recent of Tenafly High School's 52 years of graduates, have worked together with admirable determination. Individually, and as a group, you have set your standards and made your way.  Now, as you join the ranks of Tenafly High School's alumni and go your separate ways -- on to schools of higher learning to positions of employment, to military service, and to married roles and the heads of new families, I encourage you to make your unique contribution to life and to practice your citizenship with a continued devotion toward the assumption of responsibility for yourself and toward your fellow man.  May God give each of you the will and the ability to make wise decisions and to breathe enthusiasm into all you undertake.

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