Newark High School senior graduates at home

COURTESY OF BRENDA SCHOOL

Newark High School graduate Jazmine Guzman received her diploma during an at-home ceremony after a recent hospital stay prevented her from attending commencement and Operation Graduation with her peers. 

Guzman’s mother, Heather Boughton, asked her classmates to send cards once she was home from the hospital, as Guzman was disappointed she could not attend graduation. One classmate’s mother, Tracey Kelley, who helped organize Operation Graduation, felt more than just cards were in order.  

“I wanted Jazmine to be able to wear her cap and gown, and have [Principal] Nick Ganster present her with her diploma,” Kelley said.  

After Boughton approved of the idea, Kelley contacted Superintendent Sue Hasenauer for permission and help. Hasenauer gave her the green light to proceed and helped put in motion an informal ceremony for Guzman outside her Newark home, complete with Ganster and herself officiating. 

Jazmine Guzman receives her diploma from Newark High School Principal Nick Ganster as her sister, Jade Stoner, and mother, Heather Boughton, watch.

Meanwhile, Kelley reached out to fellow Operation Graduation planners Lisa Burns, Marie and Michael Colacino, and Kim Lockwood to arrange for a parade of cars that would follow Ganster and Hasenauer to Guzman’s home before the ceremony. Participants included classmates Faythe Burns, Michaela and Morgan Colacino, and Leah Lockwood.  

“I was so happy,” Guzman said of the 20-plus individuals that participated in the parade and watched nearby, along with other members of her family as she received her diploma. “I didn’t know everyone was coming. It was so nice and sweet.”  

During the ceremony, Guzman received her diploma from Ganster as Hasenauer certified her graduation on behalf of the Board of Education and state of New York. Finally, with “Pomp and Circumstance” playing on her phone, Hasenauer instructed Guzman to move the tassel on her cap from left to the right, signifying she had graduated. 

Jazmine Guzman poses for a photo after the ceremony with Superintendent Susan Hasenauer.