IRVINGTON, NJ — The Essex County College Gymnasium was filled to capacity on Wednesday, June 20, for Irvington High School’s Class of 2018 graduation ceremony.
In fact, the bleachers inside the ECC gym were so filled that the school security force assigned to the event had to bar some people from coming inside. So they had to wait outside, but guest speaker Adenah Bayoh promised, who owns two IHOP restaurants, promised free pancakes to everyone at her restaurants.
“Go to any of the IHOPs, that’s Irvington, that’s Bergen Street, and Class of 2018, you get free pancakes tonight,” said Bayoh on Wednesday, June 20. “And to the township of Irvington, I thank you for believing in me and helping me be the person that I am today. Thank you very much.”
Those inside the gym saw IHS Class of 2018 member Michaella Mulor sporting one of the custom-made tassels that teacher Marc Ismael had made for her and another graduate.
“It’s great and I feel great about graduating,” said Mulor on Wednesday, June 20. “I’m so happy.”
Mulor’s classmate, Naomi Masslieno, also said she was very excited to be graduating from high school this year, even though she wasn’t wearing one of Ismael’s designer tassels.
“It is great to be here and to be graduating,” Masslieno said as she and Mulor made their way to their seats.
Ismael, who moonlights as a fashion designer when not working as a disciplinarian in IHS, said he was excited to see Mulor, Masslieno and the other members of the Class of 2018 graduating from high school. He also said he remembers feeling the same way when he graduated in 2000.
Ismael also said he knows firsthand about the challenges the members of the Class of 2018 will have to overcome on the road to success, but he said he has faith that their time spent as students at IHS will serve them well later in life.
“Today is a big day for them and, hopefully, all of their futures are bright. A lot of them told me that they’re having EOF programs and they’re debating whether or not to enroll,” Ismael said, referring the the state Educational Opportunity Fund, which provides education grants to students in need.
“I told them take advantage of those EOF programs, because that’s the school paying you, so you take advantage of it. I’ve been through that, so I know. I’ve experienced that, where EOF programs and I turned out good. I did my two years in college, then I finished up in two years, done. I went to Gibbs and then Jersey City College.”
Ismael said he understands high school graduation can be a “scary time” for young men and women, and tried to reassure the IHS grads that everything would turn out right, as long as they are willing to work hard to achieve their dreams.
“Very scary, but they’ll enjoy it. It goes by fast,” said Ismael. “I was up on that stage in 2000 and now it’s 2018. It’s amazing. I went to Irvington High, too. Kids want guidance. It’s just, sometimes, it’s the way you deliver it. And as long as you deliver it the right way and they hear you, they understand. They do want guidance.”
When it came to Bayoh’s free pancakes offer for all the members of the HIS Class of 2018, Ismael said that sounded pretty good to him too.
“I wouldn’t mind some free pancakes right now,” he said, smiling. “