RHS Stadium Flooded, Graduation Held on Front Lawn

Field under significant water, but graduation still on outside

Ridgewood High School graduation will still be held outside though it's not exactly the spot the district had in mind. School workers were seen moving chairs set up on the main football field beyond the east side bleachers, on the front lawn.

The RHS Stadium Field's southern and eastern sides are under a significant belly of water. There are several large "wrinkles" pushing the turf upward. Nearby, those walking from the Graydon South Parking Lot will need to find another entrance, as the foot bridge is currently under heavy rushing water.  The Ho-Ho-Kus Brook rushed over its flood stage by nearly a half foot, but has since receded.

The District's Public Information Officer Debra Anderson said the ceremony will be conducted on the front lawn, at 5 p.m. as anticipated.

"The graduates will be seated at the top of the hill facing the west. They will proceed from the Little Theatre and move down the walkway to the circle by the front entrance. They will move up the steps to their seats," she said, instructing those attending to not block the walkway.

"Spectators can stand for an abbreviated ceremony in open lawn space, Heermance Place, and the visitor’s bleachers. The Iced Tea reception will be conducted in Gym 1."

Sources say the elderly will be seated in chairs lining the sidewalk path; those confined to wheelchairs will be sitting on the circular patio where the podium will be.

Basil Pizzuto told Patch this was all the district could do, as the gym didn't have capacity.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Fishbein refused to talk to Patch on the matter. Similarly, Assistant Superintendent for Business Angelo DeSimone also decline to comment when approached.

How many parents, family and friends can attend is currently unknown.

Laura Bertocci contributed to this article.

Stay tuned to Patch as we continue to update.

B Carlson June 23, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Of course Fishbein didn't want to talk to Patch (or anyone else) about the "matter" - that feckless, dishonest, arrogant incompetent. Let the parents of the graduates demand his resignation and may he formally apologize to the graduates. Our graduates and our current students deserve better.
Lawrence June 24, 2011 at 12:29 AM
Just checked out Project Graduation at BFMS. AMAZING!!! High praise to the crew who put this together (all aspects). What an undertaking.
JV June 24, 2011 at 12:47 AM
What is wrong with you? Did the superintendent cause the flood? Or are you mad because you or your child didn't get everything you decided was deserved from the RHS experience? You need professional help.
Michael Sedon June 24, 2011 at 04:07 PM
Looks like at least another couple $20,000 wrinkles. I would like to see a story that compares the cost of maintaining a grass field for a full year verses the cost of removing all of these wrinkles in just the past few months. Maybe the district could just eliminate the entire math curriculum to pay for Stevens and Stadium fields' maintenance. Hopefully the BOE will come up with some more awesome multi-million dollar projects that they could put in a flood plain since the turf fields were such a great money-saving idea. Students might even be able to take SCUBA diving classes on Stadium Field in the spring each year.
Dan Johnson June 24, 2011 at 10:48 PM
The class of 2011 established there own turf. More power to them. Ridgewood Seniors want to be outside to graduate and thats a great tradition and thanks to the school staff who helped make that happen again. Maybe the hill is the place to be in the future. Maybe 2011 has established a new tradition. Floods will come. Artificial turf may go. But Ridgewood seniors are awesome!


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