Clifton Merchant Magazine - June 2024

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Did you work at Roche?

If you did, you know employment at Roche was a life changer. For many Clifton families, a job at the former Hoffmann-La Roche’s offices, sales, research laboratories or on the manufacturing line meant a career and a bright future.

But things began to unravel quickly when in 2009, in the throes of the Great Recession, Roche acquired Genentech. The company began moving executives and sales and marketing divisions to that company’s San Francisco location. Rumors swirled. Lay-offs loomed. The CliftonNutley site began operating as a shadow of its former self.

Instead of a dominant workplace, which was once Clifton’s largest employer, just a 1,000 people worked there. By 2012, after nearly 100 years on the site, Roche announced it was closing, leaving Clifton/Nutley for good.

In a move of generosity, Roche hired a renowned planning firm to help Clifton, Nutley and New Jersey create a master plan to offer various options on how the 116-acre property on the Clifton-Nutley border would be developed.

In July 2016, Prism Capital Partners, purchased the property, renaming it ON3. That year, plans were announced for the Seton Hall Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine with initial classes to begin in 2017—the first bit of good news—soon to be followed with a flurry of innovations, investments, challenges and opportunities in ON3’s evolving story.

In a future magazine, we will tell more about ON3’s developments as well as the stories of former Roche employees as they share how their careers changed their lives.

Care to share your story? What was your job at Roche? Help tell the history of how Roche created opportunities, employment and generally impacted our hometown. To take part, send a short note along with your phone number to

Editor Ariana Puzzo will follow up with an email and a call to set up an interview. We hope to hear from you soon.

From the Editor Tom Hawrylko

14,000 Magazines are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month.


Contributing Writers

Ariana Puzzo, Joe Hawrylko, Irene Jarosewich, Tom Szieber, Jay Levin, Michael C. Gabriele, Jack DeVries, Patricia Alex

Editor & Publisher

Tom Hawrylko, Sr.

Art Director

Ken Peterson

Associate Editor & Social Media Mgr.

Ariana Puzzo

Business Mgr.

Irene Kulyk

Clifton, NJ 07011
Employees had no idea of the soon-to-come changes when Roche was named Fortune’s 2005 Top Best Companies.
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Unsung Hero

Who is the unsung hero for the Class of 2024?

Before learning that she was nominated as CHS’ 2024 Unsung Hero, Stefanie Feliciano worried that she was in trouble. “I was called down to the main office, which is never good,” laughed Feliciano, 18. “Vice principal [Ms. Victoria Rogers] asked me into her office … and told me that she nominated me.” “I was really happy and couldn’t stop smiling,” she continued. “I loved CHS and got so involved in so many things. It was nice to see that recognized.”

On March 11, the Passaic County School Boards Association and the Passaic County Education Association honored 32 twelfth-grade students from high schools across the county as “Unsung Heroes” at Muhammad Ali School No. 23 in Passaic.

Feliciano was recognized for her Top 20 placement in her CHS class and extensive extracurriculars. Some of her roles include: co-president of the National Honor Society and National English Honor Society, Key Club secretary, manager for the Girls’ Varsity Tennis and Flag Football teams, and a writer for The Clifton Times.

She’s also involved with Heroes & Cool Kids, Girls Learn International, the MadCaps, among other clubs.

Amro Boukattaya: Michelle Antero Cabrera is oneof-a-kind with a dedication and a fire that outshines everyone else’s. The passion and drive she possesses is truly mesmerizing. I had never seen such a gorgeous, strong, and talented person in my life until I met her.

“Clifton and CHS are such unique and diverse places,” said Feliciano.

“There are so many different people to meet and experiences that you can have.” Her high school and hometown are part of why she’s committed to Northeastern University in Boston.

She’ll major in Political Science and Philosophy with a future pursuit of law school. “I always knew since I was little that I wanted to be in a city,” said Feliciano. “It’s why I chose CHS instead of PCTI or another school. I wanted a really diverse community.”

Isabel Cohn: A couple of people, but the one who really helped me in my Clifton journey is Stefanie Feliciano. I’ve known her since middle school, and she’s always out and helping other people. I see myself and think, ‘I should go help more people like her.’

Jackeline Vizcaino: One of my best friends, Nicole Acuna. She’s so determined and hardworking when it comes to school and sports. Her hustle and grit make her shine. She inspires me to work just as hard, as it pays off eventually.

4 June 2024 •

Alias Ragsdale: Patrick Du Bois is on the quiet side, but he’s a positive driving force. An incredible athlete, playing Varsity Cross Country, Tennis, and Track & Field while at CHS, Patrick is a part of the State Sectional winning team for Cross Country. On the Track & Field team he consistency places in top levels. Patrick is one of the founders of the Christian Student Association and was also the captain of our Tennis team.

Ashton Morante: Everyone has done things that are unique to themselves, and it’s so hard to just choose one person when everyone has had an impact.

Riya Shah: Jonathan Santiago is smart and dedicated with a great GPA. He makes time for clubs like National Honors Society and SkillsUSA. He takes two AP classes and two Honors yet makes time for his hobbies and family.

Marcello Murphy: Eric Rodriguez is an outstanding car tech and person.

Peyton Yagins: Steven Troller cares and treats everyone the same, no matter how he’s treated. He always tries to talk to people and sometimes people ignore him, but he’s never bothered and just keeps voicing his opinion.

Jordan Edie: One unsung hero of mine is Deborah Amoh, who was in touch with Patrick Du Bois. Thank God that they are long-time friends. Both Patrick and I shared an almost identical vision for the Christian Student Association.

Tamara Korkmaz: Kailyn Rodriguez is an amazing person with the sweetest personality. She is an extremely smart and knowledgeable student. She makes other students feel welcomed and is very friendly.

Mia Galo: Sierra Fisbeck is so involved in sports. Sports play an enormous factor in school spirit and she is always full of spirit. She is unique, because she does two sports for each season. • June 2024 5

Yousef Saleh: Dina Asad, because she is very ambitious, smart, and a leader.

Renad Taha: My friend Gabriela Arias. What makes her unique is her empowerment of pushing between hard work in and outside of school with a bright smile on her face.

Mariam Gebril: Jordan Edie. I’ve known him since middle school when we had a whole handshake and everything. We’re still good friends and it’s always love when we see one another. The reason why our bond faced distance was because he was involved in aimless and rebellious activity. I was worried for him and couldn’t do anything but pray. My prayers were answered—freshman year, he saw the path he was going down and chose to seek refuge in God/faith. Constantly spreading love, bridging communities and a mentor for those who have a checkered past, his passions led him to become the founder of the Christian Student Association. As a Muslim, I see him as a brother in faith and I admire how passionate he is about God. I appreciate the conversations we had about God and bettering ourselves. He truly is a good, wise, kind, and impactful soul. Despite his past mistakes, which he’s real about, he still comes to school and lights up the halls with his big bright smile. I continue to be inspired by his genuine care for his classmates and community.

Tatyanna Zurawski: Anja Cobani. She was the person who would always brighten someone’s day if they felt bad and always shared a warm hug to make them feel better.

6 June 2024 • • June 2024 7

Unsung Hero

Alex Ralli: Definitely my best friend, Juan Carlos Rosas. He’s in my Pre-Calculus class. I’ve been friends with him since sixth grade and having him in my class has helped me a lot. He’s a very funny person and cheers me up. This year, he’s helped me a lot and given me some good advice. I always appreciate that.

Patrick Du Bois: Jordan Edie, who is a natural-born leader, is a man who can always be real and who he is in any environment. He can handle any challenges. He’s always leading the Christian Student Association discussions. He’s always positive and always willing to listen to anybody.

Chloe Hernandez: Stefanie Feliciano is someone I admire in so many ways. She is an active member not only of our school community, but of the Clifton community. A member of so many clubs and a founder of an honor society, she proves to the world daily that there isn’t anything she can’t do. She is smart, kind, funny, and dedicated to everything she does. Northeastern is so lucky to have her, and I’m luckier to get to move to Boston with her.

Love you Merve!

Samantha Bernal: One of my best friends, Merve Candar. She is very persistent in her studies and is someone I look to for words of wisdom or a good laugh to have.
8 June 2024 •

Any child residing in Clifton who is 5 years of age on or before October 1, 2024, is eligible for

Any child residing in Clifton who is 3 or 4 years of age on or before October 1, 2024, is eligible for Preschool

Availability is on a first-come, first-serve basis upon completion of the entire registration process. For questions, please call 973-470-2060

Kindergarten Registration Pre-School Registration Required documents and details can be found at: Go Online To Register Congratulations Congratulations Congratulations Clifton PUBLIC SCHOOLS CLASS OF CLASS OF CLASS OF Clifton High School Clifton High School Clifton High School


Vitalii Datsyk’s advice to his younger self would be: work harder.

The left-wing striker for the Boys Varsity Soccer team learned that lesson in his own time. He recalled how he entered sophomore year feeling like he had plenty of time ahead of him and “didn’t practice to full potential.”

His junior year was the turning point.

“I realized that I had one more year left and I needed to start working harder,” said Datsyk, 18. “That’s what motivated me.”

Making varsity in his sophomore year was a major achievement. When Datsyk emigrated from Ukraine five years ago, he came to CHS without any knowledge of the game. He credited head coach Stan Lembryk for making “me a great soccer player.”

The early days weren’t what you would expect. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Datsyk played on JV and the season was practically non-existent with around 10 games.

He joined Varsity in sophomore year onward and achieved 2nd Team All League, 2nd Team All County, and Honorable Mention All State in that first year. The last two years saw the Mustangs earn 1st Team All League

and 1st Team All County. As a junior, the team achieved 3rd Team All State. Senior year brought the boys to 1st Team All State and 2nd Team Top 55 Public Schools Players, while Datsyk was nominated for Athlete of the Year in NJ.

“[Soccer is] one of the most important things to me. It helped me with finding a college and with having some options,” said Datsyk. “I don’t know about other teams, but Clifton Soccer [taught] me the definition of being a team.”

Datsyk will attend Drew University to study Business and play soccer. He’s looking forward to still playing with some of his Clifton teammates and hopes to someday start his own business.

Despite any of the early obstacles, Datsyk has proven that he’s got what it takes.

“Being in the U.S. for two years at that time and trying to learn English when everything was getting sent remote was one of the hardest [times] for me to get through,” said Datsyk. “I got through it with my friends, teachers, coaches — and I got great grades.”

Datsyk’s parting words to the Class of 2025 and younger Mustangs are straightforward.

“Honestly, people may think, ‘I still have a lot of time, I have a year’,” he said, “but it went fast.”

10 June 2024 • • June 2024 11

PATIENCE and Practice

Learning and performing Bharatanatyam was no small commitment for Riya Shah.

“You have to remember every little detail,” said Shah. “From sharp eyes to head movement.”

The PCTI senior spent the past decade dedicated to mastering the complex style of dance that was her mother Mansi’s dream. Years of practice that began with a 30-minute to hourly session per week and culminated in daily rehearsing for five to six hours paid off last October.

Shah, 18, remembers how it felt to per form the nine dances that could range anywhere from five minutes to 40 minutes long. She needed to keep her hands and her legs sharp, while oftentimes holding positions and forms for long stretches of time.

It was stamina-building and ex tremely rewarding.

“After the whole event was done, I remember walking backstage and crying tears of joy,” said Shah. “This was my mom’s dream. She wanted to do it, but due to circumstances dur ing her time, she wasn’t able to achieve it.”

“She thought, ‘If I can’t do it, I’ll watch my daughters do it,’” Shah continued. “We started and finished it be cause of her. I don’t think I would’ve gotten to where I am [otherwise].”

Shah is the eldest child of Vinit and Mansi. Her younger siblings are sister Maitri and brother Veer. Shah began

dancing at age 8 and plans to attend Rutgers – New

Her goal is to one day work in the Finance Industry, which was influenced by her Academy of Finance course at PCTI.

“The class allowed me to find something that interested me,” said Shah. “Ms. Nicole Modak was my senior year teacher … and her class was three hours long.”

Shah noted that the class could have become just assigning busywork, but that Modak was known for bringing in treats for her students and being someone that students could “talk to about

“She always gives good suggestions about what you should be doing and always motivates everyone in the class, not just me,” said Shah.

Shah’s out-of-school activities include volunteering at AUM Dance Creations, 819 Van Houten Ave., as one of two assistants. She’s taught children of all ages styles of dance from India for the past two years.

“It showed me [how] to be very patient,” said Shah. “I didn’t realize what it took to teach little kids. These kids … know that they’re dancing, but

“Not everyone’s the same and not everyone learns at the same pace,” she continued. “Dancing is not easy and you need to take your time. If it takes two months to finish a dance, so-be-it.”

12 June 2024 • • June 2024 13

Favorite Class/Teacher

What was your favorite class and teacher? What will you miss the most? The least?

Chloe Hernandez: Without question, I loved Mr. Leonid Weismantel’s Honors Choir class. So many amazing memories were made not only in that classroom, but with Mr. W. I’ll forever be grateful to him for everything that he’s taught me both in terms of music and life. Mr. Weismantel is a dedicated educator who made me feel genuinely valued as a student and as a person. It’s because of him that I didn’t give up on my dreams and am pursuing musical theatre.

Jackeline Vizcaino: Every day has been a good environment to start a morning in first period CAST III. We are productive, as we work together to produce our Morning Show. But John Lesler is my favorite teacher. His bubbly personality made his class fun and exciting to learn. I’ll miss the sporting events and hanging with friends after.

Jonathan Perez: Auto Shop, because Mr. Richard Alberghini taught me a lot.

Alex Ralli: Mr. Michael Rogers is a former Track coach and would ask me how the team and I are doing. I was able to build a nice relationship with him in the classroom. I will miss seeing my friends and the people that I’ve grown up with for 12 years the most. We’re all going to college and won’t see each other as much. I’ll definitely miss Math class the least since I am not so great at it.

Ottilia Kedl: I’ll definitely miss the teachers and how they taught. They were inclusive and made the classes hands-on and interesting. I won’t miss the constant projects.

Yara Albaridi: Even though I liked Environmental Science a lot, my favorite was Criminal Justice. With so many interesting things that I have learned, I was never bored.

Patrick Du Bois: Philosophy taught us the real way of discussing opinions and thoughts. Dr. Michael O’Connor is a great and smart teacher who has helped me figure out more about myself. Another is Ms. Maureen Cicio. She helped me start baking my own bread and my own food from sourdough. She helped me become a healthier individual.

Alias Ragsdale: Art History with Ms. Cynthia Sauchelli. She is the most caring and informative teacher when it came to art history, which I never knew I had an interest in.

Andrew Mathews: Chemistry with Dr. Sean Lee. I won’t miss all the work in high school, but I’ll miss my friends.

Tamara Korkmaz: Dr. Eric Campenot is a wise man, a great teacher. He always goes in depth into what he’s teaching, and is passionate about the subjects. He’s understanding and positive teacher who tries his best to help students which makes students feel more welcomed into his class.

Jan Erazo: When I was struggling, Mr. Anthony Luzzi was there to help me out in history class. He’s a chill guy. I am not a morning person, so I am not going to miss waking up early. College will let me sleep in a bit more. I’m really going to miss the food here. It’s so good.

14 June 2024 • • June 2024 15

Moamen Abdallah: Auto class was more of a get-together than a class. We all have known each other since junior year and Mr. Richard Alberghini (above left) is a great person to talk with and joke with. He has a strong personality, but he is a very lovable and caring teacher.

Amro Boukattaya: It was definitely between Mr. Richard Alberghini for Auto Tech or Mrs. Erika Alberghini for Human Behavior. Both are truly amazing and I will miss them and their classes. I’m so honored to have experienced classes that have actually helped me and I looked forward to. I will miss the idea of high school, but I won’t miss waking up super early and all of the drama.

Alejandra Gonzales: Sophomore year history with Mr. Gabriel Fahy. I’ll miss the easy tests, but not the homework.

Yousef Saleh: My favorite class was Life Skills, and my favorite teacher was Ms. Amal Zidan.

Thomas Marriello: I will miss the News Team with Mr. Matthew Kells a lot.

Samantha Bernal: Anatomy with Ms. Dawn Carofine. Her personality and who she brings to class always made it fun. She made the topic very enjoyable.

16 June 2024 •

Peyton Yagins: Ms. Cynthia Sauchelli just made the most out of every period. Her class was more about learning the real art of being just a good person.

Peter Bonnet Lopez: My favorite classes were CAST and Career Connections. Ms. Joanna Huster and Mr. William Colligan made their classes entertaining and taught me how to do the things that I could never do on my own. I will miss Ms. Franceil Jaeger, Mr. Colligan, Ms. Huster and Ms. Malvina Giannoulis. I will not miss the bathrooms at school. They do not smell the best.

Renad Taha: Senior year Psychology with Ms. Nora Termanini, a CHS alumna. I will miss the never-ending laughs and giggles we shared in class and the storytimes with a hint of psychological information. I won’t miss when the bell rings, and it is time to leave her class.

Vitalii Datsyk: In junior year, I had American History with Mr. Chris Fackina. As an immigrant, the class exposed me to a lot of major history. He also combined games and study, and I think that’s what all students need if teachers really want to teach them something. I’ll miss homework the least, but I’ll really miss a lot of my soccer team. We were like a family these last four years.

Ashton Morante: Mr. John O’Reilly always came to AP Psych class full of energy and was so passionate about what he was teaching, which I’ll miss the most. I will not miss the amount of quizzes that we had throughout the year.

Dion Gray: Career Connections with Mr. William Colligan (both at left) is my favorite teacher. I am really going to miss Studio Art, as well as the friends and teachers that helped me to become the person that I am today.

Jordan Edie: I had Ms. Mary Geary in freshman and junior years for Math. I will miss her encouraging remarks and her caring personality. I won’t miss the times that I gave her a hard time in Math class.

Isabella Andruch: I feel like I learned a lot in Mr. John Lesler’s class. He was very fun, and he’s also a really great mentor to me. He taught World War I and II so dramatically, which helped me to remember it. I’ll definitely miss seeing all of my high school friends every day, because I • June 2024 17

know a lot of them are going far away like me. I will also miss playing volleyball. The thing that I’ll miss the least are the everyday schedules. It’s almost a routine, but it feels like a loop. It’s draining after four years.

Riya Shah: Academy of Finance was a great class, and my favorite teacher is Ms. Nicole Modak. The thing that I will miss the most is seeing my friends and the senior activities. I definitely won’t miss the workload.

Mahmod Alkhatib: I will miss seeing my friends everyday, but I won’t miss having to wake up early and wear my School ID.

Mariam Gebril: Mr. Michael Rogers has revolutionized the way that I think by simply teaching so differently. I heard a lot of good things about him, but when I first sat in class, I immediately was met with a lesson that I’d never forget. That is school. That’s teaching. I felt like I was learning after years of memorizing. I’ll miss the safe space that he created and I’ll miss soaking in his lessons. If I could have Mr. Rogers as a fairy godfather, I would. He’s truly a mentor.

Mia Galo: I liked Spanish class with Ms. Celeste Bethencourt so much that I took Spanish 4 Honors, because I knew that she is a great teacher. She’s also the nicest teacher that I have ever had, and she deserves recognition for it.

Emeli Peralta Sosa: I appreciated ESL with Ms. Frances Vidal and will miss how it made us learn every day.

Mohammad Simrin: Business with Mr. Augusto Suarez.

Zara Idrees: AP Spanish Language & Culture with Profe Diana Sandoval and AP English Language with Mr. Nathaniel Sanchez were the classes that ignited my love for human communication. Despite my initial struggle, Profe never made me feel less-than in my abilities. She consistently believed in my Latina blood, even when I did not. It undoubtedly increased my fluency to its highest extent, awarding me with the Global Seal of Biliteracy in the Spanish Language. It only underscored my appreciation for the Spanish language, as it provides me with a sense of comfort I wish to carry with me everywhere I go. AP Lang provided me with a creative outlet, allowing me to articulate my opinions. Mr. Sanchez cultivated

Tatyanna Zurawski: Ms. Reem Ibrahem’s Ceramics class allowed me to be as creative as possible with my projects. The greatest thing that I will miss is creating pieces of art on the wheel that was in her classroom. I feel like I will never be able to do something so creative like ceramics ever again in my life. However, the room’s extreme mess of dry clay, paint brushes, dirty paint pallets, and wet paper towels surrounding and in the sink wasn’t great. The worst thing possible is for someone to deal with having to fish out the wet paper towel that was left in the drain. I always cleaned the sink and the stuff inside if I had the time in class so Ms. Ibrahem wouldn’t have to deal with it. I never like touching the wet paper towel, but I thought it was better off to have the area clean rather than have it accumulate over time.

a learning environment of both fun and comfort, while fully preparing us for the AP Exam.

Austin Shepley: Either Physics 2 Honors with Mr. Anthony Mannino or World History in sixth grade with Mr. Mark Bigica. I’ll probably miss my teachers the most. They were always so amazing in answering my questions and helping me along with any problem I was doing. I’ll definitely miss the tests the least, because some of those were a pain to study for.

Reem Ibrahem with Tatyanna Żurawski.
18 June 2024 •

Cutting hair for a good cause isn’t unusual at Christopher Columbus Middle School. But sixth grade CCMS Math teacher Kim Mouzon doesn’t overlook community generosity. “I’m saddened to say that this will be my last Cut-a-thon,” said Mouzon, retiring this month after 22 years at CCMS. “I’m comforted knowing we made a lasting impact for recipients, as well as our generous donors.”

On May 20, Clifton produced 1,000 inches of hair for Children With Hair Loss. The annual Cut-a-thon began June 2006 with pauses for the coronavirus pandemic and in 2023.

Mouzon’s sixth graders encouraged her to organize one final Cut-a-thon.

Sixteen faculty, staff members’ children, and students participated.

Elena Pepitone was a repeat community donor. Michelle Gutierrez Martinez gave 67 inches and Angelina Trejo Gomez donated 77 inches.

CCMS staff member Dallas Fugnitti and stylist Keri Gerlach donated their talent. The HSA’s support provided stuffed animals and certificates for participants and gift cards for stylists. Jersey Mike’s donated sandwiches. • June 2024 19

Support The Club


Camp Clifton is the go-to destination for hundreds of kids each July and August! Each summer, our amazing staff plans fun, enriching experiences for our campers!

$1,200 will provide a scholarship for one child all summer

 $600 will cover the cost of one camper for an entire month

while also preventing academic “summer slide.”

 $150 supports one week of camp for one child

 $75 helps us purchase needed arts & crafts and STEM supplies

 Other



Please charge my credit card #

From arts and crafts, to STEM activities, to field day in the park and fabulous day trips, Camp Clifton provides safe and inspiring experiences

Exp Date Security Code

BGCC is continually fundraising to make this program affordable to working families and also providing summer camp scholarships to those who need financial assistance.

Your support of Camp Clifton is sincerely appreciated.

(We accept American Express, VISA, Discover and Mastercard)

Please make checks payable to: Boys & Girls Club of Clifton.

Questions? Please contact Maureen Cameron, Resource Development Director, at 973.773.0966 x 144.

Donate Now to the Summer Scholarship Campaign

20 June 2024 •
Join Clifton B&G Club Alumni to keep The Club strong. Join Us! Contact Maureen Cameron for more information: or 973-773-0966, ext. 144 Contact Chris Street To Sponsor Our Events 973-773-0966 x155 • Join Us! Alumni & friends • June 2024 21


Getting out of his comfort zone and doing what he loves is a major source of pride for Alexandro “Alex” Ralli. The Mustang recalled what it was like to grow up always shy and feeling like others would judge him. He knew that he wanted that to change at CHS.

“As soon as I entered high school, I wanted to make sure I did the things that I always wanted to do,” said Ralli, 18. “I got involved with school, I joined the Cross Country and Track teams, and I made new friends.”

These changes helped him to get him out of his comfort zone. They’re also why he encourages others to be the best versions of themselves and to face challenges. Building that confidence is what has prepared him for his next stop: Seton Hall University.

Ralli intends to major in Athletic Training, following the last four years of Track and three years of Cross Country at CHS. The accelerated, dual-degree program will enable Ralli to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s in five years.

motivate them to get back to where they were before and then become stronger than ever.”

His plans are to start on high school or college levels and ideally work up to supporting athletes on the professional level in any sport, but preferably soccer. During his senior year, he became involved with the Sports Management Club.

Outside of school, Ralli volunteers at The Boys & Girls Club. He played in the Indoor Soccer Recreation League as a child and said he always enjoyed spending time with his friends and competing there.

“I have always enjoyed and respected the care that the Boys & Girls Club gives to kids,” said Ralli. “I go now to help with soccer sessions. I see kids who are very happy and excited to be with each other, and I really admire that The Club lets kids enjoy their childhood.”

The Club’s support is, by all appearances, a larger commentary on our city’s diversity and open-mindedness. Ralli expressed gratitude for growing up with these Clifton qualities.

“It always upsets me when I see a good player with a lot of potential who is injured all the time or not living up to what could’ve been,” said Ralli. “I want to be that person to help athletes, not only physically but mentally, and

“Clifton is a wonderful city. I’m always going to remember that,” he said. “I would definitely like to live in New York, but I’ll always want to come back and give back to my community.”

22 June 2024 •


Just as Patrick Du Bois and Jordan Edie have left their mark on CHS through their creation of the Christian Student Association, the graduating seniors look to leaders for inspiration. Du Bois finds it in Peter the Apostle, one of the first leaders of the early Christian Church, who was known to be gentle but firm and capable of great loyalty and love.

“He always calmed everything down and was a spark of light in the darkness,” said Du Bois, 17. “I try to be like him. Sometimes he can get a little worried over people, but he is a very good leader who is always real and authentic with people. He has this drive to get better,” Du Bois continued. “And he is a loyal follower to Jesus.”

Like Du Bois, Edie has his drive and motivations. The senior strove from ninth grade until early in senior year to “push the reinstitutionalization of a Christian or Bible-atmosphere club in CHS.”

He described Du Bois as the “missing puzzle-piece” to seeing his vision actualized. He added the final pieces came together when Du Bois suggested that they reach out to science teacher Leonard Contarino to serve as their advisor.

“Mr. Contarino, Pat, and I came together to increase the possibility of our shared vision being fulfilled, and we eventually had our club proposal accepted and approved by the Board,” said Edie, 18. “[We] hosted the … very first meeting on Nov. 8.”

Trust in God

Sharing blessings and inspiring one another are how the group of CSA students engage with one another each week.

The teens can be found in Room N306 on Thursdays at 2:05 pm. There, they exchange verses of The Bible for fur-

ther reflection, converse with their peers, and play games in order to bond.

Du Bois, who was choosing between attending Felician University and St. Thomas Aquinas College this fall, was born into Christianity. He described himself as less faithful when he was younger, but he opened The Bible and began “reflecting on myself when I was going into high school.”

He’s an active member of St. Philip the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, at 797 Valley Rd.

“If when I go to college they don’t have an association and I can make one again,” said Du Bois, “I would like to do it with the experience that I have now and the lessons that I learned.”

Du Bois’ career goal is starting a successful business that he loves. Outside of school, he has volunteered and helped the Power of One serve their Thanksgiving feast. He also helps put up the American flags for the Fourth of July and has helped Albion Park hold its Family Camp-Out.

As for the CSA, he hopes the peers that they’ve trained to lead and get more involved keep it active. One of the ways that he’d like to see that is through a potential collaboration with other school associations.

“I hope that we can collaborate with the Muslim Student Association to combine similarities in our fasting [during Lent] and Ramadan,” said Du Bois. “They know so much about it that it can help us become better at giving up and sacrificing for God.”

Du Bois also had a piece of guidance that he would give his younger self. “God wouldn’t give you a challenge that you can’t handle,” said Du Bois. “Don’t think anything is impossible. Always trust in God and live in the present.”

24 June 2024 •

Highest Potential

Edie’s religious journey is a distinct one, largely defined by self-reflection and a desire to “be a truth-seeker” in all aspects of his life.

His life’s purpose shifted during the Summer of 2020. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Edie decided that he sought to become a Christian and strove to “trust in Jesus Christ to get to Heaven.”

“Until that point in 2020, I was involved in many gangs and on various wrong paths that I was bred to be,” said Edie. “Ever since I got saved from Hell through believing in Jesus, I’ve always wanted to spread how to Biblically get to Heaven through others.”

A club that could serve as a “safe haven” for students was born. While Edie continued trying to create the club, he formed a group chat and started incorporating the key term “truth-seeker.”

Until he met CHS’ club requirements — including getting 15-plus student signatures and finding a faculty advisor — the independent GroupMe allowed for Bible studies done over the phone, an early iteration of the current CSA. “A lot of people ended up coming to CSA and becoming members, which was a great blessing,” said Edie.

Psalms 107 of the Book of Psalms holds great meaning to Edie, because it was written in the Old Testament and, therefore, precedes the arrival of Jesus Christ.

“The Bible supports that once we are saved, we’re always saved,” said Edie. “It shows us … we can call onto God and trust in Him to always be there for us … when we’re going through tough times. The passage’s first verse [in the King James Version] is: ‘O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.’”

Edie is a member of the Peoples Baptist Church, 51 Hepburn Rd., on the northeast corner of Route 3 and the Garden State Parkway. He’ll attend Hyles-Anderson College this September, where he will explore possible majors like Pastoral Theology.

His career goals include starting his own trade business and becoming a full-time pastor. While in college, he has every intention of nurturing his faith as he more fully enters adulthood.

“Although there are various Independent Fundamental Baptist colleges out there,” said Edie, “I specifically chose HAC because of its overall vision, ministries, atmosphere, and reputation for … directing Christian young men and women toward their highest potential futures.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What services are available with Ford Mobile Service?

What services are available with Ford Mobile Service?

Routine maintenance services ranging from oil and filter change to brake services and batteries to tire rotation and wiper replacement. We also offer service for fluids and filters,



Routine maintenance services ranging from oil and filter change to brake services and batteries to tire rotation and wiper replacement. We also offer service for fluids and filters, lamps and bulbs, diagnostic scanning, software updates and accessories, as well as PSA and recall. Please contact us for details as services may vary.

Are there location requirements to utilize Ford Mobile Service?


Because location conditions can vary by seasonality and dealer mileage requirements, please contact us for details.


Are mechanics screened and certified?

Yes, Ford Mobile Service technicians are Ford factory-trained and certified.


Ford Mobile Service is offered by participating dealers and may be limited based on availability, distance, or other dealerspecified criteria. Does not include parts or repair charges. FordPass App, compatible with select smartphone platforms, is available via a download. Message and data rates may apply. Visit a participating dealer for details.

Steven Roman - Service Director

779-7000 • Ext. 1240

Christopher Ciresi
General 973 779-7000
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• Ext. 1240 Christopher Ciresi - General Manager 973 779-7000 • Ext. 1182
Steven Roman - Service Director
973 779-7000
there location requirements to utilize Ford Mobile Service?
lamps and bulbs, diagnostic scan-
and accessories,
well as PSA and recall. Please contact
may vary. Are
location conditions can vary by seasonality and dealer mileage requirements,
us for details.
please contact
mechanics screened and certified? Yes, Ford Mobile Service technicians are Ford factory-trained and certified.
limited based on availability, distance,
other dealer-
include parts
repair charges.
App, compatible with select smartphone platforms, is available via
download. Message
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details. • June 2024 27
Mobile Service is offered by participating dealers and may be
Does not
rates may

Greatest Influence

Who or what event, class, or instance has most influenced your life / future decisions?

Tamara Korkmaz: Intro into Health Professions, which is taught by Dr. Eric Campenot, exposed me to and influenced my future decisions. We went over so many different jobs in the medical and health fields, which inspired me as to what I want to be in the future.

Emeli Peralta Sosa: The ESL class, because I spoke another language.

Alias Ragsdale: Mr. Christopher Henry is someone that I will never forget. Mr. Henry teaches AP US History. His what-seems-to-be limitless knowledge never fails to amaze me, and his teachings have caused me to critically think. Through this thinking, I’ve been able to form beliefs myself and grow as a person and student. Mr. Henry is part of the reason why I decided to run for the Board of Education.

Eric Rodriguez: Mr. Richard Alberghini, with his infinite patience for us and in trying to get us to learn about cars.

Moamen Abdallah: Mr. John Lesler. He teaches 11th grade History and is probably my favorite teacher in CHS. He’s a student-favorite and it was because of him and his influence that I chose to go to community college then transfer over to a university. Thank you, Mr. Lesler.

Thomas Marriello: Being moved out of Clifton Schools in 2016.

William Mansfield: Auto class has put me on a path that means I now know what I am doing in life.

Ryan McCornac: I learned a lot about cars in Mr. Richard Alberghini’s class.

Vitalii Datsyk: It has to be my soccer coach, Mr. Stan Lembryk. He gave me confidence in me being someone. Also Mr. Matthew Stuart, who was my freshman year ESL teacher. Mr. Stuart gave me a lot of knowledge in being more open with people and always trying to communicate with people if I need something.

Andrew Mathews: Biology, because it made me pick what I was going to make my major for college.

Eleny Gervacio: My parents, especially my mom, have inspired me to keep going. Being part of the band has also made me a better person and really changed who I am. I was not outgoing in the past, but I became more openminded and started talking to a lot of people. I met some new friends who mean a lot to me nowadays.

Samantha Bernal: My twin sister, Daniella, and I have been together since day one. It is as if she’s my other half and is always close by. She has been there from when I was making some of my most important life choices to helping me decide what I want to eat for dinner.

Renad Taha: My father, Fadi Taha, has influenced my life and future decisions. The hardships that he had to deal with as a young kid, which affected his childhood and were never fixed in his adulthood, inspired me to focus on my life.

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Lily Kearney: Praanjal Gajera, a student at PCTVS, was my ride-or-die in middle school. Even though our paths have diverged and we have gone to different high schools, we meet up every once in a while and catch up on each others’ lives while we plan our futures. She has supported me through both my best and my worst, and I owe much of who I am today to our relationship. She is truly a one-ofa-kind person. I have never met a more positive influence.

Patrick Du Bois: The class that really makes me think on a deeper level is Philosophy. I have been better at figuring out who I am and it makes me question my opinions and how I can be more real and authentic to not only people but also myself.

Yousef Saleh: Science teacher Ms. Amal Zidan has influenced me a lot in the past two years of high school.

30 June 2024 •
Praanjal Gajera at left with Lily Kearney in fifth grade and today.

Dion Gray: Career Connections with Mr. William Colligan. He helped me to figure out the career goals and personal goals that I would like to achieve in the future.

Chloe Hernandez: The performing arts program, more specifically the MadCaps choir and the Drama department, taught me so much. I learned patience, determination, and the value of finishing what you start. Under the guidance of Mr. Leonid Weismantel and Ms. Lisa Poggi, I learned firsthand how important it is to keep getting up and never losing your fight and grit, no matter how many times you are knocked down. The reward for all of your hard work and your determination through tough times will always be worth the struggle.

Peyton Yagins: Mr. Richard Alberghini made me understand that there are consequences for my actions and taught me a lot through the two years that I’ve been with him.

Jordan Edie: Every Christian Student Association meeting provided me with needed training in plenteous roles that are essential for Pastoring. Mr. Richard Alberghini’s Power Mechanics class gave me a proper education on automotive trades, which expanded my scarce knowledge of trades that I can now potentially pursue on the side in the near future. Every instance where I shared with someone

the message that saved me gave me reassurance on why I chose the path that I am on now by God’s grace, and not the path I used to be on.

Yara Albaridi: Mr. Nicholas Giordano. He was my Criminal Justice teacher and would help the class learn about law and interesting crimes. Therefore, I took an interest in law. Amro Boukattaya: When I first stepped into Auto class I knew almost nothing about cars, engines, or even the tools. It all seemed so complicated and scary. Yet, as I learned, I started to fall in love with the science behind just an engine and how it works. Today, I love mechanics and it has given me much excitement. I look forward to school almost every day.

Jackeline Vizcaino: Definitely being a student-athlete has had a big effect on me these past years, because being able to manage your time between school, sports, and schoolwork while trying to be the best version of yourself on and off the field has been a long road. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes smoother and less stressful.

Mariam Gebril: Mr. Michael Rogers and Mr. Michael O’Connor’s Senior Seminar. They opened up my eyes and challenged my views every morning at 7 am. It was difficult to talk about philosophy, history, psychology, • June 2024 31

and other current issues, but they revolutionized my way of thought and my ideas about education as an entire institution. They’re doing what every school should emulate. Mr. John O’Reilly’s AP Psych and Government classes — and how excellent Mr. O’Reilly taught and how entertaining, understanding, and kind he was while he taught — are the reasons I chose CHS over PCTI. He’s truly one-of-a-kind and both courses have opened my mind in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. I’m now planning to major in Psychology in college.

Marcello Murphy: Taking Auto Tech and being able to open up new career possibilities that I never thought I wanted to do is amazing. Going on the BMW Field trip was one of the best things that I’ve done this year.

Peter Bonnet Lopez: Career Connections class with Mr. William Colligan was the most helpful. It let me take trips to schools and see what they were like and helped me see what is important to me personally and in my career.

Mahmod Alkhatib: Life Skills taught me skills, which I wouldn’t have even thought of needing.

Alex Ralli: US History Honors II in my junior year. Before junior year, whenever in class, I would not participate a lot. I would keep my thoughts to myself. I think that junior year and taking that class, I was able to answer a lot of questions critically and think about what we were discussing. I really like history and find it interesting how things have influenced our world and influence us today. It was really great taking that class with Mr. Michael Rogers.

Ashton Morante: My AP Psych class has really taught me what psychology is about and it has helped me choose my career path.

Tatyanna Zurawski: Mr. Kevin Ashworth, my English teacher from senior year, was always able to give me a straight answer to whatever problem or question that I had. His teaching, mixed with real life situations and scenarios, always made you wonder the deeper meaning of many things in life. He was always so helpful when I was struggling with stuff in my academic and personal life, and he always found a way to make me feel better.

Jan Erazo: Ms. Cherylyn Costello, Mr. Francis Zotto, Mr. Anthony Luzzi, Mrs. Wanda Lanza, and Mr. William Colligan have all had huge impacts on my life. They really helped me to see how much potential I have and what steps I can take when I graduate.

Zara Idrees with parents Mohammed and Nuvia, brother Isaac, and sister Yara.

Zara Idrees: My mother and father, Nuvia and Mohammed, have consistently made me believe that I can be whomever I want and pursue whatever I want. I take inspiration from their stories. I only hope I am half the person that they are. During times of adversity, they serve as a beacon of light and hope, as they are a direct result of just how powerful ambition, grit, and dedication can be. My parents have always underscored the nobility of a profession in which you are able to help people. I strive to be the best reflection of them as possible. My little sister, Yara, also serves as my built-in best friend. She reminds me there is always someone looking up to me despite how small I may feel in the outside world.

Mia Galo: Sports Management taught me how to have trust in the teams and how family is something that you create with the people around you. Being on the Board for the National Honors Society taught me how to be a leader and a role model. As Senior Class Vice President I learned how to make decisions with a group of people from all different backgrounds. Being so involved in school made me realize that I love school and being able to influence people around me. Even if sometimes I get overwhelmed, I will always take on extra things. I’m an avid supporter and encourager of school spirit and how to make school fun. That is why I want to be an elementary school teacher. I truly love kids, which I realized when I participated in Read Across America and when we had the eight graders shadow us.

32 June 2024 • • June 2024 33

FORGING Lasting Friendships

Isabel Cohn and Eleny Gervacio’s friendship was forged in camaraderie.

The pair met freshman year through the Marching Band as the few girls playing a brass instrument. Cohn played the French horn and became quartermaster, while Gervacio played the mellophone.

“She’s one of my closest friends,” said Gervacio, 17. “I see her work hard and it motivates me to work harder, because she is really good at doing what she does.”

Cohn will attend Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania or Rutgers – New Brunswick this fall to study biochemistry with a career goal of becoming a trauma surgeon.

“I went to a bunch of science camps when I was younger,” said Cohn, 18. Before junior year, she attended a nineday, pre-college program at American University. “That’s when I said, ‘This is what I’m going to do.’”

The girls’ paths may still cross later this year. Gervacio will study Business at Rutgers – New Brunswick. She enjoys math and is considering an accounting career for the IRS.

Both girls appreciate their hometown. Growing up in Clifton for Gervacio was a lesson in kindness.

“Everyone who I’ve met … [has] made me a better per-

son in general,” she said. “So I’ve always wanted to be a nice person whenever I meet someone new.”

Cohn expressed a similar sentiment, saying that she has no intention of severing hometown ties.

“My parents plan on staying here forever,” said Cohn, “so I definitely see myself connected to Clifton, helping them out wherever I can, and obviously visiting the band.”

34 June 2024 • • June 2024 35

Top Mustangs

The Top 10 Mustangs of 2024 earned their rankings academically. But there’s more to the remarkable group. They have big plans for the future and showcased their perseverance during a less-than-typical start to high school. We look forward to hearing about these Mustangs’ achievements for years to come.

Aashi Rana’s belief in the power of hope has undoubtedly guided her toward her recognition as the CHS Class of 2024 valedictorian.

Rana will attend Rutgers Honors College this fall.

“I reached that decision from the research opportunities that Rutgers has to offer,” said Rana, 17. “In addition, I received the Dean’s Promise Scholarship from the college. I will major in Genetics or Cell Biology and Neuroscience. I hope to one day become a physician.”

Mr. Vincent Vitiello’s AP Bi ology class was Rana’s favorite class at CHS. She took the class in her sophomore year and it “has influenced me to pursue bi ology in college.”

“I will miss the fun labs that we had, such as making root beer to study fermentation,” she said.

Other fun memories have involved playing the game “Ma fia” in her English class to prepare for their reading of George Orwell’s novel, 1984. It was additionally her eighth grade science class at CCMS with Ms. Urszula Rebisz that inspired her to pursue a future in STEM.

“It was from her class that I real ized I had a passion for science and a potential to perform well in my studies,” said Rana. “She inspired me to work hard and find joy in learning.”

Rana is involved outside of the classroom as well. She volunteered at the Clifton Public Li

brary as a tutor for elementary school children throughout her junior year. She spent her senior year volunteering at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic and has volunteered for Key Club at the Clifton Recreation Center.

Her advice to the rising seniors is to “always keep hope” in order to “gain the power to create our own future.” She’s seen how it worked in her own life.

“Becoming the valedictorian of our graduating class [was my greatest achievement],” said Rana. “I feel very honored to receive this title, as it shows my hard work and my dedication to learning throughout the years.”

Salutatorian Lillian Eewshah is full of gratitude for the role that her mother has in her life.

“My mother has been the most influential person in my life,” said Eewshah, 17. “She has always been strong and there for me. I am who I am today, all thanks to her.”

The graduating senior considers her rank as second in her class as her greatest achievement over the past 12 years. Eewshah credited working hard throughout her high school career.

“[I] am honored to see how my hard work paid off,” she added.

Eewshah plans to major in Biology while attending Seton Hall University this fall. She will study as a student in the accelerated BS/MD program.

“Medicine has always been my passion,” explained Eewshah, “and I am happy to continue my education

36 June 2024 •
#1 Aashi Rana and below #2 Lillian Eewshah.
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and my goal of being a physician.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, her fa vorite class in high school was AP Biology. Her love of science grew in the class and she will miss performing labs with her friends — even if she won’t miss smelling the dissec tions.

One of her peers that she named as an unsung hero for the Class of 2024 is Sawyer Placek.

“She is nice, kind, and welcoming,” Eew shah praised. “You can always count on her when you need her.”

Top Mustangs

#3 Priscilla George and at right #4 Paraskevi Gerollari.

Inside and outside of the Colfax Avenue halls, Eewshah got involved with her community. She volunteered with the CHS Key Club and participated in events that were run by Power of One and Clifton Recreation.

But it’s the friendships that Eewshah developed that truly made senior year memorable for her. She explained that the highlight of her final year was getting to experience it with “my childhood friends I have known since elementary school.”

Her advice to the Class of 2025 is simple.

“High school goes by fast,” said Eewshah. “Enjoy every moment, and do not take it for granted.”

Presenting her authentic self on her college application was important to Priscilla George. The third in her class intends to bring that authenticity with her this fall to Harvard. George, 18, is the first to admit that attending Harvard seemed like “an impossible dream.”

“I’m extremely thankful that God opened this door for me,” she continued. “I’m hoping to use Harvard’s academic caliber, its expansive resources, and classmates who’ll definitely all be smarter than me to learn and grow and become a researcher in the field of microbiology.”

A believer that “everything happens for a reason”, George encouraged the rising seniors not to spend too much of their senior year worrying. She also hopes they do what they want and like.

Witnessing her classmates’ journeys is a senior year highlight for her. What started as meeting in front of com-

puter screens through Google Meets during the coronavirus pandemic to running clubs and study groups has left her in awe.

“I got to see my peers evolve into their own unique selves, poised to now go out and make the world better in their own special ways,” said George.

George has already begun making her own mark on the world. She tutored for all four years of high school through Key Club and later through Teen Center. She recalled how she struggled in school when she was younger and it gave her an understanding of the need for personalized help.

“Not only was I able to teach, I was taught as well,” she said. “Apparently, I’ve been pronouncing giganotosaurus wrong my whole life.”

George also enjoyed learning in AP Environmental Science with Ms. Regina Borriello and AP Spanish with Señora Norma Stagg. She admitted that she cannot think of anything from these classes that she won’t miss — from the teachers and classmates to the discussions and card games.

“Some of my fondest and happiest memories from the entirety of my life were formed in these two classes.”

Healing and serving others is central to Paraskevi Gerollari’s life decisions. Ranked fourth in her class, her next stop is Princeton University.

The graduating senior will major in Chemistry and minor in Neuroscience.

“Being able to pursue my lifelong aspiration is a gift,” said Gerollari, 17.

Gerollari’s career goal is becoming a physician

38 June 2024 • • June 2024 39

Top Mustangs

while striving to “provide exceptional care to my pa tients.” She further hopes to become a leader in her field and have a lasting effect on people.

It’s her mother, Klodiana, who has most influ enced Gerollari’s life and decisions.

“Leaving her family in Greece when me and my sister were young, she dedicated her life to providing me with the utmost opportunities America could offer,” said Gerollari. “Her hard work, resil ience, and kindness forever guide me throughout my life, and my mom always cheers for me in my endeav ors.”

Gerollari worked in a dental office and volunteered through Key Club in 10th grade. During high school, she has continuously volunteered at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. She’s helped her church raise money for charitable causes, organize traditional events, and pack up to 7,000 meals with fellow parishioners to “alleviate child hunger throughout the world.”

High school was also a time when she could express herself through her interests. Gerollari was also involved in Orchestra and on the Girls Varsity Volleyball team.

“My involvement with my church has strengthened my relationship with my faith and allowed me to make impactful contributions to the community,” she said. “Both my school and church have heavily influenced my life.”

AP Biology stands out as her favorite class, along with her favorite teacher Ms. Natalie Babiak. Gerollari appreciated the “interactive and intriguing labs” during AP Biology and enjoyed joining the welcoming environment Babiak brought to Orchestra rehearsals.

Gerollari’s senior year highlight is having teachers who gave her a strong foundation for

“Their guidance and support inspire me to always strive for excellence in all aspects of my education,” she said.

Ranked fifth in her class, Lily Kearney knows the key to a happy and successful life is keeping her loved ones close.

One of those is also Kearney’s unsung hero.

“Mary Nakrosis, who has been by my side since we were two years old … has always lent me an ear through rough times and has helped me sort through many personal issues,” she said. “They are a very creative person and plan to pursue Art Therapy in college … to help others. I owe a lot to them and care for them deeply.”

Kearney, 17, will study the alto saxophone classically as a Music Performance major at MSU. She’ll minor in the Japanese language, already achieving the NJ Seal of Biliteracy in Japanese through self-studying. Her dream is to play professionally in pits and orchestras on multiple woodwind instruments.

Kearney has volunteered since middle school with the Theater League of Clifton. She plays alto saxophone and oboe with the Clifton Community Band. Her hope is that the Class of 2025 will pay kindness forward.

“You never know what someone is going through at any given time,” she said, “and the kindness you offer may help lighten the load.”

40 June 2024 •
Lily Kearney • June 2024 41

Sixth-in-her-class Julia Galik cherished every moment of senior year and hopes rising seniors will do the same as they work toward their diploma.

The highlight of her last year was Senior Seminar with Mr. Michael Rogers and Dr. Michael O’Connor.

“They truly got me to think and contem plate some of life’s most difficult subjects and questions,” said Galik, 18. “Critical thought is a crucial skill needed for our survival, and their class allowed me the ability to express it in a real and genuine way.”

Top Mustangs

#6 Julia Galik and at right #7 Brian Weglinski.

Galik hopes to continue her learning at Rutgers – New Brunswick this September. She’ll major in English, with the career goal of writing and illustrating children’s books. She hopes to “help the next generation of readers find a passion in literature.”

“I always wanted to go to a big school and considering Rutgers has the most value to me, both educationally and financially, it was a no-brainer,” she explained.

English IV Honors teacher Ms. Jessica Ondeck reignited Galik’s passion for English. Galik credited the stillrelevant, centuries-old classics combined with Ondeck’s straight-forward lessons as helping her understand what she was learning “past what was just written on a page.”

Another memorable teacher — and yearbook mentor — was Ms. Beth Slanina. She taught Galik graphic design and the senior considers her as the one who’s most influenced her future decisions.

“She is one of the only teachers who has seen my potential and truly believed in my abilities to do my best, pushing me to new heights in big projects, such as the yearbook,” said Galik. “I am forever grateful for her lessons, words of wisdom, and respect for me as a student, but more importantly, as a person.”

Like many of her peers, Galik will miss the friendships that she’s formed in Clifton.

“My friends have provided me with a safe space for all

the time I’ve known them, whether it be as early as kindergarten to as recent as high school,” she said. “I love you all.”

Brian Weglinski’s recognition as the seventh in his class is already impressive. The other source of pride for the Mustang is being named as the Academic Decathlon team MVP at the State Competition earlier this year.

Life after CHS for Weglinski involves attending Stevens Institute of Technology as a Pinnacle Scholar and majoring in Chemical Biology. The senior made his decision based on the “great research and internship opportunities” and the proximity to his friends. His future goals are to earn a PhD and pursue research in cancer immunotherapy or pharmaceutical drug discovery.

“AP Biology and AP Chemistry have had the greatest impact on my life plans,” said Weglinski, 17. “I’d been casually interested in both before enrolling, but the material and teachers really solidified in me that biochemistry was what I wanted to do with my life.”

“Mr. Vincent Vitiello and Dr. Lori McCoy are [both] passionate about their fields,” he continued, “and I learned a lot about research through conversations with Dr. McCoy.”

Developing lasting relationships with his teachers has meant a lot to Weglinski. He often went back to visit them and have conversations. Some of the chats included personal discussions with Mr. Christopher Henry or “complaining about the Devils with Mr. David Onacilla.”

He acknowledged that Henry’s APUSH is a definite favorite class during high school.

“Mr. Henry is passionate about history and knows seemingly everything about it, and he always inserts fun facts and extra information to make the class more fun,” said Weglinski. “He’s always available to talk after school, and he was really helpful in the college decision process.”

Weglinski worked for a few summers at a dentist’s office and volunteered with the Key Club. He did events

42 June 2024 •
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Top Mustangs

primarily involving elementary schoolers like Trunk or Treat and other school events.

“I like kids,” he explained, “so I liked these events the most.”

His advice to the Class of 2025 is: “Find some thing you enjoy and stick with it. Spend your life doing what you like doing.”

Finding Jesus has made all the difference in Deborah Amoh’s life. The eighth ranked student in the graduating class noted how her faith has acted as the catalyst for her other achievements.

“Jesus is the reason I am in this magazine right now,” said Amoh, 17. “He is the reason I won the State Sectional in High Jump. He is the reason I excel in school, and He is the rea son I excel in my extracurricular activities.”

“He is the reason for all of my achieve ments,” she added, “because ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’”

Amoh additionally expressed gratitude for her family — which includes her parents, James and Gifty, and her four sisters, Patience, Janice, Evelyn, and Hilary. Amoh explained how being the youngest of the five girls is helpful, because her sisters have al ready experienced stages of life.

“I know that they always want the best for me, so I trust their input,” she said.

Amoh’s family who live in Ghana also encourage and motivate her to make the best of all her opportunities in the United States. This September, she will matriculate at Yale University and will like ly major in Ethics, Politics, and Economics.

She enjoyed taking AP Government and Politics this year and hopes to make a mark on her community. She has not pinpointed the exact capacity of government, but she is certain that God’s guidance will help her to determine it.

benefited from Amoh’s service. She spent her four years of high school as an active member of Key Club and one year as the club’s president. The club’s involvement in the city saw them help at Clifton Public Schools events, as well as city events like Candy Land, Relay for Life, P.R.A.I.S.E.

“I also play the piano at my church in Newark on Sundays,” said Amoh. “It is something I look forward to and enjoy doing every week.”

Through worldwide adversity emerged Luz PerezAquino as the ninth in her graduating class.

“I think the [coronavirus pandemic] lockdown in 2020 has most influenced my life, as it gave me a lot of time to think about myself and what kind of person I want to be,” said Perez-Aquino, 17. “That introspection has led me to be the brightest version of myself today.”

The Clifton community has already

When we heard from her in April, she was deciding between pursuing her higher education at Cornell or Rutgers in September. She was already accepted into Rutgers’ Honors College and noted how it would open “the doors to many resources.” While her dream career is undecided, she is fairly certain that it will involve psychology.

Perez-Aquino’s favorite class while in high school was Precalculus with Mrs. Lucyna Mierzwa. What she will miss most from the class is her teacher’s “charming and sometimes threatening emails.” But she assured us that she will miss memorizing the Unit Circle the least.

The stand-out senior year moment for Perez-Aquino was developing friendships with different types of new individuals. Joining several new clubs helped facilitate these new friendships. It’s also what contributed to her feeling “more at ease and sociable.”

“I love them all severely,” she said of her friends.

44 June 2024 •
#8 Deborah Amohand and #9 Luz Perez-Aquino. • June 2024 45

Top Mustangs

One friend that she mentioned by name is her choice for the Class of 2024’s unsung hero: Amira Mustafa.

“She founded the Kindness in Plants (KIP) club, through which she has been placing recy cling bags in classrooms all over the school and personally taking them to City Hall for re cycling,” said Perez-Aquino. “I’m proud to call such an admirable — and fashionable — leader one of my best friends.”

Perez-Aquino, herself, was involved in another Mustang achievement: winning first place with the Mustang Band at the Krewe of Rex Parade in New Orleans.

“The whole experience of be ing in Louisiana during Mardi Gras is something I’ll cherish forever.”

Rounding out the Class of 2024’s Top 10 students is future FBI profiler Skylar Placek. The senior will join the Class of 2028 at the University of Illi nois at Urbana-Champaign.

“They have an amazing psychology program, which is the major that I have chosen,” said Placek, 17. “I know I will thrive there.”

Placek is proud of how she kept up her GPA and credited herself for “working hard, even when times were hard.” The class that has most influenced her life and opened her eyes to the world is Senior Seminar.

“It has made me … curious about everything,” said Placek.

It’s a good quality in someone who hopes to work for the FBI. In the meantime, Placek enjoys giving back. She volunteered for one year at a soup kitchen, she fostered cats, and she’s a peer-tutor. The highlight of her senior year was making many new friends.

“[They’ve] made my life nothing but better,” she said.

Jennifer Manzano is someone who she describes as being “always so supportive of everyone” and “working hard and doing her best.” That’s her encouragement for the rising seniors. “Keep working hard and follow your dreams,” she said. “Wherever they take you.”

46 June 2024 • • June 2024 47

Learning on the Job


Where did you work and/or volunteer?

Working at two local restaurant staples has taught Marcelo Rodriguez about himself and Clifton. Rodriguez has worked as a server at The Allwood Diner since April 2022. He worked prior to that at Mario’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Athenia.

“It was a huge transition, because at Mario’s, it was a different kind of busy,” said Rodriguez, 18. “But at the diner, my first day of training was on a Sunday. It was crazy with everyone running around and people trying to help me.”

The graduating senior found his footing. He works three times per week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3-10 pm, and Sundays, 2-8 pm. He said his job has improved his social skills.

“I was a really shy kid. I had to open myself up [and learn] how to talk to people,” said Rodriguez. “How to help them in a way that gets you good feedback from your service.”

One stand-out memory is a particularly generous customer who paid $50 for her meal.

“She was so kind and such a nice person. She was only there for soup … and wanted water with lemon,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how generous people could be around this area.”

Tatyanna Zurawski: I volunteer at the Ukrainian American Youth Association in Passaic, helping teach the Cymenyata (kids between the ages 3-5) since the Fall of 2021.

Mohammad Simrin: I helped some students who were new here and showed them everything.

Renad Taha: I started my first job at 16 in Bloomfield at a daycare for three months. I currently work part-time at a doctor’s office in Paterson. I have over 160 volunteer hours, because I volunteered at the doctor’s office before earning the job position and giving out gifts to others for Color Me Smile and The Pulsera Project for school.

Rodriguez will attend Rowan University this fall for Civil and Environmental Engineering. He mentioned how his boss, George, is even putting out feelers with his contacts for a possible diner job for Rodriguez in Philadelphia.

The eventual plan is to work for the state, building roads and dams.

“I was born and raised in Peru and was eight when I moved to the U.S.,” said Rodriguez. “One of my uncles helped build a university and his own house. I saw these things … and it inspired me.”

Jackeline Vizcaino: Since sophomore year, I have worked at the Clifton Little School.

Alias Ragsdale: I volunteered during high school and fulfilled my duties as the 2023 Youth of the Year with the Boys and Girls Club of Clifton. I learned how important it is to be involved in your community.

Riya Shah: I volunteer at the AUM Dance Company, which allows me to pass down what I have learned. I also volunteer at PCTVS with Campus Tours and Student Orientation. Both of these activities allow me to give people insight into what life at PCTVS looks like.

CHS senior Marcelo Rodriguez and PCTI senior Angie Vega at The Allwood.
48 June 2024 • • June 2024 49

Vitalii Datsyk: As wait-staff at The Venetian in Garfield since junior year.

Mariam Gebril: I’ve interned at City Green since 10th grade. I was a Growing Strong intern in the summer and City Sprouts intern in the fall and spring. I taught children about selfsustainability and food justice through workshops, community gardening, and arts and crafts stations. I was with BLM Paterson the summer of my 9th grade year. I assisted in pioneering the first free-literacy based youth camp in Paterson, where I worked as a counselor and educator.

Dion Gray: I was able to participate as an office worker during the school day. It allowed me to meet new people, fine-tune my social skills, and have some time to work with staff on my future plans.

Efe Gunes: I’ve been working at a pizzeria for three years.

Andrew Mathews: I volunteered during the COVID-19 pandemic by handing out food with the Power of One to those who needed it.

Peyton Yagins: I partially worked during my senior year as a volunteer at Absolutely Fish, at 1080 US-46.

Lizbeth Barranco: As a Hispanic girl, I was aware of the challenges that Hispanics face to access dental care. What I’ve learned from being an assistant at Family Dentistry with Dr. Homeira Aminyar as part of the Co-Op program is that you should keep your dreams since you never know what the future holds. I will attend Bergen Community College in September. I want to help provide dental care for everyone, make people feel better, and boost their confidence.

Jan Erazo: I am going to work with Mr. William Colligan and the Passaic County Workforce this summer. I have applied for a few jobs and interviewed for one, but I am still trying. Mr. Colligan will teach me some important skills, let me build my résumé, and I’ll get some money, too.

Ryan McCornac: I volunteered in the AV Club.

Nathaniel Fisbeck: I volunteered coaching soccer for a few months.

Austin Shepley: Most of my volunteer work came through my Boy Scout Troop 65 in Cedar Grove, where it was a mix of Eagle Scout service projects across Cedar Grove and Clifton. I have been with the troop since seventh or eighth grade.

Chloe Hernandez: Getting to participate in Heroes & Cool Kids at CHS has been so rewarding. Despite only being able to participate this year, I’ve really enjoyed getting to revisit my alma mater and tell middle schoolers things I wish I heard more often when I was their age. I can only hope I’ve made some kind of difference in their lives. Outside of Clifton, I worked at Hollister in Willowbrook Mall and at the Bach 2 Rock music school in River Edge.

Amro Boukattaya: No, but I plan on volunteering in animal shelters.

Jordan Edie: I volunteered as a member of my church, Peoples Baptist Church (aside Route 3), where I’ve been a member and part of our youth and bus ministries since late 2020. I also currently work for The Boys & Girls Club. Subsequently, I got a job as high school basketball trainer and a second grade counselor. My previous job experience was dish and pot-washing and food prep at Sonny’s & Tony’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant in Mahwah from 2021 to 2022.

Eleny Gervacio: Most of my volunteer hours came from the band since I was part of Student Staff. We had to really commit to it. I have been on the staff since the second half of freshman year, which is when Mr. Bryan Stepneski chose us to help him. It has helped me to grow and showed me how to become a leader.

Mia Galo: I worked at Carvel two days per week and volunteered the rest of the week in Sports Management.

Peter Bonnet Lopez: I worked last summer with Mr. William Colligan and the Summer Workforce, and I am going to do it again this year. We helped design games on playgrounds for students at elementary schools, renovate the new kitchen, and paint offices at the high school.

Zara Idrees: I volunteered at Clifton Safety Town and worked at Steve & Kate’s Summer Camp of Montclair for three years.

50 June 2024 • • June 2024 51

A SALESIAN Journey Continues

A Catholic education has been Giulia Russo’s selected path since grade school. As a graduate of Mary Help of Christians Academy in North Haledon she will continue that journey at DeSales University in Pennsylvania.

Both Mary Help and DeSales follow the Salesian tradition, which embrace the charism of reason, religion and loving kindness as inspired by St. John Bosco and St. Mary Mazzarello.

“I knew Mary Help would be able to fulfill great academics and continue my faith life all in one place,” she said. “The minute I walked onto the campus, I knew that it was the place for me. It’s one of the best decisions my family and I have made to this day.”

Russo feels similarly about her decision to attend DeSales as her enthusiasm for the next five years extends to her religious activity. She was involved in Mary Help’s Salesian Leadership Retreats and hopes to join DeSales’ Campus Ministry.

Seeing what DeSales offers in its Physicians Assistant 3+2 program made the choice even clearer. The accelerated program will let her complete studies in five years. While she hopes to practice medicine, she has not settled on a specific area but Russo has considered working as a physician’s assistant in the orthopedics field.

As a Blue Jay at Mary Help, she played basketball and softball. “I love sports, and I was in the orthopedics office a lot,” she laughed. “I dislocated my shoulder two years ago and had surgery for it, so I appreciate orthopedists.”

Looking beyond that — she hopes to share religion with her own future family in the way that she experienced it as a child. “My earliest memory of faith is that I was always around it. I always believed there was a God and that He did great things,” said Russo. “But I never felt a strong place in my heart for faith until I got to high school.”

She acknowledged that her parents, Nick and Josephine, never forced faith upon her as a child. She would therefore only want to share it with her future spouse and children in a natural way.

“I’m definitely open to anything that they would like to see, but I would start [my children] out as I did,” she said. “I think [that] led me to being so open about it. I would love to be able to be in one faith together as a family. I think that would be a beautiful thing.”

52 June 2024 •


Striking out on their own and putting in the work isn’t a bygone trait of previous generations. It’s the reason for the success of Alexander Franco, Xavier Valerio, and Abel Chong’s landscaping business.

The three CHS seniors started VFC Landscape in mid-April. When we spoke to them in early May, they had already done work on 40 to 50 houses and accumulated about 30 routes.

“We keep getting calls every other day about houses,” said Franco, 19. “People keep trusting us and keep … calling back.” For landscaping, maintenance, and lawn care, call 862-3748800 or visit @vfc_landscaping on Instagram/FB.

Going into business for themselves started as a discussion between Franco and Valerio. Chong eventually joined the discussion, because all three knew they wanted to earn money before they went to college.

They already had work experience as well — Franco at North Eastern Sports in Clifton, Valerio at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Paramus, and Chong at Jersey Mike’s on Rt. 3. What they wanted was more respect and the ability to set their own rules.

That meant taking the ultimate risk — investing in themselves — and giving their bosses their two weeks notice.

“I feel like a lot of teens around our age nowadays think [starting a business will] come really easily or straight to them, but that’s not how it is,” said Chong, 17.

Valerio was in agreement and encouraged other teens to “never give up”, even when you experience “some hard days” or people who don’t like the work that you’ve done.

“I feel like you should just chase your dreams or what you believe in no matter what anyone says,” said Franco. “Believe in yourself.”

Chong added that their senior year schedules have worked to their advantage.

“It’s easier with senior privilege, because we leave

earlier from school,” Chong explained. “We can stack … about three houses per day all throughout Passaic and Bergen counties.”

Along with balancing their business and their academics, they were Varsity athletes. Franco played Varsity Football and Basketball, Valerio played Varsity Basketball, and Chong played Varsity Football.

Yet school has remained a top priority for the trio. Franco will train as an electrician at Lincoln Technical Institute in Mahwah. Valerio and Chong will attend Seton Hall for Management and Physical Therapy, respectively.

“Our parents always taught us that school comes first,” said Valerio, 17. “So we strive for that.”

The other two seniors echoed the sentiment and expressed gratitude for their families support.

“I know I can speak for all of us in saying that our parents really support us with whatever we do, and we’re grateful for that,” said Chong. Then, to underscore that appreciation, he added: “So of course give them a discount.”

Xavier Valerio, Alexander Franco, Abel Chong of VFC Landscaping. • June 2024 53

B&G CLUB Youth of the Year

Discovering her identity is at the heart of Deijah Kelly’s experience at The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton. It’s something that she doesn’t take for granted.

The 2024 Youth of the Year and PCTI senior entered The Club through its Kinderkare After School Program. Despite her young age, Kelly’s memories of spending time in that environment are clear.

“I was fresh out of preschool and did not have many interactions with my peers in school,” said Kelly. “Thankfully, with The Boys & Girls Club, I was able to break out of my shell and interact with other Club members and the incredible counselors that were always respectful and considerate.”

Leaving in the evenings ended up feeling bittersweet — not unlike saying goodbye to her childhood as a Club kid. Kelly will attend Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus in Madison this fall. She plans to major in Musical Theatre and possibly minor in Dance and/or English.

One of the best opportunities that she’s received through The Club is joining the Dance team. The team represented The Club for holiday events, car washes, and special ceremonies.

“Dancing has always been a huge part of my life ever since I was four years old,” said Kelly, 18, “so the chance to use my talent in a place that provides countless blessings that still continue to this day means so much to me.”

Kelly additionally got involved in other areas of The Club. She participated with the STEM Club, the soccer team, and utilized the Teen Center when she started middle school.

“It was like this new sense of freedom,” Kelly described, “where there was more technology, a chance to meet new teens, and responsibility that I never had before.”

These foundational experiences at The Club undoubt-

edly supported her throughout the past 12 years of her education. Kelly attended School 15 and WWMS before enrolling in PCTI.

Her in-school extracurricular involvement has included joining End Racism and Sexism Everywhere, World Language Honors Society, Dance Ensemble, and Class Representative. Kelly has worked on Saturdays as a teacher assistant at Dance World Academy, located at 334 Lakeview Ave.

She has also received recognition as she’s grown at The Club prior to her naming as 2024 Youth of the Year. In July of 2023, she represented The Club at the Teen Summit in Washington, D.C. That same year, she received The Club’s 2023 Norstar Services Scholarship of $1,200.

“The everlasting foundation of this amazing institution will forever be in my heart,” said Kelly, “becoming a crucial part of my identity.”

“Despite life taking me in different directions,” she continued, “I will never forget the lifelong imprint that The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton provided as it continues to hold all of the fondest memories within my existence.”

54 June 2024 •
Deijah Kelly at Scholarship Night with BGCC leadership, from left, Paula Benjamin, Gabriel Blau, mother Iris, and Gregory Reinholt.
Help Support the Arts in Clifton! Donate Items to the Arts Center to sell Go to: for list of acceptable donation items. Drop off Donations to the Arts Center: Wednesday thru Friday, June 19th thru 21st, 1:00pm until 4:00pm Questions?... Please Call 973 • 472 • 5499 June 22nd at the Clifton Arts Center in conjunction with the CITY WIDE GARAGE SALE • June 2024 55


Isabella Andruch and Otillia Kedl are similar to many high schoolers their age. They work hard to save up money, Olivia Rodrigo’s lyrics resonate with them, and they’re excited to start college.

But the graduating seniors are unique.

“I volunteer a lot through the Ukrainian American Youth Association and help with refugees who came from Ukraine,” said Andruch, 17. “I’ve been involved since I was about 2 years old, and I started teaching youth around 7th or 8th grade.”

Andruch goes to a sleepaway camp each summer, where she helps support the refugees.

“It made me realize how good of a situation I’m in,” she continued. “It allows me to reflect on everything, be grateful, and not take anything for granted.”

Kedl is also a long-time member and current coleader of a group of young girls at the Ukrainian American Youth Association. She, like Andruch, selected her cousin as her class’s unsung hero. Each girl praised the other’s work ethic and volunteerism.

Andruch will study Communications and Media at the University of Tampa this fall, while Kedl will begin her six-year journey in the PharmD program at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. Both girls are sociable, which translates to Andruch hoping to someday interview professional athletes in Tampa and Kedl wanting to work in a pharmacy.

“I want to … see people every day and see the same faces,” said Kedl, 17. “I would have to take another test in New Jersey since I’m going to school in Pennsylvania, but I’ll definitely stay in the Tri-State area.”

Taking Introduction to Health Professions in junior year with Dr. Eric Campenot was all that Kedl needed to figure out her future career as a pharmacist. She volunteers at Colonial Pharmacy, 828 Clifton Ave., as a pharmacist’s assistant. She’s also worked at Carvel & ViVi Bubble Tea.

Her nearly two years at Colonial Pharmacy have taught her how to count pills, put them in bottles, label bottles, order more pills as needed, and bag them.

“I learned the behind-the-scenes of everything that other people don’t really see,” said Kedl. “I also learned how to deal with customers.”

Andruch’s past work experience includes working for the past three years at the smoothie shop Tiki Bowls in Nutley. Both cousins participated in Heroes & Cool Kids and played volleyball at CHS, and Kedl also played lacrosse. Both girls’ families are regular sources of inspiration. Andruch grew up with brother Stefan (CHS 2022) and CHS 1994 grad parents Ihor and Kristy. Kedl’s parents are WWMS Special Education teacher Peter (CHS 1988) and Christina (CHS 1993), and she has a younger brother, Alexander (CHS 2027).

“My parents have inspired me a lot,” said Andruch. “They’ve been there for me and inspired me to do the things that I want to do in my life.”

56 June 2024 •
Otillia Irena Kedl and Isabella Andruch • June 2024 57
These four senior Mustangs may be unsung, but they’re not unnoticed.

Viktoria Green

Like the Pharrell Williams song, Viktoria Green wants the world to know how “Happy” she is about what comes next after high school.

“I’m filled with gratitude for everyone who has helped me along the way,” said Green, “and for all the positive things that have happened to bring me to this point.”

Her father, William, is one individual who encourages her to “always strive for excellence.” It’s with his support and through his dedication to their family that she believes in her own success. Green will major in Biology at RutgersNew Brunswick this fall. She hopes to become a physical therapist in the future.

From top left going clockwise: Viktoria Green, Brianna Gonzalez, Anastasiia Haydukk, Steve Velastegui.

“As an athlete, I understand the strain our bodies endure,” said Green. “I want to help other athletes recover and keep doing what they love.”



Brianna Gonzalez only needs to look as far as her mother for inspiration.

“I have found that I am like her in many ways, and my best characteristics come from her,” said Gonzalez. “She has always been my number one supporter in everything you can think of.”

Gonzalez goes on to describe her mother as a selfless and giving person — two qualities among many that she hopes to embody. She’s well on her way with plans to attend Ramapo College for nursing.

“I hope to become a NICU nurse or pediatrician,” she said.

It’s also clear to Gonzalez that she won’t forget her teachers. Art teacher Ms. Reem Ibrahem is one in particular who’s “supported me through everything.”

“She … pushes you to do your best and is just overall very kind-hearted and loving.”

Steve Velastegui

Steve Velastegui is good with his hands — but this September, he’ll need to be quick on his feet.

“I’ll probably be at boot camp, training to be a sailor for the Navy,” said Velastegui about his plans. “My biggest hope is to someday have my own dream house and be the most successful human being for my family and myself.”

Velastegui has hoped to work for a gaming company like Intel, Corsair, or Asus since he built his PC. His high school experience taught him that people are capable of changing for the better.

“I can … be an uncommon individual who goes through tough challenges every day and live life with a group of friends or family,” he said. “As long as I love myself, life will be amazing.”

Anastasiia Haydukk

Junior year holds a special place in Anastasiia Haydukk’s heart as she prepares to graduate. Joining the Volleyball team and enjoying that environment are memories that she cherishes.

Haydukk will study International Business and Administration at MSU this September. Her parents and boyfriend supported her decision, but she encourages her classmates to seek guidance from within as well.

“Do not listen to anyone else’s opinion,” encouraged Haydukk. “Follow your mind.”

So perhaps it’s fitting that the song inspiring her the most is “Naodyntsi” by the artist Boombox. The Ukrainian band, known for its prominence in modern Ukrainian music, has previously dedicated the performances of their hit song (translated as: “All Alone”) to Ukrainians held as political prisoners in Russia.

“Be responsible for the things that you are deciding to do,” said Haydukk.

58 June 2024 • • June 2024 59


There is no denying what is plain to see. Flag football is the hottest and fastest-growing girls sport in New Jersey. Twenty teams took the field in Garden State in 2022—the game’s second year of scholastic existence. Just two seasons later, there are 111 high schools competing.

And thanks to the hard work and dedication of Lindsey Cinque and her group of fiery athletes, Clifton is very much in the conversation of the top teams in Super Football Conference. The growth of the program and its head coach are very much accordant.

“We have come so far,” Cinque said. “I remember that first year (2022), when I was an assistant and we really didn’t have a lot of girls at all. This year, eighty-plus girls came out for tryouts, and I had to make cuts, which broke my heart. But it told me a lot about the program seeing all these girls who were great athletes want to come out.”

Cinque’s own interest in the sport has naturally grown as she’s followed the progress of the Mustang football team in the fall. That group, of course, is headed by her husband, Ralph, who is the third-winningest coach in Clifton football history. Cinque has been present for every high, including the Mustangs’ 2021 North II, Group V championship run, and every low, including a difficult 3-7 2023 campaign.

Desiring a coaching career of her own and having developed a love for the game that has only gotten deeper each year, the stars somewhat aligned in 2022, when Clifton launched its flag football operation. Cinque spent that sea-

son as an assistant to then-head coach Michelle Shackil in a year that saw the new program go 1-5.

Cinque took over in January 2023, and immediately set out to create a culture that prioritized not just taking the field, but competing and winning. Since flag football is not yet NJSIAAsponsored, girls are permitted to play regardless of their participation in any other spring sport—and many have.

Senior quarterback Kiara Coy is Clifton softball’s starting shortstop. A host of lacrosse players like senior outside linebacker Carly Stoepker are doubling as footballers. A number of Clifton soccer stars have found spring homes on the gridiron. Their presence has no doubt lessened the natural growing pains of a young team.

The Mustangs defeated New Jersey’s inaugural champion, Passaic County Tech, in their 2024 season opener. Wins over Union City, Passaic and Paterson Kennedy extended Clifton’s undefeated start to 4-0 before it suffered a loss to Wayne Valley.

“She is doing a great job,” Clifton Athletic Director Tom Mullahey said of Cinque. “Lindsey has taken the program to another level. Most other flag teams are still sleeping and we are practicing. She puts a lot of time into it, they are doing some great things and the girls are having fun.”

Cinque has no doubt benefitted from the support of assistant coaches Jacob Abill and Nick Giordano—both of whom coach with the boys during the fall. She also in-

60 June 2024 •

stituted 6 am practices, which have been well-attended as the roster has completely bought in.

“The early practices have helped us tremendously,” said senior inside linebacker Nicole Acuna. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to work as a team, because many athletes play two sports. Two seasons ago, we had no chemistry. It really was a need and it impacted us in so many ways.”

Schematically, Cinque is thinking like a seasoned head coach, too. She engaged in hours of film study during the offseason, immersing herself in the strategy and tactics of winning flag programs. She knew the Mustangs would be able to throw the ball thanks to Coy’s cannon but concluded that the Mustangs needed a second dimension on offense to become regular winners. She put great emphasis on developing Clifton’s run game, and it has reaped major benefits this season, as junior running back Janae Catala has emerged as a major weapon.

According to the person that knows her best, Cinque’s— and the Clifton flag football team’s—evolution is simply a product of her effort and enthusiasm for the job.

“My wife has a tireless work ethic,” said Ralph Cinque. “She will not be outworked. What she might lack in X-andO knowledge, she makes up for it in hard work and dedication. She wants to show these girls that she cares about them and their success, not just on the field but in life.” • June 2024 61

ou may even find some great treasures to buy. Purchase of items found for photos is not required.

Use the QR Codes or go to

est starts at 9:30 a.m. but teams must arrive at Clifton City Hall by 8:45 a.m. -in, wristband distribution, team photo, and instructions. You may spend as me as you like searching but all photos must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. This is

med race but a contest to gather the most points. Shopping is encouraged. will be opportunities for additional points for various submissions (such as e photos, number of garage sales visited, visiting unique locations, and rare Teams must be able to download an app on their phone to submit photos.

ill be issued to the top 3 teams with the most points earned. Winners will be notified on Monday, June 25th by 4:00 p.m.

cost is $15.00 per team. To obtain full contest rules and to register visit Pre-registration is required. Only 1 member from your team needs to register. Online registration closes on 6/20/24. For more information call (973) 470-5956.

Food Vendors, Youth Activities, Carnival Games, Rides, Clowns, DJ and More!

6:30 pm

Ticket Holders may enter the Stadium for Entertainment Before Fireworks which will begin at Dusk! Purchase tickets at City Hall

62 June 2024 • • June 2024 63


7:05 pm at Yankee Stadium•3:15 pm Coach Buses Leave CHS•11:30 pm approximate return $162 price includes game ticket, transportation PLUS $30 Food voucher

Online purchase at ends 7/21/24 or earlier if sold out.

Clifton Rec in cooperation with Clifton Against Substance Abuse, the Governor’s Council Against Alcohol & Drug Abuse & Clifton Community Police

August 6 Main Memorial Park • 1395 Main Avenue. Movie Follows National Night Out Festivities

Approx Time: 8:45pm Bring blankets and chairs & enjoy the show in the twilight! Food available for purchase. No smoking or alcoholic drinks. Port-a-john on-site.

Y A N K E E S T A D I U M $ 1 6 2 P E R P E R S O N S E C T I O N 2 3 3 B . SUBWAY SERIES GAME T U E S D A Y , J U L Y 2 3 , 2 0 2 4 A R R R Clifton Recreation Presents: t t F e . r . R M Y A N K E E S T A D I U M P E R S E C T I O N 2 3 3 B . SUBWAY SERIES GAME T U E S D A Y , J U L Y 2 3 , 2 0 2 4 C O A C H B U S S E S L E A V E C L I F T O N H I G H S C H O O L ( 3 3 3 C O L F A X A V E . ) F R O N T P A R K I N G L O T A T 3 : 1 5 P M S H A R P & R E T U R N A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 1 1 : 3 0 P M 1 E 1 6 1 S T S T , B R O N X , N Y 1 0 4 5 1 R t t F e . r . R M Y A N K E E S T A D I U M S E C T I O N 2 3 3 B . SUBWAY SERIES GAME T D A Y , J U L Y 2 3 4 C O A C H B U S S E S L E A V E C L I F T O N H I G H S C H O O L ( 3 3 3 C O L F A X A V E . ) F R O N T P A R K I N G L O T A T 3 : 1 5 P M S H A R P & R E T U R N A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 1 1 : 3 0 P M 1 E 1 6 1 S T S T , B R O N X , N Y 1 0 4 5 1 P R I C E I N C L U D E S Y O U R G A M E T I C K E T T R A N S P O R T A T I O N t t F e . r . R M E $ 1 6 2 P E R P E R S O N S E C T I O N 2 3 3 B . SUBWAY SERIES GAME T U E S D A Y , J U L Y 2 3 , 2 0 2 4 A R R S Clifton Recreation Presents: t n t t . e r . R . Y A N K E E S T A D I U M P E R S O N S E C T I O N 2 3 3 B . SUBWAY SERIES GAME T U E S D A Y , J U L Y 2 3 , 2 0 2 4 C O A C H B U S S E S L E A V E C L I F T O N H I G H S C H O O L ( 3 3 3 C O L F A X A V E . ) F R O N T P A R K I N G L O T A T 3 : 1 5 P M S H A R P & R E T U R N A P P R O X I M A T E L Y 1 1 : 3 0 P M 1 E 1 6 1 S T S T , B R O N X , N Y 1 0 4 5 1 E N , e p a r t A b e t h e e c f o o d v R A N T S O 3 ) 4 7 0Y A N K E E S T A D I U M $ 1 P E R S O N S E C T I O N 2 3 3 B . SUBWAY SERIES GAME T U E S D A Y , J U L Y 2 3 , 2 0 2 4 C O A C H B U S S E S L E A V E C L I F T O N H I G H S C H O O L ( 3 3 3 C O L F A X A V E . ) F R O N T P A R K I N G L O T A T 3 : 1 5 P M S H A R P & R E T U R N A P P 1 E 1 6 1 S T S T , B R O N X , N Y 1 0 4 5 1 P E c h a s e m i t r e a r e e w i l l h a h H E N R E O Q U I R E D
64 June 2024 •





Clifton’s Advisory Committee for Individuals with Disabilities donated three books to the Clifton Public Library in memory of the late Councilwoman Lauren Murphy. Murphy served for several years as the Council liaison on the committee. Pictured

May 20, seated from left, Chair Cathy Boseski, Ryan Powers, Marilyn Rowan. Standing from left, Colleen Murray, Councilman Tony Latona, Angela Cupo, BOE Commissioner Anthony Santiago, Pat Bednar, Saul Jaffe, Erika Shyroky. Not pictured: Dr. Gold.

The 2024 Junior Mustangs Football registration derway. The season start is Aug. 15 for players ages 7-14. Current member fee $175; newcomers pay a $40 membership plus $175 activity fee. Activity fee is $225 after July 15. Register online at: Include a copy of child’s birth certificate and photo, proof of school, proof of home address, and current physical exam.

from 9 am to 4 pm in Weasel Brook Park, along Paulison Ave. Dealers will be assigned an 18-foot space. Cost is $40 and must be paid in cash on the day. Set-up begins 6:30 am. No pre-registration. Passaic County Library Festival is the same day in the park. Email Dolores Choteborsky at

On May 22, Clifton Fire Department held a promotion ceremony. Pictured from left: Lt. Jonathan Nourse, Lt. Dan Hook, Lt. Donald Hoitsma, Captain Travis McAuley, Deputy Chief William LeGates, Deputy Chief Daniel Collins, Lt. Arthur Veale, Captain John Sinke. Not pictured: Captain Jeff Bracken, Captain Jason McGurk. The total number of Clifton Firefighters is 143.
66 June 2024 •
The Pride Flag Raising at City Hall June 15 at 11 am. All are invited.

Look forward to years 2025 to 2030. Professional visual artists and art groups are encouraged to help enliven the Clifton Arts Center’s exhibition space by showcasing their professional work over the next five years.

The CAC provides roughly 1,800 sq-ft of modern, well-lit, and upgraded HVAC gallery exhibit space on the rolling grounds behind city hall, 900 Clifton Ave.

Proposals are welcome by professional artists and groups or associations. Members of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the CAC and city staff of the Office of Arts Center review submissions. Application submissions must be presented and prepared in their entirety.

Get up and stroll with the Power of One Christian Coaching and Outreach Ministries. Walkers meet at Richardson Scale Park, 680 Van Houten Ave. Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 am for about an hour-long walk. The walk is free and so is parking in the lot.

“Turn Off the Stress” series teaches life skills for everyday challenges, such as stress, anxiety and grief. Dates are June 13 and 27 from 6:30-8 pm at the Clifton Senior Center, at 900 Clifton Ave. Cost is $15 per session and payable to Power of One. All are welcome. For info, call 862-239-5905 or email

For additional info, visit the CAC at To submit questions, email Roxanne Cammilleri at or call 973-472-5499.

The Clifton Arts Center and Kismet Performing Artists Theatre’s “Woe! Misery! Children’s Theater! continues June 7-9. Advance tickets are $35; $40 at the door. The play, perfomed within the CAC, is intended for grown-ups and is the second joint fundraiser. The cast includes C. W. Robertson of Clifton, who starred in Kismet’s first production. Visit or call 973-559-3276 for more details. • June 2024 67


Former “Party Dolls” and current lead singer of the Clifton’s Swingman and the Misfit-Mutts Kim Latiano will nurture your child’s inner musician this summer. Join Latiano for the five-part “Music Together” series at the Clifton Arts Center, 900 Clifton Ave.

Sessions are Wednesdays from 10:30-11:15 am on June 12, 19, and 26 and July 3 and 10. Residents pay $75 for all five sessions, non-residents pay $78. The program welcomes little ones ages 6 months to 5 years. Spend quality time with your tot as you sing, dance, and support their musical development. Register online at

Latiano (CHS 1983) has owned Music Together, Bergen County for over 20 years. One of her great loves is sharing music with children. That followed her years of rocking with The Party Dolls, which performed 60’s Girl Groups and Motown to 70’s Disco and 80’s New Wave and Retro Rock.

Latiano was a Party Doll up until her 40’s, doing gigs all over the Tri-State Area. The group worked with the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Connie Frances, and they performed at the George W. Bush Inauguration.

Long-time parishioners of Sts. Cyril & Methodius Roman Catholic Church on Ackerman Ave. may also remember her as a teen leading weekend liturgy.

The 2nd Annual Music at the Barns is June 8 at 4 pm with the Clifton Community Band. Enjoy the star-spangled musical stylings of the band (many of them Marching Mustang alums) under the direction of Robert Morgan (left) at City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave., near the Arts Center. Bring chairs or blanket. The free event is sponsored by the Mustang Band Alumni Association and Clifton Rec.

The 2024 Clifton Arts Center fundraising music series opens June 30 at 2 pm with Chris Opperman on piano with guest Julie Krygsman on trombone, pictured left. That will be followed on July 11 with Swingman and the Misfit-Mutts. Other dates are Aug. 17, Sept. 8, Nov. 10, and Dec. 1. Details and ticket prices to come. Visit and sign up for email updates. Follow @cliftonartscenter on Instagram and Facebook.

Botany Village Music Series is Friday evenings at 6:30 in Sullivan Square. The Powertones June 7, Decadence June 14, Swingman & the Misfit Mutts June 21, The Retrocasters June 28. Call Joe Waninger at 856-900-2200 for info or go to

68 June 2024 • • June 2024 69

A far smaller than usual crowd attended the wreath laying at Main Memorial Park at 11 am on Memorial Day. With the unpredictable weather, the Allwood parade was cancelled, the Avenue of Flags did not set up and generally there was confusion about events. On hand to lead the tribute was Joe Tuzzolino of the Avenue of Flags. He asked for a volunteer to lead the group in prayer and Tim Keith volunteered. He used the opportunity to direct attention to a name etched on the monument, his uncle, US Army Sgt. Peter Vroeginday, who was in the 88th Infantry Division, known as the Fighting Blue Devils. Born in Clifton, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Vroeginday, who lived at 254 Burgess Pl., Sgt. Vroeginday was killed in action in Italy on July 12, 1944.

70 June 2024 •
Mario’s Restaurant 710 VanHouten Ave. Clifton, NJ 07013 July: 20, 21, 27, 28 August: 4 Tickets may be reserved online, by phone or mail. PO Box 4072 Clifton, NJ 07012 Dinner Buffet & Show (Dietary restrictions accommodated, must be made at the time of the reservation.) Limited Reserved Seating Saturdays ~7:30pm Sundays ~4pm 973-928-7668 2024 MENU Directed by: Maren Sugarman Produced by: John Traier Prashant Arora Dinner & Show: $65 ON THE by Bill Hand Show Dates: Venue: Produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service, Denver, Colorado • June 2024 71

Lorraine Bremer was “for you in ‘82.” The two-term former Clifton councilwoman turns 89 on July 8 and has lived on Long Island with family for the past 17 years. Her time in Clifton saw her serve on the Board of Recreation, as well as the City Council from 1982 to 1990. She was an active volunteer for St. Peter’s Haven and taught reading skills to chil-

At left, Lorraine Bremer today and below, in 1986 at her second swearing in with City Clerk Betty Lutz and legendary Herald News photographer Jack Anderson.

dren with learning disabilities. Bremer later worked as the controller for Mintz Rosenfeld, a mid-size accounting firm. Some 15 years ago, she became a school aide to disabled children within the Ridge (NY) School District, retiring last year at age 88. She also served on the budget committee for Ridge Schools and volunteered at a local animal shelter.

The Avenue of Flags depends upon donations and volunteers to present the 2,287 displays of patriotism. Honor a veteran by sponsoring a flag and pole for $120. Flags are displayed on the grounds of City Hall for patriotic days. The next posting is Flag Day, June 14, followed by the Fourth of July. Volunteers are needed to set-up flags starting at 6 am and take-down is 6 pm. To volunteer or for more info, call the flag barn at 973-365-2630 or chair Joe Tuzzolino at 973-632-9225.

72 June 2024 •

After we went to press last month with a Black Prince Distillery redevelopment project update, Clifton Merchant adopted a wait-and-see approach. The weeks to follow showed no clear sign of resuming the construction of 300 residential units, at the intersection of Clifton and Paulison Aves.

The workers that project developer Kevin X. Codey explained were needed elsewhere remained absent. The windows stayed unfinished and the decorative brick facade are on the ground. Nothing has changed since.

There seemed to be some activity on May 31 when we saw AJM Contractors Inc., trucks entering onto the site. But President Anthony Marinaro clarified on a phone call that AJM is not actively working on 691 Clifton Ave. “The workers were taking our machines out of there,” said Marinaro. “We’re not working there, and neither is anyone else.”

halt. Real estate specialists Mahmoud Ijbara and Joseph Siano noted that a delay could be connected to inspections before they close the walls.

Codey — the son of former Governor Richard J. Codey — said nearly a month later on April 26 that Clifton would “start seeing, within the next seven to 10 days, more and more activity.” He added that a significant amount of work was already done on the inside “which obviously people don’t see.” Codey, the owner of Clifton Station Developers, LLC and developer for Danbro Properties, did not respond to multiple attempts to reach him for an update.

In January, we reported that NJ Property Records showed, on June 8, 2021, the Black Prince Property sold for $8,150,000. In mid-December of 2023, Codey said they were working on an official name for the site and expected to move in the first residents this spring.

People have noticed the apparent delay for the past few months and shared their thoughts online. On a March 27 post in the Facebook group Clifton News and Community, local realtors weighed in when the work first came to a

When we inquired in April about an updated timeline, Codey said that details would be part of a forthcoming website with additional information which was said to be going live in 45 days — or, June 10. • June 2024 73

When Nicholas and Somaya Gorab knew they knew — and 70 years of marriage later proves they were right on the mark. Nick and Somaya will turn 95 and 94, respectively, later this year and have lived in Clifton for their entire married life.

Back in 1950, the couple met at their shared parish, St. George Church on Getty Ave. in Paterson and began dating. But Nicholas had a call from his Uncle Sam soon after so life was put on pause while he served with the US Army from 1951 to 1953 during the Korean War. The couple wed May 2, 1954 and had three children, Glenn, Gordon, and Lisa and now enjoy seven grandkids.

Somaya grew up in Garfield and worked in Dumont Industries in what was then East Paterson, now Elmwood Park. She was a member of the Passaic General Hospital Ladies Auxiliary for 30 years and a member of the Clifton Eastern Star for three decades.

Nick worked as a Vice President of Sales for an electrical supply company in Hackensack for 42 years. Here in his hometown he volunteered with the Aheka Boy Scout Council and was Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 3 in Clifton. He was a member of the Clifton Masonic Lodge for 70 years and was a Commissioner on the Clifton Board of Education, serving from 1975 to 1978.

Here’s to seven decades of marriage!

74 June 2024 •

The pupils and staff of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic School shared in a prayer for children at risk on May 31. Prayers were especially offered for the Ukrainian children in the middle of the war in Ukraine and those kidnapped by Russian troops, said Principal Sister Kathleen Hutsko, of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate. To share in the message, students placed their hands in paint and put their prints on a large mural that will be displayed in the school.

Registration is open for the 2024 Clifton Rec Summer Fun in The Sun, Future Leaders Program, Specialty Camps & Lessons, and Family Events. Register at or at the Recreation Department, 900 Clifton Ave. The Summer Fun in the Sun camp program will run weekdays July 1–Aug. 9 from 9 am to 3 pm in Nash Park (700 Lexington Ave.), Albion Park (201 Maplewood Ave.), Mt. Prospect Park (341 Mt. Prospect Ave.), and Stefan Tatarenko Park (55 Broadale Ave.). The camp is closed July 4 and features two 3-week sessions. Open to residents and non-residents ages 5-13. For more info, call 973-470-5956. Trips and special events are offered for additional fees.

Register your slugger for Clifton Baseball Camp’s twoweek program this July. Open to kids ages 7-17. Week 1 for Pitchers & Catchers is July 8-11, Monday-Thursday at WWMS, 1400 Van Houten Ave., from 9 am to noon. $125 per person. Week 2 for Baseball Skills is July 15-18 for $125 per person. Both camp programs are presented by CHS’ Varsity Baseball coach Joe Rivera. Participants must bring their own equipment including a helmet, mitt, and baseball cap. Catchers must bring their own catching equipment. Register at Call 973-470-5956.

The residents-only Future Leaders Program is for teens who’ve completed ninth grade or are 15 years or older. The program is $75 per person. Teens learn the responsibilities of becoming a summer program counselor in the future and work closely with the staff and children while assisting in daily activities conducted at the program.

Enroll your little one in City Green’s Fun on the Farm Camp this summer at Schultheis Farm. Select one of three sessions: July 8-19, July 22 to Aug. 2, or Aug. 5-16. Sessions are M-W-F with ages 5-7 from 9-11 am at City Green Farm Eco-Center, 171 Grove St. $150 per person. Care for farm animals, explore the gardens, and participate in other nature-based activities. Register online at Call Clifton Rec for more info: 973-470-5956.

Learn the fundamentals at Pickleball Camp from July 8-18 at the Pickleball Arena, 85 Third St. The camp is open to kids ages 11-14, Monday-Thursday from 5-6 pm. Limited to 16 campers. Registration fee: $50 per person. Instruction by Leonard Hutabarat, a certified pickleball coach. Participants must bring water and wear sneakers daily. Register at Call 973-470-5956. • June 2024 75

Birthdays & Celebrations - June 2024

Bob & Alice DeLiberto hit 37 years on June 27. Jim Smith celebrates on June 2. Bob & Carol Van Der Linda’s 63rd anniversary is June 10. Daniel Sotamba turns 11 on June 30. Emma, Olivia & Victoria Green, turn 18 on June 24.

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

Angelo and Janet Montagnino will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on June 9 at Mario’s with family & friends.

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

Margaret Nysk 6/11

Adam Soder 6/11

Monica Baquerizo ..................... 6/13

Cindy Brevic Goldstein .............. 6/13

Anna Jurgowski 6/13

Christopher Stetz 6/13

Christopher Zaccone ................. 6/13

Jennifer Liddle 6/15

Andrew Bandurski 6/16

Michael and Marisol McIninch will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary on June 23.

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

76 June 2024 •

Landon Giovanny Buonafina turns 9 on June 11.

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

Send your dates & names... • June 2024 77

On May 14, Stew Leonard, Jr., CEO of Stew Leonard’s, and his family, cut the ribbon on the Stew Leonard’s wine and grocery store in Styertowne Shopping Center. The Leonard family was joined by state and local officials for the dedication of a 300-pound bronze statue in honor of Stew Leonard Sr. who passed away last year. Mr. Leonard, a former milkman, founded the Stew Leonard’s grocery stores in 1969. Today it has become a $600 million family-owned supermarket chain in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

78 June 2024 •

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