Clifton Merchant Magazine - June 2022

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Here’s the scene from a few years back when volunteers from CASA showed soon-to-be CHS grads that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. CASA, which stands for Clifton Against Substance Abuse, will again stage the reenactment wreck in front of CHS on June 6. Pay attention seniors. Real life scenes like this happen. Graduation night. After the prom. On your way back from the shore or just across town. Kids party, feel confident and get behind the wheel. They can handle the road. Next, your car, you and your friends are found on the side of the road, wrapped around a tree. Bloodied and handcuffed, you’re lucky if no one gets killed. Your parents post bail. Then the process begins. Lawyers, court dates, a record. One stupid decision and your life is front page news. Don’t drive buzzed. Be responsible. God bless the Class of 2022.

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2022 Senior Survey

Who is the Unsung Hero of 2022? Kate Louer: My unsung hero is Morgan Lesler, pictured below with Kate at left. Although a true Clifton kid, she decided to go to DePaul in her freshman year. After a year there, she then decided she belonged at CHS where we got to play volleyball and softball together. Not only is she very smart academically, she brings the same talent to the court and field as a pitcher and setter. Making both games much more competitive and fun. Great way to enjoy senior year and athletics at CHS together! Andrew Sieradzki: Jacob Zybura is an excellent athlete and an even more excellent student. He has always been this way and I’m sure will continue to be when he attends Notre Dame this fall. Kathelyne Sindico: Everyone I know is pretty outgoing.

Jayr Abad: My best friend since sixth grade, Valentina Bonilla. Valentina has always been such a hard-working student with such a sweet soul. She is always so caring and helpful with everyone that she knows. If anyone is having a bad day, she is always willing to be the shoulder that you could cry on. Everyone needs a friend like her. Riddhi Gandhi: Emery Senosin. Although she is an introvert, she is actually one of the funniest and most fun people to be around. No matter what, she always has your back and is a smartie pants who always knows how to help you.

Victoria Olive: Joy Eid (pictured at left with Victoria at right) is one of the kindest, most energetic, and helpful people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who asks, and has been a steadfast friend to me for the past five years. Her advice has been invaluable to me, and her friendship has made my high school experience better. She is immensely intelligent and talented, and I can’t wait to see where she goes in life.


June 2022 •

Alessandra Foti: Yuliya Pasechko. I met Yuliya (at right) in the beginning of the school year and we instantly became best friends. Yuliya is someone who has made gym class more fun. We’ve spent our time bonding over shared interests and teaching each other new things. I can always count on Yuliya, and I know we are going to be friends forever. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

Who is the Unsung Hero of 2022? Rylan Stetz: Lucius Patti, an amazing trumpet player.

Christian Rodriguez: Patrick Biernat. He is a Captain of the CHS Ice Hockey team, File Sergeant in the Marching Band, and a percussionist in the Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. He volunteers at the West Paterson Fire Department and is also at PCCC during his senior year at CHS. He is an amazing person and a one-of-a-kind friend.

Patrick Biernat: Ángel Sanchez because he’s a member of the Marching Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and is on the lacrosse team. He’s worked at Mario’s over the summer and is an outstanding older brother and an amazing friend.

Michael Shimabukuro: I’ve known Maria Pia De Los Reyes since School 14. She is kind, smart, brave, and funny. She likes to draw and sketch. What makes her unique is that she’s a natural listener. She’s a good friend to keep.

Yuliya Pasechko: Alesandra Foti, or, as I call her: Allyberry. I was very nervous about my senior year because I thought I would not make any friends, but that changed when I met Ally. She is the sweetest, kindest, and funniest person I know. She never fails to make me smile. I tell her about my stories and artwork, and she shares her amazing poetry and songwriting. Despite our differences, we help each other through any hardships. But I am not the only person who she inspires. Ally is kind to everyone around her. She is truly a wonderful person and I hope that everything she dreams of will one day come true for her.

Harsh Prajapati: Khalil Amro. I can always go to Khalil when I want to talk about a serious topic and need some advice. He is one of the most intelligent people that I have met in my life. Sohini Mistry: Aimi Davila, a dedicated student and someone who pushes themself to be the best. Among the challenging courses she takes in CHS, she is a big helping hand in the community. She has dedicated much of her time to volunteering in Clifton, as well as playing on the girls tennis team and flag football. Aimi takes care of animals in an animal shelter that she works at and is someone to go to if you need a laugh, motivation, or advice for anything. Liam Reilly: I feel that someone is Mariam Rukhaia. Mariam has only moved to the United States recently and has made the best of her transition to Clifton High School as she had to become accustomed to the language and the different customs, all while handling a variety of difficult classes and making it into the Top 10 of our graduating class. She has done some incredible work and should be recognized for her amazing accomplishments.


June 2022 •

Patrick Biernat, Kathelyne Sindico, Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus, Christian Rodriguez, Joseph Viera.

Angelina Pacosa: My friend since middle school, Jacob Zybura. His academic accomplishments, as well as his kind and attentive personality, have made him a valuable student and a wonderful person. He’ll be attending Notre Dame in the fall, which is yet another indication of his success and accomplishments. Ángel Sanchez: Sohini Mistry. She’s a really great person who doesn’t get a lot of attention, but I have the privilege of being her boyfriend. She’s an amazing person with a great personality and is always helping and giving back.

support others. She used to be very timid in freshman year and now, as a senior, she has gained an amazing amount of confidence in herself. She has grown as a person and I am proud to be her friend.

Gulay Yilmaz: Myself. After all these years, I returned to school and was finally able to get that diploma.

Jasmin Jariwala: Emery Senosin is a multi-talented, but underrepresented student. She has juggled her studies, tennis, orchestra, and the many clubs that she is a member of, and she has held leadership positions for four years and still managed to rank third out of our whole graduating class. She is a brilliant and multifaceted student, but an even better friend. Bianca Ikwuka: The first person who comes to mind is Miguel Arellano. He used American Sign Language to sign The Star-Spangled Banner on the football field for the 9/11 football game this year. He’s always been kind and very smart and courageous and brave.

Sophia Refinski: Kiera Bommer. Her faith and dedication to the school is second to none. She truly embraced her time at Mary Help. Karen Meneses: I would pick my friend Amy G. because of her work ethic in school and she is always there to • June 2022


Senior Feature

Paying Support Forward The future is paved with opportunities for Michael Shimabukuro and getting a perfect score on his DMV written test isn’t the only reason why he’ll go far. Shimabukuro expressed gratitude for the support of his loved ones. He made special mention of his sisters, Catherine and Kristina, whom he regards as his greatest influences. “They taught me everything from reading and writing to how to handle uncomfortable situations. We laugh so much when we are together,” said Shimabukuro, 18. “They are my biggest supporters and are with me at all of my events.” “I can count on them for anything,” he added. “I love them very much.” The PCTI senior grew up in Clifton, attending School 14 and Woodrow Wilson Middle School. It was during elementary school that he began drawing and sketching. This fall, Shimabukuro will attend Montclair State University to study in their Visual and Communication Design program.


June 2022 •

Michael Shimabukuro with sisters, Kristina and Catherine.

Along with developing his passion for graphic design, his past achievements have included learning how to read music notes and play the trumpet, as well as becoming a member of WWMS’ Junior Honor Society and being an athlete with Project Unify at WWMS since 2016. More recently, the Special Olympics of New Jersey awarded him Athlete of the Year for Passaic County in 2018, and he has been a member of the PCTI Concert Band and Marching Band from 2018 to present. “But my greatest achievement is being recognized by my teachers and school administration as Student of the Month for March of 2022,” said Shimabukuro. “I felt the appreciation, support, and enthusiasm of everyone who always cheered me on, especially my parents and sisters.” Shimabukuro hopes to offer that same support for others who are both in and beyond his community. He volunteered for two summers at ALL Abilities Sports in Garfield in 2018 and 2019. Now closed, the sports facility once provided recreational sports for young people with disabilities. “Being on the Autism spectrum, myself, has allowed me to help and include all people and to give them all the opportunity to shine,” said Shimabukuro. Growing up in Clifton has allowed him to put that advice to practice in his own life. He credits two teachers in particular as among those who pushed him to be the best version of himself. “They were firm, respectful, patient, fun, and gentle at the same time,” said Shimabukuro. “They taught me respect and how to be caring to [others].” • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

Tell us about the person who is your Greatest Influence. Bianca Ikwuka has no shortage of positive influences, at home and at school. “My mom, Winifred, is a massive influence,” said Ikwuka, 18. “She’s a hard worker and gets everything done. Who wouldn’t look up to their mom?” At school, Ikwuka points to her Marching Mustang Band Director Bryan Stepneski. She described him as patient and kind. “Maybe it’s because I spend way too much extracurricular time with him, but he is a prime example of an

adult and a leader,” said Ikwuka. “He played a part in my growing up.” Ikwuka joined the Marching Band in her sophomore year. The senior percussionist has played the bass drum and said that the band kept her moving forward during those difficult pandemic months. “It’s like my symbol of strength and perseverance,” said Ikwuka. “Even at my lowest, I have friends and found family within the Marching Band.” The pandemic has also taught her the “power of togetherness.” Ikwuka recalled how important it was to stay connected even when the world was physically apart. Some of the ways she did that was by speaking on the phone with friends daily and practicing virtually with band members. Ikwuka will attend Rutgers – New Brunswick. She is currently undecided on her major, but said she chose Rutgers to get a new environment while remaining close enough to home by staying in-state. Regardless of her future career goals, she doesn’t plan to abandon music. “Music has always been part of my life,” she said. “It may not be the main thing that I do, but it’s definitely a hobby that I want to continue forever.” Another passion that she hopes to keep pursuing is American Sign Language. Ikwuka was featured in an April piece that featured CHS teacher Lori Lesler and her American Sign Language classes. “I just love sign language,” said Ikwuka. “It drew me in because it was a thing that was different … and not like other traditional languages. I’m much more of a visual learner, which made the language easy for me to pick up.” “Now it’s such a part of me,” she continued. “I don’t know what to do in the future yet, but I want Sign Language to be a part of it.”

Marching Mustang percussionist Bianca Ikwuka and her mother, Winifred.


June 2022 • • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

Tell us about your Greatest Influence Sophia Refinski has learned the values of faith, love, compassion, and community from her greatest influence – her grandmother Lola Ann Carroll. Refinski, a fifth generation Cliftonite, admires Carroll’s, 74, daily dedication to her faith. “She has taught me to never give up and continue to persevere even in the most troubling times,” said Refinski, 18. “My Baba is the greatest, loving woman that I know.” “I hope that I can take all the things that I have learned from her … and apply them to my next chapter of life,” added Refinski. Patrick Biernat: My friends Ángel, Christian, Jordan, and Sohini. They have been my walls to lean on when I’m second-guessing or annoyed by a problem.

Riddhi Gandhi: My parents, Shailesh and Jignasa Gandhi. Having emigrated from India with little to nothing, they made a great life for my younger brother and I. I would be nothing without them and their endless support in everything that I do. My mom was actually her class valedictorian in India, so that only inspired me to try and be the best version of myself that I can be. Kathelyne Sindico: My father, Glen Sindico, because he works really hard to accomplish things.

Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus: My boyfriend, Christopher Ramirez, CHS Class of 2021. He has helped me through my junior year when he was a senior. He pushed me to get good grades and pushed me to always ask for extra help or extra days if I needed them for my homework. He was the one there for me when I got my Academic Awards Dinner letter, and he also helped me get into a good college. I really appreciate everything that he has done for me throughout these two years of us dating. Maria Matos: My mom because I love her mindset, and she’s just a great human being.

Christian Rodriguez: My best friends Patrick, Ángel, Jordan, and Sohini. They influence me to make good decisions while also being supportive. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They have helped me become who I am today.


June 2022 •

Refinski was part of the last class at St. Andrew the Apostle School and is graduating from Mary Help of Christians Academy. She will attend Quinnipiac University and thinks the traits learned from her grandmother will help her become a great pediatric nurse. Refinski admires Carroll’s willingness to help others. She added that her Catholic education is another guiding influence in her life. “Having faith and love in my life, I am able to forgive others that may have offended me and ask the same of them,” said Refinski. While it is a Christian perspective, it is words we can all live by. Joseph Viera: My mother for providing me with support throughout my high school years. Rylan Stetz: My mother and grandmother. Eriel Hobbs: My mom, Erica Marie Williams, who is a one of a kind mother. She is always there when you need her. She is always there when I fall and she is always there to pick me up. My mom is one of the bravest and most independent women that I know and that is who I want to be when I go out into the real world. Andrew Sieradzki: My friends have always been encouraging academically, musically, and personally. Luke Kulesa, John Rivas, Veronica Zimmermann, Joshua Hernandez, and Angelina Pacosa consistently keep me motivated to keep pushing forward. Jayr Abad: My cousins have always been my role models. Being the youngest cousin out of seven, I’ve always looked up to every single one of them and always wanted to make them proud. Most of my cousins are CHS alumni, so to be the last to graduate from high school along with my other cousin who is in the same grade as me is a very sentimental moment. There are too many to name, but I look at each of them as a sibling because of how close we all are. They’ll always be by my side and are a part of who I am. Andrew Potocki: It would have to be my family and friends. Not just one person, but the people that care about me the most. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

Tell us about your Greatest Influence Gulay Yilmaz: My greatest influence has been my life lessons and everything that I went through to get to where I am today and where I am going. My ex-fiancé really opened my eyes to a lot and changed me after he broke me. However, I did it – I’m going to be something. Mariam Rukhaia: I have been greatly influenced by my parents. They are the ones who are always pushing me to be the best version of myself.

GianPaul Carrion: My parents, Edwin and Erika Carrion. They both came to this country from Peru with nothing and managed to provide me with a life filled with opportunities. It was inspiring to see my mom go to college while I was in school and be able to graduate and now have a great job. Alessandra Foti: My older brother and CHS Class of 2020 graduate Christopher Foti. Christopher has excelled with his grades from elementary school through high school, and he has recently made the Dean’s List at Montclair State University. His Distinguished Honor Roll awards and his membership in the National Honor Society have inspired me to achieve the same at CHS. Elayne Fana: Myself, and the obstacles I overcame.

Angelina Pacosa: The band director, Mr. Bryan Stepneski, has been an incredible influence on me throughout my time in high school. I could not have accomplished all that I did without his guidance, support, and encouragement. I will be forever grateful to him for that.

Andy Jimenez: My mother, Angela, and my father, Jesus. They always believed in me and supported me. Also, Mr. Ahmad Hamdeh and all of the VPs who always had my back when I would get in trouble back in my freshman year but gave me another chance to change my bad ways.


June 2022 •

Bryan Montoya: My dad Duberley Montoya and mom, Katherine J. Chunga (pictured with brother Adriel). Everything that I accomplish will always be for them – two young immigrants who left everything back home to give me a better life. It’s something that I’ll treasure forever. My motivation will always be: If they came here to give me something, why shouldn’t I take advantage of that and do the best I can? I can’t thank them enough for the countless years of hard work and love that they gave me. Sohini Mistry: My sister, Visva (CHS 2019). She has been supportive of everything I have done at CHS. When I was a freshman, she was a senior and it allowed us to grow close and she is someone that I rely on for advice or to help me overcome troubles that I run into. She has attended many orchestra and marching band performances that I have been part of and has motivated me to push myself to get out there and chase after my dreams.

Senior Feature

Generational Mustang Appreciating music and the arts runs deep in the Clifton community, and Veronica Zimmermann has her father, Robert, to thank for her becoming a third generation Marching Mustang. Despite her hesitancy during her first week of band camp in her freshman year, Zimmermann said that she’s glad she persevered. Today, she plays the trombone and is the Band Manager. She added that she’s made lifelong friends that she hopes to stay connected to after leaving Colfax Avenue in June. “[My father is] an alumnus and has many fond memories of his time in the band,” said Zimmermann, 17. “He wanted to give me that same experience.” They aren’t the only family members to fall into step. Zimmermann’s great aunt and uncle, Lois (Zimmermann) Foti and Richard Foti, were in the band under the direction of Saul Kay. Robert, along with Zimmermann’s two uncles and aunt, Christopher, Jason, and Joanne Zimmermann, performed under the direction of Robert Morgan. Some of Zimmermann’s band highlights include performing at the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco, the NATO Parade in Norfolk, and the grand opening for American Dream. Once she gets to Flagler College in Florida, she hopes to continue her music career by joining an ensemble, like a pep or concert band. But her interest in the arts goes further and will see her majoring in Art History. “I settled on this decision because art has always been a love of mine, but the stories behind the most famous

Veronica Zimmermann and her father, Robert, a Marching Mustang from 1985 to 1989, and CHS Class of 1989 grad.

pieces tugged on my string of curiosity,” said Zimmermann. “Whether I’m curating or picking out forgeries among the authentic, I’d explore any path that may [present itself] to me.” Zimmermann has also seen firsthand the importance of self-discipline during the pandemic. The part she found challenging about attending high school during the initial lockdown was that the structure was gone. “It was up to the students to stay focused and get something out of online classes,” she said. “Although it was difficult, it was also a preview of college and how big of a role self-discipline plays.” She encouraged the Class of 2023 to know their worth, even when they encounter trying circumstances. “You are more capable than you can ever imagine,” said Zimmermann. “You just have to push yourself.” • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

Tell us about your Greatest Influence Alyse Turk: Baba, my father (Cemalettin), emigrated from Turkey speaking no English at the age of 24. He often tells me stories of his childhood that remind me of my immense privilege. After herding sheep all day as a young boy, he was rewarded with a stick of gum, which he accepted with sincere gratitude. In America, he met my mother who was also intimately acquainted with poverty and scarce resources. Due to my parents´ socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, I was taught that education, giving back to my community, feeding people, and being grateful are paramount. Yuliya Pasechko: Of course, my mom and dad are my heroes and best supporters. They have come through for me every time that I needed them. My little sister, too, has added so much joy to my life with her witty humor and kind, supportive nature. However, my friends are the people who shaped my high school experience the most. They’ve taught me invaluable lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Kevin Cruz, has taught me the importance of patience, communication, and boundaries in every relationship. He is truly a stunning person. Bianca Ikwuka has shared her smile, laughter, and creativity with me in my moments of sadness and self-doubt. She is the sunshine that I look forward to seeing every day. The list of people and their fantastic qualities could go on forever.


June 2022 •

Karen Meneses: I have two great influences in my life. My mother, whose strength and resilience through the challenges that she has faced have inspired me to never give up on my dreams and goals. I also admire my older brother. He is kind and open-minded, and he helps me to come out of my shell by supporting me and not judging. He inspires me to be the best person I can be. Stefan Andruch: My grandmother. She came to the U.S. in the 1970s from Poland with nothing. After losing her husband in 1983, she raised her two children. Through her strong faith, she perseveres through everything. Ángel Sanchez: Sohini Mistry, Patrick Biernat, Christian Rodrigues and Jordan David taught me how to live life. • June 2022








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Nuts AND Bolts


Learning the nuts and bolts of automotive repair can steer a high school kid on the road to a lucrative future. What’s more, nine of these kids pictured above are moving on to trade schools or apprenticeships. CHS Auto Shop teacher Rich Alberghini said the class provides training and career options for students less likely to go to college. Mustangs who are on academic tracks to college are also finding auto shop helpful as it integrates with a variety of other courses.


June 2022 •

Skills AND Scholarships

The class, offered for all four years, provides students with practical skills—fix a flat, change the oil, figure out the basics of auto repair. But it can be helpful in teaching science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Take Collin DeForge. He is headed to a five-year program that has its first three years at Seton Hall followed by two at Stevens Institute of Technology. His goal is to build skyscrapers but he said auto shop and other STEM courses are the “nuts and bolts” of his training.

After CHS, Philip Rivera begins a five-year apprenticeship with Plumbers Local 24. Shop and engineering classes helped him “piece together engines, robotics and technology.” Roland Miller, pictured here left, has a twoyear investment ahead of him. He is headed to the University of Northwestern Ohio where he’ll study diesel technology with a focus on Mack and Volvo engines. Miller said the two-year program will cost him about $30,000. But he figures it will pay itself back in the short term. “This class got me hooked,” he said of Auto Shop. “The college is like a feeder system into dealerships or big companies like Foley Caterpillar and in two years I’ll be starting at $32 or $35 an hour.” In January, Brayniel Peralta (above right) started working at Apex Autowerks on Paulison Ave., mopping floors. But thanks to the “handson experience here with Mr. Alberghini, I’m in there now helping to tear down transmissions on Porsches.” He’ll go to UTI in Bloomfield for an automotive technology training program to earn a certificate and prep to take the ASE exams, a national board for automotive mechanics. Miguel Arellano will attend Lincoln Tech in South Plainfield for a 13-month program. His goal is to repair and service diesel trucks, construction equipment, bulldozers, cranes, and other big diesel machines. “After six months, they put us into an internship that helps with learning and tuition,” he said. “That’s the start. But there is so much out there. That’s just the beginning.” • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

Victoria Olive: With Black Lives Matter Paterson, I mostly helped pack and distribute meals, but I am also a member of the Youth Council, so I help plan events with them on occasion. At New York Historical Society, I created walking and audio tours of the museum, as well as educational videos that the museum distributes to schools.

Where did you work?

Maria Matos: At The Clifton Little School as an afternoon teacher for almost three years. Kathelyne Sindico: At Harmon in Totowa since March of 2022.

Eriel Hobbs: I actually wanted to volunteer at the firehouse but, with the death of my grandfather, I could never bring myself to do it.

Christian Rodriguez: I volunteered at the Integrated Summer Enrichment Experience (I.S.E.E.) program here in Clifton this past July. I was a camp counselor and teaching assistant, and I worked in the strings department. Jayr Abad: During the last year of my swim season, I was able to step up as a leader and help many of the new swimmers learn skills that I hope stuck with them for the rest of their swim career. Being able to help and teach my peers with a sport that I was always passionate about made it so enjoyable, and I was able to make new friends along the way as well.

Bianca Ikwuka: For my first two years of high school, I volunteered with the Key Club. Since August, I’ve been at Old Navy on Rt. 3 West.

Mariam Rukhaia: I volunteered to be a tutor and help middle and elementary school students in math. I was tutoring during my junior and senior years. It was an unforgettable experience for me because I loved interacting with younger students and Patrick Biernat: I worked at Bob’s helping them. Clothing and Footwear in the summer of my junior year and have been volunteer- Bryan Montoya: I’ve been able to ing at the West Paterson Fire Department show some leadership skills this year by serving as Student Council Vice for more than a year. President, which has honestly helped improve my time management skills and allowed me to give something back to my community.

Andrew Potocki: Advanced Autoparts down in Saddle Brook. I’ve worked for them for I think a year now.

Alessandra Foti: Carter’s in Clifton last summer. I helped mothers and grandmothers, some of whom are residents of Clifton, pick out clothes for their children and grandchildren. I learned how to work a cashier system as well to help them pay, and I often cleaned the whole store.

Khalil Amro: I just started at Marshalls.

Ángel Sanchez: I worked as a busboy at Mario’s Restaurant & Pizzeria for about six months.

Stefan Andruch: I have volunteered extensively at the Ukrainian American Youth Association in Passaic, as well as being involved as a camp counselor at summer camp in upstate New York.



June 2022 •





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2022 Senior Survey Where did you work?

Andy Jimenez: For the past nine months, I have worked in the counselor’s office as an intern. I deliver whatever is in the basket and bring passes to students when a counselor needs them to come to their office.

Alyse Turk: Key Club’s core values of leadership, character building, caring, and inclusiveness have truly enriched my life. I have accrued over 300 community service hours during high school, and I have been an executive board member for all four years. I hope to pursue a career in business and find a way to combine a career in accounting and marketing with continuing to be of service to my community.

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June 2022 •

Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus: My first job when the pandemic began was working at McDonald’s on Dayton Avenue. It was a good job that helped me pay for things during the pandemic. I have also had jobs at the Starbucks in the Target at Clifton Commons and at a boutique flower shop by School 11. On March 16, I found my job at Smashburger by Allwood Road. I really enjoy it.

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Top 10 Mustangs

By Ariana Puzzo

Abigail Loeb with sisters Lindsay and Emily. The Girls Who Code Board and some unidentified members during a club meeting. In the middle of the back row is co-founder and salutatorian Mariam Rukhaia. On her left is co-founder Ashleigh Perez (CHS 2021), who was a guest speaker that day. On Rukhaia’s right is Aashi Rana, club secretary. In the front row with red hair is Jelyna Reyes, vice president.

Being valedictorian is more than a title for Abigail Loeb. It’s years of hard work that shows she accomplished her goal of putting her complete energy into her schoolwork. “It [also] shows, to me, that I was able to overcome what was thrown at me in and outside of school, fulfilling an almost unimaginable goal of my middle school self,” said Loeb, 17. This fall, Loeb will continue to push herself academically at Harvard University. She committed to the institution based on its “academic caliber and [the] opportunities it could offer.” It was also an easy decision to make since one of her close friends, Ashley Juarez, will also be attending. Loeb’s plans are to pursue a career as a lawyer and combat discrimination. It aligns well with her propensity for giving back to her community. She has volunteered with the Key Club throughout high school. She joined Clifton’s chapter in her freshman year and spent a year as Lieutenant Governor on the New Jersey District’s state board. “This was where I was able to foster my love for helping my community and grow important leadership skills,” said Loeb. “I was able to find a community of people [who are] passionate about helping others, making friends while bringing joy to people around Clifton and the state.” Loeb also has specific people who inspire her. She named her sisters, Emily and Lindsay, and her closest


June 2022 •

friend, Haley McFarlane. She said she has drawn inspiration when facing her own obstacles from watching them persevere in their lives. “Not only have they been there for me during the toughest points of my life, but they have also offered me unwavering support and love during their own struggles,” said Loeb. “Without them, I’d be in a very different spot today.” “I’m incredibly grateful for the lessons that they have taught me across more than a decade,” she added, “as well as all of the moments of joy they’ve brought to my life.” Becoming part of the CHS Top 10 is special, but it’s even more special that Mariam Rukhaia gets to do it with a friend. The salutatorian recognizes Emery Senosin, who’s ranked third in their class, as an unsung hero. “She is such a sweet, super smart, dedicated, hard-working, and kind person,” said Rukhaia, 18. “I just really like talking and hanging out with her.” Rukhaia considers her move to the U.S. and ability to adapt during high school as her greatest achievement. She is also proud that NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering has accepted her for the fall and is offering her “a huge scholarship.” She plans to study Computer Science and Engineering, as well as Cybersecurity. “Deciding on the major and college that I wanted to go to was an easy task because I am sure this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” said Rukhaia. • June 2022


Top Mustangs She also received some guidance from her computer science teacher, Mrs. Mouna Boutemine, who Rukhaia named as her favorite teacher. She added that Boutemine encouraged her and her friends to create the club “Girls Who Code.” “She is a wonderful person that I will miss the most. Her computer science class Emery Senosin was my favorite one,” said Rukhaia. Along with wishing luck to the rising seniors, Rukhaia encourages them to work hard during the autumn of their senior year and not develop “senioritis” before their AP exams. Part of what kept Rukhaia committed to her work was overcoming COVID-19, which affected her entire family. It also helped keep things in perspective. “This pandemic clearly showed us that nothing is more important than good health, family members, and friends,” she said. As for how Clifton has influenced the person that she is today, Rukhaia said that the city will always have a unique place in her life and development. “Clifton is the first city that I have lived in after arriving in the United States,” she said. “It helped me learn about people in America, [including] how they live and how diverse it can be.” Ranked third in the Class of 2022, Emery Senosin knows that growing up is all about keeping an open mind. The CHS senior found that Clifton’s diversity helps facilitate that. Getting involved can also help expose you to people who have different backgrounds. Since her freshman year, Senosin has volunteered through the Key Club. She also volunteered at Clifton Recreation and school events, and she became a virtual tutor during the pandemic. This fall, she will begin classes at the Honors College of Rutgers – New Brunswick. “I always planned on continuing my education after high school to [help me] pursue a career in the medical field,” said Senosin, 17. “This school offers a lot of opportunities to help me achieve this goal.” Committing to the Honors College is a source of pride


June 2022 •

for Senosin. The person who she said influences her the most is her older sister, Carmina. “As my best friend and number one supporter, she always motivates me to be the best version of myself inside and outside of the classroom,” said Senosin. Senosin also acknowledged the success of her peers, Khalil Amro including Sohini Mistry. She said Mistry’s leadership and determination as majorette sergeant of the Marching Band, as first chair viola of the CHS orchestra, and as a dedicated AP and honors student inspire her on a daily basis. Senosin’s favorite class was freshman year Honors Biology and her favorite teacher is Mrs. Dawn Carofine. What she will miss the most is having all of her friends in every class. Senosin encouraged younger students to not stress about classes. She also emphasized the importance of participating in fun senior activities. Being isolated from peers was one difficult part of the pandemic, but she found ways to grow from it. “I learned the importance of collaborating with other students outside of the classroom, whether it was to review content or complete an assignment,” she said. “It is not something that I did often before the pandemic, but working on things this year with my friends has made me a better student.” Khalil Amro is fourth in his graduating class and said that Clifton’s people influence him more than anyone else. Amro credited the community’s “comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.” “If it were not for the people that I met in this town and those I have formed strong bonds with, then I have no clue how I would [have turned] out,” said Amro, 18. “My friends and colleagues have all crafted me into who I am today.” He makes specific mention of his mother, Mary Hilal. Amro said that she motivates him on a daily basis and her support has continuously driven his work ethic. “She never placed any expectations on me; she just helped me be myself,” said Amro. “I cannot even explain how much I appreciate that.” • June 2022


Top Mustangs Another person who has made an impresThese skills helped him adapt and have sion on Amro is fellow Top 10 peer, Harsh kept him focused on his goals. One of his Prajapati. Amro admires Prajapati’s work ethgoals includes becoming a data analyst or ic and ability to juggle different things while entering the tech world. This fall, Prajapati still performing well in school. will study Finance and Business Analytics “What makes him so unique is [although] Technology at Rutgers – New Brunswick. he handles so many things at once, he is still “I reached this decision by seeking advice able to achieve all of his goals and more,” said from my family members, and it helped me Amro. He will attend NJIT this fall to study reach the conclusion that Rutgers is the best mechanical engineering. He made the decifit for me,” said Prajapati, 18. sion after taking physics and realizing how Prajapati’s greatest influence is his brothmuch he enjoyed the area of study. Amro said er, Yash, who he said is always there for him. Harsh Prajapati Physics was his favorite class and Mr. Ray“He also tells me to learn from the mismond Burns was his favorite teacher. takes that he made and allows me to strive to Getting to where he is today is a source of pride, of his be a better person everyday,” said Prajapati. peers. “Like so many people, I have gone through a panPrajapati’s greatest achievement was helping his cross demic, COVID, and so many personal things,” said Amro. country team win the state sectional title for the first time “I am very proud of myself and all my peers for making it in 35 years. He hopes that the rising seniors try not to dwell this far despite everything that we had against us.” on the unpleasant parts of senior year but instead focus on the “bigger picture.” The ways that students learned and achieved looked “Not everything will go your way, but this is the last different during the pandemic. Ranked number five in his year you will be in high school, and it’s the last time you’ll class, Harsh Prajapati took the opportunity to create new see a lot of your peers in this type of setting, so enjoy it study habits. while you can,” said Prajapati.


June 2022 • • June 2022


Top Mustangs “When you get caught up teaching herself certain matein drama, you will wish you rial when she was struggling had not,” he continued. “Or with it. Her advice for the if something bad happens to Class of 2023 is in a similar you, try your best to move on vein. and just enjoy the present.” “Work hard in school, but Appreciating the here and don’t stress out too much,” now also includes recognizsaid Shah. “Enjoy high ing that everyone comes from school, and try your best.” unique circumstances. Prajapati said that growing up in Liam Reilly knows what a diverse city has made him his community has done Svara Shah and Liam Reilly. aware of the difficulties othfor him, and he has made a ers face. “The biggest lesson concerted effort to give back that I will take wherever I go is to appreciate what I have in thanks. Growing up in the city exposed him to many and make the best of the opportunities that I am given in perspectives. It also provided him with opportunities that order to succeed,” said Prajapati. led to him being ranked at number seven in the CHS Class of 2022. Svara Shah sees the way her city has made her more “I will definitely take [with me] my open-minded view sociable. One of the reasons why she believes that is the of the world that was introduced to me in Clifton,” said new people in her life all the time. Reilly, 18. “[Clifton’s diversity] … will allow me to con“I have learned so much through other people, espenect with different people.” cially because this town is so diverse, and these are skills Reilly’s volunteer work has included performing music that I will forever carry with me in life,” said Shah, 18. at the Senior Center, helping at Clifton’s Relay for Life, Shah is ranked sixth and regards fellow classmate Jusand supporting a Saint Peter’s Haven food drive. tine Massabny as an unsung hero. Reilly has also mentored cello students in the NJ Sym“[Justine] is a very talented artist, but I feel she has not phony Youth Orchestra. Overall, he has served over 700 been given much recognition from the school,” said Shah. hours of community service. He acknowledged multiple Shah also recognized the significance of other people. people have offered him guidance, but makes special One person that she has learned from is her older sister, mention of his two private music teachers. Riddhi (CHS 2018). Shah said Riddhi has “always been “Mrs. Sweet and Mr. Martinez have been influential there for me” and has offered support as Shah determines throughout the entirety of my life and will continue to [be her future career. influential] in the future,” said Reilly. “Mrs. Sweet … has Shah will attend Rutgers Honors College. She made taught me how to be patient and a hard worker – attributes the decision based on the school’s opportunities and her that I try to carry with me every day.” desire to become a doctor. “Mr. Martinez has inspired me to not only be a better Shah said she enjoyed her CHS classes and spending musician but has also guided me through life as a mentime with friends at lunch. Shah’s favorite class was ninth tor on how to be the person that I am today,” continued grade biology. She added that her favorite teacher is her Reilly. Anatomy teacher, Mrs. Dawn Carofine. Reilly will pursue a degree in Music Education, with a Along with her passion for science, helping others is minor in Music Technology, at The College of New Jeralso already who she is. sey. Choosing that path is what he believes will make him “I have both volunteered and worked as a tutor,” said feel most fulfilled in life. Shah. “I did it as a volunteer for two years and tutored as “After [deciding] to pursue music, I continued to hone work for one year.” my skills through hours of practice,” said Reilly. “My What helped Shah thrive in high school during the eventual career goal is to work as a teacher and maybe coronavirus pandemic is managing her time well and become a conductor for an orchestra.”


June 2022 •

Clifton Public Schools Employment Opportunities

The Clifton Public School District is currently accepting applications for the following positions:

School Nurses (NJ Certification)


Registered Nurses

Substitute Teachers

ESL Teachers (NJ Certification)

Substitute Paraprofessionals

Teacher of Mathematics (NJ Certification)

Special Education Teachers (NJ Certification)

Highly Qualified Paraprofessionals for Preschool

Board Certified Behavior Analyst for Preschool

Preschool Special Education Teachers (NJ Certification)

Apply today at Clifton Public Schools 745 Clifton Avenue Clifton, NJ 07013 Phone: 973-594-4195 E-mail: • June 2022


Top Mustangs After COVID-19 upended As Victoria Olive prepares the traditional high school for higher education at experience, Riddhi Gandhi Johns Hopkins University, expressed gratitude for a she does so knowing she’s closer-to-normal senior year. made her 12-year-old self’s “Being in person with dream a reality. your close friends and fam“This has been my dream ily is a blessing that should school since seventh grade, never be taken for granted,” and I am absolutely elated,” said Gandhi, 17. said Olive, 18. “I want to beGandhi has worked hard come a neurosurgeon, so this to achieve her number eight is the first step on my – very Riddhi Gandhi and Victoria Olive. ranking in the CHS Class of long – journey to achieving 2022. When she considered my dreams.” her greatest achievement, she said one was her unweighted Olive is ranked as ninth in her class. Getting into her top straight A’s. choice is what she considers her greatest achievement. She Working hard is a value that she learned from her paradded that the day she received her acceptance letter, it felt ents, Shailesh and Jignasa, who emigrated from India and as though “all of the hard work I have put in has paid off.” “made a great life for my younger brother and I.” Olive named her parents as her greatest influences. “I would be nothing without them and their endless sup“They have always helped me get through tough spots port in everything that I do,” said Gandhi. “My mom was with school [and] relationships … while pushing me to do actually her class valedictorian in India, so that only inthe best that I can academically,” said Olive. “I love them spired me to try and be the best version of myself that I both so much, and I am so grateful for everything that they can be.” have helped me achieve so far.” Gandhi will attend Rutgers University – New BrunsOne thing that Olive learned during the coronavirus panwick. There, she will study in the School of Arts and Scidemic is how online school can affect her and her work ences Honors Program. Choosing Rutgers, she said, was a habits. Losing in-person connections with friends was a clear choice because it’s where she sees herself flourishing. real challenge, and she said she needed to find new ways to But she’ll always keep her Clifton roots firm and deep. motivate herself. “Mostly everything that I’ve known has come from ClifOlive’s favorite class was AP US History with Mr. ton, and it has made me who I am today,” said Gandhi. Christopher Henry. “From the amazing people that I’ve met to the schools that “He worked so hard through the pandemic to help us do I’ve gone to, I wouldn’t change a thing.” our best on the exam and truly understand American His“No matter where we all end up,” she continued, “we all tory, and I couldn’t be more grateful,” said Olive. have one thing in common: Clifton is a part of each of us “The energy and passion that he brought to the classand we will forever be connected through it.” room made even the most mundane topics incredibly interAfter completing her undergraduate studies, she plans esting,” she continued, “and the listening and note-taking to attend medical school and study to become an OB/GYN skills that I learned in his class are invaluable.” or a Pediatric Family Medical Doctor. In the meantime, she Olive also finds time to uplift her community. She volhas worked since August of 2021 at Forward Motion Physunteered with Black Lives Matter Paterson and interned at ical Therapy, at 1111 Clifton Ave., as a physical therapy the New York Historical Society throughout her junior and aide. senior years. She said growing up in Clifton has shaped her. “I’ve loved the one-on-one patient care interactions and “I was always surrounded by new people here and that all that I’ve learned about physical therapy from working helped me better understand how to express myself and there,” said Gandhi. “Healthcare settings are where I see adapt to different situations, both in and out of the classmyself in the future, so working here has been very fun and room,” said Olive. “That skill is going to stay with me for eye-opening.” a long time.”


June 2022 •

Jasmin Jariwala does not need to look far “It is important to seize every opportunity when she considers the role models in her that is presented to you,” said Jariwala. “Atlife. The tenth Top 10 senior named her partending high school during the pandemic has ents, Mina and Vishal, and brother, Neal, as made me a more independent and responher influences. sible student because of online learning, and “Without their incessant support and countthese skills will be very useful for me in colless sacrifices, I would not be where I am tolege and in life.” day,” said Jariwala, 17. “They have instilled in Jariwala also cares for her community me the value of hard work and a good educain other ways. Throughout her high school tion, and for that, I will always be thankful.” years, she has volunteered as a tutor at the Ranking in the Top 10 out of her entire CHS Teen Center. She’s also volunteered graduating class is a proud achievement for around the city for Clifton Candy Land and Jasmin Jariwala Jariwala. She plans to continue seeking rigP.R.A.I.S.E. Baseball through the Key Club. orous academics in college when she attends This year, she also interned at Forward Rutgers this September. There, she will attend the Honors Motion Physical Therapy as a physical therapist aide. Her College and major in Biological Sciences. words of wisdom for the Class of 2023 are to make the “[The Honors College] will provide me with an enrichmost of their senior year and try different things even when ing education and many opportunities to propel myself into they seem scary. the medical field,” said Jariwala. “It will help me to reach Jariwala also encourages Clifton residents to embrace my career goal of becoming a general family doctor.” one another’s unique qualities in order to achieve real Serving others and valuing other people’s lives are progress. key components of becoming a doctor. Jariwala said that “Clifton is a big city, whose citizens are greatly diverse during the hardships and tragedy of the coronavirus panin religion, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status,” she said. demic, she has learned “how short and precious life is” for “This has allowed me to be immersed in the different pereveryone. It also transformed the way that she approaches spectives of people around me, which is exposure that is her academic learning. important for life.” • June 2022


Senior Feature Thumbs up to seniors Louis Habrahamshon, Angelina Reyes, Aryanna Adler and not pictured: Angelina Pacosa. Fellow thespians are Aidan Robinson, Mary Nakrosis, Chloe Hernandez, Casey Wellins, Gavrielle Rivera and Alias Ragsdale.

For many CHS students, the theatre represents more than a stage on which they can entertain audiences. Performing throughout their high school years gave many of them an opportunity to explore their own creative passions and make lifelong friendships. On June 8, CHS’ International Thespian Society will induct 10 talented Mustangs. Among them are four seniors, including previously inducted member, Angelina Reyes, as well as three new inductees, Aryanna Adler, Louie Habrahamshon, and Angelina Pacosa. “I felt honored to be part of a prestigious program filled with like-minded people who enjoyed theatre as much as me,” said Reyes. But CHS didn’t always have an International Thespian Society. Drama Teacher and Spring Musical Director Lisa Poggi said that the school created its troupe in the 20182019 school year. Today, they have inducted 20 members. These students must be involved in theatre throughout their high school years in numerous ways. Poggi added that they must also exhibit characteristics, including “good citizenship, respect, [and] responsibility” and maintain strong academic grades. “It has been such a pleasure working with these students and seeing how much they have grown as actors and singers over their years at CHS,” said Poggi. Poggi added that it’s exciting to watch these students make new achievements and to know that they “have such bright futures … no matter where their journey takes them.” “I hope that their experiences in theatre over the years have brought them joy, confidence, and friendships,” said Poggi. Ahead of their June induction, the graduating seniors shared what’s next for them and their proudest theatre moments. Here is what they had to say:


June 2022 •

Top Thespians

Where will you be in September 2022? Angelina Reyes: I will be studying Communications at William Paterson University. Aryanna Adler: Fairleigh DIckinson University, where I will major in FIlm and Television. Angelina Pacosa: I will be attending University of Denver to major in Psychology.

Louie Habrahamshon: I intend to study 3D Animation at the Savannah College of Art and Design. What is your best memory from your theatre, drama class, or drama club experiences at CHS? Louie Habrahamshon: Meeting all of my friends throughout my years here at CHS. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of friends. Truly.

Angelina Pacosa: Our production of “Beauty and the Beast” this year, which was made all the more meaningful because of events like Breakfast with Belle. To make all those little kids smile, to be a Disney princess for them, was so important to me. After each show, I would walk out in my yellow gown, and so many kids – boys and girls alike – would come up to me for a picture, or to give me a drawing they’d done. It meant so much to me that I could see the happiness on their faces. It meant so much that my passion for theatre, my love for theatre, could give them that happiness. • June 2022


Top Thespians Aryanna Adler: Playing games and learning how they help you with acting.

Angelina Reyes: Performing monologues in Drama class was most definitely the highlight of my many experiences. It gave me the opportunity to change who I was. What are your two proudest moments in your theatre experience? Angelina Pacosa: Getting cast as a lead for the first time in my favorite show. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. My second proudest moment was taking my closing night bow – my final bow – on stage with my castmates this year, with my family in the audience. Knowing that the hard work I put in had paid off made the moment so much more meaningful. Louie Habrahamshon: Being able to put on a show last year when the world was falling apart, as well as listening to the roar of applause after my song during the opening night of this year’s production of “Beauty and the Beast”.

Angelina Reyes: Being the lead female role for two years in a row. I was Lolita in “Zorro: the Radio” show in my freshman year, and I was Chris Gorman in “Rumors”. Aryanna Adler: Getting first place for my monologue at the STANJ competition and also getting accepted for a


June 2022 •

role in musicals and going further with it. I was always in an ensemble and I got little parts like walking through scenes. But recently, I got a singing part. It may be small, but I’m proud that I got that far. What does theatre mean to you or share your favorite theatre quote? Aryanna Adler: Theatre is a beautiful presentation of lights, acting, and music. Playing a whole new character and even adding their own style is amazing and fun.

Angelina Reyes: One of my favorite quotes is by Juliet Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare: “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep. The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.” My second favorite quote is spoken by Lady Macbeth in “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare: “Unsex me here and fill me from the crown to the top full of direst cruelty.” Louie Habrahamshon: In theatre, you are able to take something out of nothing and turn it into an experience for the people watching. Angelina Pacosa: Theatre is about becoming someone else for a little while to make the audience forget about everything outside. For an hour or two or three, a show exists and nothing else matters. • June 2022


Senior Feature

Transitioning to Adulthood Daniel Bryja’s advice to younger students is simple: Always have confidence. Never give up. After going through the Clifton school system, including School 14 and Woodrow Wilson, the 20-year-old is preparing for life after CHS and the school’s Transition Program. “Participating in the CHS Transition Program has helped me to grow and has given me time to decide what to do after high school,” said Bryja. “My advice to other students is … to explore different possibilities for the future.” For Bryja, it means furthering his education in the Turning Point Program at Bergen County Community College. Turning Point is described by the college as a “two-year postsecondary program for young adults with intellectual disabilities.” It accepts up to 16 students per year. The adults, aged 18 to 30, are pursuing academic, vocational, and social enrichment. “What excites me the most about the Turning Point Program is that I will have the opportunity to continue my education,” said Bryja. “[I will] also have an opportunity to meet new people and improve my communication and social skills,” he continued, “and gain vocational skills to be prepared for my future job.” Bryja doesn’t know yet which classes he will take, but said he’s interested in math and physical science. He added that it was a “pleasure to attend CHS” and credits his CHS teachers who all “taught me something different.” One of those teachers was CHS Transition Coordinator Bill Colligan. Colligan has known and worked periodically with Bryja since elementary school.


June 2022 •

“We’re so proud of him,” said Colligan. “The academics for him were always easy, but socially he’s come such a long way.” The CHS Transition program offers over 300 juniors and seniors aged 16-21 the opportunity to gain internship and work experience. The program also takes the CHS students on tours of the different programs offered by Passaic County Community College, BCCC, and trade schools. To learn more, search CHS Transition on Facebook or call coordinators Bill Colligan and Lynn Tuorto at 973470-2455. Bryja separately noted that his parents Wladyslaw and Halina (pictured above) are his greatest influences. “They were my first teachers and my role models. They always motivate me to be open to learning new things, to always do my best, and to be a good person and have respect for everyone.”

E ast

Congratulations Graduates!


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2022 Senior Survey

What Are Your Greatest Achievements?

Sohini Mistry, Alyse Turk, Ángel Sanchez.

Alyse Turk: Graduating from high school at the top of my class while having juggled academics, community service, and being a three-sport athlete for all four years. Ángel Sanchez: Having the courage to pursue new hobbies and dreams. Rylan Stetz: Starting testosterone. Jordan David, Patrick Biernat, Ángel T. Sanchez III, Sohini Mistry, Christian Rodriguez.

Friend groups may take different paths, but some high school friendships can last a lifetime. As we’ve seen with generations of Mustangs, the same may be true for Sohini Mistry. She said that her greatest achievement in the last 12 years was finding a reliable group of friends who motivate her to reach all of her goals. “Christian Rodriguez, Jordan David, Patrick Biernat, and Angel T. Sanchez III all pushed me to become who I am today,” said Mistry, 18. “Being part of the Mustang Band with them has brought us even closer.” Mistry went on, saying that the group of friends can share their love of music. They also get to witness each other’s growth as individuals and musicians. “It is inspiring to see a group of people … that are just as motivated as me to strive toward anything they want to do and believe in themselves to reach their dreams.” Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus: Earning Honor Roll and Distinguished Honor Roll in my last two years of high school. I struggled with school and didn’t have decent grades due to finding out that I have ADHD. But since moving to Clifton in fourth grade and getting the help that I needed thanks to the IEP program, it gave me a chance to not struggle as much. Also, thank you to my case manager, Prasanti Chintapalli. Kathelyne Sindico: I was able to fix my grades and the way that I think.


June 2022 •

Riddhi Gandhi: Making it to senior year with unweighted straight A’s and being ranked eighth in a class of over 690 students.

Joseph Viera: Being able to get myself a car and earning my driver’s license. Gulay Yilmaz: Returning to high school to graduate.

Eriel Hobbs: When I was 14, I finally figured out what I want to do with my life and I’m starting that journey in 2023. Patrick Biernat: Being on the West Paterson Fire Dept.

Christian Rodriguez: My exponential success in music. I have made playing violin my major and my career goal, and I was appointed Concertmaster of the CHS Orchestra and String Ensembles for the 2021-22 school year.

GianPaul Carrion: Getting accepted into the accelerated Department of Physical Therapy program at Thomas Jefferson University.

Andrew Sieradzki: Winning one of two spots in the New Jersey All-State Wind Ensemble tuba section this past winter and performing in NJPAC.

Jayr Abad: Being inducted to the National Honor Society. Maria Matos: Winning Cheersport Nationals and placing 2nd at The Summit with my cheer team. Andrew Potocki: Getting my driver’s license.

Alessandra Foti: Being inducted in the National Honor Society during my senior year of high school.

Elayne Fana: Seeing how capable and smart I am when I prove it to myself. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

What Are Your Greatest Achievements?

Andrew Sieradzki, Jayr Abad, Jurij Dubas, Andrew Potocki, Alessandra Foti.

Jurij Dubas: My hockey career. I have been playing for nine years as a goalie. This year, I made the All-Passaic County First Team with a save percentage of .92. I had 828 shots against and 758 saves in one high school season. I also made a new high school state record. Angelina Pacosa: Becoming Drum Majorette of the Mustang Marching Band. My time in the band has been one of the most influential and meaningful experiences of life so far, and being its leader has meant a great deal to me.

Karen Meneses: Getting through COVID with my sanity intact and helping my family financially. I have been working at Ulta at night and on weekends while going to high school.

Bianca Ikwuka: Getting Distinguished Honor Roll for all four years. It was a big achievement, especially during the pandemic. I was really able to pull through and didn’t think that I could, but I’m proud of myself for maintaining my grades and motivation, especially when it got hard. Stefan Andruch: Being a four-year Distinguished Honors student at CHS. Even though we experienced the pandemic and online learning, I still managed to keep my grades up.


June 2022 •

Bryan Montoya: From someone who spent a couple of years in Clifton’s ESL program, it was great to develop my English so well. Luckily, my struggles with academics did not continue during high school. I was nominated for many awards, made friends, played sports, and most importantly, I became the first in my family to ever attend a university. Sophia Refinski: There’s nothing better than hearing that your parents, who have done absolutely everything for you, are proud of everything. Andy Jimenez: Earning my academic awards.

Yuliya Pasechko: The stories that I’ve written. I’ve built dozens of magical fantasy worlds and created numerous characters that each have their own lives and backstories. I value creativity more than anything else. My creations reflect the hard work and effort that I put into them. I hope I can share stories with the world one day. Michael Shimabukuro: I scored a 100 on the DMV written test, and now I’m officially a licensed driver. But my greatest achievement is being recognized by my teachers and school administration as PCTI Student of the Month for March 2022. Thanks to everyone that helped me make that become a reality. • June 2022


From a championship football game to being the top producer at a film festival, to controversies about a mural under a highway to the annual Santa Tour of Clifton, our grads have memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Here’s what some had to say about growing up in Clifton...

Stefan Andruch: Growing up in Clifton exposed me to different cultures and a diverse community. It’s important to recognize that everyone has a deep culture that shapes the person that they are. Eriel Hobbs: Growing up in Clifton has really changed me as a person. I became hard-shelled and tough. It taught me to love the things and the people around me. I will forever love Clifton for what it did for me, and I will always be proud to be a Mustang.

Patrick Biernat: I think growing up in Clifton makes you feel safe and included, and that’s how I go about my everyday life – making sure that all people are safe, comfortable, and included in activities and opportunities. Andrew Sieradzki: I am extremely grateful for the diverse and beautifully complex community. The teachers that recognize this and teach kindness and empathy every day are essential, and I am so fortunate to have learned these lessons so early. Gulay Yilmaz: It changed my language. I used to sound more improper, but now I speak more clearly.

Jurij Dubas: I transferred to Clifton in my sophomore year. The school is four times bigger than my old school. At CHS, I was able to meet and have numerous friends of different heritages, which helped me create new bonds and venture into those cultures.


June 2022 •

Maria Matos: I think it gave me a lot of character because I grew up always playing outside with different friends. I think my childhood really influences the person that I am today.

Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus: Moving to Clifton helped me get the help that I needed. I used to live in Passaic and they held me back because I didn’t know what I was doing in first grade. But that didn’t stop me from doing better now. I have ADHD and being here with their IEP program helped me grow and do better in school. I have always hated big classrooms and being in that program let me have a smaller classroom. I’ve also learned to keep your head up high and always be yourself. I will always keep those lessons with me throughout college. Jayr Abad: I’ve always felt comfortable with the environment that we’ve created. I appreciate Clifton’s diversity as a whole. I’ve been able to learn so much about other cultures, and it’s fascinating hearing stories from different people. One thing that I’ve learned from living in Clifton is to always be proud of where you came from.

Riddhi Gandhi: Clifton has been my home for my 17 years Everything that I’ve known has made me who I am today. From the amazing people that I’ve met to the schools that I’ve gone to, I wouldn’t change a thing. Clifton has given me such a diverse perspective that I will take with me wherever I go. No matter where we all end

Joseph Viera: I’ve realized change can happen any moment. Elayne Fana: Living in Clifton is something that I will always have in my heart because it taught me about real life. I feel thankful for the person that I am right now and for the person that I’m going to be.

up, we all have one thing in common: Clifton is a part of each of us and we will forever be connected through it. Graduating will be a bittersweet time, but I know that everyone will go on to do what they are meant to do.

Alessandra Foti: It has influenced me to become a songwriter. I believe that if my experiences would have been different, my songs would not have been written. I will take with me this quote by Mr. John Lesler, “History is all around you. You just have to open up your eyes.”

Michael Shimabukuro: I am very lucky to have had the best teachers who pushed me to be the best version of myself. Two teachers really stand out that were firm, respectful, patient, fun, and gentle. They taught me respect and how to be caring to one another. Thank you, Mrs. Kim Puzzo at School 14 for your patience, support, and believing in me. Thank you, Ms. Carla Rodriguez at WWMS for your time in training me in track & field, showing me how to be a team player, and most of all to have fun. Our favorite quote from the Special Olympics of NJ is: “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Christian Rodriguez: Growing up in our city has helped me to see the diversity that our community holds. It has helped me to become a musician with the amazing music program at Clifton Public Schools. I will never forget when my teachers told me to keep trying and never give up. A special place is reserved in my heart for the teachers who have impacted me, and the friends and lifelong memories that I have made. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

How has a Catholic education impacted your learning? Did you go to a Catholic Elementary School; which one?

Andrew Potocki: I have found lots of great friends and people along the way. One lesson that I will take with me is to never judge a book by its cover.

Bryan Montoya: The diversity in this town has played a massive role in my life. It has helped me meet people of different ethnicities and learn different cultures. Clifton has played a great role in furthering my knowledge of my own country Colombia. Being friends with people who emigrated from Colombia really changed me in better ways.

Ángel Sanchez: It’s made me a strong person, and the learning was always hands-on and really understandable. The most valuable lesson that I learned is from my lacrosse coach Mr. George Cowan, when he told us: “Boys make excuses, men make changes.” Angelina Pacosa: I think we have such a tight-knit community in Clifton for such a large city, and I think being able to celebrate that is important.

Yuliya Pasechko: Growing up in Clifton made me realize that there are some really mean people surrounding me, but the spectacular friends and helpful teachers that I’ve met outweigh the bad. I learned that paying attention to every bully only sets me back mentally and emotionally. The amazing people in my life have stuck with me since middle school and continue helping me flourish inside and outside of school. They taught me that anyone worthy of my time will offer me the same effort, love, and respect that I offer them. I will take this lesson with me into the next step of my life. Andy Jimenez: Our city has influenced me to do better and to be friendly. It has given me the chance to get my education at no cost and has made me a respectful and responsible adult. Sohini Mistry: I’ve been able to embrace the diversity around me of culture, people, and traditions, allowing me to learn more about others and to be open to trying new things. Clifton has always been a helping hand to those in need, and I hope to carry on that trait wherever I go because it is the backbone of our city.

Bianca Ikwuka: Clifton is so unified, and it’s so nice to be a part of something. It makes me want to continue being part of things and helping people and being kind. It makes me want to be nice.


June 2022 •

GianPaul Carrion and Karen Meneses.

Life’s events and personal circumstances can test our faith as we grow and mature into ourselves. The past few years have shown the importance of faith – whether religious or personal – as it relates to believing in ourselves or our communities. While some Clifton students discussed the effect of their city on their personal growth, we also asked a couple of Clifton Catholic school students a similar question. How has receiving a Catholic education influenced their learning over the past 12 years? St. Mary High School senior GianPaul Carrion has attended Catholic schools throughout his childhood and adolescence. When he was starting out, he went to St. Andrew the Apostle Elementary School, since closed and formerly located at 418 Mt. Prospect Ave. “One of the best things about getting a Catholic education is that I have gotten to participate in my faith more consistently than others,” said Carrion. Karen Meneses echoed a similar sentiment. The senior will graduate from Mary Help of Christians Academy, located at 659 Belmont Ave., North Haledon. She came to Catholic education later when she started high school. “I chose to change and go to Catholic high school because I felt it would be better for me to grow and find myself and [determine] what I was meant to do in life,” said Meneses. She added that Catholic education is unique because of the “attention and concern the teachers have for their students.” “I have been able to get one-on-one help from teachers when I needed it,” she said, “and they have cared about me as a person.” • June 2022



At the SDA Indoor Soccer stadium on Rt. 46, job coaches El Hadj Eljabbar and Fran Wojcik flank students Marcos Enriquez, Ronaldo Ispache, Sheyla Juarez, Siarra Rosario, with SDA owner Ashley Hammond.

Working toward a life of independence is everyone’s goal, but CHS’ IMPACT program shows you can still have support along the way. CHS teacher Bryan Armstrong sees that team effort daily as 14 students and six adults work together in the classroom. “We consistently work to acquire daily living skills, including job training, community navigation skills, daily housekeeping and lifestyle skills, academic remediation in reading and math skills, consumer skills, and social skills,” said Armstrong. “We’ve been very fortunate to develop strong relationships in the CHS and Clifton community,” continued Armstrong, “leading to many jobs in and around the city.” The current relationships are with: Allwood Public Library, ACE Hardware, Bruno’s Pizzeria, Montclair State University Ice Rink, Sports Domain Academy, The Barrow House, Stop and Shop, and Ethan and the Bean Coffee Shop (Little Falls). This month, seven of the students will be moving on from the program. In terms of personal achievements, working at local businesses and around the schools is a source of pride. For Siarra Rosario, 21, setting tables at Bruno’s was rewarding. Krystal Nunez, 22, enjoyed stocking vending machines at Sports Domain Academy,


June 2022 •

on Rt. 46 West, and Billy Spilotopulius, 21, was most proud of cleaning showcase windows at CHS. The students also acknowledged their greatest influences. Joshua Rivera, 21, named his sister Kimberly Rivera “because she is a great listener.” Ronaldo Ispache also admired family. “My greatest influence is my dad,” said Ispache, 21. “His jobs are very hard [and] he is good to me.” Along with offering independence, Sheyla Juarez noted the IMPACT program provides other important life skills. “This program [has given] me more confidence and social skills,” said Juarez, 21. The students all say they will miss certain aspects of CHS. Ispache said he’ll miss his schedule and going to job sites. Rivera added that he’ll miss Armstrong and the paraprofessionals. “I will miss my physical education teacher, Mr. Christopher Tuosto,” said Spilotopulius. All of the students have unique career goals. Marcos Enriquez, 21, hopes to work at a pizzeria or restaurant. Nunez hopes to do outdoor maintenance and gardening work, while Juarez likes the idea of working at a nail salon. But Rosario wants to keep it community-based. “I would like to work with children at the Boys & Girls Club,” said Rosario. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

What was your Favorite Class? Stefan Andruch: Physics Honors with Mr. Raymond Burns really resonated with me because his teaching style and each of his lessons were unique and interesting. As huge as CHS is, I will miss the community feel. Kathelyne Sindico: My favorite class had to be either sociology or business management because the teachers made the classes fun. I will miss my teachers and my classmates. My least favorite class was computer applications because none of the assignments were fun.

Andrew Sieradzki: Sociology should only ever be taught by Mr. Michael Rogers to anyone, ever. It should be a requirement for any and every person on planet Earth. It is amazing and he is a wonderful man.

Joseph Viera and Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus are pictured with CHS Art Teacher Mrs. Beth Slanina, who they both mentioned as a favorite teacher.

Riddhi Gandhi: I most enjoyed Ms. Dawn Carofine’s Anatomy and Physiology class. Also a special shout-out to Madame Lindsey Cinque for always brightening even our most gloomy days. I will miss seeing my friends everyday, but not the homework from my AP classes.

Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus: I have a lot of classes and teachers that I like. Ms. Beth Slanina and Ms. Lori Lesler are my two favorite teachers that I had in my senior year. My freshman year, I loved Ms. Renee Holland. She was so funny, and I actually gave her a Hello Kitty fan and Hello Kitty storage container to keep small items inside that she keeps to this day. Last but not least is my therapist Patricia Kramer. She has helped me a lot in my senior year when I was struggling through some things since the first day of school when I went to Teen Center. She also helped me figure out how to grow even more. I honestly love her so much for helping me. All of the teachers named here helped me and gave me the help that I needed during classes. I really hope students treat them well and hopefully, if I am not too busy, I will try and come visit them all again. Joseph Viera: Graphic designing has been influencing me the most, which will make me miss the class and my teacher, Ms. Beth Salina. Maria Matos: CAST was the class that I enjoyed the most. My favorite teachers were Mrs. Renee Holland, Mr. Nicholas Giordano, and Mr. Michael McCunney.


June 2022 •

Michael Shimabukuro: Shop and Graphic Design. Mr. Jones is my favorite teacher in Graphic Design because he allows me to visualize and create freely. I will miss shop class – it is where I feel the most stress-free. Eriel Hobbs: I loved my freshman year history class because my teachers were so great and so fun and had amazing personalities. All around, it was never a boring class.

Jayr Abad: My favorite class that I’ve ever taken was Mr. Michael Rogers’ Sociology class. I’ll miss all of the contemporary discussions that we used to have. I was constantly left thinking after each of his lessons. I never get bored in Sociology, and I always look forward to his class at the end of the day. Patrick Biernat: I really enjoyed Mr. Christopher Henry’s APUSH 1 and 2 classes. I will miss playing hockey and being in the Marching Band, but I will not miss seven-hour school days.

Gulay Yilmaz: Crazy saying this but actually math and my math teacher. I used to hate the subject, but she makes it easier to understand and fun.

Christian Rodriguez: Strings III/IV with Mrs. Natalie Babiak was a great class. I have been in her top level strings class for four years, and I will definitely miss her jokes and joyful environment created in the classroom. Rylan Stetz: Mr. Joseph DeLuca.

Delicious New Dinners

Crispy Fish & Chips


Our dinners are just as good as our pancakes! Caesar Salad

Grilled Atlantic Salmon

Crispy Fish & Chips

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Cobb Salad

Fork-Tender Pot Roast

Bacon Crusted Chicken Breast with Potato Hash

Crunchy Battered Shrimp

Liver & Onions

Savory Pork Chops

Grilled or buttermilk crispy chicken, or grilled Salmon with croutons and Parmesan on a bed of crisp romaine, tossed in Caesar. Served with garlic bread. 820/1010 cal | $11.99

Grilled or crispy chicken, hickory smoked bacon, hardboiled egg, fresh tomatoes, avocado, and crumbled blue cheese on a bed of mixed greens and crisp romaine tossed in ranch. Served with garlic bread. 1140 cal | $11.99

Fisherman’s Platter

Two golden, handbattered white fish fillets and crispy breaded shrimp served with French fries, dipping sauces and buttery garlic bread. 1500 cal | $14.69

Atlantic Salmon grilled to perfection and topped with garlic butter. Served with rice medley and fresh steamed broccoli. 750 cal | $14.69

Tender pot roast topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms and rich beef gravy. Served with mashed red skin potatoes and fresh steamed broccoli. 880 cal | $11.99

Country Fried Steak

An 8 oz. fried beef steak smothered in country gravy. Served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. 1020 cal | $14.69

Three handbattered white fish fillets over a bed of French fries. Served with tartar sauce and garlic bread. 1240 cal | $12.99

Bacon crusted grilled chicken breast with Pepper Jack over red potato pepper and onion hash and hollandaise. Served with garlic bread. 940 cal | $11.99

Grilled liver smothered with onions. Served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. 960 cal | $10.99

Breaded chicken breast topped with melted Provolone cheese, marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese. Served with penne marinara and garlic bread. 970 cal | $12.59

Light crunchy golden fried shrimp, served with steamed broccoli, seasoned red skin potatoes and cocktail sauce. 600 cal | $12.59

Two pork chops served with seasoned red skin potatoes, steamed broccoli and garlic bread. 870 cal | $10.99

Add Crunchy Battered Shrimp to any entreé for $5.99.

Dessert Makes Dinner complete! Waffle & Vanilla Ice Cream

1/4 of a waffle served with one scoop of vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and whipped topping. $4.99

Fruit Crepe

One crepe filled with choice of blueberry compote or glazed strawberries. Topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped topping. $4.99

680 Rte. 3 West • Clifton, NJ 973-471-7717

For a limited time at participating locations. Before placing your order please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy. IHOP cannot ensure menu items do not contain ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction or impact other dietary restrictions. Allergen information is available upon request. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary. Variations and substitutions will increase or decrease stated nutritional values. Nutritional information on this menu is accurate as of the date of printing. Additional nutrition information available upon request.

S&J 49-1610 • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey Favorite Class

Karen Meneses: I enjoyed learning about how musculature in the mouth affects the ability to speak multiple languages in my Linguistics class. I will miss the people and the traditions that Mary Help has each year, like our bonfire and our founders’ feast day celebrations. I will be happy to not have to wear a uniform every day.

In class by 7:30 am to prep the stage, finish writing news copy and for last minute instructions, the CAST students at CHS broadcast the daily news with a Mustang slant five days a week. Despite the hard work and early hours, they often cite their instructor Mike McCunney (at left in second row) as a favorite teacher.

Kenzie Lord: I enjoy taking pictures. So when entering high school, I figured digital photography would be a good elective. After two years of trying, I was finally selected for the class this year and it has taught me a lot. As a bonus to taking a good class, it crosses off a requirement for graduation. Having digital photography as my last period helps to keep school interesting. Mrs. Carrozza keeps it fun, hands on and informative. She is a good teacher and doubles as a great person who is always there for advice on college and life in general, to help with Photoshop. Ángel Sanchez: I had a great time in CAST, taught by Michael McCunney. I will miss band and lacrosse, but I won’t miss early mornings. Andy Jimenez: I enjoy band class the most, and I loved all my teachers from the past and the present. I have no favorites. The staff at CHS are all my favorites.

GianPaul Carrion: My junior year psychology teacher made the class fun and interactive, even though most of the class was virtual. I will most miss playing soccer at my high school, but applying for colleges is something that I will not miss at all.


June 2022 •

2022 Senior Survey

What was your Favorite Class? Andrew Potocki: I enjoyed taking Stagecraft and my favorite teacher was Ms. Julie Chrobak. I will miss all of the fun projects.

Elayne Fana: I loved taking dance class in my senior year because I could express myself and let my feelings out. I will miss my teachers, being in the cafeteria, and performing for an audience. What I won’t miss is taking ESL classes. Alessandra Foti: I have had multiple favorite classes and teachers at CHS. During virtual learning my junior year, I always looked forward to my American History II class. I enjoyed learning about the lifestyle of the 1920s era, 1950s icons like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, and John F. Kennedy’s presidency. I will miss seeing my friends during my Sign Language II class, but I will definitely not miss the mosh pits. Angelina Pacosa: It’s a tie between my favorite classes: AP US History with Mr. Christopher Henry, and Band with Mr. Bryan Stepneski.

Jurij Dubas: Gym class since I had Coach Michael Santosuosso as a teacher. Coach was able to help me out when I had questions and was a great mentor during our season.

Yuliya Pasechko: I enjoy learning about people who came before me, especially the way they dressed and acted. So, of course, I always favored my history teachers: Mr. David Onacilla, Mr. John O’Reilly, and Mr. Michael Rogers. They not only made the lessons fun, but they also related history to the present. They were honest and considerate with all of their students. They made me feel confident in myself and motivated me to work hard in every subject. However, I did not have history this year, so my favorite classes became Literature Through Film with Ms. Franca Monachello and creative writing with Ms. Bauer. They are wonderfully sweet and gave me feedback on my stories and helped me expand my skills in writing. I welcomed their praise and critique with the knowledge that they were aiding me in the subject that I love most of all.

Bianca Ikwuka: Definitely band with Mr. Bryan Stepneski. Music keeps me sane, and it’s so much fun creating music with that talented group of people. I also loved Sign Language with Mrs. Lori Lesler. She has been an amazing teacher these past two years, and I’m sad to leave her. I won’t miss those hallways. It’s insane. Every intersection is called a mosh pit because it genuinely is. Everyone’s going in different directions. It’s disgusting. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey

What was your Favorite Class? Bryan Montoya: This is a pretty difficult question, but I would have to say Mr. Michael Rogers’ U.S. History II Honors class. Even if I had it over a Google Meet during a global pandemic, the impact that Mr. Rogers has had on the way that I see life has really played a big role in my views politically. He’s also influenced the way that I interpret things and further understand both sides, and is someone who made me question my own beliefs.

Sohini Mistry: Strings with Mrs. Babiak. I had the pleasure of having Mrs. Babiak for all four of my years in CHS as part of the CHS Orchestra as a violist. I will miss playing in the orchestra and seeing my friends everyday in class. I have also been part of the Mustang Marching Band for all four years of high school. Music and the band means connection and love of a family to me. Music is a group effort and the band flawlessly describes and exhibits that characteristic. I began my music journey in fourth grade at School 2 as a violist and have played since then. When entering high school, I was convinced by a friend to try out as a Majorette for the band and instantly loved twirling the first time that I picked up a baton. I have grown so close to the band, and it has instilled many valuable lessons in me that I will carry for the rest of my life. Though I will not be majoring in music, I hope to continue playing viola in an orchestra or leisurely playing at my own time, as it is something that I enjoy doing. I hope to return to watch the performances of the Mustang Band once I graduate and participate in alumni events. What I will not miss are the mosh pits in the hallways between passing periods. Alyse Turk: Personal Finance with Mr. Matthew O’Brien was a great class because he is who inspired me to study business. Having played three sports for all four years, I have had a lot of coaches. I will miss the ones who had patience and were positive, as well as those who were inspiring and made me believe in myself and knew that winning was not the only goal. Thanks to my coaches who made a difference for me. I will also miss all of the fun that I had with Mr. John O’Reilly through the years in class and in Key Club. And of course, I will miss being called “Baby Turk” in the hallway by Mr. Matthew Stuart.


June 2022 •

Clifton PUBLIC SCHOOLS Kindergarten Registration Parents of Clifton Residents who will be 5 years old by October 1, 2022 can register as of March 1, 2022

Pre-School Registration Parents of Clifton Residents who will be 4 years old by October 1, 2022 can register as of March 1, 2022 Limited Space Available, requirements can be found at

Limited Income Eligible 3-year-old Pre-School Program please call 973-472-8880

Go Online To Register Registration forms for both programs, required documents, and details can be found at:

English | Español | ‫ | ﻋﺮﺑﻰ‬Polskie |


Registration Information • June 2022



June 2022 • • June 2022


Jaylie Borsello is looking for“When I felt as if there was noward to life after CHS and the where to turn to, I just kept pushing opportunities for growth that will and I kept a strong spirit,” said Arcome with it. The senior will attend royo-Merino. “[It] led to me helpthe University of New Hampshire ing the Cross Country team win a this fall to study Communication. state championship and be nomiDuring high school, Borsello’s nated for multiple All-League and favorite subject was English. All-County awards.” “I like to express myself through He also felt the support of his writing, and I like to learn how to teacher Mrs. Rachel Fabrykant. write in different styles,” said Bor“[She] has been a major influence sello. on how and who I am today,” said Outside of the classroom, BorArroyo-Merino. “Having her as a sello’s extracurricular activities cheerleader and a supporter has led included being a cheer coach for me to be the happiest that I have the Clifton Junior Mustangs cheerever been.” He will attend PCCC Jaylie Borsello, Kevin Arroyo-Merino, leading team. She was also a CAST for two years before transferring to Jayda Rivera, Michael Corpus. intern for Mr. Michael McCunney, a university. He hopes to become a who she regards as her most influprofessional bodybuilder. ential teacher. “He has taught me so much throughout my two years in Jayda Rivera has a clear plan for the future and the dedhis class and in his internship,” said Borsello. “He really ication and role models to make it possible. cares about his students and puts so much of his time into “My mom is my biggest inspiration by far,” said Rivera. making sure all of us succeed in and outside of the class“She is the strongest and most hard-working woman that room.” I have ever met [who] always goes above and beyond for Other influential figures in Borsello’s life are her parme.” Rivera will attend Baylor University for Biology on ents. Borsello named them as her greatest inspirations and the pre-med track. Her long-term career goal is to become acknowledged how much they have given her. She added a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. how over the years they have taught her “how to become a The senior has participated in multiple extracurriculars better person.” at CHS, including: Pre-med club, Heroes and Cool Kids, “They work very hard to give me and my brother a great National Honor Society, and Yearbook. She also volunteers life, and I hope to be as successful as them.” at the Clifton Animal Shelter. Her academics are also highly important to her, even As Kevin Arroyo-Merino prepares for the future, he when they feel overwhelming. only plans to look to the past when it can inform the bigger “The biggest hurdle for me [at CHS] was definitely picture. switching from the CP classes and honors to mostly AP “History is my favorite subject,” said Arroyo-Merino. “I classes in my senior year,” said Rivera. “It was really hard like learning about how society functioned in the past and for me to adjust to the course load, but it ended up working also learning about different wars that have happened.” out.” Arroyo-Merino shared that during his senior year, he The teacher that she names as the most influential to her was in “one of the darkest moments in my life.” He deis Mr. Nicholas Giordano. “He has been so supportive and scribed how his grades slipped and he was not performing has encouraged me to follow my dreams and to always take to the level he wished in track. Part of what kept him movon challenges because I am capable of so much more than ing forward was believing in himself. I could even imagine,” said Rivera.


June 2022 • • June 2022


Like many students, Michael Corpus knows that high school is a balancing act. The senior considers his greatest hurdle at CHS to be balancing his work, commitment to church, and keeping his grades up in school to the best of his ability. He still managed to meet the challenge due to his own hard work and his family’s support. “My parents inspire me to become the best that I can be due to their hard work done for me and my siblings so that we can enjoy it,” said Corpus. As a freshman, Corpus participated in the high school soccer team for Union City. He later ran winter track as a sophomore at CHS. Today, he is involved at his church and said he helps out while also “growing in faith and character.” Corpus’ favorite subject is math, saying he likes the way people can apply it to “the real world.” This fall, he will study accounting at Montclair State University. Corpus reflected on his most influential teacher while preparing to leave Colfax Avenue. Ultimately, he selected two teachers. “Mr. John Lesler and Ms. Emily Orlando [are the most influential] due to their teachings with critical thinking, the value of respecting peoples’ opinions, and real world situations,” said Corpus.


June 2022 •


Clifton Public Schools Substitute Teaching Opportunities Competitive Pay! January 1, 2022 - June 30, 2022

$240/Day: County Substitute Certification $250/Day: NJDOE Teaching Certification Pursuant to P.L.2021, c. 87, individuals that are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education , have completed 30 semester-hour credits, and are at least 20 years of age are now eligible for a substitute teacher credential. Apply today at The district will contact eligible applicants and assist with certification process if needed. Clifton Public Schools 745 Clifton Avenue Clifton, NJ 07013 Phone: 973-594-4195 E-mail: • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey COVID-19 Lessons

Kenzie Lord: I know I can say something cliché like, “I found myself”, then play it up to be heartwarming and beautiful. Although, I would be telling the truth, I’d rather not take such a positive route. What I really want to say is I learned to be lazy. I learned that solving my problems by myself is easier. I learned that depending on yourself is the only thing you can be certain of. I learned to love being alone. I learned that the internet could be my very best friend or simultaneously my worst enemy. I could go on and on about what I learned and how it affected me. All of it would be morbid Sophia Refinski: COVID-19 has taught me to appreciate the people that I have in my life and the time that I am able to spend with them. I realized how much my family means to me and the unconditional love that I have for them. I learned that time is precious and to enjoy each and every day. Maria Matos: I think that my mind has been opened a lot more, and I’ve learned a lot more about the world and people.

Jayr Abad: I learned to appreciate and not take for granted the small things in life. From my sophomore year in 2020 to now, I’ve felt that I’ve grown a lot more as a person. I cherish all of my experiences and times since they might all be taken away in an instant. Joseph Viera: The COVID-19 pandemic helped me to be more understanding and more patient. Kathelyne Sindico: I learned that you can become distant from a lot of things, such as family and friends.

Andrew Sieradzki: I learned how much better you can make a situation if you actively work to make things better, even if it’s very little. Make the best of every opportunity that you’re given.

Christian Rodriguez: Attending high school during the pandemic was rough and stripped not only me but my classmates of their full high school careers. The thing that I learned and really took back from this experience is that tomorrow isn’t promised. Cherish the moments with the people that you love because you might not be able to see them tomorrow.


June 2022 •

and useless as you’ve all been through it too. So instead I’ll say, I spent more time with family, had more time to myself, watched a bunch of good movies, read some good books and learned to cook something other than Kraft mac and cheese. I say all these things because it will make us feel better. It will make you think, “Hey, it wasn’t so bad!” Trying to make light in all this darkness. But you know and so do I. It was not good, it was not enjoyable, it was definitely not fun. I may only be able to speak for myself, but COVID changed me. For better or for worse? The future holds that answer. Gulay Yilmaz: Going to school has helped with the social anxiety that we are going through and is improving us. Stefan Andruch: Pace yourself. If you overwhelm yourself, you will burn out. Take life one step at a time.

Joselyn Marrero-De Jesus: Friends may feel like friends, but if they never texted you during the pandemic, they aren’t friends. I also learned to grow and become a “better me” by growing up and seeing how the world actually works. I also found three jobs throughout the pandemic. You can achieve any goal that you put your mind to, just like I did by getting Honor Roll and not stopping that streak. Eriel Hobbs: I learned that not every day is promised and that every day is another obstacle. So what I do is just live one day at a time and make sure within those days that I have no regrets. Patrick Biernat: I learned to have persistence and enjoy the small things that life has to offer, as well as to cherish the bigger moments.

Michael Shimabukuro: I learned that I needed to reach out to family and friends to check up on them, ask about their day and just listen to anything that they had to say. I also learned how important it is for me to have a set schedule. I felt less stressed in some ways because I could avoid the morning rush and traffic when we were doing remote learning. I was also able to focus more on projects involving writing and being creative with my time. I was able to create content for my social media and reach out to more people with my art. • June 2022


2022 Senior Survey COVID-19 Lessons

Elayne Fana, Angelina Pacosa, Mariam Rukhaia, Andy Jimenez, Yuliya Pasechko.

GianPaul Carrion: When the COVID-19 lockdown first began, I was a sophomore in high school. I thought I had a lot of time before college and before I knew it, I was a senior in high school. I learned that you must take advantage of your time and always be on top of your thing. I matured and started taking more risks after quarantine.

Alessandra Foti: Virtually learning due to COVID-19 made me appreciate my classes during my junior year of high school. That year, I truly developed a love for learning. It also made me excel in math, which is something that did not happen before the pandemic. Jurij Dubas: I learned to treasure the things that you have closest to you. Also, I learned how to move and motivate myself when there was no one there. Elayne Fana: What I learned was to enjoy school a little bit more because it’s not forever. Andrew Potocki: I’ve changed the way that I’ve been by becoming more caring, nicer, and overall, more kind.

Angelina Pacosa: I rediscovered the importance of connection. Quarantine especially reminded me that knowing people, seeing them daily, talking and laughing and everything in between, is so important. I took that for granted once, but I never will again.

Sohini Mistry: COVID-19 made learning difficult. I learned to use more technology resources around me since we were solely online for a period and now our classes are based around technology. The pandemic allowed me to connect more with my friends, even if I could not see them in-person, and I have grown close to a trustworthy group of people that I can always rely on. When switching back to in-person, it was hard at first readjusting to a full-day schedule. As time went on, it got easier and even helped the college process run smoothly for me as I was able to get help right away with anything that I struggled on.


June 2022 •

Ángel Sanchez: I learned how isolation really makes you feel alone. I grew as a person by going back out to the world and understanding how to interact with others again.

Alyse Turk: During the pandemic, I tutored two elementary school children in math. I learned that patience was key. They were easily distracted, so I would work to keep them on task with verbal cues and positive comments. It was rewarding to see that the children were excited to see me, having been isolated at home away from their school community. I would spend some time asking how they had been feeling and what they had been up to. I would tell them a joke, show them my hamster, or anything else that I could think of to make them smile. Karen Meneses: I was able to become more creative during lockdown because I decided to explore more hobbies and interests. I explored editorial cosmetology, and I also learned how to cook and have acquired a love of cooking. I’ve actually become great at it thanks to COVID-19.

Andy Jimenez: I learned to manage my time better between getting my work done and getting to after-school clubs like Marching Band, while also taking breaks and eating well. Yuliya Pasechko: Quarantine was definitely a scary time period for me and my family. I realized that a lot of individuals paid no mind or respect for other peoples’ pain or hardships. I was very anxious about coming back to school for this reason. However, most, if not all, CHS students and teachers were very mindful of the safety of others and followed all the proper procedures to keep everyone comfortable. The staff have created a pleasant environment for me and my peers and, for that, I am grateful. I also learned that giving the same respect back is very important; people automatically feel safer when their boundaries are valued. • June 2022


By Ariana Puzzo

Clifton is regarded by many as “The City that Cares”, and that care has always intersected between the schools and community for Maria Parham-Talley and Kim Castellano. Parham-Talley, who retired as the principal of School 12 in 2019, recalled how she and Castellano first met. It was when Parham-Talley was the assistant principal at the School 12 Annex, at 225 Ackerman Ave. Castellano and School 12 teacher Michelle DeHaven worked together for Relay For Life. DeHaven told Parham-Talley about Castellano and her nonprofit Power of One Christian Coaching and Outreach Ministries, Inc. and how Castellano wanted to help School 12 and its students. “I suggested that she come in,” recalled Parham-Talley, 60. “It began with collecting backpacks and … from there, it turned into a yearly thing where she would do a collection.” “We’d all get together in August, I would buy pizza, and we would put the bags together,” continued ParhamTalley. “Parents would come in, and it was just a beautiful thing.”


June 2022 •

Maria Parham-Talley, Kim Castellano, and School 12 teacher Michelle DeHaven during a backpack collection in 2017. Talley is being honored on June 5 as a mentor to Castellano in helping to launch the Power of One.

A Decade of Milestones That was 10 years ago. In those days, the collection yielded 75 backpacks for School 12. Today, Power of One has assisted school principals, faculty, and community workers in distributing over 3,000 backpacks throughout Clifton’s K-8 schools. Castellano said that in those early days, Parham-Talley offered her “great, sound advice” on how to work with the Board of Education and the community. “If Mrs. Talley didn’t open the door for us … I don’t think we’d be where we are,” said Castellano, 55. “Since she was willing to collaborate with a nonprofit, she opened doors that no else could.” But that admiration goes both ways. “Kim has been a tremendous blessing to the community and definitely to the students in the Botany section,” said Parham-Talley. “I’m grateful that our paths crossed.” On June 5, Castellano’s nonprofit Power of One Christian Coaching and Outreach Ministries, Inc. will celebrate its 10-year milestone. Founded in October of 2011, Power of One strives to alleviate poverty and offer resources and support in the community.

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Support our Summer Camp scholarship campaign. Your donation can help a child go to Camp Clifton this summer!

To donate visit or email Ivonne at • June 2022


Outside Clifton School 12 with Kim Castellano, at left, and Maria Parham-Talley holding a blue folder, along with staff.

All are invited to attend the annual Family Fun Day Celebration at 1 pm in Nash Park, across from The Hot Grill. Admission is free, and the event will also honor Parham-Talley and her community support. When considering the last decade’s efforts, Castellano is proud of the distribution of supplies and resources provided, but she is also proud to see the lives that were changed. Castellano also has hopes for the upcoming decade. “I think the organization is in a great place to be sustained through funding that when I’m done and gone, the program and organization will still be standing there and helping the community,” said Castellano. “That excites me. I never thought it would become a huge program.” She also emphasized that it’s a team effort and extends further than herself and Parham-Talley. “We’re great leaders, but people followed our leadership and we are one Clifton because of that,” said Castellano. “I am grateful and thankful for Clifton’s support.” Called to Serve Parham-Talley, who moved to Delaware last year, was “born, bred, and educated” in Paterson. She started her career as a paraprofessional and later a teacher for about 16 years in Paterson. Parham-Talley joined the Clifton School district in 2004 as the School 12 Annex’s assistant principal. Later, she became the principal of School 12 in 2007. The combined total in the main building and Annex could sometimes exceed 700 students.


June 2022 •

“My experience working in that part of Clifton was very interesting,” said Parham-Talley. “I’m Puerto Rican and was the first woman of color in administration in Clifton.” Despite the inherent challenges related to School 12’s size and classification as a school in need of improvement, Parham-Talley described her career as “awesome” and said she still misses her staff and students. “Education is not just a job but a vocation,” she said. “You do the best you can.” For Parham-Talley, it also included applying for a 21st Century Grant from the Department of Education. Partnering up with the Boys & Girls Club, the school secured the grant that provided about half a million dollars for each school year so they could offer an after-school program. “I wanted the school open from 8 am to 7 pm because the kind of child we served would go home to an empty house,” said Parham-Talley. “We served over 200 students, and I’m so thankful it came to pass.” Though no longer local, Parham-Talley’s hopes for the city and its kids remain consistent. One of her hopes is that the community embraces Power of One’s efforts and offers what they can to make the work possible. She also hopes the community continues to “embrace all the students in Clifton.” To get involved, visit “COVID hit the schools hard,” said Parham-Talley. “I’m praying for our school systems because everyone is struggling now.” “But,” she added, “I believe that we’re going to be alright.”

Swim Team Coach Anna Abakumova, Madelyne Hacckett, Aquatics Director Nadia Stavko, Daniel Antonyshyn. Executive Director Robert Foster with 2022 Youth of the Year recipients Karan Vyas, Ariana Frias, Rawan Awadalla, Julia Berkenbosch, Amanda Bruno. Right: Robert and Beverly Mariso with up and coming Clubbers, Bruce Brown, Alias Ragsdale, Amber Kankam, Ashley Kankam, Alexandra Tutak.

On May 16, the Boys & Girls Club celebrated its 2022 Youth of the Year Awards. This year’s Youth of the Year recipient was Rawan Awadalla (CHS 2022), a 2021 Bank of America Student Leader. “The Boys & Girls Club will forever hold a special … place in my heart,” said Awadalla, a three-year Club member. “I will always give back to the organization that

shaped me into the leader that I am today.” Other scholarship award recipients included PCTI students Julia Berkenbosch and Karan Vyas, along with CHS seniors Ariana Frias and Amanda Bruno. For the Club’s National Swim Meet in Florida, Madelyne Hacckett came in first in the 8 & Under category. Daniel Antonyshyn set five records for the 10 & Under category. • June 2022



June 2022 • • June 2022


Back at Clifton Stadium

56th Annual Grand Prix July 9 Doors open 5:30pm • Show begins 6:30

It has been three seasons since the Hawthorne Caballeros took over the turf at Clifton Stadium. But they are back on July 9 in competition for another night of moveable music that has thrilled audiences since 1946. As is their tradition, the Clifton show is dedicated to the late George Hayek, one of the founding members of the Cabs. Like George and the Cabs, Timeless is the theme for the Caballeros 2022 Production. A timeless story can be defined as having no beginning or end; a timeless story is eternal and is not restricted to any particular time and date.


June 2022 •

Clifton’s favorite Cab, the late George Hayek is always in our beat.

In their 12 minute field performance, The Cabs explore Love and all its forms from the first chords of the Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy to the pain in Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. They share the everlasting yet fraught story in Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are. Then take a wild ride with Meat Loaf and see where it all winds up through the crazy highs, lows and passion of Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

That is why the 2022 field production will unfold with the most timeless story of all – the story of Love. We all know the classic story – boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, something keeps boy and girl apart, boy and girl find each other again. While that story in particular is Timeless, the characters have changed. The 2021 World Champion Hawthorne Caballeros will tell that story through timeless music, timeless imagery, timeless movement, all while bringing that timeless Caballero energy to the field. And when it is all said and done – Love is Love, no matter the time, no matter the place, no matter the people. With brass arrangements by Jeffrey Chambers and Clifford Bialkin, and percussion arrangements by Matt Penland and Matt Blood, the crowds will “see” Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky. They’ll experience Bad Romance with Lady Gaga. They will accept their love Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel and then they may even see Paradise By the Dashboard Light as Meat Loaf so dramatically and timelessly concluded. Advance Tickets search Drum Corps Gran Prix Reserved Seating – $35 GA at the door – $25

Also appearing on July 9 in Clifton with the Caballeros will be... Reading Buccaneers • Fusion Core Princeton Bushwackers Long Island Sunrisers • Conn Hurricanes NE Ohio Rogues Hollow Regiment In Exhibition: Hawthorne Caballeros Alumni New York Skyliners Alumni Saints Brigade • June 2022


As much as it was a somber occasion, the City of Clifton’s COVID-19 Garden Dedication was also a celebration of the lives lost to COVID-19. The community gathered outside the Senior Center, at 900 Clifton Ave., on May 14. In attendance included the Police Honor Guard, CHS String Quartet, and Mustang Band Wind Ensemble. The dedication, delayed by a week, took place only two days after the White House’s May 12 announcement that the U.S. surpassed one million COVID-related deaths. There have been 343 reported COVID-related deaths in Clifton since the start of the pandemic. City organizers invited family members of residents who passed away from COVID-19 to place a rose in the garden in memory of their loved ones. “The community, especially the families of the deceased, was very grateful for this garden dedication,”


June 2022 •

said the Clifton Health Department Health Projects Coordinator Jennifer Kidd. “These deaths are not just numbers or statistics, but somebody’s loved one.” Clifton’s response was historic in nature, with the Health Dept. providing ongoing education. The garden may also symbolize for some how health education can save lives. A three-tier fountain is part of the garden. The top level remembers those who died, the second level acknowledges the first responders and essential workers, and the third level honors all of the Clifton residents who supported one another and strove toward stopping the spread of the virus. There is also the new sculpture “Ponder” (at left) by Mike Bertelli. “We wanted this garden to be a place to honor their memory and to be a reminder of what the entire community has gone through over the last two years,” said Kidd.

Rain didn’t stop the relay or deter our community’s fight against cancer. Both cancer survivors and supporters of Relay for Life of Clifton and Rutherford gathered for a strong turnout on May 14 at Clifton Stadium. On May 9, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. visited the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine on the Nutley/Clifton border to award $775,000 in funding. The funds were part of the bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill’s operations package. The bill included $11 million for projects sponsored by Pascrell. The medical school will use the funds to purchase necessary equipment for training additional staff.

Just before Memorial Day, this young lady was selling poppies on Van Houten Ave. Sales of red poppies benefit veterans associations and fund veterans causes and the traditiona of the poppies dates back to WWI. At the May 18 installation of officers at American Legion Post 347, Commander George Scarfo, Vice Commander Dominick Chiaponne, Adjutant Thomas Haschack and Financial Officer Michael Soccol. Veterans from all branches of US military service may join Post 347 and help it grow. Call 973-546-9876 for info. • June 2022


NOVA UA Federal Credit Union continues to raise funds to help relief efforts in Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion. The May 14 event at NOVA on Allwood Rd. raised nearly $35,000. NOVA then presented another $10,000. Almost $45,000 was forwarded to four 501(c)(3) charitable organizations providing humanitarian aid for Ukraine. “Thanks to MishMash Catering for donating and serving delicious Ukrainian food, as well as Polonia Bakery and Master Grillers Pavlo Hyra and Andriy Zurawski for their donations and Rotary District 7490 for making the largest donation,” said NOVA’s CEO Val Bogattchouk, below with Rotary’s John G. Susani.


June 2022 •

On June 10 at about 10:30 am, the New Jersey Special Olympics Torch Relay will pass along Main Ave, making a stop at the Clifton Rec building on Washington Ave. Clifton’s Special Olympics athletes and their families will be there to cheer them on. Retired Clifton Police Lt. Frank Dara, at left, and Sgt. Buchar Balkar and Casey Kida are among the 3,000 officers who will carry the “Flame of Hope” in 26 separate routes over a distance of nearly 750 miles throughout the Garden State to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey.

St. George Greek Orthodox Church hosts its Greek Fest on The Hill at 818 Valley Rd., June 10 to 12. Come for lunch on June 10 from 11 am to 2 pm and return that night from 5-11 pm. On Saturday it runs 1 pm to midnight and on Sunday, right after church, at noon till 7 pm. Enjoy pastitsio, moussaka, gyros, roast lamb shanks and more. Save room for coffee and baklava. There is also live entertainment, and kids activities. Call 973-779-2626

The Clifton Fire Department Mini-Pet Drive is June 7 to June 30 in support of the Clifton Animal Shelter. Donate new dish towels, cat and dog toys, small and medium litter boxes, Special Kitty Cat Litter (Red Bag — Walmart), and dog collars, harnesses, and leashes. Drop off donations on the porch of Clifton Fire Headquarters, at 880 Clifton Ave.

The Northern New Jersey Empanada Festival is on June 25 in Weasel Brook Park from 11 am to 7 pm. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids 4-13. Empanadas, live music, beer tent and activities for all ages. For info, search Northern NJ Empanada Festival on Facebook. Is your church, synagogue, or mosque hosting a festival? Send a note: The Dutch Hill Residents Association will hold its 40th Annual Flea Market in Weasel Brook Park on June 18 from 9 am to 4 pm. Located on Paulison Avenue, set up begins at 7 am for flea market dealers. The vendors’ fee is $40 cash, paid that day to secure an 18-foot space. Vendors may enter the park on Gregory Avenue. For info, call Terry McMahon at 973-413-5007. City Green will host its second Farm Tour Fundraiser on June 9 from 5 pm to dusk at the Farm Eco-Center. The eco-center is located at 171 Grove St. Tours will be held from 5:30-6:30 pm. Buy tickets or sponsor at For info, email Erin at info@city-green. org or call 973-869-4086. • June 2022


Memorial Day in Clifton

Clifton paused Monday, May 30, with a parade in Allwood and services in Athenia and Downtown Clifton to honor The Fallen, most notably the 300 Cliftonites killed in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq.


June 2022 •

Monday, May 30, 2022 • June 2022


Memorial Day 2022


June 2022 •

Clifton Recreation presents Street Jazz Dance Camp from July 18-22 at the Rec Center, at 1232 Main Ave. AMB Dance Theatre will provide the instruction for residents and non-residents ages 6 to 12. The camp is from 9 am to noon and costs $160 per person. Pre-registration is required. For more info, visit, click on the programs tab, and scroll down to the Summer Specialty Camps section.

The Historic Botany Summer Concert series returns to Sullivan Square on Lake and Parker Aves. Concerts are free, parking is free but come and dine in one of Botany’s eateries or taverns. Opening the series will be The Retrocasters on June 3 at 6;30 followed on June 10 by Andy Lackow and Mess Around. Carlos Colina and the Grind headline on June 17 while Swingman and the Misfit Mutts (above) rock the stage on June 25; Rachel Wise and The Guys perform July 1. The Friday night series concludes on August 27. Call Joseph Nikischer at 201-757-5607 for weather related concert concerns The CHS Mustang Band’s annual Beefsteak & Tricky Tray is June 10 at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton. Doors open at 6:30 pm for the event at 181 Colfax Ave. Tickets cost $40 per person, or $30 for current band members. The price is $380 to secure a table of 10. Come out to support band students by making all checks payable to the CHS Mustang Band Parent Association, Inc. Email for tickets.

Visit the Clifton Arts Center’s exhibit, “Genes & Genius” by Gary Erbe and Chantell Van Erbé. The exhibit, running to July 30, is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 1-4 pm. The father-daughter duo have respective careers that span several decades and are both self-taught artists. The Arts Center is at 900 Clifton Ave. Visit or @cliftonartscenter on Facebook and Instagram. The 2022 CAC City Wide Garage Sale is June 25 to benefit the Clifton Arts Center Inc. Gather your items, clean them up, sign up and sell them, turning the profits to the CAC. Applications must be submitted to the City Clerk, at 900 Clifton Ave., by June 15 at 3 pm. The city will advertise all locations. To print a form or learn more about the item regulations, visit Call the Arts Center at 973-472-5499 with questions. The 12th Annual Knights of Columbus & Catholic Charities Army Tank Pull is on June 12 from 8 am to 4 pm, rain or shine. Taking place at 1100 Clifton Ave., the 80,000-lb. tank pull competition honors and supports those who have served our country. The event will include entertainment, food, free parking, and family fun. To give back to veterans, register a team of 50 people max, donate, or sponsor a team. For more info, visit, email, or call 973-944-5543.

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Birthdays & Celebrations - June 2022

Happy Birthday to....

Send dates & names ....

Jim Smith celebrates on June 2. Bob & Carol Van Der Linda 61st anniversary is June 10. Emma, Olivia & Victoria Green, turn 16 on June 24. Cecelia Rathgeber turns 8 on June 3 and Joleen turns 10 on June 22. Vinny Dalbo....................... 6/1 Holly Kocsis....................... 6/1 Timmy Spears..................... 6/1 Tatianna Ayoub................... 6/2 Jonathan Borrajo................. 6/2 Denise Magaster................. 6/2 John Traier......................... 6/2 Karl Aponte........................ 6/3 Thomas Lesch..................... 6/4 Michael Musto.................... 6/4 Emma Nysk........................ 6/5 Brian Coleman................... 6/6 Rob Cone.......................... 6/6 Samantha Malenchak.......... 6/6 Koreana Sabo.................... 6/8 Robert Ciallella................... 6/9 Ava Nicole Genardi............ 6/9 Jaime Zapata-Rosas............. 6/9 Larry Grasso.................... 6/10 Javier Pachas-Nemoto........ 6/10 Joey Randazzo................. 6/10 Nicole Carreno................. 6/11


June 2022 •

Bob & Alice DeLiberto hit 35 years on June 27. Blessings to their parents Dorothy & Joseph DeLiberto who celebrate their 68th anniversary on June 27. Margaret Nysk................. Adam Soder..................... Monica Baquerizo............ Cindy Brevic Goldstein......

6/11 6/11 6/13 6/13

Steven Hatala, Sr.............. Anna Jurgowski................ Christopher Stetz............... Christopher Zaccone.........

6/13 6/13 6/13 6/13

Daniel Sotamba turns 9 on June 30. Jennifer Liddle................... 6/15 Andrew Bandurski............. 6/16 Danielle Dvorak................ 6/16 Derek Dvorak................... 6/16 Stephanie Dvorak............. 6/16 Jane Justin........................ 6/16 Kristina Marchesani........... 6/16 Joseph Peterson................ 6/16 Raymond Kuruc................ 6/18 Rafelina Reyes.................. 6/18 Tabitha Sosa..................... 6/18 Jim Schubert Sr................. 6/18 Aileen Haight................... 6/20 Alexander Conklin............ 6/22 Joseph Hrina.................... 6/23 Nella Baquerizo............... 6/24 Jack DeVries...................... 6/24 Mike Skurski..................... 6/24 Brittany Martorella............ 6/25 Connie Musleh................. 6/26 Daniel Marriello................ 6/27 Susan McDonald.............. 6/27 Walter Vladyka................. 6/27 Marco Greco................... 6/28 Kristen Murcko.................. 6/28 Mason Immersi................. 6/29 Monica Szewczyk............. 6/29 Robert Conklin.................. 6/30 Christopher Lucas.............. 6/30 • June 2022


On May 27, Jacob Heredia led the Mustangs to another Passaic County Championship. On May 17, Passaic County Tech defeated Clifton 7-1 in the final round of the Passaic County Tournament. The five pictured PCTI varsity baseball players from left are Ray Gelok, Quentin O’Campo, Christian Pareja, Austin Blesing, and Nate Freidman.

Clifton’s boys track squad won its first Passaic County Championship since 2004 on May 27, not surprisingly behind program legend Jacob Heredia. A senior, Heredia won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 titles, and was a part of the victorious 4x800 relay quartet that also featured juniors Ben Nelkin, Grant and Hisham Ettayebi.


June 2022 •

Clifton baseball had an outstanding month of May, but suffered a heartbreaking loss in the Passaic County final. The Mustangs were 8-2 in the season’s penultimate month, leaving them with an 18-5 record heading into the state playoffs, but failed to win their first county title since 1994 thanks to a rough outing against Passaic County Tech on May 17. “It’s always tough when you go down 5-0 in the first, and it’s tough to come back from that,” said Clifton senior Kyle Vellis. “If we see them again, our pitching is there and I think it will be a good game.” Bulldogs pitcher Johnny Gilligan had a terrific outing, striking out 11 while allowing five hits and four walks to lead Tech to a 7-1 triumph. But, as good teams often do, Clifton bounced back quickly, defeating Paramus Catholic and St. Joseph over their next two contests. With their regular season split with the Bulldogs, they earned a share of the Big North Liberty Division crown, and now look to the North I, Group IV tourney. As the #5 seed, the Mustangs play host to Bergen Tech in the first round on June 1. The Mustangs boys volleyball team went 5-3 on the month, but lost on its own floor to North Bergen in their North I, Group IV playoff opener, 26-24, 25-23. The Mustangs went 13-13 on the year. Clifton football’s rising junior offensive and defensive lineman Trumain Lawson is becoming a hot commodity on the recruiting scene. Lawson, a 6’5”, 245-pounder, Lawson has already received scholarship offers from Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Temple, Kansas, Buffalo and Rhode Island, with plenty of other programs expressing interested in the talented big man.

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