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Pascack Valley participates in ‘Movement of Unity’

Students respond to hate speech incidents

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In the wake of the recent anti-Semitic graffiti and hate speech that was found at Pascack Valley, the student body participated in a “Movement of Unity” on Nov. 21. According to an email sent by Pascack Valley Regional High School District Superintendent Erik Gundersen, the event was one step in the District’s attempt to “foster unity throughout the PV community.”

After listening to an announcement from PV principal Tom DeMaio and watching a video of Holocaust survivors recounting their memories of being victims of hatred, students gathered on the field, where they formed the shape of a heart.

Once on the field, students listened to speeches from Executive Council members Ryan Novakowski, Jake Topolosky, Arianna Quevedo, and Sean Oh.

“Let this tragic event in Valley be a learning experience,” Novakowski said. “What we need in our school is a reestablishment of honor, respect, and integrity.”

Noah Schwartz

Samantha Cohn recited the poem “First They Came…” by Martin Niemöller, who was a Lutheran pastor in Nazi Germany and a vocal critic of Hitler.

Noah Schwartz
Josh DeLuca
Josh DeLuca
Rachel Cohen
Josh DeLuca

The Movement of Unity concluded with a performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine” by the Pascack Valley choir.

Noah Schwartz

Clergy members from various local religious congregations were in attendance to show their support.

Rachel Cohen
Rachel Cohen

In addition, other members of the Pascack Valley community, including New Jersey Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R) and River Vale Superintendent Rory McCourt were there.

Katie Mullaney
Katie Mullaney

Though the vast majority of the Pascack Valley student body was in attendance, some students opted not to participate for various reasons. Supervision and security was in place for both groups of students.

Madison Gallo
Madison Gallo
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About the Writer
Josh DeLuca, Sports Editor

Josh DeLuca is a senior and is excited to be going into his fourth year of working on The Smoke Signal. This is his second year as a sports editor.

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Pascack Valley participates in ‘Movement of Unity’