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Heat Causes 2 To Faint At NJ Graduation Ceremony; Township Starts Summer Early Citing Extreme Temperatures

Blazing Conditions Leave Grads Sweltering & Others Starting Summer Vacay
Students head home on Wednesday for summer vacation. The hot weather forced the superintendent into a decision to end the school year a day early. (credit: CBS 2)

Students head home on Wednesday for summer vacation. The hot weather forced the superintendent into a decision to end the school year a day early. (credit: CBS 2)

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NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The sudden scorching temperatures led to some scary moments Wednesday, forcing officials to take some precautionary measures in the Garden State.

Some students had to be treated for heat exhaustion, suffered during the North Bergen High School graduation ceremony. It was also so hot that administrators in Howell Township decided to end school and send students home for summer vacation a day early.

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By the time the graduation ceremony at North Bergen High School — which lasted over two hours — was winding down, the temperature was well over 90 degrees.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Hears From Students At North Bergen HS

More than 600 graduates were sweltering in their bright red gowns and caps on the artificial turf under the broiling sun at Bruin Stadium in Braddock Park.

Two in the graduating class were taken to Palisades Medical Center as a precaution. Rodney Reyes said he saw one graduate go down.

“One girl actually fell to the floor — she fainted,” Reyes told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

“No matter if you’re in great shape or no shape, if you are not hydrated, you could pass out instantly,” student Ariel Santos said.

Meanwhile, the principal of Ardena Elementary lauded the decision by the Howell Township superintendent to end the school year a day early.

“I think that it was in the children and staff’s best interest for health and safety reasons. The building gets extremely warm and tomorrow is supposed to be a record breaker,” Dr. Deborah Pennell told CBS 2’s Chris Wragge.

Students said it was feeling like a record breaker already.

“I go to Middle School North and we have air conditioning, so it wasn’t that bad. But in here, when I came here for my sister, it was really hot. It was really sticky, too. I don’t think they would have been able to concentrate,” student Amy Cmielewski said.

Parents said ending school early was a blessing.

“I think it’s great, it’s way too hot for the kids and for the teachers so we were very happy about it,” parent Jennifer Cmielewski said.

But some said it was also a little bittersweet.

“The kids would have been way too hot in there, but then it’s sad, too, because then everything got rushed,” parent Dana Keegan said.

“We were supposed to do a lot of things tomorrow and we had to get it all crammed, but it’s okay. I’m a little happy, too,” Amy Cmielewski said.

The Police Athletic League provided child care for parents who needed it and the school made sure students had plenty of water to drink.

How did you deal with the heat Wednesday?  How do you plan to combat Thursday’s expected scorcher? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…