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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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From the Editor

VOTE YES for Clifton Kids - Tom Hawrylko, Editor & Publisher

We Cliftonites have a chance to invest in our shared future as an ever-evolving and forward-thinking community on Election Day, April 16. By voting “yes” to approve the Board of Education budget, we will be doing good for students and families. But by voting “yes,” the benefits go much further. A strong school system is at the foundation of an evolving and vibrant city. Good schools build strong communities, maintain property values, enhance local business and promote opportunity. These opportunities send Clifton High grads to top Ivy League schools, thousands to local universities and community colleges and others to the military, the trades and the local workforce. So what does voting “yes” cost? An additional $38.70 per year for a home assessed at $177,500. That’s $3.22 a month. While my four kids are long gone from Clifton Schools, I will be voting “yes” and hope you will as well. This is the first time Clifton voters have had an opportunity to vote on any budget since 2013. The proposed budget for 2019-2020 is $134,259,260 which is an increase of less than one percent over the prior year, so it is a modest increase with great benefits.

That budget keeps 17 schools serving nearly 11,000 students, employing about 800 teachers and hundreds of other staff and employees. The budget provides books, programs, athletics, music, arts, robotics, STEAM academies, after school and summer learning programs And while many groups do additional fund raising, the budget puts the Marching Band, Cheerleaders and Fighting Mustangs on the field. It pays for great teachers leading AP classes and programs for kids with special needs. The budget funds many clubs which instill the values of volunteerism and community service or allow kids to pursue their interests, helping to build careers. The budget will pay for infrastructure improvements at Christopher Columbus Middle School, renovation of all science labs at CHS and for the maintenance of the interior and exterior of all facilities, many of which are decades old but well cared for thanks to our janitorial staff. On April 16, we will also have the chance to select from among six candidates running for four open seats on the Board of Education. Read about those candidates on pages 40 to 49. As always, it is a pleasure to share the good news of our hometown. 16,000 Magazines

are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants on the first Friday of every month.

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1288 Main Avenue, Downtown Clifton, NJ 07011 (973) 253-4400 • tomhawrylko@optonline.net turn our pages at cliftonmagazine.com © 2019 Tomahawk Promotions

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Art Director Ken Peterson

$35 per year or $60 for two Call (973) 253-4400

Graphic Designer Natalia Dymora

Contributing Writers

Business Mgr. Gabriella Marriello

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

Social Media Mgr. Ariana Puzzo


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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TennisBaseball Mustangs

MUSTANG SPORTS

BASEBALL

From top left: Gariel Delossantos, Adrian Matos, Captain Pete Wilk, Vinny Civitella, Josh Miller, Manny Gonzalez, Jayden Severino, Justin Rivera and Justin Severino; bottom row, from left, Captain John Labanich, Chris Stathopoulos, Nick Plaskon, Nick Stathopoulos, Dane Mocera and Josh Tejeda.

Spring Sports by Tom Szieber The 2019 edition of Clifton baseball has the rare qualities of being youthful but experienced. The Mustangs are sophomore-heavy, with nearly all of their tenth-grade contributors coming into the spring having had quality playing time last year. The group missed the playoffs but did go 11-11 and advanced to the Passaic County semifinals. Not bad for a team that began the season 1-5. “Last year, I had no returning starters and I started bumping up freshmen,” said head coach Joe Rivera. “They already have a year under their belts and they’ve performed well on a big stage. They have swag, confidence. They feel good. They have talent and they have it all together.” Yet even with the strong sophomore presence, Clifton still has senior leadership in the form of second baseman Justin Severino and left-handed ace Pete Wilk. Severino will serve as the Mustangs’ cleanup hitter one season after earning all-county and all-league honors. Wilk is nursing an injury this preseason but will be a force on the mound upon his return to the field.

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Mustangs

Mustangs

Base

April 1

@Bergen Catholic

April 5

Passaic Valley

4pm

April 8

@Bergen Tech

4:15pm

April 10

Bergen Tech

4:30pm

April 12

@Fair Lawn

4:15pm

April 15

PCTI

4pm

April 17

@PCTI

4pm

April 18

@West Milford

April 22

Passaic

April 23

Montclair

4pm

April 24

@Passaic

4:30pm

April 26

Ridgewood

April 29

@Eastside

4:15pm

May 1

Eastside

4:30pm

May 3

@Wayne Valley

May 6

JFK

4:15pm

May 8

@JFK

4:15pm

May 10

Lakeland

4:15pm

May 13

Hackensack

4:15pm Mustangs

May 16

@West Essex

May 18

@Mt. Olive

April 2

Teaneck

4pm

4:15pm Mustangs

Cross C

Mustangs

Foot

4:15pm Mustangs 4:30pm

4pm

4pm

4pm

12pm

Golf

Mustangs

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Girls S


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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS

BASEBALL Sophomore right-hander/third baseman Justin Rivera will also be a key to Clifton’s success. A second team All-Liberty Division selection as a freshman, he was a key reason the Mustangs made it to the county semifinal. In the county tournament, Rivera notched a game-winning RBI single to beat Manchester Regional, nailed a 2-RBI double versus Pompton Lakes and had four hits against Hawthorne. “To have a freshman bat number three is huge,” Rivera said commenting on Rivera’s ninth-grade campaign. “For a freshman to play the way he did last year, with the game on the line, I want him up.” Sophomore Nick Plaskon will line up behind the plate. A well-rounded player, Plaskon blocks and receives well and has a solid arm. He is also a great contact hitter and bunter who will occupy the two-spot for Clifton. Fellow sophomore Vinny Civitella will play first base and pitch. Offensively, he is a power hitter who bats sixth. Their classmate, Dane Mocera, is the shortstop and has impressed Rivera with his ability to avoid errors. Senior John Labanich will play left field and pitch, as well, coming off a junior year in which he led the Mustangs in batting average and also earned first team all-county and all-league recognition. Sophomore Josh Miller will be in center field while the right field slot remains up in the air. Joining Wilk, Rivera, Civitella and Labanich in the rotation is sophomore Manny Gonzalez, who had the lowest ERA on the team a year ago. “Even though we are still very young we have a great chance at success,” Rivera said. “Returning almost everyone back from a team that reached the county semifinals, I am excited to see what we can accomplish.” And so are Mustangs baseball fans.

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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Softball Tennis Mustangs

MUSTANG SPORTS

SOFTBALL

Back from left: Amanda Bruno, Kate Louer, Virginia Ferreras and Taylor Panico; middle, Lily Zschack, Rebekah Villanueva, Chassidy Rodriguez, Liana Neumann, Nicole Weinbel, Sheilyn Serrano and Brielle Rodriguez; kneeling, Kyra Rodriguez, Aimee Hirst, Gianna Casillas and Grace Shukaitis.

Coming off back-to-back Big North Liberty titles, Clifton softball is looking to take their success of the last several seasons and turn it into a memorable 2019. Blessed with a four-girl pitching rotation and several talented hitters, the Mustangs seem primed to make noise in county and league play, and hope to surprise some with a stronger performance in the state tournament. “I think we can be better,” said fifth-year head coach Ish Falcon. “Even though we are young, we have a good mixture of some older players. I just think we have a good team chemistry. These kids

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have played together through the rec programs and over the summer. The freshman and seniors are together. We have strong camaraderie and I hope we can put it all together.” Leading the way from the circle is junior Taylor Panico, who transferred from Passaic County Tech last year. Clifton’s most consistent pitcher, she can throw every pitch and is the squad’s hardest thrower, as well. She will be the Mustangs’ ace while three others—senior Kyra Rodriguez, sophomore Rebekah Villanueva and freshman Amanda Bruno—will compete for the two-spot.

Mustangs

Mustangs

Base

April 1

@Wayne Hills

April 5

JFK

4:15pm

April 8

Eastside

4:30pm

April 10

@Passaic

4:30pm

April 11

@Teaneck

4:15pm

April 12

IHA

4:15pm

April 13

Passaic Valley

5pm

April 15

PCTI

April 17

@Wayne Valley

4pm Mustangs 4pm

April 18

Old Tappan

4:30pm

April 22

@Lakeland

4:15pm

April 24

@West Milford

4:15pm

April 25

Bergen Tech

4:30pm

April 29

@JFK

4pm

May 1

@Eastside

4pm

May 3

Passaic

4:30pm

May 6

Ramapo

4:15pm

May 8

@PCTI

4pm

May 10

Fair Lawn

May 14

@Montclair

April 3

@Bergen Tech

4pm

4pm Mustangs

Cross C

Mustangs

Foot Golf

Mustangs

Gymn

Mustangs

Lacro

4:15pm Mustangs

4pm

Boys S

April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Mustangs


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS Senior Gianna Casillas, a second team All-Passaic County second baseman, will play behind the plate. Forced into that spot due to an offseason injury to junior Skylar Wheeler, Casillas easily slid into the role thanks to her experience catching for her travel team during the summer. Casillas has a quick release and does an excellent job framing. She is also an ideal partner for Pancio, for whom she catches in travel ball. Sophomore Chassidy Rodriguez will back up Casillas and will play a utility role, as well. Rodriguez and freshman Kate Louer will share duties at first depending on Rodriguez’s pitching duties

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

SOFTBALL and whomever has the hot hand. Junior Lily Zschack is a strong fielder that will be the second baseman, while junior Grace Shukaitis enters her second year starting at shortstop. It is, in fact, her third year as starter overall, having played second base as a freshman. Shukaitis is the number two hitter for Clifton, as well, and consistently makes good contact from the plate. Junior Virginia Ferreras and freshman Amanda Bruno are currently in contention for third base duties. Junior Liana Neumann—the Mustangs’ cleanup hitter who is both quick and capable of making the long throw to first—will play left field. Sophomore Brielle Rodriguez will be in center while senior Amy Hirst is in right. Sophomore Sheilyn Serrano will be Clifton’s DP. “I believe that one of the things that I have noticed is that in five years here, this is my fastest team,” Falcon said. “We have good team speed, good pitching. We still have to learn how to communicate more on defense. “At the beginning of every year we normally have three goals: to make it and advance as far as you can in the counties and states, and to win our league. “We have done one, and now we want to do the other two.”


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cardiovascular of cutting edge technology, as well as education. Always mindful of the financial impact of cardiac care, we work to provide the most comprehensive yet cost-effective treatment possible. Our patients are the focus of our practice and my staff and I consider it a privilege to serve them. Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS

BOYS TRACK

Mustangs

Base

Mustangs

Tennis

Mustangs

Mustangs Top left: Roberth Albarran, Eric Smith, Tyler Stilley, Kevin DePaz, Henry Zheng and Sunny Shastri; middle, Dennis Poventud, Steven Abreu, Justin Walker, Marcus Belmar, Daniel Partika and Khoi Nguyen; bottom, Ruben Salgado, Mohammad Nidaazi, Joshua Szabo, Eric Grimm and David Arroyo.

The Clifton track teams come into the spring in two entirely different predicaments, with the girls boasting experience and the boys looking to reload. Still, both are hoping for an achievement-filled campaign. “We graduated an excellent senior class, but despite losses to graduation, we should contend for league and county titles again,” said head girls coach Mike Rodgers. “We do not have as much depth as we did in years past, but we will be serious contenders if we can stay healthy and focused.” The Mustang girls return the likes of sophomore sensation Mia Dubac who qualified for the Meet of Champions in both cross country and indoor track. During the indoor season, she broke a 33-year old school record in the 3200-meter and is one of the best distance runners in North Jersey. She will be joined by junior Andrea Dubbels, also one of the best distance runners in North Jersey, who broke a 33-year old school record in the 1600-meter run in during indoor season. A Meet of Champions qualifier during the winter, she is a returning state sectional champion in the 800-meter run. Together, Dubac and Dubbels are arguably the best distance duo in program history.

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Track

April 1

Passaic

April 9

@PCTI

April 13 @Passaic Valley April 16 JFK April 20 @Hackensack April 23 @ TBD April 25 TBA April 27 @WestEssex May 1

TBA

May 7

@Wayne Hills

May 8

@Wayne Hills

May 18

@Hackensack

May 24

TBA

May 25

TBA

May 31

@Franklin

June 1

@Franklin

Cross C

12pm

12pm Mustangs 12pm

12pm

12pm 12pm

12pm

Foot

Mustangs

Golf

12pm

12pm Mustangs 12pm 12pm

12pm

12pm 12pm

Gymn

Mustangs

Lacro

12pm

10am

Mustangs

Boys S


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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS

GIRLS TRACK

From top left: Inez Grullon, May Yuasa, Aylin Garcia, Nicole Alexander, Sarah Kusher, Natalia Gonzalez and Derly Castro; bottom, Cassidy Rubio, Arantxa Martinez, Brianna Rubio, Andrea Dubbels, Antoinette Muir, Leandra Nieves and Renae Austin.

Another athlete worthy of any Clifton track era is senior Brianna Morrison. She is a two-time first team all-county cross-country runner, and is also one of the area’s best pole vaulters, jumpers and javelin throwers. Junior Brianna Rubio is the returning state sectional champion in the 400-meter run. After a record-breaking indoor season during which she qualified for the Meet of Champions in two events, she is now on the North Jersey track scene’s radar as one of the best 200-meter and 400-meter runners in the state. Rubio’s sisters, Cassidy (a junior) and Jessica (a sophomore) are also critical to Clifton’s success. Cassidy is a distance runner, while Jessica is a hurdler, jumper, and middle distance runner. Other key returners for the girls are senior Antoinette Muir in sprints, senior Sarah Kusher in the pole vault/

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

jumps/hurdles, and junior May Yuasa in the pole vault/ distance events. Freshman Katie Kakascik will look to build off a successful indoor season in hurdles, jumps and sprints, as well. The Clifton boys graduated many stars from the 2018 division champion and looking to build with youth. Junior Joshua Szabo, a middle distance runner, will lead the way, while sophomores Omar Alshujaieh and Moe Abedrabbo will be the team’s primary throwers. Versatile athlete Brian Lipari is a junior who competes in the 400-meter run, pole vault, javelin and long jump. “We have a handful of seniors, but the underclassmen really have stepped up,” noted head boys coach John Pontes. “They have a good approach. They are really dedicated and show up every day.”


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS

BOYS LACROSSE Mustangs

Baseball

Mustangs

Tennis

Mustangs

Cross Country Mustangs

Football Mustangs

Golf

Mustangs

From top left: Steven Pedraza, Luis Morias, Luke Ceneri, Peter Fila, James Jackiewicz, Eddie Maldonado, Joseph Walker, Tommy Lyons, Lucas Urbanowycz, Nick Miller, Josh Rodriguez and Gregory Luna; bottom, Cole Ceneri, Enrique Montero, Alan Gonzalez, Jacob Maldonado, Michael Porter and Connor Sjosward.

Gymnastics

For George Cowan and Clifton boys lacrosse, 2018 was sort of average. The Mustangs finished the season 9-8 and were bounced from the playoffs in the first round, leaving them with a sense that they had unfinished business to be addressed the following spring. Now that spring has arrived, head coach George Cowan and crew believe that 2019 is poised to be season of progress for a team looking to take it to the next level—and past the opening round of the postseason. Senior midfielder Joe Walker will lead the way, coming off a junior season for which he earned first team All-Passaic County and first team All-Curcio Division honors. A shifty lefty, Walker can move with the ball and use his lanky frame to create points for the Mustangs. He led them in that category last year, scoring 31 goals and 20 assists.

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Mustangs

Lacrosse

Lacrosse

March 28

@DePaul

@Indian Hills

10:30am

April 2

Passaic Valley

4pm

April 4

Old Tappan

April 6

Bergen Tech

April 8

Lakeland

4:15pm

April 10

@Fair Lawn

4:15pm

April 12

@PC

April 15

Pequannock

5:30pm

April 18

@Waldwick

4pm

April 22

@Verona

4pm

April 24

@Demarest

May 4

@Tenafly

3pm

May 7

@Wayne Valley

TBD

May 10

West Milford

6pm

March 30

Junior midfielder Eddie Maldonado will be a key contributor in the midfield, as well. An all-county player at the position himself, he returns for a second varsity season having scored 22 goals and dishMustangs ing 13 assists in 2018. Possessing a strong rip offensively, he plays the box on defense. Jacob Maldonado and Luke Mustangs Ceneri, both freshman, round out the starting midfield while seniors Peter Fila and Gregory Luna and sophomore Enrique Montero will rotate in. Mustangs Junior Jack Louer will lead the offense a year after leading the team in goals with 34. Louer also notched 11 assists as a sophomore, and brings to the field a skill set Mustangs from the basketball court that allows him to play off the ball and succeed on pick-and-rolls.

Mustangs

TBD

4:30pm 10am

TBD

4:15pm

Boys Soccer Girls Soccer

Tennis Track Mustangs

Volleyball


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS

BOYS LACROSSE Hardworking senior Connor Sjosward will flank Louer on the offensive end, as will junior James Jackiewicz, who Cowan lauds for his mistake-free style. Senior Steven Pedraza is the anchor of the defense and will get support from junior Tommy Lyons, senior Michael Porter and junior Nick Miller. Senior Cole Ceneri will join them in the rotation. “Altogether, we have some guys with good stick skills,” said Cowan. “They have played together as a group for several years and I think that is the key to a defense.” Sophomore Alan Gonzales will start in the goal in just his second year playing the sport. Smaller in stature, he has impressed Cowan with his coachability and fearlessness. He has made impressive saves in preseason action and has the confidence of the rest of the lineup. “It is always interesting,” Cowan said “We aren’t deep in terms of a roster. But we have some real players, some kids who stood out last year. “I think we may surprise some people this year.” And, for fans of Clifton boys lacrosse, that is indeed good news.

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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS Mustangs

Tennis

GIRLS LACROSSE Mustangs Baseball Mustangs

Cross Country Mustangs

Football Mustangs

Golf

Mustangs

Gymnastics

The five-win Mustangs were a different team last year when Juliana Richards was on the field. Before the senior midfielder suffered a late-season injury, Clifton was a .500 team; after, they were winless. Richards 52 goals and 21 assists were missed dearly, and her return is one of the major reasons head coach Amanda Gryszkin is hopeful that this season could be a memorable one. “Getting Juliana back is big for us,” Gryszkin said. “She has a chance to break Olivia DeMuro’s [program] record of 150 goals. There is an outside chance she can even get 200 goals. “That would be a great accomplishment for the program and go a long way in helping us have a winning season.”

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Mustangs

Mustangs

Lacrosse

March 27 Parsippany Hills March 29 Fair Lawn

Lacrosse From back left: Nicole

Ozga, Wioleta Dlugopolski, Shana Gadaire, Chelsy Rivera, Miranda 4:15pm Porter, Edita Lukovic, Lindsay 4:15pm Mustangs Juranich, Adrienne Baker; mid4:15pm dle, Mia Valido, Sonia Bravo, Kendra Fortozo, Giuliana Rich4:15pm ards, Isis Watson, Cindy Soare; 10am front, Yalin Amaya-Salis, Jessa Mustangs Avancena, Casey Gervacio, Iva4:15pm na Vasquez, Hannah Urbanowcz. 4pm

Boys Soccer

April 1

@Pascack Hills

April 4

@West Milford

April 6

Eastern Christian

April 9

@Old Tappan

April 11

@DePaul

April 13

PCTI

April 15

Paramus

4pm

April 17

@Waldwick

4pm

April 22

@Wayne Hills

TBD

April 24

Kinnelon

April 27

@John P. Stevens

May 2

@Eastern Christian

May 6

Westwood

May 8

Passaic Valley

May 10

@Saddle Brook

Girls Soccer

10am

4:30pm 10am 4pm 4:15pm

6pm 4pm

There is no doubt Richards is a difference maker. Athletic and Mustangs speedy, she can score, pass and take the draw for the Mustangs. Joining her in the midfield will be seniors Edita Lukovic and Ivana Vasquez. Mustangs Lukovic grew significantly as a player last year, stepping into a larger role in the wake of Richards’ injury. This year, she is more confiMustangs dent and will look to fill

Tennis Track

Volleyball


Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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MUSTANG SPORTS

GIRLS LACROSSE the role of Clifton’s secondary goal scorer. Vasquez, meanwhile, moves to the midfield after a year on defense, and is well-rounded both on the back end and as a scorer. Clifton’s defense will be led by senior Shana Gadaire, a four-year starter who can also play the midfield. Quick and adept at reading the ball, she has an understanding of the entire defense. Junior Sonya Bravo, senior Chelsy Rivera and senior Casey Gervacio will round out the starting D, with junior Yalin Amaya-Salas contributing, as well. Consistent Nicole Ozga, a junior, enters her third year in the cage, while juniors Adrienne Baker and Lindsay Juranich and seniors Isis Watson and Hannah Urbanowycz start on the attack. Senior Miranda Porter will also contribute on the offensive end of the field. “I am very optimistic,” Gryszkin said. “A lot of them have been playing together for three or four years. They understand things on the field. I like that they take control without me having to call things out there. “They are a good, dedicated group.”

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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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Mustangs

Lacrosse Mustangs BOYS VOLLEYBALL

MUSTANG SPORTS

Boys Soccer Mustangs

Girls Soccer Mustangs

Tennis Mustangs

Track Mustangs

Mustangs

Volleyball

April 1

Bergen Catholic

4:15pm

April 5

JFK

4:15pm

April 6

@TBA

April 8

Eastside

April 3

The 2018 season was one of highs and lows for Clifton boys volleyball. The Mustangs returned to the state playoffs for the first time in three years, but were bounced early by Dover to finish 10-12 on the year. They started the year 8-4, but slid to a 2-10 finish. Still, they ended the year knowing progress was made and look to carry that over into 2019. “Last year was bittersweet,” said head coach Dan Crespo. “We didn’t sustain how well we played early. We didn’t quite have the same work ethic and focus later in the year. But in terms of where we were in 2016 and where we are now, we have really closed the gap. Now, we are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle and have our moment.” The Mustangs are young but have strong senior leadership in the form

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Volleyball

@Bergen Tech

4pm

9am 4:30pm

April 10 @Passaic

4:30pm

April 11

4:15pm

Lyndhurst

April 15 PCTI April 17 Lakeland April 22 @Wayne Hills

4pm 4:15pm 4pm

April 24 @West Milford

4:15pm

April 26 Bergen Tech

4:30pm

April 27 @Belleville

8am

April 29 @JFK

4pm

April 30 Kearny

4pm

May 1

@Eastside

4pm

May 3

Passaic

May 9

@PCTI

May 10

Passaic Valley

May 13

@Wayne Valley

May 15

@Hackensack

4:30pm 4pm 4pm 4pm

4:15pm

From back left: Jacob Wojdab; Emmanuel Sanchez, Gabriel Maksymiw, Anthony Meneses, Robert Lemanski and Jorgo Gerollari; front, Italo Huertas, Manav Patel, Adrian Baran and John Sendy Turqueza. Not pictured: Joe Lauritano.

of setter Manav Patel and middle hitter Joseph Lauritano. Patel has improved drastically over the past year both in serving and defense. He also has a better handle on the offense and has shown a penchant for making good decisions. Lauritano is what Crespo calls “the heart of the team” thanks to his contagious positive attitude. He fills a big brother role to much of Clifton’s youthful lineup and is solid both on and off the net. Sophomore libero Adrian Baran is one of the team’s toughest

M

C


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MUSTANG SPORTS

BOYS VOLLEYBALL servers and has emerged as a vocal leader whose confidence is at an all-time high. Sophomore outside hitter Italo Huertas is one of the team’s best all-around players, proficient as a server, passer and defender. Crespo has looked to extract greater aggressiveness from his game and believes the sky is the limit for the talented tenth-grader. His classmate, Gabriel Maksymiw, is another outside hitter that can pass and serve. He is perhaps Clifton’s most fiery competitor. Another sophomore, middle hitter Anthony Meneses, can jump out of the gym and has demonstrated improved decision-making, while junior opposite is a high-quality blocker who has the potential to be a force on the right side. Senior middle hitter Jacob Wojdag is another player who figures to be in the rotation. “A year ago, we really weren’t competitive in scrimmages,” Crespo said. “But we really had Jefferson running around a little bit. We had some very good moments against a school that is usually good, year in and year out. “It gave me confidence that it could be sign of things to come.”

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Mustangs

Gymn

Mustangs

Lacro

Mustangs

Boys S

Mustangs

Girls S

Mustangs

Mustangs

Tennis

April 1

@Bergen Catholic

4pm

April 5

JFK

4pm

April 8

Eastside

4pm

April 3 Front from left, Peter Lynch, Juan Vizcaino, Joey Velazquez, Johann Gamo, Justin Martinez and Jazon Suarez; back, Jonathan Martinez, Ali Muhammed, Omar Abufasha (Capt.), Kevin Chavez, Sebastian Hernandez and Miguel Ariztizabal.

Some see a struggling program. Shirah Wittwer sees potential. The Clifton boys tennis team limped to just two wins last year, hindered by low numbers and lower morale. But with the enthusiasm of their new head coach and support from athletic director Tom Mullahey, the Mustangs are hoping that 2019 can represent a year of rebirth for a team that has had its share of success over the years. “We really want to increase the numbers,” Wittwer said. “And I have tried to recruit some players from within our halls. We got 17 players to try out. We are going to try and build back a quality varsity program.” Wittwer, an assistant boys soccer and girls basketball coach, likes what she has seen so far.

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Tenn

@Bergen Tech

April 10 @Passaic April 11

@Kearny

April 15 @PCTI April 18 @Fair Lawn

4pm Mustangs

Track

4:30pm

4pm Mustangs

10am 4:15pm

April 23 @Lakeland

4pm

April 24 @Bergen Tech

4pm

April 25 @North Bergen

4pm

April 26 @JFK

4pm

April 29 @Eastside

4pm

May 1

Passaic

4:30pm

May 8

@PCTI

4pm

Volle


MUSTANG SPORTS She has observed that there is far more talent and athleticism on Clifton’s clay than some might assume. It all starts with senior Omar Abufasha, the Mustangs’ first singles player. Playing third singles a year ago, he enjoyed a solid year. He is aggressive and especially skilled at playing defense close to the net. Wittwer also beams about his leadership and willingness to provide guidance to some of Clifton’s younger players. Senior second singles Jonathan Martinez is a quality player, as well. Equipped with a good all-around game, he is adept at getting opponents moving side to side. He is quick, fast and reacts well to balls hit his way. “These guys are very energetic and very willing to learn,” Wittwer said. “It is fun to work with them.” A star on the lanes for Clifton boys bowling, senior Johann Gamo is a finesse tennis player who figures to contribute significantly at third singles. Patient and methodical, he is fundamentally sound and skilled at keeping exchanges alive awaiting mistakes by the opposition. On the first doubles court, Clifton will sport some youth in the duo of freshman Justin Martinez and soph-

TENNIS omore Sebastian Hernandez. Martinez, the brother of Jonathan, is more experienced than his age would suggest, while Hernandez is also a soccer player—a fact that become apparent when watching his quickness and agility. The two are continually building chemistry and should become more dangerous as they jell further. Meanwhile, the second doubles duties fall on sophomores Joey Velazquez and Kevin Chavez. Like Hernandez, both are soccer players. The two have shown the ability to communicate effectively on the court and will only get better as the year progresses. The Mustangs may have a long way to go to earn the respect of the North Jersey tennis community and be viewed as a real threat, but there is no question they have the blocks to rebuild. With their energetic coach at the helm, don’t be surprised if that rebuild goes faster than expected. “I think we have the potential to make some leaps in our first year,” Wittwer said. “Our team can be a little nervous, a little hesitant. But I think once they break out of that and make a little noise, we will be able to play with some teams we couldn’t play with in the past.”

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MUSTANG SPORTS

CHEERLEADING

The Clifton Cheer Squad enjoyed a great season. For the first time ever, they made it to the “mini meet” finals, finishing 6-2 (mini meets are weekly head-tohead competitions with Big North conference squads). After making it to finals, Clifton finished in fourth place out of the entire large school division. The Mustangs also placed second in the actual Big North com-

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petition and won first place at the New Jersey Cheer and Dance Association State Competition at the Cure Insurance Arena in the Coed Intermediate Division in Trenton—the first time taking a state title. “This team became a family and were all so supportive of each other,” said coach Ashley LaTrace. “I am so beyond proud.”


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Please join us in saluting our highest achievers

2018 Weichert President’s Club

Alma Billings

Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award Gold - 2018

2018 Weichert Ambassador’s Club Patricia “Patty” Badia Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

NJ Realtors Circle of Excellence Sales Award Gold - 2018

2018 Weichert Executive’s Club Beryl Bells

Lucretia Petronio

Elena Schwartz

COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

Valdemar

Lesia Wirstiuk

Lou Wnek

Studzinski COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Marketed Club

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COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Marketed Club

COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club


2018 Weichert Director’s Club

Corinne Alesi Quinn Weichert Sales Club

Christopher Andres Weichert Sales Club

Kaitlyn Barbagallo COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Marketed Club

Geff Gardner COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club

Eileen LiVecchi COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club

Tiana Calandro Weichert Sales Club

Weichert Marketed Club

Yi Lu COE Bronze - 2018 Weichert Sales Club

Carlito Chi Weichert Sales Club

Hilda Ferro COE Bronze - 2018

Weichert Marketed Club

Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

Sheryl Madonna Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

Susan “Sue” McFarlane Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

2018 Weichert Million Dollar Club

Shahel Ahmed Weichert Sales Club

Laura Bustos Weichert Sales Club

Mary Jean Cetinich Weichert Marketed Club

Vivian Garcia Weichert Sales Club

Kevin Carpenter Weichert Sales Club Weichert Marketed Club

Zaidem Illescas

Vasko Janeski Weichert Sales Club

Mabel Martinez Weichert Sales Club

Marsha Lindsay Weichert Sales Club

Patrick Moore

Saboor Kelley Weichert Sales Club

Kathleen “Kathy” Perow Weichert Marketed Club

Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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Election 2019

Board of Education

On April 16, from 130 to 8 pm, select three out of five candidates for a 3-year term on the Board of Education, a 1-year term commissioner, and vote the budget “up or down”.

Meet the Board of Education Candidates With the BOE elections moved by judge’s ruling from Nov. 2018 to April 16, the following are condensed candidate profiles that appeared originally in our Sept. 2018 magazine. Read the full profiles at cliftonmagazine.com. Profiles of candidates Tafari Anderson and Franklin Montero can be found on pages 44 and 48.

Dana Beltran, Joseph Canova, James Daley, Lawrence Grasso and Tafari K. Anderson are vying for a three-year term. Only three of the five candidates will be selected. Franklin S. Montero is running unopposed for a single-year term. Meet the candidates at a forum sponsored by the Clifton Republican Club on April 9 at 7 pm at the Clifton Elks Lodge.

Dana Beltran, 27, graduated from Wayne Hills High School in 2008 and moved to Delawanna four years ago. “I have no connections to the town’s political turmoil,” Beltran said, “and I think I can have a positive impact since I don’t know anyone.” Beltran is a first-generation Cuban American and University of Delaware graduate with a degree in finance and management. After working for Deloitte & Touche, in 2014, she returned to her family business, Kikos Supermarket in Fairview, handling all aspects of the operation. She believes her diverse experiences and familiarity with large budgets would make her a BOE asset. “Managing a small business,” she said, “along with my experience with large corporations gives me a wide range of knowledge.” She wants to use the new budget to “shrink class sizes as much as possible” for younger students. However,

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she believes in the benefit of larger class sizes for older students because it prepares them for college classrooms. What role does she envision for herself if elected? “I don’t have a relationship with anyone on the board,” she reiterated. “So anyone who comes to present, it’ll be a fresh set of eyes that has no pre-existing opinion.” Lifelong resident Joseph Canova, 37, is a Thomas Edison State University graduate, works at Berkeley College as its senior director of systems and lives in Dutch Hill with wife Rose and daughters Lidia and Nadia. Canova is supportive of expanding the pre-school program and re-purposing the Annex, and wants to see more transparency, advocating for biweekly meetings. “The first week is for everyone to have a dialogue,” he said. “I would prefer an open forum about things we’re thinking about doing and how people think. The


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Election 2019

Board of Education

next meeting, after everyone has had time to think it over, could be when people vote on it.” He believes stronger communication will help the community and BOE unify. He also supports program enhancements. “If we broaden the program selection a bit,” Canova said, “and start integrating STEAM into our curriculum, we’ll have a well-rounded program for the whole child.” As far as working as a BOE member, Canova said: “You have to learn different styles of how people work and working with others. Personally, I feel that I get along with everyone on the board and don’t have a problem with anyone. “Everyone is there, from their perspective, to further the educational system in Clifton.” Allwood resident James Daley, 68, graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in public administration. A 20-year Clifton Planning Board member, Daley is married to wife Kathleen and they are parents to James and Adriana (CHS ’09). If reelected, he hopes to address the school space issue and how it relates to the re-purposing of the Annex. “Where the Annex is and other available spaces are doesn’t fit where students’ needs are geographically,” said Daley. “We need more space on east side of town.” He also disagrees with using the Annex as a high school or for high school activities. Another objective is to maintain the budget at 2 percent or under. “The wild card is healthcare cost, special education cost and out-of-district cost for non-special ed students,” he said, “stuff we don’t have real control of. That’s where

our biggest challenge is as far as funding goes. We work very hard as a team. We spent over $16 million on capital projects with no increase to taxpayers. He extolled the virtues of Clifton Schools. “We have an excellent teaching staff and full variety of extracurriculars. There are activities in the arts and different AP courses available.” Lawrence Grasso, 60, understands being an elected official invites criticism. “I make decisions based on what I believe will be in best interest of the district with how administration is presenting them to me,” said Grasso, a 1976 CHS graduate who lives in Montclair Heights with wife Laura. Their children, Michael ’04, Spenser ’05 and Liana ’10, also graduated from CHS. Grasso, who owns LMG Consulting, supports expanding the pre-school program and sees other uses for the Annex, including offering Early Childhood Education for high school students. Running for election before his last term was built on his concern that the BOE “was not focused on securing all our schools as well as they could’ve been.” “It was all I was going to focus on in my first three years,” he said. “It was a never-ending process, but it was successful,” emphasizing he was not alone in achieving the goal. “Everything was ‘we’ after I got elected. ‘We,’ as a board, got everything we did to get what we needed for security.” And if he is re-elected this year? “I would like to work better with my fellow board members. I will continue to play the role that the president of board wishes me to play.”

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Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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Election 2019

Board of Education

Incumbent Tafari K. Anderson was not profiled in our Sept. 2018 issue because he had withdrawn his name from consideration due to “unforeseen personal family matters,” as reported on insidernj.com. After “a multitude of calls” to reconsider, he decided to run to retain his BOE seat. A Clifton resident for the last two decades and married father of four, Anderson was elected to the BOE in 2012. He holds an associate degree from Passaic County Community College and works as a technology director for the Milltown Public Schools. “I am running,” Anderson said, “to continue to demand funding equity from the State of New Jersey by holding them accountable to appropriately fund our school.” Noting his engineering background and problem-solving skills will continue to serve Clifton well, Anderson stated, “As a fiscal conservative and a community activist, every decision I have made is in the best interest of Clifton and our residents. “One of my strengths is being able to present outof-the-box ideas like dual enrollment programs to help students achieve an associate college degree while in high school.” Anderson noted dual enrollment will “save parents a lot of money” and fast track students’ educational progress. He also wants to focus on a non-college bound program to help other students be successful. Regarding the budget, Anderson believes moving the BOE election back to April was imperative. “Politics have no place in education,” he said. “Trenton is on a taxation spree and having the foresight of changes coming out of Trenton will prove to be the right decision for the longevity of a stable tax base and education system for Clifton. “From November 2012 to today, on average, we have maintained less than the 2 percent tax cap and maintained the lowest tax increases over a decade compared to previous years. We have maintained an extraordinary education system and approved major upgrades to our facilities by being fiscally prudent while others around the state are bonding billions to accomplish the same task.”

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Part of the budget goes toward special education. “Not only is it my philosophy that every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education,” Anderson said, “but it is also the law. Special education students are no different.” He believes lack of state funding—including aggressive erosion of state aid to the charter school system—hampers Clifton. “If we are appropriately funded as required by law,” Anderson said, “the district would be able to develop needed programs in-district to meet the special education population’s needs. It is imperative to identify and aggressively provide services at a younger age to allow most students to be mainstream sooner, hence reducing our overall cost while providing the needed services.” Saying the school superintendent “bar is set extremely high,” Anderson wants to find “an innovator and a visionary leader” to fill the position. He is also a huge supporter of pre-school and early childhood education. “The data shows students enrolled in high-quality preschool education will make more progress than the ones that are not,” he said. “Children requiring intervention (IEP, ELL, Dyslexia, ADHD, and many more) will be identified much sooner and receive needed services earlier to allow them to make greater progress. As far as re-purposing the Annex, Anderson believes placing high school students there would put some at a disadvantage. “The district,” he said, “is looking to grow our preschool program as well as establishing a true S.T.E.A.M program, and the decision was one that was clear from the beginning. We needed a location to continue to expand our preschool initiative and leasing another building just wasn’t the right decision. “The CHS Annex was approved by the county superintendent as useable space and this was a win-win for early preschool education. “Overall, this decision was also fiscally responsible and was in the best interest of the education community.” please turn to page 48


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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com


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Election 2019

Board of Education

Franklin S. Montero is running unopposed to complete the year remaining of former BOE commissioner Rosemary Pino’s vacated three-year term. Pino was elected to the Clifton City Council in May. A Clifton homeowner since 2005 (first in Botany, now in Athenia), Montero lives with wife Yamilky Crisostomo and their two boys Ethan and Franklin Jr. A lawyer, Montero recently purchased a building on Clifton Ave. where he will be relocating his practice. He specializes in real estate, bankruptcy and immigration cases, and also serves as Bergenfield’s municipal prosecutor. Montero earned his bachelor’s degree from NYU, his master’s degree from Fordham, and his law degree from Rutgers. As a parent of a special needs child, he has a vested interest in running for the BOE. “Our district is vast and has many resources at its disposable that can be leveraged to solve many current challenges,” he said. “One of those challenges is how to most effectively meet the needs of the special education population. We must provide our children with the tools

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needed to succeed in life. Such preparation starts with a strong school district.” Paying for this strong district begins with the school budget. Montero said he remains “fiscally conservative when it comes to budget decisions” and wants to re-purpose facilities and invest in current academic programs to keep the budget balanced. “Managing the rising special education population and its related education costs, he offered, should be done with earlier diagnosis and intervention. “The earlier the diagnosis,” Montero said, “the sooner that we can start working with children. We should take a more holistic approach when addressing our special education population. This can be further complemented with inclusive settings for students to better stimulate learning. “Taking these measures will allow the district to streamline its approach when addressing our special education population, which will diminish the burden on the budget long term.”


For the new school superintendent,” Montero wants an out-of-the-box thinker who is curriculum-driven and understands special education issues. He also wants a leader experienced with working in a large and diverse school system like Clifton. In addition, Montero favors expanding the pre-school program. “There are evidence-based studies,” he said, “that favor expanding pre-school programs as a means to provide an early introduction to literacy for children and their families. Such an early start for our children and their families may equate to better prepared and higher performing students in the future. As such, expanding the pre-school program may be a progressive approach to better the school district long term.” He also wants to see the public weigh-in on re-purposing the Annex, and ventured a trade school might be an answer. “The Annex presents a great opportunity,” he said, “to host a public forum for input on ideas and opportunities to leverage this site to its highest and best use. For example, the Annex can be re-purposed as a vocational school. This can be achieved by developing pub-

lic/private collaborations to create trade programs that students can pursue. “The public/private approach can be used to place students at local companies in either paid or for school credit internships. Such an approach may be complemented by expanding partnerships with local trade schools such as HoHoKus and Lincoln Tech. “The newly-created programs may be extensions of those offered by these trade schools and students may receive credit to apply toward any programs later pursued at the partner trade school.”

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15th PC Film Festival

Silver Screen Stories By Jack DeVries

Filmmaker Frank DeLorenzo of Clifton and above, the poster for the 2019 Festival.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Passaic County Film Festival, with Cliftonites well represented. The festival is an exhibition of student and independent filmmakers’ work, featuring projects created by those who live, attend school or work in Passaic County. Along with providing a showcase forum, the festival is an opportunity for filmmakers to have their work reviewed and screened in a professional venue and interact with industry members. One of those talented filmmakers is Clifton’s Frank DeLorenzo.“Growing up,” said DeLorenzo, “I was obsessed with movies and how they were made after my mom showed me the behind the scenes featurette of Michael Jackson’s The Making of Thriller.” A 2006 CHS graduate, DeLorenzo studied marketing at Bergen Community College and William Paterson University, hoping to create commercials for a career.

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However, his passion for making films was too strong. After working in a few jobs, he returned to WPU’s film program where he met collaborator Dylan Wolf. “Dylan has always aspired to be a writer/director,” said DeLorenzo, “and when he heard that I wanted to be a cinematographer, we clicked.” A result of their creative union is the short film festival entry, Unboxed. “[The story] centered around two aspiring YouTubers who are trying to gain a following and become famous online,” described DeLorenzo. “They decide to up the ante from their regular posted videos and order a mystery box from the dark web, unaware of the consequences this may have.” Another Cliftonite who entered his work is David Ambrose. “April is a short film that tells the story of two people who were in a past relationship,” said


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15th PC Film Festival Ambrose, a 2017 CHS graduate. “They both try to figure out how to let one another go. [The film is] actually very similar to the high school short film I made called First Love. I’ve finally retold the story in its entirety.” Ambrose, 20, is now a sophomore at Montclair State University, majoring in business (with a concentration in data analytics) and minoring in film. April was also screened last month at the Lovesick Film Festival in Jersey City. Festival films are judged in the following categories: General Short Film; Public Service Announcement; Documentary; Music Video; and Silent Films. Along with recognizing work by local independent filmmakers, the festival also screens work by high school and university students. Among the Passaic County Technical Institute students living in Clifton who will screen their films at the festival are Emily Morillo, who will present Love Redefined, a story that asks young teenage girls about self-love.

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Classmate Megan Mitchell, whose film The Missing Piece, explained the difficulties of Autism in a PSA she produced. A music video by Clifton resident and PCTI student Jariana Roberts on Suicide Prevention (1-800-273-8255) was among the more memorable films carrying an important message and will be among the 20 films screened. However, due to time limits, not all the films could be shown. While all 79 festival entries have been reviewed, only the top-ranked entries in each category, selected by Passaic County Film Commission member judges, are screened. “I wish we could screen each and every one of them,” said Deborah Hoffman, Director of the Passaic County Division of Economic Development. “I think it is amazClifton filmmaker David Ambrose.


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15th PC Film Festival

PCTI Filmmakers Jayden Hunt, Samantha Olson, Emily Morillo, Megan Mitchell, Asia Brown and Matt Sillen. Not pictured but who also participated and are Clifton residents, Jariana Robertson and Jozmarie Irizarry.

ing what these students have done. For example, one was able to wrap a serious message with a music video and produce a piercing and memorable message that really hits home.” To mark the milestone of 15 years, some additional features have been added to the April 13 screening at the Fabian 8. Opening the festival will be the NJ Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players (made possible through a PSEG Foundation grant) who will perform as the audience enters the theater. The top three finishers in each category will be presented with “The Costello,” named in honor of comedian Lou Costello. The multi-talented Paterson native starred on stage, radio, TV and movies, making more than 40 films during the last century as part of the comedy duo, Abbott and Costello. He often mentioned his hometown in his comedy routines. The film festival will also award a Costello for the best overall film. In addition, the North Jersey Federal Credit Union will present a special award of $1,000 to one filmmaker selected by NJFCU representatives and four “Shooting Star” awards. A donation of film equipment will be given to a Passaic County High School, courtesy of Unique Photo and the Passaic County Film Commission. “We are thrilled that 79 films were submitted this year by the many talented students and independent

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film makers from Passaic County,” Freeholder Director John Bartlett said. “This is the 15th year of our sponsorship of the film festival, and we are delighted to give County film makers an opportunity to share their films with the public. “This year’s film festival should be special as we feature the NJ Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players.” A $2,000 Doris Aaronson Award will also be presented to the filmmaker with the best social or environmental film. The Passaic County Film Festival begins at 10 am on April 13 at the Fabian 8 Cinema. The Fabian is located on the upper level of Paterson’s Center City Mall at 301 Main Street (Main and Ward Streets). A voucher for the underground parking garage at Center City Mall will be provided to attendees. Admission is free and it is open to the public. The festival is sponsored by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders with additional financial support from a grant administered by the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Accurate Box; Bascom Corporation; Carl “Doc” Burrows; Cristina Deutsch; Jody Lazarski; Lakeland Bank; Maryellen Lyons; The North Jersey Federal Credit Union; Passaic County Community College Foundation; PSEG Foundation; Ross International; Unique Photo; and Valley National Bank.


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Joe Cupoli’s

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Marie Nigara, her daughter-in-law Gina, Melissa Goglia, Cupoli and his son Joseph holding Juliet Nigara and her brother Theo.

By Jack DeVries Joe Cupoli’s journey started where most inevitably end. At age 5, he began go with his grandmother to visit his grandfather’s grave. While at the small cemetery in Bloomfield, they would place grave blankets or plant spring flowers. And they would also always make sure to visit where Uncle Steven was buried. “My Uncle Steven was born in 1951; I was born in 1964,” said Cupoli. “He died at age 3 from leukemia. But I knew of my uncle from what my grandmother and mother told me. My name is ‘Joseph Steven’ so I’m named after him.” Cupoli sensed the deep sadness in his family and how they kept the memory of his uncle close. A disease with a strange name had impacted them all. Little did young Joe know that when he got older, he would do something to help others not experience the same loss. Beginning March 26, Cupoli—a former Clifton councilman and 25-year resident—begins his path to become New Jersey’s “Man of the Year” for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancers. “Over the years,” he said, “I’ve developed a huge network of family, friends and vendors. Now it’s my turn to go to them and say, ‘I have a really good cause that I want you to support.’”


LLS’s “Man and Woman of the Year” is a competition of nominated individuals who strive to raise the most money to support the organization’s mission of advancing breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine—research that saves lives. “It’s a fun, friendly competition,” Cupoli said. “At the end of the day, everybody wins, cancer loses.”

rented movies from the library and set up my basement as a movie theater. We had a bunch of games outside for a nickel and gave out prizes.” The only son in a Polish-Italian family of five daughters, Cupoli could not recall why they picked the shelter to support, though the family always had pets. However, the giving spark was born. “I always felt,” he said, “if I Giving Nature had the ability, I was going to help When he was 10, Joe Cupoli people. As I’ve gotten older, the began making a difference in his helping has gone on to a larger Cupoli’s uncle Stephen Horoschak. community. scale.” With his sisters, he organized After graduating Bloomfield a fair at his Bloomfield home to High in 1982, Cupoli earned an benefit the local animal shelter. The Independent industrial engineering degree at NJIT. While in colPress wrote a 1975 story, “Fun at the Fair,” detailing lege, he began working at P&A Auto Parts and would how the Cupoli siblings raised $50 for the shelter. go on to buy the business with partner Bill Friedman “I went around to ShopRite, Garden State Farms in 2003. They now have nine store locations throughand other local business, and got small donations,” out Passaic, Bergen and Essex Counties, and employ he remembered. “We did a fun fair in my backyard. I more than 150 people.

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Operation Hope His large scale-giving started with a complaint. As a business owner, Cupoli would assemble fruit baskets for his customers during the holidays with his office staff. When one customer groused about overripe fruit and basket quality, he decided to scrap the gifts and give the money to charity. “We’d go down to The Tomorrows Children’s Institute (now the Children’s Cancer Institute) at Hackensack University Medical Center and bring gifts and read to the kids,” he said. “Then we met with Lynn Hoffman of the Institute who would help us pick out a family that was treating with cancer, and we’d send them on a vacation. It was our own little ‘Make-aWish’ foundation.” Worthy Cause After marrying and buying a home in the Allwood section in 1988, Cupoli began his involvement in politics by advocating for student issues (his three children Julie-Anne, Joe and Jake attended Clifton schools). On May 9, 2006, he entered public life, winning a seat on the Clifton City Council. “I always said I’d be a one-term council person,” he said. “I wanted to do it for four years and let someone else take a shot.” After unsuccessfully running for State Senate in the 34th district and Passaic County freeholder— along with serving as a Clifton Republican city leader—he decided to put his political ambitions aside. “Over the years,” said Cupoli, “politics becomes very draining and taxing. It’s not a pretty arena to be in. My enthusiasm and desire to give back seems better suited in the philanthropic world.”

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After he supported Holmdel’s Ivy Charmatz’s Woman of the Year drive last year, Charmatz nominated Cupoli to undertake his own campaign. “I was blown away by the LLS organization—how well it’s run, where the funding goes. The donated money is so well used—78 percent goes to patient services and research, and just 22 percent to administrative costs. Last year, 14 of the 17 approved drugs came from blood cancer research.” Not only do LLS-supported therapies help blood cancer patients, they are now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers, and noncancerous diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. With his team of 22 friends and family—selected so their social circles do not overlap—Cupoli is aiming to raise more than $250,000. Cliftonites on his team include son Joe, the BOE’s Kim Renta and WWMS teacher Melissa Goglia. “I’ve been on national calls,” he said, “with doctors who make the decision about where the funding foes. The way they pinpoint the cancer treatment and research is incredible.” Cupoli’s campaign runs through June 5, and he would appreciate support from his large network of Clifton friends. “Each of us has been touched by cancer is some way, shape or form,” he said. “I’m excited about this opportunity to do something special and impactful.” To help Joe Cupoli and Operation Hope raise money for LLS during his Man of the Year campaign, visit operationhopells.com.


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Operation Hope

LLS Girl of the Year:

Juliet Nigara

To illustrate why Joe Cupoli is raising money for LLS, meet Juliet Nigara, 9, the 2019 LLS’s “Girl of the Year.” Juliet lives in Mountain Lakes, N.J., with mom Gina, dad Anthony (who works in Clifton) and brother Theo, 7. “Everyone wants to have the ‘Girl or Boy of the Year’ at their event, a young cancer survivor who can speak in front of 100 people or more,” Cupoli said. “Juliet can do that—she’s amazing!” The third-grader who attends Wildwood Elementary school in Mountain Lakes was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2015. “Her initial symptoms were frequent fevers, infections and coughs,” said Gina Nigara. “There were many doctor visits, but Juliet just wasn’t getting better.” After being diagnosed with leukemia, Juliet underwent a grueling, nine-month regimen of spinal taps and chemotherapy at The Valerie Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown. During treatment, she lost her hair twice and endured a port in her chest for two and a half years. Her sickness caused her to miss most of her kindergarten year and be tutored at home. “It was hard for me,” Juliet said, “but I knew I had people who were going to stay by my side, like my mom and dad, my brother, and my doctors and nurses. Even though I was doing all this difficult and painful stuff, I knew it was all for a good purpose.”

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She achieved remission in March 2016 and completed chemotherapy treatment in March 2018. Juliet loves to draw and swim, enjoys bagel bites, and says Charlotte’s Web is her favorite book. She also likes the cartoon character “Starfire” from Teen Titans Go! “Starfire is different from the other Titans,” she said. “She has a good outfit, is pretty, likes cats and is independent.” When asked what it was like to be LLS “Girl of the Year,” she answered, “It makes me feel special. Other people are out there going through the same thing. Because I got better, I can give them hope.” Juliet appreciates the work and support of others, especially Cupoli. “I like Joe,” she said. “He’s nice and funny. I think it’s important for people like him to give—to help with research so others feel better and beat cancer.”


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ARTS & MUSIC Ever have a guest who you can’t wait to leave? That is the premise behind the comedy ‘The Man Who Came to Dinner,’ presented by the Theater League of Clifton. Set in the 1940’s, the central character is Sheridan Whiteside, an opinionated radio personality host who falls and becomes the univited guest of the Stanley family. Performance dates have been changed to May 31, June 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. Cliftonites Elizabeth Eisenmenger (left), John Traier and Dorothy Dobkowski are among the performers in the play, staged at the Aprea Theater. To reserve tickets call 973-928-7668 or visit theaterleagueofclifton.com.

The Bloomfield Mandolin Orchestra is saddened by the loss of its beloved and longtime member Carol Franz, 80, who passed away at her home in Glen Ridge on March 2. Franz, second from left, not only performed with the group but also served as orchestra president and treasurer. Many will also recognize her from her decades of work at the Clifton Immedicenter where she was the business manager. A Bloomfield Federation of Music Hall of Famer, Carol and husband Jack also represented the orchestra at several national Classical Mandolin Society of America conventions. Pictured from left with Carol in a 2007 photo are Russ Kelner, Gabriel Nevola, Janet Wells and Dr. Phil Jasper (photo by John Meixner).

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AWARDS & MORE

School 11 fifth grader Isabella Frias had her long hair cut on March 18 as part of the 14th annual Cut-a-Thon at Christopher Columbus Middle School. In total, students, staff and friends had 1,713 inches of hair cut and donated to the Children with Hairloss CWHL. These donated locks will be used by kids who lost hair due to illnesses, reports organizer and CCMS teacher Kim Dreher. Jason Boyko, 12, placed first in the Special Olympics Bowling State Finals March 24 representing Team PRAISE, winning a gold medal. Pictured with Jason are his proud coaches, Melvin Chance (left) and Robert Marriello.

Clifton Cares has shipped more than 5,000 packages to our troops serving overseas since it first began in August 2010, and volunteers need your contributions. Deposit items in bin at city hall. Make your tax-deductible check payable to Clifton Cares Inc. and mail to Clifton Cares, Clifton City Hall, 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton 07013. Clifton Cares is a 501(c)(3). Power of One’s “Hunger Doesn’t Stop Spring Break” Food Drive is On March 20, the Passaic County Coaches Association feted coaches for achieving being sponsored by Kearny Bank. milestone wins. Among the honorees were (from left) Stan Lembryk, soccer, 200 Since schools are closed during wins; Joe Rivera, baseball, 100 wins; Amanda Gryszkin, service award; John Ponspring break, families depending tes, track and field, 150 wins; and Dan Geleta, wrestling, 200 wins. on their school’s reduced or free lunch need help with weekly groThe Clifton Advisory Committee for Individuals ceries. Help by donating non-perishable food items, and with Disabilities meets the third Monday each month drop off your donations at Kearny Bank’s branches on in the City Hall Health Department offices at 6:30 pm Clifton, Lakeview and Van Houten Aves. Visit www. (public is welcome). The organization reminds all to powerofoneccom.org for more details. To organize a obey the law and leave handicapped parking spaces for food drive, contact Kim Castellano at 201-328-2326 or those who need them. For committee info, visit cliftonkim@powerofoneccom.org. nj.org/content/individuals-with-disabilities-and-special-needs or contact Colleen H. Murray at 973-253St. John Lutheran Church at 140 Lexington Ave., 9579 or czarinahelenaone@gmmail.com. Passaic will hold a thrift shop on April 6 from 9:30 am to 1 pm. Gently used clothing, household items, toys, Send info on events to tomhawrylko@optonline.net and games will be featured at a very low price. and we’ll publish as space and time permits.

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ALL-CITY

BAND

CONCERT

Clifton Public Schools annual All-City Band Concert was at the JFK Auditorium in Clifton High on March 19. Each year students from the fifth through 12th grades have the opportunity to audition to become part of the “All-City” ensemble. They are chosen based upon several different criteria including high performance scores, maintaining a high level of responsibility and a continuous practice ethic. Above left, Marching Mustang sophomore clarinet player Christine Delguercio, Dominic Yang, Colin Nash, Muntaser Atyieh, Ella Carlo (all from School 3), with CHS Marching Mustang senior baritone horn player Gabriela Gaspar. Others pictured on this page are unidentified but certainly enjoyed performing.

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THINGS TO DO The Clifton Republican Club’s Candidate Forum for the Board of Education Election is on April 9 at 7 pm. Residents are invited to attend the forum at the Clifton Elk’s Lodge at the corner of Clifton and Colfax Aves. All candidates said they would attend and the Clifton Cable Channel will be taping it for future broadcast. The Passaic County Historical Society is accepting applications from Passaic County schools, clubs, camps and scout groups interested in subsidized 2019 tours of Lambert Castle museum. The program provides reimbursement for student transportation and admission costs, and funds will be dispersed on a first come basis. In 2018, 627 children participated. For info, visit lambertcastle.org/school_tours/. New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation awards two $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors continuing their education at a college, university or trade/technical school. Graduating seniors must be state residents and write a reflective essay based on their visit to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Applications and essays must be received by April 12. For more info, go to njvvmf.org or call 732-335-0033. FRIENDS of the Clifton Public Library announces its fourth season of Operalogues. The programs are conducted by Ed Perritti, NJ State Opera executive director and presented at the Main Library from 1-3 pm. Admission is free. The following are dates and titles: April 15: Great sopranos from the 1930s to today April 22: Tchaikovsky’s “The Maid of Orleans” May 6: Great baritones from the 1930s to today May 20: Potpourri of operatic selection

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The Trio Fontes chamber ensemble— violinist Yevgeniy Dyo, cellist Suji Kim and pianist Sojung Lee—will perform at the Main Library April 30 at 7 pm. Sponsored by the Friends of the Clifton Public Library, concerts are free. For info, call Denise Regalado at 973-777-7883.

Clifton Rec Dept.’s “Bunny Bash” is April 13 from 9:30 to 11:30 am at Nash Park on Lexington Ave. Prior to the event, there will be breakfast with Mr. Bunny from 7:30 to 9:30 am at the Hot Grill directly across the street. At the Bunny Bash, children (3-12) can visit Mr. Bunny, go to Mrs. Bunny’s Playstation and take part in the 13th Annual Easter Bonnet Contest and Parade. Children ages 8-12 can also participate in a Bunny Hop (pogo sticks supplied). This event takes place rain or shine. For info, go to cliftonrec.com. The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton will host its 12th Annual Tricky Tray May 10. Sponsored by the Ladies Auxillary, proceeds go to the Club’s operational costs. Donations of prizes or sponsorships are greatly appreciated. For info, call 973-773-2697 x143.


A Jigsaw Puzzle Contest will be held April 23 at the Community Recreation Center at 1232 Main Ave. Doors open at 5:30 pm and the contest runs from 6 to 7:30 pm. Teams of friends or families compete to see how fast they can complete a 300- or 500-piece puzzle. Registration is required and can be done online (by 4/19) or at the Clifton Rec office. Soda and juice provided. Cost is $5 per team. For info, go to cliftonrec.com.

When JAG-ONE Physical Therapy cut the ribbon at 50 Mt. Prospect Ave. in Clifton on March 11, it marked its 40th location in the tri-state area. Pictured from left, Councilman William Gibson, Joseph Saraceno, PT, chief operating officer of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, Casey Boullitier, clinical director of the Clifton location, Mayor James Anzaldi, John Gallucci, Jr. MS, ATC, PT, DPT, chief executive officer of JAG-ONE Physical Therapy, Mike Evangelist, vice president of Clinical Services.

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TRADITIONS, REUNIONS

At the Feast of San Giuseppe on March 23, from left are Vincenza’s daughter Sarah Lombardo, son Joe DeLiberto, guest Mayor Jim Anzaldi and daughter Adeline DeVries. At right, CHS Class of 1954 is planning its 65th reunion, and organizers want classmates to contact them ASAP with their names and addresses. The reunion will be held in early June at the Bella Napoli on Broad St. in Bloomfield. Contact (from left) Rita Foti at 908-475-2945, Bill Hansen at 973-661-1034 or wrhLabs@gmail.com or Barbara Den Herder at 973-471-3078.

Viva, San Giuseppe! On March 23, the annual St. Joseph’s feast was hosted for family and friends by the children of Vincenza DeLiberto at the Masonic Lodge on Valley Rd. Now in its 97th year, the feast originated after DeLiberto vowed to St. Joseph to host a feast near or on his name day (March 19) if he intervened and

saved her mother from death by pneumonia. DeLiberto’s mother lived for many years after. This year’s feast was attended by about 80 people. CHS Class of 1970 is looking for the info on class mates, such as mailing addresses, emails and phone numbers. Ann Marie Ayers-Williams is beginning the planning stages for the 50th reunion on Oct. 11, 2020. Send your info to clifton1970reunion@gmail.com. CHS Class of 1979 has its 40th reunion on Nov. 16 at the Black Bear Golf Club in Franklin, N.J. Tickets are $79 and must be purchased by Sept. 1. To request a registration form, email Debra Hatem Gorny and Linda Haraka DiFalco at chs7940years@gmail.com The Clifton Elks Lodge at 775 Clifton Ave. is hosting a “Fish & Chips Dinner,” April 19, from 5-8 p.m. Dinner is $10 per person, eat in or takeout. For more info, call 973-473-9752 or email cliftonelks@optimum.net. The 15th Annual Relay for Life of Clifton is May 18 from 4 pm to midnight at Clifton Schools Stadium. This year’s theme is “Going 15 Rounds with Cancer.” Relay for Life brings the community together to help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. For info, go to relayforlife.org/cliftonnj. To learn more about fighting cancer, call 800-ACS-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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PANCAKE DAY Clifton IHOP’s Kevin O’Neil turned out the servers, cooks and thousands of pancakes on March 12 to Flip it Forward for Kids. Along with IHOPs nationwide, they served up free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes. Customers were then asked to make a donation to help children battling critical illnesses, earning thousands for the cause.

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On March 8, Woodrow Wilson Middle School was named a Unified Champion School by Special Olympics. “We strive to promote an inclusive environment for all our students and are thrilled to be acknowledged by this wonderful organization,” wrote 6th grader teacher and coordinator Angela Fatsis at the banner unveiling.

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GIFTING THE CLUB St. Philip The Apostle, Knights of Columbus members, surrounded by students and Club members presented a donation to the Clifton Boys & Girls Club. The K of C, a Catholic men’s organization dedicated to charity, is open to any Catholic man over age 18. To become a member, call Grand Knight Rich Donkersloot at 973-650-332.

St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church at 81 Washington Ave. will host a “Ukrainian Easter Egg (Pysanka) Decorating Class,” April 10, 6-8 pm., at the church hall. Class fee is $15 and includes eggs and supplies. Register by April 8 by leaving your name, number of students and telephone number on the church answering machine at 973-546-2473. The kitchen feature homemade perogies and Ukrainian-themed gifts for sale.

Young at Heart Club Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Masonic Lodge, 1476 Van Houten Ave. Refreshments are available at 11 am, followed by a brief meeting at noon. Bingo is available. Upcoming trips include: April 12, Tastefully British-Fish & Chips: Luncheon by AARP 4192 & Young at Heart Club at Masonic Lodge, take-out available. Call Lillian for info 973-779-5581.

Clifton Parents Requiring Action and Information for Special Education (P.R.A.I.S.E.) is a non-adversarial parent support group for parents/families with special needs children and adults based in Clifton. Their next meeting is April 22 at 6 pm at the Allwood Library. Gary Weitzen of POAC Autism Services of NJ will be presenting Hidden Dangers and How to Keep Individuals with Autism Safe in Home, School, and Community. Registration is encouraged through www.poac.net. For more information, email cliftonpraise@gmail.com. Celebrate the grand re-opening of Clifton Arts Center on April 10 from 4-8 pm with the exhibit, “Picturing Open Spaces and Places.” The exhibit aims to increase appreciation of Passaic County’s urban, suburban and rural settings. Admission is $3. The Clifton Arts Center and Sculpture Park is on the City Hall grounds. Info is available through the city’s website at cliftonnj.org. St. Peter’s Haven is presenting its “Bloomin 5K Run & 1 Mile Walk” on April 14 from 8-11 am. St. Peter’s, assisted by the Clifton Road Runners Club, is hoping for 500 runners/walkers to arrive at 7-7:30 am at Clifton Schools Stadium to start the race and raise money for the city’s hungry and homeless. For info, visit Bloomin5K.org or cliftonroadrunners.com.

Advertise in the 2019 Clifton Stallions Yearbook which features 70 photos of recreational and traveling team soccer players. Call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400 for info. Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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THE UNA AT 125 YEARS

Members of the Clifton/Passaic chapter of the UNA: Maria Drich, Marie, Duplak, Eliane Ilnitski, Rev. Andriy Dudkevych, Vasyl Harhaj, Halyna Semenyak, Stefan Zurawski and Nadia Dovhan.

Throughout 2019, the Ukrainian National Association (UNA), one of America’s oldest fraternal insurance societies, will celebrate a landmark anniversary—125 years of protecting Ukrainian Americans and Canadians, and serving Ukrainian communities. Anniversary events began Feb. 22 in Shamokin, Pa., the city where the UNA was established. As a fraternal society, the UNA is a not-for-profit association. Proceeds from insurance product sales are not given to anonymous investors; instead, proceeds go directly to provide benefits to UNA members and Ukrainian communities. The UNA’s 1894 founding was driven by the need to help thousands of Ukrainian immigrants who worked dangerous jobs in Pennsylvania coal mines. Deaths were frequent and young widows did not have the ability to pay for a funeral, much less receive future income. From the original “burial policies” that paid funeral expenses and provided income to bereaved families, the UNA expanded into a full-service insurance provider with tens of thousands of members. The anniversary theme is “UNA: Insuring Our Community for 125 Years.” Throughout 2019, the UNA will introduce special programs and benefits to

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celebrate, including a restructured youth scholarship, as well as charitable giving. The anniversary finale will be a grand concert, “Celebrating 125 Years!” It will be held Nov. 2 at the Dolan Performance Hall on the campus of College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J., and feature performers from the U.S., Canada, and Ukraine. Info about the UNA and its 125th anniversary can be found through UNA publications Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly, both in print and online (svoboda-news.com and ukrweekly.com), on the UNA website (unainc.org), as well as by following Ukrainian National Association on Facebook.


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Memories of Botany Neighborhood produced fashion for the nation and area jobs. By Jack DeVries

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Nearly a century ago, Clifton relied on an economic engine of mills and workers, many who lived in Botany Village. For city resident Helen Berkenbush, those times came alive again as she catalogued Botany’s unique history. In 2017, the Passaic County Historical Society received a collection of materials related to Botany Mills of Clifton/Passaic and Forstmann Woolen Company of Passaic/Garfield. The collection was given by the now-closed American Textile History Museum in Massachusetts. Berkenbush, 80, had the task of inventorying the collection along with other volunteers. It included three skids of material—264 boxes of sample books, pieces of cloth and some weaving hand tools, with the vast majority relating to Botany Mills, for which Botany Village was named.


April 14th

Street Fair

(From 9am - 5pm) Run by * Arlene Juliani * 973-981-0094 * www.jarpromotion.com

Easter Bunny

(From 1pm - 3pm) Photos * Face Painting * Gifts Location: Sullivan Square (Parker Ave and Lake Ave)

April 20th Dundee Island Preserve - Clean Up (From 9am - 12pm) If you are willing to donate your time please let us know! Location: Route 21 and Ackerman Ave

Get involved in Botany Village

Call Joe Waninger/ Executive Director at 609-731-5454 Visit our website: www.historicbotanyvillage.org Facebook: Clifton's Historic Botany Village Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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A lifelong Clifton resident who once lived in Athenia and Maple Valley, Berkenbush has resided in Botany since 1962 and been a Passaic County Historical Society volunteer for the past five years. She used her experience cataloguing the large ledger-sized books of fabric swatches to write an article in the Newsletter of the Passaic County Historical Society in late 2018. As Berkenbush recounted in her article, “Clifton and Passaic residents will remember seeing the huge brick buildings on both sides of the Passaic River belonging to Botany, Forstmann and Hird Mills (of Garfield) as you crossed the Ackerman Avenue Bridge.” She goes on to tell Botany Mills was established in 1887, followed by Forstmann Woolen Company in the early 1900s. Samuel Hird established a Clifton plant, located on the corner of Clifton and Paulison Aves., now the Black Prince Distillery. “As a youngster,” Berkenbush wrote, “I remember going to feed the sheep that he kept in the fenced lot alongside the building.” Berkenbush detailed on the Clifton side of the Passaic River, the Dundee Canal was built in 1861 in conjunc-

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tion with the Dundee Falls. The resulting Dundee Water Power and Land Company provided water and power for the factories. “In the 1920s,” Berkenbush wrote, “there were over 16,000 workers employed in the wool and silk mills located in and around Passaic. This workforce represented over 39 nationalities and approximately half of the employees were female. The largest, Botany Worsted Mills, employing 6,400 workers.” The fabric swatch books date to 1901-55 and contain an array of colors, tweeds and plaids that reflect the changing fashion of the times. “In its heyday,” Berkenbush wrote, “Botany 500 Suits for men were made of fine woolens and worsteds sold on Broadway in New York City. The company’s advertising brochure, Botany: An American Institution, details several other products for men, women and children including wrinkleproof ties, beachware and Lanolin cosmetics.” For her article, Berkenbush spoke with noted WWII veteran and Cliftonite Walter Pruiksma, who now resides in Brick, N.J. Pruiksma worked as a quality control examiner for Forstmann Mills and later became a leading salesman.


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Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 11 • Issue 9 • September 8, 2006

He said employees working in the processing of the woolen goods were sworn to “need to know” access to their factories, keeping the processes secret (the same was true for Botany Mills). “During World War II,” Berkenbush wrote, “the tan fabric for all the Naval Officers’ uniforms were made by Forstmann Mills.” Berkenbush also uncovered significant Marching Mustangs history through Pruiksma, who said Botany Mills had a company band. When it was disbanded in the late 1930s, the instruments were donated to the Clifton Public Schools. “In 1938,” she wrote, “the Mustang Band at Clifton High was established with these instruments.” To house Botany and Forstmann Mills employees, Clifton developed an area along the river called Botany Village (a similar development along Passaic’s Dayton Ave. was also established). “The Mills in the Botany Village neighborhood,” Berkenbush wrote, “are protected as part of the Dundee Industrial Historic District.” Quotes from Helen Berkenbush’s article are reprinted courtesy of the Passaic County Historical Society, Paterson, N.J. Her article was first printed in The Historic County: Newsletter of the Passaic County Historical Society, Vol 18, Issue 4 Fall 2018.

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More Memories of Botany In 2006, former city historian Bill Wurst wrote of his walking tour through Botany in Clifton Merchant Magazine. “A flood of memories,” Wurst wrote, “cascaded into my consciousness... factory whistles piercing the morning stillness; voices speaking a rainbow of different languages; the sweet smell of jelly donuts from Heck’s Bakery on Highland Ave... “I could almost smell the strong aroma of cigar smoke from taverns as I rode by on my bicycle and see sidewalks crowded with workers dashing off to the Botany and Forstmann woolen mills or the throngs of Friday night shoppers. “Those woolen mills were largely responsible for both the shoppers and the retailers who served them. Through the 1950s, Botany’s prosperity depended on the financial well-being of those factories. I was fortunate to live in Botany for a while before the mills closed and ‘moved south.’ “I can still see the many faces of my neighbors and friends in those days and the vibrant and close knit community that we lived in.” Historic Botany Village continues to grow and thrive. Go visit the district while you shop, stroll and enjoy. Find out more at historicbotanyvillage.org.


Freshman Hilary Amoh, Sophomore Ahuva Over, Junior Joshua Szabo, Senior Omar Abufasha.

April has arrived for Mustangs of the Month.

The vice principals from each Clifton High wing have spotlighted four students who have gotten a head start on the latest activities on the campus, one from each grade. Hilary Amoh, Freshman While many of her peers are cautiously stepping into their high school years, freshmen Hilary Amoh has plunged into her CHS world with awareness and purpose. Amoh’s inspiration comes from sister Janice Owusu. “She had to learn everything by herself,” said Amoh. “My parents were new to this country so they couldn’t help with any of her schoolwork. She pushed herself to be the best, and now she is in an Ivy League school, the University of Penn. She is who I strive to be every day.” Amoh’s favorite subject is science and she is involved with track and field, strings, chorus, and Key Club. She plans to join the majorettes, dance, Italian club, and the cheer team. She is grateful for her CHS teachers. “All of my teachers have influenced me,” Amoh said. “They tell me about their lives and how we as students should always take advantage of the opportunities given to us and always push ourselves.” She praises Mr. Cooper for his integrity, Mrs. Holland for her humility and Mr. Sarubbi for being “the coolest.” She appreciates Mrs. McClelland working long hours when she was young to provide for her family, Mr. Keegan’s acting career and Mrs. Peattie’s mom. Amoh also takes note of Mr. Pinto’s advice, Mrs. Babiak’s kindness, Mrs. Gafonni’s positive attitude, and Mr. Deluca and all of his degrees. And she plans to embrace the CHS college programs. “I will take advantage of the Bergen program,” she said. “It will help me in my future.”

Ahuva Over, Sophomore Coming from a small school to Clifton High had to be unsettling for sophomore Ahuva Over. To ease the transition, she leaned on her CHS teachers and counselors. “Mrs. Farrell and Miss Kutler have been very supportive to me,” Over said, “as was Ms. Kathleen Olier. They have made my transition to Clifton High School from a private school an exceptionally good experience. They guided and motivated me to do well in all of my classes.” While Over enjoys her classes, she has her favorite. “I enjoy art the most out of all my classes,” she said. “It is something in which I excel and it makes me happy.” While she has not participated in any extracurricular activities yet, saying she wants to focus on her studies, she does plan to join the Art Club in the future. Over’s drive to succeed comes from her father. “My father owns his own business,” she said, “and has overcome difficulties in his own education. He shows me every day I am capable of doing great things and overcoming obstacles in life.” Over plans on continuing to push herself and accomplish much in the years ahead. “I am also interested,” she said, “in taking advantage of the college level academics at Clifton High School.” Joshua Szabo, Junior When things get tough for Joshua Szabo, he thinks of his father. “Ever since I can remember,” Szabo said, “my dad has worked hard day and night to provide for Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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my family. He and my mom moved to America about 30 years ago with three kids and no knowledge of English.” Szabo told how his father supported the family, putting four kids through medical school. “Everything about him inspires me,” he said. At CHS, Szabo plays the viola in strings orchestra and runs track. His favorite subject is chemistry. “I love when we would learn about simple things,” he said, “that I never knew the explanation of—like why drinks lose carbonation slower in the fridge or how the warmer a drink is, the easier it is to dissolve powder.” His curiosity is often fueled by his physics teachers Mr. Burns. “I am always excited to find out what we are doing for a lab that day,” Szabo said. “You can always tell that he is really excited to show the class what we’re doing— whether it is making a car powered by only a mouse trap or shooting Nerf bullets out of a paper dart gun.” Szabo plans to be his family’s fifth medical student. “I plan to go to school for anesthesiology and become a doctor in the future,” he said. “I hope to go to college somewhere in Florida and hopefully run track in college.”

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Omar Abufasha, Senior Senior Omar Abufasha has big plans. He aspires to become one of the best orthodontists and will attend Rutgers-Newark after his CHS graduation. He then plans to transfer to Colombia University to continue his education. His favorite subject is biology. “Biology is interesting to me,” Abufasha said, “because it’s the study of life and finding out the functions and the way organisms live. It is also the gateway for other sciences like chemistry and anatomy, which helps me get one step closer to my goal of becoming a dentist.” During his four years at CHS, Abufasha has been a member of the orchestra and the tennis team. While he loves the sciences, the educator who inspired Abufasha most is his history teacher Mr. Lesler. “He makes history, which in my past years was very boring, very interesting,” he described. “The way he teaches and how he applies concepts to the world around us makes you want to learn more and find out what is going on in the world.” For inspiration, Abufasha continually looks to his father. “He gave me the idea of becoming something in the medical field,” he said, “and to be the best I could be. Honestly, making my father proud would mean a lot to me.”


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March 2019

Mustangs of the Month Due to a printing error last month, two student profiles were omitted and are presented here. Along with basketball, sophomore Lea Hallak loves her studies. “Biology is my favorite subject,” said Hallak, a varsity and JV Mustangs player who wants to go to college and land a job in the medical field. Her determination has been shaped by two influential people. “My parents,” Hallak said, “Joseph and Carla, inspire me the most due to everything my family has been

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through. My parents keep pushing and fighting to provide my brother and me a better life, an education, and a bright future. “They taught me not to give up and to always keep on working hard.” She has also been inspired by her teachers. “If I have to choose one,” Hallak said, “I would choose Ms. Turk, my English teacher. She encourages and believes in me, and is always pushing me to do my best not only in her class but in all of my classes.” Hallak wants to take advantage of CHS’s college programs—but with one important condition: It has to be one that allows her to keep playing basketball. “Something I love to do,” she said. For now, Hallak is sticking to her personal success plan: “Working hard and trying to manage my time in the best way to achieve my goals—it hasn’t been easy, but focusing on what I want and love to do gave me the power to do so.” Freshman Kamil Soltys has made the transition from middle school to high school through self-discipline. “I managed to stay successful,” he said, “by staying focused and using time wisely.” For inspiration, he draws from the strength of a familiar group of Mustangs. “My relatives who went to this school—they inspired me to work hard and get good grades,” Soltys said. Soltys has not participated in any extracurricular activities yet, instead concentrating on his studies, especially world history. “Mr. Sarsano, my world history teacher,” he said, “teaches us in a way where it’s not boring and fun to learn. He likes to teach us in unique ways.” Soltys plans to examine all CHS has to offer, including school’s college programs. “I do consider myself taking advantage of these academic programs,” he said, “to help me succeed in school and in life.”

April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com


Birthdays & Celebrations - March 2019

Happy Birthday to.... March Birthdays were also omitted and are presented here...

Sloan DeVita turns 2 on March 22. Casey Hawrylko celebrates her 29th birthday on March 2. Kenneth Bucsko will celebrate his 23rd birthday on March 19. Teddy Harsaghy is 90 on March 11. Congratulations to Corey & Michelle Genardi, celebrating their anniversary on March 28. Their daughter Bianca Eda had her 13th birthday on March 2. Elaine Sassine will be 72 on March 15, the Ides of March. Ruth Basta will be celebrating her 18th birthday on March 27. Julie Generalli Dominick........ 3/1 Kathleen Pocoek.................. 3/1 Meaghan Franko................. 3/1 Kenzie Lord......................... 3/3 Amelia Lara......................... 3/3 Amanda Perez..................... 3/3 Amelia Ipenza..................... 3/3 Valerie Godowsky................ 3/5 Alice Paxton........................ 3/5 Patricia Vigh........................ 3/5 Carol Crudele...................... 3/6 Ted Grzybowski................... 3/6 Pat Smith............................. 3/8 William Thomson................. 3/8 Victoria Crudele................... 3/9 Pamela Culque.................. 3/10 Tiffany Sabo...................... 3/10 John Gorny....................... 3/11 Eddie Gasior, Jr................. 3/12 Mike Pesaro...................... 3/12 Victor Berdecia.................. 3/13

Charles Bucsko Jr. and Colleen Soliman married November 3, 2018. Diego Hernandez.............. 3/15 Tyler Hughes..................... 3/15 Laura Lee.......................... 3/15 Samira Abdelhady............. 3/16

Joanne Szepietowski..........3/13 Suzanne Ciok.................... 3/19 Janette Hughes.................. 3/19 Caitlin Lotorto.................... 3/19 Colleen Murray.................. 3/20 Holly Sorenson.................. 3/20 Nenad Vuckovic................ 3/20 Monica Ahmed.................. 3/21 George Andrikanich........... 3/22 Elisabel Reyes.................... 3/24 Carmen Rivera................... 3/24 Kyle Hooyman................... 3/24 Suzanne Wachtler.............. 3/26 Michele Andrikanich.......... 3/27 Jennifer Mondelli................ 3/27 Nic­­holas Surgent............... 3/27 Aidan Tedesco................... 3/27 Muriel Curtin..................... 3/28 Francis Salonga................. 3/31 Paul McVeigh.................... 3/31 Chris Kolodziej.................. 3/31 Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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Birthdays & Celebrations - April 2019

Happy Birthday to.... Send dates & names .... tomhawrylko@optonline.net

The Hawrylko brothers; Joe turns 34 on April 27 and Tom Jr. is 32 on April 16. Damian Robert Calvo will be 13 on April 13. Mark Peterson is 66 on April 5. Karen Goldey..................... Timothy Hayes.................... Stephanie L. Magaster......... Hetal Patel......................... Karen Schwartz.................. Raymond DeDios................ Carl DiGisi......................... Eric Homsany..................... JoEllen Kenney-Illenye.......... Kevin John Lord.................. Greg Alexander.................. Joey Scotto......................... Bo Franko.......................... Sabrina Greco.................... Wafa Othman.................... Mark Peterson.................... Bob Tanis........................... Joe Franek.......................... Sharon J. Koribanics............ Carmela Meglio.................. Jessica Mondelli.................. Emma Rozewski.................. Luke Kulesa........................ Donna Mangone.................

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4/1 4/1 4/1 4/1 4/1 4/3 4/3 4/3 4/3 4/3 4/4 4/4 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/5 4/6 4/6 4/6 4/6 4/6 4/7 4/7

April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

George Sadiv..................... 4/7 Patricia Colman.................. 4/8 Sheryll Franko.................... 4/8 Jackie Henderson................ 4/8 Jeff Murcko........................ 4/8 John Filippone.................... 4/9 Emma Gretina.................... 4/9 Kathy Krisinski.................... 4/9 Brian Firstmeyer................ 4/11 Leila Gasior...................... 4/11 Felipe Rivera.................... 4/11 Erin Smith........................ 4/11 Debbie Tucker.................. 4/11

Alice Shanley Babinski...... 4/12 Josh Ontell....................... 4/13 William Parks III................ 4/13 Alexander John Mosciszko. 4/14 Lisa Kulesa....................... 4/15 Adam Pienciak................. 4/15 Kurt Irizarry...................... 4/16 Robert Monzo.................. 4/16 Linda Humphrey................ 4/17 Joseph P. Koribanics.......... 4/17 Peter Fierro....................... 4/18 Maura Coleman............... 4/19 Jason Dubnoff................... 4/19 Jennifer O’Sullivan............ 4/19 Bryan Rodriguez............... 4/19 John Anderson.................. 4/20 Jeff Camp........................ 4/20 Greg Nysk....................... 4/21 Alicia Rose Aste................ 4/22 Frank and Lee Robinson will be celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary on April 12.


On April 28, happy 40th anniversary to big brother John & Donna Hawrylko (seen here in 1979). Lori Hart.......................... Alyssa Tucker.................... Bobby Ventimiglia............. Danny Gorun................... John Pogorelec, Jr............. Marc Scancarella.............. Katie Michelotti................. Brianna A. Pastore............ Klondike Tresca................ Buddy Czyzewski............. Stephanie Magaster.......... Jillian Mangone................ Annie Pogorelec............... Elise Termyna.................... Mike Grimaldi.................. Michael Press................... Peter Chudolij................... April Graham................... Stephen Camp, Jr.............. Paul Colman..................... Heather Halasz................. Christine Klein..................

4/22 4/22 4/22 4/23 4/23 4/23 4/25 4/25 4/25 4/26 4/26 4/26 4/26 4/26 4/27 4/27 4/28 4/28 4/29 4/29 4/29 4/29 Cliftonmagazine.com • April 2019 

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CELEBRATE DOREEN

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April 2019 • Cliftonmagazine.com

Doreen Delancy-Williams celebrated her hometown in so many ways, from her work as a realtor to her volunteer efforts on the Clifton Board of Recreation. When the lifelong Clifton resident and CHS (’75) grad passed away last year on April 9, her friends, family and fans vowed to fittingly celebrate her life and create a legacy. So this year, on April 28 at 2 pm at Robin Hood Park, 23 Standish Dr., there will be a “celebration of Doreen’s life” and the community is invited to share memories of her as a plaque and bench will be unveiled in Doreen’s name. A 24-year Board of Recreation commissioner and grand marshal of Clifton’s 75th Anniversary Parade in 1992, Doreen’s family owned Delancy Mens Store in Botany Village for decades after its founding in 1915. “Doreen was a super volunteer,” said Mayor Jim Anzaldi, “and had a great love for Clifton. I met her when she was volunteering as a teenager—she was hand-drawing posters to advertise the city picnic.” Doreen was a Clifton Youth Week chair and led the Youth Week Talent Show for more than a decade. From the July 4 fireworks to MCing the Halloween Parade, she did much for Clifton. “She really knew how to celebrate things,” said Anzaldi. “Doreen worked to build Clifton up and never to tear it down. Even when she wasn’t feeling well, she still participated in events any way she could.” As a realtor, her tag line was Doreen Delivers Dreams. She not only did that in business life, but also to the city she loved. “Doreen is greatly missed,” said Anzaldi.


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Profile for Clifton Merchant Magazine

Clifton Merchant Magazine - April 2019  

Clifton Merchant Magazine - April 2019