Clifton Merchant Magazine - July 2013

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‘83 ‘73 ‘63 ‘53 CONGRATS TO THE CLASS OF 2013!



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Table of Contents

What’s Inside? 16 Class of 1963 At the New Clifton High School

Freedom Roast Pg. 82

34 Class of 1973 Bell-bottoms & Book covers

48 Class of 1983 Technology in the Classrooms

54 Class of 1993 Class of

1953 Pg.10

Creating a Caring Community

62 Class of 2003 10 Years Ago They Were Grads

68 Class of 2013 Dolores Shiposh, the CHS 1953 Girls’ Athletic Association President.

At the June 28 Commencement

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Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Cheryl Hawrylko Graphic Designer Ken Peterson Contributing Writers Alicia Feghhi, Tania Jachens, Carol Leonard, Philip Read, Jack DeVries, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz,


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DECADES OF MUSTANGS By Carol Leonard It isn’t unusual in Clifton for multiple members of families, including those from different generations, to be Clifton High School alumni. But we were lucky enough for this issue to find a threesome from the same family who each graduated in one of the years included in our celebration section of classes ending in “3.” Maryann Gross Hoffspeigel is an alumnus of the Class of 1963, while her sister Joann Gross Dalton graduated in 1973, and Joann’s daughter Eileen was a member of the Class of 2003. Each had different and somewhat similar experiences growing up in Clifton and attending one of the largest high schools in the state. The three women all spent their childhoods in a home on Harding Ave. near the center of town. Maryann and Joann lived there with their parents, and Joann and her husband later assumed ownership of the house, where they raised Eileen and her brother Brian, until moving to Brighton Road about 10 years ago. Maryann remembers a simple life of playing with dolls with another little girl who lived two doors away from her. The two attended School 3 together through sixth grade before moving on to School 10 for seventh, eighth and ninth grades. When Joann was born, Maryann was old enough to baby-sit for her and she enjoyed the role of big sister. With 10 years between them, the sisters were sometimes confused as being mother and daughter. “I would take her with me when I got my first car after high school,” Maryann said. “I can remember being in a store and the clerk looking at her and saying, now do what Mommy says.” Maryann spent her first two years of high school at what is now Christopher Columbus Middle School. In her senior year the “new” Clifton High School opened its doors on Colfax Ave., so Maryann got to be a member of its first graduating class. Her activities at CHS included Tri Hi Y, a leadership development organization, and the Secretarial Club. She also served on the Honor Guard for graduation. 6 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

At top today from left, Eileen Nicole Dalton, her mom Joann Gross Dalton and Joann’s sister Maryann Gross Hoffspeigel. The gals in 1963, 1973 and in 2003.

“I went to the football games and pep rallies, and the school dances in the gym,” she said. Maryann’s best friends in high school included Ellen Grexa, Ingrid Johanson, Beverly Den Boer and Valerie Surgent. She still keeps in touch and gets together with Ellen, Ingrid and Beverly, but has lost contact with Valerie.


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When Beverly moved to North Carolina about a year-and-a-half ago, she and Maryann made a pact to continue their friendship and they have stayed true to their promise. “We talk on the phone every Thursday night,” Maryann said. Following high school, Maryann took a job as a bookkeeper with State Farm Insurance in Wayne, where she worked for two years before moving on to Fette Lincoln-Mercury for 14 and-a-half years. After that, she worked for APC Corporation in Hawthorne for 12 years. She met her late husband Arthur through her friend, Phyllis Pinck. Arthur was Phyllis’ uncle and he lived upstairs from her. “I would see him all the time when I was with Phyllis and one day he told her that he was going to take me out to cheer me up,” Maryann explained. “I had just broken off my engagement to someone else. So, we went out, one thing led to another and we got married.” Maryann and her husband were wed in 1978 at a garden ceremony in her mother’s backyard. They lived in

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Wallington for 12 years before returning to buy a home in Clifton. They were married for 27 years, until Arthur’s 2006 passing. The couple had no children. Maryann currently does the payroll in the Finance Department at Clifton City Hall, where she has worked for 18 years. She still lives in the Oak Ridge area home that she shared with her husband. She enjoys gardening and going to summer concerts, and serves as fundraising VP of the Clifton-Passaic chapter of Hadassah. Joann also attended School 3 through sixth grade. She remembers spending time playing with the other neighborhood kids and going to the summer playground program. After she finished elementary school, she went on to Christopher Columbus, which then was a junior high school for grades seven, eight and nine. She enjoyed having Maryann as a big sister and, because of the age difference, she said it felt like having another mother around – “but in a good way,” she added. “At points in our lives we’ve been mistaken for mother/daughter and as twins.”

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In high school she was a member of the Keyette Club, a girls-only version of today’s Key Club at CHS. She also worked in the library. Outside of school, Joann worked part-time at the Clifton Bakery on Hope Ave. and later at what was then Fette Lincoln-Mercury. As her daughter would experience 30 years later, CHS was a very crowded school even during her days there, Joann recalled. “The atmosphere was different from when my sister was there and it was different from when my daughter was there,” she said. “I was there during the Vietnam War and I can remember protests going on all the time. I never got involved. It was in my heart, but I was afraid of getting in trouble.” Joann’s best friends included Barbara Worhach, Debbie Miller, Linda Horvath and Dorothy Hansen. Although she has lost touch with them, she fondly remembers the good times they had together just hanging out at each others homes. “None of us had a lot of money,” she said. After high school, Maryann went to work as an accounting clerk for Inmont Corporation. She met her husband Ken, a CHS ’70 grad, in 1974, after he got out of the Navy. “He worked in a gas station around the corner from me,” she said. “My girlfriend knew him and we used to hang out together as a group.” The couple was married in 1976 at St. Philips Church and had their reception at The Cobblestone in Caldwell. They moved to Portland, Maine for a year-and-a-half when they were first married, where Ken got a job with the power company and Joann worked in a hospital. “We had gone on vacation there and just fell in love with the area,” Joann explained. After a while, the couple began missing friends and family, so they decided to move back to New Jersey. “My husband worked a rotating shift and our weekends off didn’t always fall together,” she said. “So when we were alone, we were really alone. We didn’t have any family or close friends there.” When they returned to Clifton, Ken landed a job with nearby ITT and later became a Clifton fireman. Joann took a position at Hoffman LaRoche, where she worked until 1985, when Eileen was born. Her son Brian came three years later. 8 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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Maryann at Joann’s graduation from CHS in 1973.

Joann was a stay-at-home mom for 11 years and was very active with the St. Paul’s parent/teacher organization, where her children went to school. Eventually, she returned to work outside the home and is currently at AGL Welding, along with fellow CHS ’73 classmates Keith Van Dorn, Robert Marron and Michele Pixomatis. In recent years, Joann and Ken have become involved with several peace advocacy organizations, including Veterans for Peace, for which Ken serves on the national board. They are also active with Vietnam Veterans Against the War and NJ Peace Action. “I have always been against war, even though I didn’t act on my feelings when I was younger,” Joann said. “My uncle was killed in World War II and I saw what it did to my aunt and my mother. But it wasn’t until I had my own kids that I realized how important this is. When the Iraq War first started, I realized that I wouldn’t want my kids to go to war.” Like her mom and aunt, Eileen enjoyed playing outside while growing up. She liked all kinds of sports as well as snowball fights in the winter and water fights during the summer with her neighborhood friends. “I rode my bike all over the place,” she recalled.


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She attended nearby St. Paul’s go on for her master’s degree in School through eighth grade before applied exercise physiology at moving on to CHS. It was a total Columbia University. She also change for her coming from a school worked for Project USE (Urbanwith only 200 students to a high Suburban Environments) in West school with well over 2,000 kids. “I Milford, a program that provides just thought it was so huge,” she hiking, camping and high ropes said. experiences for school groups. Eileen made new friends quickly, She spent a year teaching partin part, she said, because she got time in a K-8 school in Garwood in involved with interscholastic sports, 2010-11, and during the past two an experience that her mom and school years she taught in an eleaunt, as pre-Title IX era girls missed mentary school in Newark. out on in high school. She played Eileen recently decided to change soccer her freshman and sophomore career paths into physical therapy. years and was on the basketball and She hopes to get a job as a PT aide spring track teams all four years of soon and she is taking some prereqhigh school. uisite courses at Essex County She also worked part-time at the Community College before applying Allwood Theater and as a counselor for admission to a doctor of physical with Clifton Recreation. therapy program. Among her best friends at CHS “I decided that I want to use my Eileen Nicole Dalton at the July, 2008 Mountain Bike Nationals. were Kim Junda and Alicia Feghhi, exercise science degree more,” she and she still hangs out with them said. “I’ve always been interested in today. that stuff (anatomy and physiology) and physical therAfter graduation, Eileen went on to Montclair State apy is a growing career.” University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. “I decided it would be a Read on to relive memories of Mustangs... good major for me,” she said. “I grew up playing sports who graduated 60, 50, 40, 30, 20 and ten years ago. and I enjoyed working with kids.” To find out who is on our cover, go to their graduation pages within this magazine. If you would like to share After receiving her degree, she took a short term some info on these grads, send comments with your position in Lodi for a teacher on maternity leave. With name and number to tomhawrylko@optonline.net. no other teaching jobs in sight after that, she decided to

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Catherine Russin, Ronald Patierno, Arlene Rudbart, Virginia Hakim, Theodore Kalinka, Virginia Sadowski, Walter De Groot

THE COLUMNS...

At left, Sports Editors; William DePiero, Ann Ramaglia, Jerry Ehrlich. Below, Personality Plus: Kitty Florian and Walter DeGroot, Most Class Spirited: Willard Ljungquist and Judith Scherago, Bottom right, All-State Chorus: Norman Smith, Harriet Olldorf and Norman Doelling.

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As the 1953 yearbook editors bade farewell to CHS, they stated that the columns of their stately school, (today’s Christopher Columbus Middle School), served to “symbolize one of the greatest blessings of God—Democracy.” It seems, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were on the minds of many Mustangs. Classmate John Preste was already in USMC Boot Campo and after three years of a frustrating war, the US, China, North Korea and South Korea signed an armistice, bringing the Korean War to an end on July 27. But the days leading up to commencement were filled with lightheartedness. Clifton’s future Fire Chief Walter DeGroot—finishing first in five meets—was the co-captain who led his cross country team to the first ever Passaic Valley Conference Championships.


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Fighting Mustangs As Freshmen in 1949, lined up behind then-junthey began their journey ior QB Richie ‘Dutch’ at the old ivy-covered Hoogstraten. (In an illusCHS Annex on First and trious career with the US Clifton Aves. The editors Army, Dutch would noted the building was retire a Colonel, having freshly painted and Coke earned a Silver Star in machines were added—a Vietnam.) But that seanickle a bottle. Class son, Dutch commanded officers were President the Mustangs to an 8-1 Bob Russell with Willard season (their only loss a Ljungquist, Jean Budnik 13-0 defeat to nemesis and Louis DeGroot. President Robert Russell, Vice-President Willard Ljungquist, Montclair) putting the Memories were forevSecretary Jean Budnik, Treasurer Louis DeGroot. ball in the air to Bob er cast within the pages Vander Linda, Mike Schimpf and Ken Lenert and handof the 1953 Columns by Editors Gloria Bungo and ed off on the ground to Clarence Tate, Cyril Smith and Terry Intelisano. On graduation day, as they pondered Sal Barcelona. their futures “beneath the columns of our High The Girls’ Athletic Association officers Marie School,” they wrote... “we realized that the columns of Pollara, Mary Ann Osborn, Dolores Shiposh, Patricia the future may be somewhat hazy; nevertheless we Rear and Betty Clarkson ushered in a new era of intraknow their foundation must be firm, for they are based mural competition including basketball, volleyball, upon the democratic ideals which we have been taught softball, ping pong, archery, bowling and swimming. at Clifton High School. “

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Joseph M. Shook, Sr., Founder 1924 - 2008 Nancy Shook Garretson, President NJ Lic. No. 3657

Roy B. Garretson, Manager NJ Lic. No. 3550

Thomas J. Garretson, Director NJ Lic. No. 4988

Kevin V. White, Director NJ Lic. No. 4964

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Far top left, Betty Lou Tritak, John Tritak, John Preste, Louis De Groot, Middle photo Class Athletes Dolores Shiposh and Henry Nalepka. Above, Paul M. Oeser, Robert Pasch. Back in 2001, Mustangs who graduated in the 1950’s got together at a June event. From left: Michael J. Palko, Police Chief Frank LoGioco, Coach Joe Grecco, Coach Bill VanDerCloster and Walt Calligaro and Bob VanDerLinda. Bottom, from left, Felix Rossi, Judge Joe Scancarella and Al Mardirossian Jr. Pictured below is the 1953 class in 1993 at their 40th reunion.

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Michael Zwier, Joan Bertoli, Jay Horwitz, Helen Latawiec, Dennis Kolano Vera Swiderski, John Peto

THE ROTUNDA AND A NEW HIGH SCHOOL It looked like a modern college campus. Three class wings in a landmark designed to house 3,000 students. Ground was broken for the ‘architectural gem of Clifton’ on June 15, 1960. Then on April 29, 1962, the formal dedication of the high school was held in its modern auditorium. Ironically, that facility would soon be renamed for America’s 35th President, John F. Kennedy, after his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. None of that could have been predicted when Clifton’s Class of 1963 began writing their histories and legacies

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By naming their yearbook Rotunda, they paid tribute to the ‘most striking feature’ of the state-of-the-art high school on Colfax Ave., “the circular area used for cafeteria, instruction and activity purposes.” History was indeed made by the Class of 1963. While the undefeated Fighting Mustangs brought the state championship to Clifton, 156 Marching Mustangs travelled to Kerkrade, Holland, and put on performances (below) where they took first place in the marching event and second in the symphonic competition.


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Sandy Rutkowski putting finishing touches on a portrait of U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, one of several large paintings that adorned the 1963 graduation field.

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Drum Major Verna Fox at left and the Varsity Cheerleaders above. At left, Dave Van Dillen and Arnold Wunder.

Indeed these were heady and optimistic times for Clifton and America. “The transfer from the beloved Columns to the Rotunda has marked a great change in the life of every student,” Editors Abby Wasserman, Karl Saks and Eileen Menegus penned. “This yearbook... strives to preserve the memories of an important year, to express a feeling of pride in the school and its student body and to express hopes for the future. What the yearbook documents is that newness pervades everywhere...” they continued, acknowledging the new ‘technology’ found at their school and in many aspects of life. “Buzz of electric typewriters, language labs, sitting quietly in class and being startled by now hear this! over the intercom, migration to the auditorium for group instruction, a modern library with myriads of books... “It would be quite simple to float in a world of daydreams in these surroundings, but inspiration and perseverance drive us to learn... Luck has smiled, bestowing upon us this excellent structure for education. Tradition mingled with change, continual study and hope—leading to knowledge and learning—This is Clifton High School.” To relive that era, Helen Kubik and Ellen Grexa have organized a reunion on Nov. 29 at the Mountainside Inn. Call 973-742-4466 or 973-365-2178 to purchase tickets. 18 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Above, Clifton's state champs give Coach Grecco a victory ride after the final game. Top right, Barbara Suto learns safe driving techniques from Mr. Pallo. Middle right, a weather station reading being recorded by Ken Gershon and Mr. Jacobs. Bottom right, Ann Potter practices for All-State Chorus. Bottom left, Mr. Struyk steadies John Scalzo as he demonstrates the conservation of angular momentum. Hanging... Barbara Hazinski and Leona Trojan solve a knotty problem.

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Story by Jack DeVries

In Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in 1982, a crew of Clifton guys are shown carrying a sign which reads: “Clifton, New Jersey Class of ‘63 Loves the Mets and Jay Horwitz and Ted Turner.”

Jay Horwitz learned early how to survive in Little League. When it came his turn to bat, he would tuck his small body into crouch and bunt… every time. It didn’t matter if there were runners on base or not, or how many outs there were in an inning, Horwitz would square and face the pitcher, holding the small bat in his hands. That was until his father Milton spoke up. “He told me he wasn’t going to let me play anymore unless I swung the bat,” Horwitz remembers. Determined to continue his baseball career, Jay stepped into the batter’s box at Clifton’s Main Memorial Park. On the bench, his teammates — sponsored by Epstein’s clothing store on Main Ave. — cheered for their friend. On the mound, the pitcher from Jacques Wolf, one of the powerhouse teams of Clifton’s Northern Division during the fifties, began his wind-up. 22 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Jay waited, staring at the pitcher with his left eye — his right eye nearly useless after a bout with German measles as a child. The pitcher released. To everyone’s surprise — including his — Horwitz swung and connected. In many baseball stories, what follows is an ending straight out of The Natural. The batter hits the ball, flies around the bases, and goes on to glory in the major leagues. Horwitz’s story is a bit different. After hitting the ball, Jay tripped and fell flat on his face, and then got thrown out at first — by the centerfielder. “Rich Less picked up the ball and threw me out,” Horwitz laughs. “I think it was the only time I hit the ball — I was an uncoordinated kid. But I did hit it.” But what’s similar to the story of The Natural is Horwitz did go on to the major leagues but by a different path. Now in his third decade with the New York Mets, Horwitz is the team’s vice president, media relations, and


C one of the best-liked and respected people in Major League Baseball operations. “In the clubhouse,” says Mookie Wilson, a centerfielder on the 1986 Mets World Series winning team, “the players believed the team couldn’t exist without Jay.” And Horwitz couldn’t exist without his hometown of Clifton. The city educated him, shaped him, and reinforced his love of sports. It was in Clifton where Horwitz learned many of the skills he uses today while serving as a manager of the Mustangs baseball, basketball, track and field, and cross country teams. “As a manager, I learned there was no task too big or small to do,” says Horwitz, a 1963 Clifton High graduate. “I’m grateful for coaches like Bill Vander Closter, Ed Sanicki, Emil Bednarcik, Jim Grimes, and others who allowed me to help the athletes and stay close to sports. “One of my only regrets is I don’t stay in contact with my Clifton friends because I travel so much,” he says and adds: “I have a lot of warm feelings for Clifton.”

Sporting Life

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Horwitz was born in the Fordham Road section of the Bronx in 1945 and moved to Clifton at age 6. His father was a general manager for a coat factory; his mother Gertrude was a homemaker and later a bookkeeper, working at Daughter’s of Miriam. After living in an apartment, the Horwitz family purchased a house on Grant Ave., where Jay has lived since 1954. His love affair with sports started soon after. “Jay played second base,” remembers friend John Scalzo, a retired US Navy Captain living in Virginia, “which was pretty amazing for a young boy who could see with only one eye. I sometimes played first so we connected a few times on some ‘stellar plays.’ We still talk today about whom was the worse hitter, but I know I was.” Horwitz’s father was a big baseball and football New York Giants fan, and Jay chose Willie Mays as his baseball hero. But there were other heroes in his life, including sixth grade teacher Joyce Eslinger.

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“On my (athletic) jacket, I had eight stripes from all “She was kind to me following my eye surgery,” he the teams I managed. Nobody had more. I was 5’1”, 90 remembers. “The surgery didn’t help, but I do remember pounds — when people saw my jacket, they probably Miss Eslinger coming to my house to visit me. She asked themselves, ‘Who’s that guy?’” encouraged me to do something with my life and become successful.” Path to Shea Stadium A mediocre After graduating student and as he from Clifton, describes, “a terriHorwitz enrolled ble athlete,” in NYU, eventuHorwitz was ally earning his well-liked by masters in 1969. classmates. In his During his col1960 junior high lege years, he yearbook, the became a better Carousel, he was student, did camvoted “Class paign work for Giggler.” Bobby Kennedy He also spent (later for George hours playing McGovern), and Jay’s fourth grade class, Clifton School 1, in 1955. From left, Horwitz is in stick ball behind the second row, first seat. John Scalzo, Jay’s friend who provided this photo, got a job coverClifton School is the fourth student in the right row. ing high school Stadium with sports for the Herald-News. friends Scalzo, Peter Sawczyn, Harold Abrams, Howard “I learned from (longtime sportswriters) Augie Lio Ehrlich, and others. and Joe Lovas,” says Horwitz. “They were good to me Entering high school, Horwitz continued to be influand showed a lot of patience. I was a slow writer.” enced by his teachers. He remembers Bob Zschack as a He returned to NYU as the school’s sports informagood science teacher, being a disaster in Fred tion director from 1969 through 1972, and then took Lombardo’s woodshop class (“Every wooden bowl I over the same role at Fairleigh Dickinson University made had a hole in the bottom,” he laughs), and enjoyfrom 1972 through 1980. Once again, others were willing Peter Lo Re’s classes. ing to help Horwitz, especially the late Dick Stahlberg, “Jay was a character, one of my favorites,” says Lo Montclair State University’s SID. Re. “Once in class, we were talking about the word “Dick took me under his wing,” Horwitz says, “and vicissitude, meaning change. When I asked for somenurtured me. Because of my experience as a reporter, I one to use it in a sentence, Jay raised his hand and said: knew one side of the business. But I realized I still had All women go through vicissitudes. We all broke up much to learn.” laughing. “I also remember how extremely school spirFDU provided Horwitz with a wealth of experience. ited Jay was. He was bright, well rounded — a great kid. Unusual stories about FDU athletes began to appear in I could not be prouder of his success today.” national media, including baseball player Steve A “liberal Kennedy democrat” in high school, Dembowski, who was hit by a pitch 32 times in 30 Horwitz set his sights on becoming a press secretary, games (then an NCAA record), and 5’8” Franklin Jacobs like Pierre Salinger. “But I also had this second passion, of Paterson, the world indoor high jump record holder which was sports,” he says. “It was fun to be around — who could elevate nearly two feet above his head. our Clifton teams were so successful in those days. We “We had stories about a hockey-playing priest and a had great athletes — like Dennis Cesar, Roger Fardin, 43-year-old football player,” Horwitz recalls. Tom Papa, Wayne Demikoff, and many others. 24 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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“But Franklin’s story was special. If not for the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Russia, he was a lock for a medal.” As he had done in Clifton and would later do with the Mets, Horwitz went above and beyond his usual job duties, serving as Jacob’s friend and mentor. He became an unofficial track “coach,” watching Jacob’s plant foot during warm-ups and alerting him if he missed his mark. FDU’s Arthur Petrosemolo had quoted Jacobs as saying Horwitz helped him “tremendously, mentally and physically — he was very, very important to me at the time.” Another athlete Jay helped was Clifton’s Rich Conrad, an outstanding basketball player for the Mustangs and a 1,174-point scorer for FDU. Knowing the local fans loved hearing about Conrad, Horwitz was certain to make sure the Clifton star was featured prominently in the newspapers. “Jay absolutely loved his job,” says Conrad. At right, back in 1962, Horwitz, pictured at the right of the photo, served as manager of the Mustang Harriers and also for the CHS Basketball team.

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Celebra

ting 20 Y ears

So much Surgi cal Exper tise

from our Staff, to our Physicians When we opened one of the region’s first Same Day Surgery Center back in 1993, the founding physicians and staff of Clifton Surgery Center knew we were on the cusp of change. Two decades later, as we mark our anniversary, our surgeons and staff continue to innovate and evolve.

Over those 20 years, our mission remains true: to deliver superior surgical service more efficiently and cost effectively than area hospitals. We continue to invest and improve our facilities, not only our operating suites but also to our landmark building. We are proud of our service and look forward to many more decades of providing quality healthcare.

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“I’ve never met someone so passionate about what he did. The athletes recognized and appreciated what he did for them. To this day, he has a wonderful sense of humor. Jay is definitely doing the right thing with his life.” While Horwitz tirelessly gave of himself and promoted his school, a much bigger sports organization was taking notice. The former Mustang was about to be called up to the big leagues. Meet the Mets After the 1979 season, the once proud Miracle Mets — a team that caused people to dance in the streets after winning the World Series a decade earlier — was a team in disarray. The organization had traded their star pitcher Tom Seaver and was in the midst of a seven-year losing run when the Mets would not win more than 70 games. Worse yet, the club was coming off a year where it drew about 700,000 fans, making Shea Stadium an empty, miserable place. New owners Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, who bought the club in 1980, needed to turn the ailing franchise around. Knowing it would take years before

Jay Horwitz with the legendary Mets pitcher Tom Seaver.

the Mets were respectable, they sought a media person able to generate interest through other means. They decided to give Horwitz, the man who publicized FDU through offbeat stories, a chance to help the Mets while GM Frank Cashen rebuilt the team. Horwitz faced an uphill climb.

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C “Jay looked out for us,” Mookie Wilson says. “He advised us about how to handle ourselves with the media and how we’d be perceived by the public...”

missed days, like when he had the chicken pox in Chicago and had to stay in his hotel room, but not many of them. “If I have one criticism of Jay,” adds Castellano, “it’s that he does too much for the players.” But by doing his job, Castellano almost got Horwitz fired before he was officially announced as the Mets new

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PR person. “I got a call from my office at spring training in St. Petersburg,” Castellano recalls, “telling me the Mets were about to announce Jay. I knew him from FDU and called him in Clifton to get information for a story. Jay got on the phone and said, ‘I don’t know if I can tell you anything.’ He was afraid he’d get

With the Yankees winning and Boss George Steinbrenner in full bluster, news about the Mets was often buried in the papers. But soon, Cashen began stocking the team with good, young players, the bedrock of the 1986 championship club. One of those young players was Wilson, who arrived with the Mets in Sept. 1980. “Jay looked out for us,” he says. “He advised us about how to handle ourselves with the media and how we’d be perceived by the public — telling us not to say this or that. He also acted as a mediator between players and the media, coaches and the media… even players and the fans.” Today a close friend of Horwitz, Wilson says, “Jay was also great with the media — he could be forceful at times but realized the writers had a job to do. I know they liked him.” One fan was Dan Castellano of the Star-Ledger, who covered the Mets from 1979 to 1993. “Nobody works harder than Jay,” says Castellano, who is retired but stays in contact with Horwitz. “I wish he’d delegate more so he’d have some free time… but Jay doesn’t want free time. I’ve never known him to take a vacation. He’s Clifton Merchant • July 2013

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in trouble… which was exactly what happened. “When I asked Cashen about Jay, he gave me a surprised look and said, “I don’t think we’re announcing that yet. Cashen wasn’t pleased. I remember missing dinner that night because I was on the phone with Jay who was worried he was going to get fired before he even started. That’s Jay welcoming ‘home’ some of the legends of the Mets. Luckily, they got it Wilson beating out a ball that bounced through Bill straightened out and Jay stayed. We still joke about that Buckner’s legs, Horwitz watched the game unfold on story today.” TV in manager Davey Johnson’s office. As he’d done at FDU, Horwitz began generating off“Keith Hernandez (who made the second out of the beat stories about the Mets. When he learned pitcher 10th inning) was sitting on the couch,” Horwitz rememRick Ownbey could throw and catch a Frisbee with his bers, “and (scout) Darrell Johnson was there, too. We feet, he gathered the writers for a demonstration, providfelt the whole season slipping away.” ing them with, as Castellano says, “good copy.” With the Mets trailing 5-3, the hits began. “Keith Another stunt was holding a press conference to refused to move,” says Horwitz, “because he didn’t announce the signing of infielder Doug Flynn, who want to jinx us. And then Mookie had that great at bat, moonlighted as a country singer. During the press confouling off many pitches before hitting the bouncer to ference, Horwitz got the conservative, bow-tie wearing Buckner.” Cashen to don a cowboy hat. To the GM’s horror, a When Ray Knight crossed the plate with the winning photo of “cowboy Cashen” ended up in many newsparun, Hernandez rushed to the field to join the team. pers. “Because Frank was so no-nonsense, you wouldHorwitz waited in the clubhouse. “I slapped hands with n’t think he and Jay would get along, but they did,” says all of them as they came in,” he says. Castellano. “But Frank rolled his eyes and bit his lip Another great memory was the 2000 Subway Series more than a few times with Jay.” matching the Mets against Yankees. Horwitz remembers Another of Horwitz’s stunts was providing a list of it being “absolutely crazy,” handling hundreds of media outlandish press notes on April Fools Day. One of his requests. When asked about a Subway Series repeat this stories about Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson making year, he says, “It’s tough, but we handled it then and can a comeback at age 50 actually ran in a writer’s column. do it again.” “Jay has a little bit of Bill Veeck in him,” says But his greatest memory in baseball was born out of Castellano, referring to the man who sent up a midget to this generation’s national tragedy. hit during a major league game. “There’s no telling what On Sept. 11, 2001, the Mets were in Pittsburgh to the two of them might have done together.” play the Pirates. Following the terrorist attacks, Baseball Major League Memories Commissioner Bud Selig chose to suspend the season By 1984, the Mets were a team on the rise. In 1986, they for six days, and the Mets remained in Pittsburgh for won the National League pennant and faced the Boston two days before returning to New York. Red Sox in the World Series. In the days following, the Mets helped the city recovDuring the climactic Game 6, which ended with er by visiting Ground Zero to encourage relief 30 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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workers. The organizaMets slugger Mike Piazza tion also turned the Shea stepped to the plate. Stadium parking lot into On the mound was the a staging area to gather Atlanta Braves’ Steve needed supplies, with Karsay, ironically a New manager Bobby York City native. Valentine doing much of Karsay delivered and the heavy lifting. “We Piazza smacked a long didn’t do any of that majestic homer that landwork for publicity,” says ed beyond the center field Horwitz, “we did it wall — a blast that gave because it was the right the grieving city a chance thing to do.” to rejoice and cheer once When play resumed again. Early in his career, Jay Horwitz wanted to be a political press on Sept. 21, the Mets, “That home run gave secretary but changed paths and instead became a Vice President of Media Relations for the New York Mets, a career wearing NYPD and me chills,” says Horwitz, which led him to a meeting with President Bill Clinton. NYFD caps, helped the who was in the press box city take perhaps its first steps toward returning to norat the time. “I can still see it. Mike’s home run was more mal. than a big hit — it helped unite the city and gave New On an emotional night, full of reminders of loss, York a chance to heal. patriotism, and heroism — the Mets gave their fans a “I have never been prouder to be a member of the moment to remember. Trailing in the eighth inning, 2-1, Mets organization than in the days following 9/11.”

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John Cordasco, Jeannine Carlo, Donna De Liberto, Robert Bertelli, Christine Kotlar, Steven Bivaletz, Mary Ellen Samra

Class of 19

73

They wore Landlubber brand bell-bottoms. They crisscrossed the Route 46 pedestrian overpass from the Bowlero bowling alley for a late-night bite across the way at Gino’s and The Hearth or ventured to “The Room,” a teen hangout at St. Philip’s. As 1973 unfolded, President Nixon announced an accord to end the Vietnam war and bring “peace with honor,” permitting the young men of Clifton High’s senior class to begin to shake off the experience of reporting to the local draft board in nearby Paterson. “1-A,” a draft board worker had said. “Ready for service.” But now, the draft had ended. Some were politically involved, such as one 17-year-old senior who in 1972 stuffed envelopes in an office atop a Main Avenue cigar store for the presidential campaign of George McGovern, the “Come Home America” candidate, and ventured to a rally on the courthouse steps in Hackensack to see the candidate and Sen. Edward Kennedy in the campaign’s waning weeks. Come June, the nearly 1,000 graduates of the Class of ’73 would toss their mortar boards into the sky over Clifton Stadium and begin the long trek of life’s twists and turns. But on what “long and winding road” – to borrow a line from a Beatles tune – would they travel? For many, the attachments to their hometown remained strong. Take Lizz Bumbera-Gagnon, who in 1973 worked the stage crew for the senior class play. Later, she 34 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

would take to a new stage, securing a seat on the Clifton Board of Education after leading a fight addressing high readings of electromagnetic fields near School 14. “I became president of the School 14 Home & School Association at a very trying time,” she recalls of those days. These days, the mother of two can be found at


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Clifton City Hall, serving as assistant city assessor just yards from her alma mater. “I am still enjoying my job,” she said. So too is Elizabeth Riley Eisenmenger, whose class credits include the National Thespian Society and the makeup crew of the school production of “Carousel.” This year, the longtime Clifton teacher (and perennial Mustang Band parent) served as director of the student production of “Crazy for You,” in the process marking a half-century of musicals inside CHS’ auditorium.

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WHERE ARE THESE Over in the “offices” of the student newspaper, The Hub, Philip Read was getting his start in journalism, even interviewing John Scher about the concerts he then put on briefly at Passaic's Central Theater. After getting his bachelor's at Boston University and racking up some grad studies at Penn State, he landed his first job at The Paterson News, starting a 30-plus year career in daily newspapers. Along the way, he interviewed the likes of Buzz Aldrin, who stepped on the moon right after Neil Armstrong in 1969, and Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier in the American League – incorporating those stories and others in two volumes of “Montclair & Environs, 21st Century Chronicles.” If his name seems similar, it’s because he also authored two pictorial histories of his hometown, “Clifton” and “Clifton, the Boomtown Years,” published by Arcadia. Still another ‘73er, Fred Sloan, dedicated his sports talents as No. 20 on the lacrosse team back in CHS, and later managed several career plays in his professional life, at first teaching learning disabled children and adults before switching to computer programming analyst, earning his MBA and traveling extensively. “Just a humble Irish kid from Clifton, New Jersey, who embraced and achieved beyond his early dreams,” he said. “And still loving and living beyond the dreams of my youth!” In the medical field, there’s 36 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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Glenn Gorab, whose lengthy CHS exploits included photo editor of The Hub, indoor track, and the zoology club. By 1985, after obtaining his doctor of medicine in dentistry, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon started his private practice in his hometown and proudly notes that his Broad Street office renovation won a beautification award from Clifton. Perhaps one of more colorful graduates is Ivan Wilzig, whose CHS ’73 credits include the National Honor Society, the bio lab club, and a mini-course on Freud. At the time, he lived in the city’s Rosemawr neighborhood, one of the sons of Siggi Wilzig, who survived the Nazi death camps and went on to lead The Trust Company of New Jersey. For some years now, Ivan Wilzig has been getting write-ups in The

New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, and most recently, The New York Post. In June 1, 2013, article, the New York tabloid takes another look at the “eccentric” banking heir and musician’s castle in the Hamptons. Turns out Wilzig is now getting for $200 donations for those who come to his widely heralded and lavish parties, directed to his Peaceman Foundation. “I want to make the castle the Studio 54 of philanthropy,” Wilzig is quoted as saying. The tabloid also notes that Wilzig is also throwing parties at his Soho penthouse, painted with the flowers, rainbows, and peace signs of his and his classmates’ coming-of-age years. “The entire space in black-lit,” he told the tabloid. “It’s a psychedelic love shack.”

The Class of ’73 is having its 40th reunion on Nov. 9 at The Bethwood in Totowa. To sign up, and for details, class alumni can go to http://chs73alumni-cliftonnj.net/ and click on the “event” tab.


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CHEMISTRY IN MR. SMITH’S CLASS A Wonderful Life for CHS ‘73 Classmates By Carol Leonard

For Andy and Cheryl Ann (Paicer) Mooney, growing up in Clifton during the ’60s and early ’70s was a pretty simple life filled with friends and family. The CHS Class of ’73 graduates met and fell in love during their junior year of high school and have been together ever since. Andy lived off Clifton Ave. near Oak Ridge Park, where he and his neighborhood pals often played together for hours. They rode mini bikes and built tree forts behind School 14, where he went to elementary school. He often hung out at his father’s Mobil gas station and auto repair shop further down Clifton Ave., where he learned the trade that later became his life’s work. “I was pumping gas at eight or nine years-old,” he said. “My dad worked a lot of hours, so it was a way for me to spend more time with him.” Andy also remembers the Cisco Dairy Farm behind the gas station and the old federal animal quarantine station that was on the grounds of what now is Clifton City Hall and the municipal complex. “I saw them bring in giraffes and all kinds of animals,” he said. 38 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

From the left Ryan, Cheryl Ann, Andy, Patrick, and Ken. Inset, a current photo of Andy and Cheryl.

Cheryl grew up on Greglawn Drive near Robinhood Park, where she fondly recalls spending time at summer programs and being outside playing with her friends until the street lights came on at night. She remembers going for special treats at Poppy’s Shakes, where Bizub Quinlan Funeral Home is now located. “Behind my house there was a farm and I could see all the way to School 2,” she said. “We had a good life. That was a time when Sundays were Sundays. It wasn’t so hectic and you spent the day with your family.” Although Andy and Cheryl both went on after elementary school to what was then called Woodrow Wilson Junior High, they don’t recall ever meeting or being in classes together. “I never laid eyes on her until junior year of high school,” Andy insists. The two met in chemistry class. “He liked the way I looked with my long blond hair, my go-go boots and mini skirt,” Cheryl laughed.


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“We had a lot of fun,” Cheryl said of their days in high school. “We had great teachers. Mr. Smith, our chemistry teacher, thought we were a cute couple.” Back in those days at CHS, students were placed in academic tracks. The more studious Cheryl was in Track A, while Andy was in Track C. “He liked shop classes a lot,” Cheryl said. “He used to work on all the teachers’ cars.” “I was always pretty much a gear head,” Andy commented. Cheryl said she was attracted to Andy because he seemed very confident and always knew what he wanted. “I also liked his boots and his slicked hair,” she said with a gesture. Date nights for the couple included trips to the usual Clifton landmarks, including Rutt’s Hut, Hot Grill, The Corral and, of course, Mario’s for pizza. “Every Sunday, he’d take me some place, like down the shore, to Smithville or Greenwood Lake,” Cheryl said. “He used to buy postcards and write down the date we went there.” “We’d go to Brookdale Park a lot,” Andy said. “In the evening after dark,” Cheryl added with a smile.

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The couple also enjoyed motorcycle riding. “We would go down to the Pine Barrens to ride the dirt bikes,” Andy said. Cheryl’s best friends in high school were Lynn Finaldi and Debbie Kamerling. She keeps in touch through Christmas cards with Finaldi, who now lives in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware, but she has lost contact with Kamerling. Andy’s favorite buddies were Billy Mason and Doug Strauss, but he hasn’t had any contact with either of them in many years. After graduation, Andy joined his father in the automotive business, where he had worked part-time all throughout high school. By that time, his father had given up the gasoline station and just focused on repairs. Cheryl went to Montclair State College (now Montclair State University), where she majored in math education and graduated in three years. She originally intended to teach, but, after completing her degree, she accepted a job offer with NJ Bell as an outside plant engineer. The position involved designing cable installations. She was later promoted to assistant manager for budget and results.


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Andy and Cheryl were married on June 1, 1975, at age 20 and had their wedding reception at The Fiesta in Wood-Ridge. They drove to Walt Disney World in Florida for their honeymoon, where they stayed at the Contemporary Resort Hotel, the first and only resort hotel of its kind at the time at the then new theme park. After they returned, they settled back in their home town and stayed in Clifton until 1986, when they bought a house in the Morris County community of Randolph. “We wanted to be out in the country more and Randolph was known for having a good school system,” Andy said. By then, the Mooneys had their first child, Ken, now age 31, and named after his grandfather. Two more boys followed, Ryan, now 26, and Patrick, 24. Cheryl returned to work following the birth of her first two sons, but after Patrick was born, she became a stayat-home mom for a few years. She eventually became involved as director of religious education and then taught pre-algebra to middle school students at St. Mary’s School in Dover, and later taught basic skills in the Dover public schools. Like many parents, while their boys were growing up, Andy’s and Cheryl’s lives revolved around their kids. Andy coached baseball and soccer and Cheryl was a volunteer with the school PTA and the Cub Scouts. “We did all the usual parent stuff,” Cheryl said. Andy took over ownership of Ken Mooney’s Service

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Garage from his father over 20 years ago and he continues to put in a lot of hours to keep the business thriving. “He gets up at four every morning to get into work early,” Cheryl said. “I might have been the more studious one, but, when it comes to business sense, he’s got the brains.” Cheryl went on to earn two masters degrees in education and special education, and she has been teaching kindergarten through second grade special education students at School 2 in Passaic since 2006. Oldest son Ken graduated from Rider College and is a financial analyst in New York City. Middle son Ryan works on instrument clusters for cars with an electronics company, and youngest son Patrick, who received a degree in criminal justice from William Paterson University, works full time as a mechanic for his father, while pursuing opportunities in law enforcement. He and his mom carpool together to work every day. Now that their kids are grown, Andy and Cheryl have decided to downsize from their large home in Randolph. They plan to move back to Clifton or another town nearby to make the commute in their remaining working years a little easier. Overall, it has been a very successful and satisfying 40 years for the two high school sweethearts, who are still very much in love and enjoying their life together. A life that all began with a chance meeting in Mr. Smith’s chemistry class at Clifton High School.

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TWO DAVES FROM 1973 Their Titles Today? Musicians and Entrepreneurs By Tom Hawrylko Keeping an eye out for the competition makes sense in any business. But what do you do when your competition is also a long time friend? Such is the paradox of Dave Santosuosso (the choker below and at right in 1973) and Dave Pietziewicz , competing title agents with businesses based in Clifton. Santosuosso owns Title Agency of New Jersey and Pietziewicz owns Passaic Valley Title Agency. So far, it doesn’t sound so remarkable. What if we told you they have been friends since junior high school? And what if we told you they were born the same day in the same year, only an hour apart (December 17, 1954)? In their glory days, they even performed in the same rock band, The Raisin. Yet, despite the competitive nature of small business in a small city, Dave and Dave occasionally refer work to each other during busy periods and, more importantly, maintain a friendship founded nearly 40 years ago. “Every once and a while, we still get together,” said Santosuosso. “We share sport tickets and refer work to each other. If he is on vacation, his staff can call my office for assistance and vice versa.” “We’ve been steady friends for a long time,” added Pietziewicz. A long time indeed. They met while attending Woodrow Wilson Middle School through mutual friends. “We met through our rock band,” recalled Pietziewicz. “I played guitar. I went over a friends house to rehearse. They said a kid was coming over to sing and play bass. It was Dave (Santosuosso).” Their mutual love of music propelled their friendship beyond playing in the band. While in the 9th grade Dave and Dave worked as dishwashers at the Northlander, a long gone dining establishment in Lakeview. “After work we would take the bus to Passaic to buy music,” said Pietziewicz. “Then we would take the bus back to one of our houses to listen to our new records.” 44 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Often, the music they would recreate would be the sounds of their favorite bands when they performed. Although Pietziewicz added that they were ambitious enough to write many original songs. “There were two re-incarnations of the band,” said Pietziewicz. “One while we were in high school and one when we were a little older playing in nightclubs.” After graduating from high school in 1973, Dave and Dave parted ways as many friends do. Santosuosso planed to stay local. He was introduced to the business of title searching through his father, an attorney who served as Chicago Title Insurance Company’s state manager and resident vice president. Meanwhile, Pietziewicz went to Paul Smith College, in Sarnack Lake, NY to become a wildlife biologist. “When I went up there I got cold feet,” admitted Pietziewicz. “I decided this is not for me. It was a confusing time because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.” Shortly after dropping out of Paul Smith College, Pietziewicz recalls Santosuosso saying that his father needed someone to work in his office.

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“My dad’s company was said. “Right now, the houslooking for a few guys,” ing market is healthy. It’s said Santosuosso. His father good, but it’s scary because could not directly hire him it reminds me of 1987 to work in his office when it came tumbling because the company had down. The title business an anti-nepotism policy. rides on the crest of the Both Dave’s quickly took to economy. It is a peak and the title insurance business. valley industry.” A title agent researches Despite the uncontrolproperty by checking the lable nature of the busirecords on local, county and ness, Pietziewicz stays one state levels to make sure step ahead of slow busiDave Pietkiewicz, second from left with Who New? that the property is free and ness. “You have to plan for clear to be sold. In 1982, Pietziewicz opened Passaic the lean times,” he said. Valley Title. Five years later, Santosuosso opened Title Regardless of how the economy moves or what hapAgency of New Jersey. Even though 1987 was a tough pens to the title insurance business, Dave and Dave year for the economy, both businesses survived and conhave something more valuable. Even though they tinue to do well today. admit they are not as close as they were in high school, In fact, Pietziewicz says he sees many similarities to there are few people who have the opportunity to call the economy of 1987 and today. “You hear confusing on a life long friend for business and personal advice at things in the media about the fate of the economy,” he a moments notice.

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John Hanrahan, Suzanne Sia, Anthony Hinson, Jacqueline Ference, Jerry Ference, Linda Chiappone, Victoria Tuzzolino

Top row: Leslie Friedman, Geri Honan, Kathy White, Dori Breen, Mr. Carline, Theresa Najjar. Bottom row: Lisa D’Annunzio, Lori Pletenik, Elena Tiberi, Marcy Drumright, Theresa Messineo. At right, Kathy White, going tall.

WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN... The Drama Club took to the stage in Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park.” The school newspaper, The Hub, doubled its issues to eight. Aaron Halpern was marking his 20th year as Clifton High’s principal, telling the class “a great future awaits you.” Clifton High’s Class of 1983 turned to the Carpenters’ 1970 hit song for its motto, We’ve Only Just Begun, but it was really quite a year for Michael Jackson – who for the first time danced the “moon walk” and seemed to rule the airways, topping the charts with Billy Jean and Beat It. By summer, the class was swinging with the now classic Flashdance … What a Feeling and those oh-so-memorable lyrics: “Take your passion. And make it happen!” Robert Morgan, Clifton’s perennial band director, was doing just that in the 48 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


stands and on the field as he cemented a decade of high-stepping Mustang pride. The cheerleaders, then as now, gave a spirited “We’ve Got the Spirit, Yeah” chant at football games. The pajama-clad girls’ choir enchanted guests with a rendition of “Mr. Sandman.” If T-shirts were a sign of the times, logos that year trumpeted Harley-Davidson motor cycles, the Cowboys, Black Sabbath and even the shore’s Sea Isle City. The guidance office was deemed “a place to relieve tensions.” Mr. Charles Holland, a mainstay of the French department, continued to teach the intricacies of the romance language. Jackie Ference – the year’s homecoming queen -- and Tony Hinson topped the “Most Popular” category. Kathy White, sporting a No. 21 jersey for the girls’ basketball team, found a picture of herself in the yearbook underscored with this caption: “S-T-R-E-T-C-H … Slam Dunk. It was not the case nationally, with President Reagan juggling an economy with 10.4 percent unemployment at 10.4 percent as the year began. Still, there was escape at either the Clifton Top left, Craig Calderone, at left, Barbara Menegus and Margarita Curnel, below Rich Stroligo and Matt Nichols.

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From top left, Alan Fivehouse, John Judge and Andy Blumetti, Michele Sobczak, Jackie Ference. At right, The Zoology Club.

or Allwood movie theaters, with the debut of Star Wars Episode VI, Return of the Jedi followed by summer’s unwrapping of Chevy Chase as Clack Griswald in National Lampoon’s Vacation. History was made too, with Sally Ride – at the age of 32 – becoming the first woman in space as a crew member aboard the shuttle Challenger. It all seemed to fit with the words of Principal Halpern that year. “True education is learning from the experience of others,” he wrote, “for this experience makes it possible for you to go further, no

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matter what the field of endeavor. … In spite of all the problems of the world today, the present is better than the past. We hope your contributions will benefit mankind.”

The school’s vice principals – John Baskinger, Henry Dougherty and Constance Pomposelli – weighed in too, commenting on “some of the best years” of the students’ lives.


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From CAST at CHS

to Fox 39 News Anchor

Nick Toma In 1981, the TV production course known as CAST —Communications, Art, Science & Technology—was groundbreaking and Nick Toma took that unique class at CHS and used it as the foundation to a career. “A class in how to write and produce a newscast?” recalled Toma, now a Fox TV News Anchor in Rockford, Ill. “I was a sophomore and thought I would play baseball the rest of my life. My math skills were average but I could speak well and my writing skills were sharp.” Toma credits CHS counselor Jean Bernstein for suggesting CAST. He called Frank Perotta and Patricia Zalesny an amazing team of teachers. “He handled most of the technical portions of the class...how to edit, camera, directing, that kind of thing,” said Toma. “Mrs. Zalesny handled scriptwriting and journalistic theory.” He and his classmates produced a half hour newscast on what was then Cable Channel V once a week. “I was writing and reporting segments and eventually I was able to anchor them too,” he continued. “There was also the Mustang Magazine and I interviewed my cousin Tom, a professional photographer who went on to be JCREW’s chief photographer for many years. I learned a lot about life simply asking questions.” That interview piqued his interest and Toma went on to be a communication major at William Paterson College. Handsome and articulate with a winning personality, Toma could also write. He started reporting for the Herald & News while continuing to appear in on-air segments for the fledgling cable TV station.

“In the late 80’s a friend of mine asked if I could come down to OBC (Orrechio Broadcasting Company in Nutley then produced a daily newscast to Clifton) and do reporting for their show. He said he couldn’t pay me but that I could take as many tapes as I wanted and send them out to news stations. That’s what I did.” The free reels paid off. Six months later Toma said goodbye to his parents Gene and Gloria and was working as a TV reporter in Watertown, NY. From there, he landed reporting jobs in Anchorage Alaska and Springfield, Mass. before getting his first big break as the host of a morning show in Salt Lake City, Utah. “Broadcasting the weather live from a hot air balloon in Springfield, reporting from Barrow Alaska, the northernmost city in the US, covering a week-long silver salmon fishing derby in Seward Alaska,” Toma laughed about his assignments. “I flew with the Thunderbirds and survived 9 Gs,” he continued. “We flew from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe in about 11 minutes. Good Day Sacramento was a five hour long morning show. Very personality driven. It’s strange to say but my job was to be myself and talk about things happening in the community and in the world around us.” Toma was a fixture on Sacramento TV news for 13 years but as is the transient nature of his industry, his move to the Fox affiliate in Rockford, Ill. proved to be a better opportunity. One added bonus: he gets back to Clifton more often, spending time with his parents and his brother Michael and sister Christine. Clifton Merchant • July 2013

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STILL IN THE CLOUDS bomber or trainer in the Mike Salerno had dreams aviation museums he visof being a pilot back in ited around the country. CHS so it is fitting that his “I attribute this interest job keeps him in the clouds. to my dad who served in As a Marketing Director the Army Air Corps (prefor NBS in Wayne, this cursor to the Air Force) cloud communications and during the WWII era, and telecom services provider was immensely proud of makes use of Salerno’s his service to his country MBA in Marketing and and an extremely patriotic undergrad in Economics, man,” said Salerno. “His both from what was then good friend Bert DeSoteo Montclair State College. was a top turret gunner in The firm also taps his creB-24’s during the war and ativity in the design of partas you can imagine, ner communication eattending air shows or blasts, product collateral, walking through air website and social media museums with these two content and public relations was quite an education.” material for the company. “My dad was my role “I began with NBS in model and hero and he 2005 and have a history in Mike and his wife Jackie, (Festa) never ceased to amaze the Telecom industry as far CHS ‘80 who is a CHS Guidance me with his relentlessly back as 1991,” said Salerno, Counselor. Inset Mike in 1983. positive attitude, no matwho resides in Wayne with ter what life threw at him and my mom over the years,” his wife and two daughters. “I have seen the evolution said Salerno, one of five children in the family. They of business telecom from analog voice lines to the all include Joe, ‘74; Anne, ‘75, Jim, ‘80 and Maria ‘85. digital IP data packets that now compose modern comAs a testament to their dad, the Clifton Optimist munications networks. With the convergence of voice Club presents the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for and data networks the term “In the Cloud” is thrown the Law Award. “We are always thankful and humbled around a lot in my industry.” by this event. It is a wonderful way to honor a man who While one usage of the term keeps him at his office, gave so much to his community as a lawyer and judge the other still has Salerno gazing the skies. “I am a in Passaic County for so long. And more than 20 years huge fan of anything aerospace,” he said. “Specifically after his passing, to remember him in this way? It military aviation and any and all things NASA and or instills great pride in the entire Salerno family.” human spaceflight. I could give a pretty long soliloquy This year’s Optimist Dinner is on Sept. 19 at 6:30 on how the US got to the moon in 1969 and why we pm. Clifton Police Officer John Samra, killed in the can’t go back there today without foreign assistance.” line of duty on Nov. 21, 2003, will be posthumously In June, Salerno met his childhood hero, Apollo 11 honored with the Salerno Award. For more info or tickastronaut Buzz Aldrin, at the Montclair Public Library. ets, call Dennis Hahofer at 973-513-9796, Joe Bionci at Salerno also reads stacks of books on World War II avi973-472-1707 or Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400. ation and can identify just about every historic fighter, 52 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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IN CLIFTON TO STAY Suzanne Sia loved her years as a Mustang and continues making memories in Clifton. Despite her fondness for her hometown, Sia does not wear rose colored glasses. “I guess this is a positive aspect in life – as we get older, some things become more complicated,” she said with out a trace of lamentation. “But having strong ties within your community is a source of strength and stability in dealing with these challenging life situations.” Sia grew up on Thanksgiving Lane and belonged to the Italian and Key Clubs, was on staff of the school paper and was in accelerated Math, Science, English and History. Looking back on those formative years, she said the knowledge she gained made it easy CHS grads Suzanne Sia, Fran Morici and Cathy Rose Mikowski. for her to grow as a person and become Sia attended Rutgers University and after graduating involved in her community socially and politically. began a career in Information Technology. “My role in In 2010, Sia launched a bid for a Clifton City corporations is to ensure software applications/computCouncil seat, one of 19 candidates that year. While er systems are functioning efficiently. In addition, I only seven were elected, Sia came in tenth, just 278 review processes to remove redundancy in methodolovotes short of winning a seat. gies which turns into cost savings for the company.” Sia Not a bad start for a political novice. went on to earn an MBA in Management Information Since 2010, Sia continues to be active on the politiSystems from St. Peters College in 1994. “I have a great cal and community scenes. She serves on the Cable TV understanding for process, precision and accurate comcommittee—and also appears as a interviewer—is vice munication since the foundation of Information president of the CHS PTSA and also makes her opinTechnology is logical thinking and transforming that ions known on issues. She frequently speaks during the into processes to improve our lives,” said Sia. public portion at Council meetings and makes her opinThe single mom said she has no plans of moving out ions known via letters to local papers. Chances are, of town. “My father still lives in the home I grew up in she’ll take another run at political office. Why? and my daughter walks to his house after school. She “Clifton is the center of my world. It’s been good to even brings her friends there. It’s something she will my family and I,” she said, adding that her daughter remember for the rest of her life,” Sia continued. “I Diana McKenna, a CHS Junior, enjoys her time as a feel that Clifton has a lot to offer its residents. With all Mustang as well. It is about giving back. the complaints about the CHS, I feel it has one of the “I received an exceptional education at CHS and as best Honor and Advanced Placement Programs and a result it opened doors, got me into a good college and offers positive exposure to diversity.” provided me with fundamental language and math That diversity and richness translates to unique dinskills I use every day.” Looking at her life today, Sia ing and shopping and great neighborhoods. “Clifton is credits the teachers at CHS for her math skills. “They a place where neighbors become lifelong friends and made it clear that if you followed the formula and took look out for each other,” she concluded. the correct steps, math was easy and logical.” Clifton Merchant • July 2013

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Lisa Giaconia, Ronald Hammond, Tara Keating, Amy Hudak, Vincent Malba, Kathleen Kolano, Mark Ponikowski

CLIFTON AT 75... Beverly Hills 90210 – the television series that trailed the lives of teenagers in the upscale zip code – was one of the best – or worst – shows of the day, depending on which CHS Class of ’93 senior you asked. One of the “best” songs – or so the yearbook surmised – was How Do You Talk to an Angel, a chart-topping theme of a short-lived TV series. The year was also Clifton’s 75th anniversary, noted in a yearbook collage of marquee pictures from city mainstays, namely The Rowe Manse Emporium, Carvel Ice Cream and the Allwood Theater. In a twist that year, teachers were asked where they were 30 years earlier, the occasion of the creation of the Clifton High School campus. “At home with my mom and watching Captain Kangaroo,” said special-education teacher Janice Burke. “Playing in my sandbox between naps,” said English teacher Robert Dominianni. The creativity extended from an “excuses for tardiness” category — “They changed my locker combina-

Unfortunately the ‘93 yearbook did not identify the students pictured on these pages.

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tion” and “I helped a freshman find his room” – to one for missing homework – “My mom forgot to do it for me” and “There was homework?” For those “memorable moments,” classmates remembered “the walkout during the war” and “when I was first kissed.” And the “embarrassing” ones? “Wearing two different shoes to school” and “getting stuck in the bathroom when the knob broke.” On the gridiron, head coach John Iannucci, in his final campaign at CHS, led the Fighting Mustangs to 3-4-2 record after a close contest with a strong Paramus Catholic early in the season. Still, it was a season that nevertheless won recognition for running back Ralph Cinque, who ran a 288-yard effort against PC and was honored twice as “Athlete of the Week.” At half-time, the 125-plus member strong Mustang Marching Band – dubbed “Morgan’s Militia” — took to the field under long-time band director Robert Morgan and assistant Frank Romaine. In the year’s “Who’s Who,” it was running back Cinque who picked up the title of “Most Athletic.” In something of a break with tradition – and no doubt to spare any hurt feelings – the staff of the yearbook, Rotunda, included a

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page of runners-up in such categories as “Class Clown” and “Most Dependable. “ But 1993 was also a year of loss. Henry Dougherty (pictured center), the long-time CHS vice principal, passed away, his presence marked by this verse attributed to American literary critic Van Wyck Brooks: “How delightful is the company of generous people, who overlook trifles and keep their minds instinctively fixed on whatever is good and positive in the world around them. …

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Magnanimous people have no vanity, they have no jealously, and they feed on the true and the solid wherever they find it. And, what is more, they find it everywhere.” These days, the Clifton High School Class of 1993 has its own Facebook page, albeit with just 58 members. “We graduated from high school 20 years ago tonight! Crazy, isn’t it?” said Cara Kling Centurione in a June 24 post.

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HE PAYS IT FORWARD Life is about giving back to the community that shaped Vincent Malba into the man he has become. Growing up in Acquackanack, he has fond memories of being outside, riding bikes, delivering newspapers, cutting lawns, going to Bruno’s for pizza and playing baseball in the Clifton Midget League. After CHS, Malba attended The College of New Jersey and went on to New York Chiropractic College for a doctor of chiropractic degree. “The next step was figuring out where I wanted to practice,” he said. “It was a pretty easy decision – it had to be Clifton. It was time to pay it forward.” Malba recently celebrated his 10th year in practice on Clifton Ave. “It has been a dream come true and I have loved every minute of it,” he said. “Not only have I been able to treat generations of Clifton residents, from infants to the elder-

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ly, but also athletes and former coaches. It’s been a joy in so many respects and giving back to the community has been incredibly rewarding.” He attended School 5 and a year at School 2 before moving on to Woodrow Wilson Middle School. At CHS, he ran cross country and played basketball and baseball, and had the thrill and honor of being a member of two Passaic County and state sectional championship teams in the latter sport. He also played summer base ball with the Clifton American Legion Post 347. “I was inspired by my parents as well as teachers and coaches, many of whom also grew up in Clifton,” he said. At a young age, Malba was also influenced by chiropractor Dr. Roger Lope, another Cliftonite. “He taught me about the amazing abilities of the human body to heal itself through chiropractic care,”

Malba said. “I immediately fell in love with the science and philosophy of chiropractic and the ability to help people naturally, without the use of drugs and surgery.” Aside from his chiropractic practice, Malba has been involved with the community in many other ways. A sponsor and coach in the Clifton Midget League, he participates in annual food and clothing drives for St. Peter’s Haven and serves as president of the Clifton Lions Club. He has also spoken at several Clifton schools, done presentations at the annual Clifton Child Health & Safety Fair and has been a volunteer and runner in local Clifton 5K runs. “The best part has been making a difference in people’s lives by helping them become healthier through chiropractic care and lifestyle education,” he said. “I hope to continue to make this community a better one.”


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GOT HIS START IN CAST When Jeff Muddell left Clifton after graduation in 1993 to attend the University of Miami, he took with him a wealth of knowledge and experience that has led him to a successful and varied career in broadcast journalism and other avenues of communications. Muddell, who graduated in the Top 10 at CHS – he finished ninth in his class – completed his bachelor’s degree at UM in 1997, majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. During his college years he served several internships with television stations in Florida and South Carolina, and was news director of UM’s TV news broadcast. He credits his years in the CHS CAST (Communication Arts & Sciences) program and CAST teacher and head football coach Jim Kelly at the time with giving him the background to do as well as he did. “The enterprising experience in that program (CAST) most certainly put me ahead of the rest when I arrived in college,” he said. “Plus the communications and writing skills I learned in English classes, journalism and working for The Hub all paid dividends. When you’re in the business world – no matter what business – you appreciate good communication.” Upon graduation from UM, Muddell accepted his first position at RNN (Regional News Network) in New York. Following that, he

Jeff Muddell with golf legend Arnold Palmer. Above, Jeff, back in 1993.

spent a year-and-a-half in Raleigh, North Carolina as a news producer for the NBC station there before relocating back to Miami to work at WSVN for a year. It was during that time that Muddell returned to Clifton to be a keynote speaker at the CHS Distinguished Academic Achievement Awards Dinner to talk about his career and how he got there. He later spent seven years combining two of his favorite things, golf and television, as original productions producer for The Golf Channel. It was a thrill for the fouryear CHS golf letterman to travel to golf courses and events across the country and even to faraway places such as Iceland. He had an opportunity to engage with dozens of pro golfers, other athletes and celebrities. Muddell went back to school in 2005 at the University of Florida,

where he earned his MBA two years later. As his career progressed, he accepted a position with the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation, supporting the children’s and women’s hospitals that bear the name of the legendary golfer through fundraising and special events coordination. He currently serves as vice president of the foundation. One of Muddell’s best high school memories is shooting the football video for the 1992 season. “It’s still one of my all-time favorite productions,” he said. “And I’ve done documentaries on golfers, investigative stories and travel shows from Iceland, so there’s a lot to choose from.” Muddell and his wife Stephanie, a fellow UM graduate, live in Winter Park, Florida with their three children, Caroline Grace, Charles and Grant. Clifton Merchant • July 2013 59


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CAREER CHANGE? NO WORRIES. After trying out a career in television production, Tara Keating Horutz learned an important lesson: sometimes Mom really does know best. While in college and trying to decide what to do in life, Tara’s mother suggested that she become a teacher. At the time, Tara had no interest in the profession, but last month she completed her 10th year as a sixth grade language arts teacher in Mendham. The CHS ’93 graduate grew up in Botany Village, where she attended School 12. Throughout her childhood, she enjoyed playing outdoors with the other neighborhood kids, riding bikes, swimming in backyard pools, playing softball and going to dancing lessons. Her family later moved to the Dutch Hill section and Tara went to Woodrow Wilson Middle School before moving up to CHS. Her best friends in high school were Erica Bustamante, who now lives in Warren; Janine Colavito, who is still in Clifton; and Jennifer Giusio, who moved to Connecticut. She has stayed friends with all three and often gets

together with Erica and Janine, while Facebook has helped her keep in touch with Jennifer. Tara went on to Montclair State University, where she majored in English and minored in film. “I really enjoy reading and I always loved music,” she said. “I wanted to use that to help get me into the film industry.” After college, she took a job with Lucky Duck Productions as a story editor for Nick News with Linda Ellerbe, which aired on the Nickelodeon channel. After two years, when the show ended, she decided to go back for her teaching certification. “I realized that what I enjoyed most about the job was working with the kids,” she said. Tara met her husband Matt in college, when the two worked together at the campus radio station. At the time, Matt was the music director and on-air DJ and Tara was a new apprentice. Eventually, Tara passed the on-air test and became a DJ with her own show, and the two would often guest star on each other’s programs. The couple, pictured above was married in 2004. They reside in Roxbury Township and have two children, Annie, age five, and Lucas, who was born in May.

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Joseph Hawrylko, Gina Oliva, Panagiotis Doris, Alicia Feghhi, Michael Genchi, Diane Canavan, Brian Kennedy

JUST 10 YEARS AGO THEY WERE GRADS By Alicia Feghhi

A lot can happen in 10 years. Benjamin Jacques, who was voted “Most All-Around Talent” of the Clifton High School class of 2003, is just one of the many Mustangs whose successes may be attributed to a place where teenagers start to learn about themselves and then eventually become productive members of society. Curious about what these Mustangs are up to now? Let’s find out. “High school was the best because I broke out of my shell and it helped expose my passion for the arts,” said Jacques, 29, formerly of the Allwood section who now resides in Easton, PA. “I wasn’t the smartest kid in high school but I was smart outside the classroom.” He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a child. “It has been a struggle most of my life, but I am testimony of ‘if you’re really passionate about something, nothing will get in your way…nothing!’” A singer, dancer, actor and photographer, Jacques said his muse was found thanks to his CHS classmates. “I remember opening my yearbook and looking for the ‘Who’s Who’ section. I ruffled through the pages to find ‘Most Musically Inclined’ and felt disappointed to see that I wasn’t chosen for that category,” he recalled. “While flipping through pages, I saw a new category— ‘Most All-Around Talent.’ Seeing my picture and name there gave me a sense of pride and I told myself that no matter how hard life gets, I knew that I would always have multiple outlets to become successful.” Jacques is the founder of B Jacques City Productions, an event and portrait photography business created in 2010. “I started while in Lehigh Valley, PA when I wanted to show the world my creativity. I decided to embark on a journey that would bring a smorgasbord of creativ62 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Most All-around Talent Benjamin Jacques today and at right, in 2003.

ity. I like to bring that innercity/fashion style of photography and clash traditional and natural-looking images.” Jacques is also President of Visuals at a record label, T.O.N.Y. Media Group (Top of New York Media Group). He started capturing images for the artist Young Chizz when Ed Monsta, an upcoming Hip Hop Star in this record label, and was asked to take some photos of a charity event here in New Jersey. Months later, he received a phone call from T.O.N.Y. Media Group stating that they saw his work online and were interested in hiring him to be their lead photographer.


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“With consistent work and persistence, I became the President of Visuals at the record label. We are now underway for an upcoming tour and promoting the song #MOBBIN that is on iTunes right now and we broke Media Base Top 100 in five days, playing on 25 radio stations in the U.S. We are excited.” Jacques’s next goal is to become an ambassador to CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) or the LAD (Learning Disabilities of America) and help with charity. “I have seen myself grow in the past three years as a husband, a father, a businessman,” he said, adding, with a little bit of a chuckle: “I am an overcomer, an overachiever, a Above, High school sweethearts Marissa [Bednar] and Greg Kulesza. motivator, and a loyal advocate among my bon on it. I was so happy I got a bike, I went up and peers and business associates.” down the street riding it. Then Greg said, ‘Okay, here is Marissa [formerly Bednar] and Greg Kulesza, both the small present.’ He got down on one knee and he 28, found love at CHS. High school sweethearts, they asked me to marry him.” tied the knot July 2, 2011. Greg proposed on December Marissa met Greg through his friend, Maciej, in biol22, 2006 while exchanging Christmas gifts. ogy class. “One day Maciej and I were talking and he Marissa picks up the story: brought Greg up in conversation. Maciej was friends “Greg asked if I wanted the big or small present first. with Greg. I asked Maciej for Greg's phone number I said ‘big,’ and he said, ‘The big present is outside.’ We because I wanted to thank him for translating went outside and there was a bike for me with a red rib-

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Polish documents for me. That night we talked for hours until we both fell asleep on the phone. We continued to go on dates and we both decided that we wanted to officially become boyfriend and girlfriend.” The couple currently resides in the Poconos. They moved there in August 2012 after living in Marietta, GA for a few years while In 2002, Valedictorian Aslihan Sen, Salutatorian Marc Leili and QB Jeff Gurka. Greg was pursuing his Doctor of high school is earning his doctorate degree as well as Chiropractic degree from LIFE University in Marietta. publishing an article in the Journal of Pediatric, He earned his degree in 2011. Prior to that, Greg studMaternal & Family Health. ied Biology at East Stroudsburg University, PA and gradMarissa’s highlights include being the first graduate uated in 2007. He is now a Doctor of Chiropractic at Life with a Gerontology degree from Montclair State is Good Chiropractic in Brodheadsville, PA. “The best University, having her article published in Guide to part of my job is taking care of families and helping them Service Learning for Colleges and Universities, and live a better quality life.” completing an internship with the Disney College Marissa’s passion is “working with senior citizens and Program at Walt Disney World. providing them with loving care.” How did they know that they each were “the one”? She earned her B.A. in Family and Child Studies with Greg explained: “I knew Marissa was the one because a concentration in Gerontology from Montclair State every hour spent with her seemed like a minute and every University in 2007. She is currently consulting at minute without her felt like forever. She keeps challengCareOne as an activity director, providing activity proing me on many levels and makes me a better person.” grams to ensure that the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, Marissa added: “I knew Greg was the one because we recreational and social needs of the residents are met on could talk for hours, he always made me laugh and mosta group and individual levels. ly importantly, I fell in love with him and could see us Greg’s biggest accomplishments since graduating growing old together.” “I look back on my life of the past ten years and I can’t believe how much has happened,” said Retty Torres [formerly George], 28, of Bayonne. Shortly after graduating high school, Torres spent her summer before attending college in Chinle, Arizona, working alongside a church that is involved in reaching out to the Navajo community that is heavily tainted with gang violence and alcohol abuse. She was The October 2002 magazine with the Homecoming court and Brian Kennedy in August, 2009.

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working with the children in coordinating community activities to create a safe haven for these youth. “After I left Chinle, I did not want my desire to advocate and help children to stop there. The experience in Chinle inspired me to major in Health Science and learn how I can continue to help communities regarding their living and working conditions that influence their overall health.” After earning her B.S in Health Sciences/ Community Health at New Jersey City University in Jersey City in 2007, she volunteered in India with Emmanuel Ministries in Calcutta. The group served the poor and marginalized populations of Calcutta and brought hope through education, job opportunities, food, spiritual encouragement and bringing awareness of their social rights in India. “What was supposed to be just a fourmonth stay ended up to be a year-long volunteering endeavor,” she said. Working with informal schools of children from the slums and developing a health and general science cur-

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MUSTANGS NOW?

Retty (George) with her husband Jorge Torres.

riculum for the classes, Torres taught throughout the school year. She also led choir classes after school. Torres has also lived with and served as a temporary caretaker of 16 young girls with high-risk backgrounds that are abandoned, lost and traumatized in the Pauline Bhavine Children’s Home. She created interactive projects and activities for the children in order to help them regain their childhood. “My time in India was one of the most challenging yet enlightening and humbling experiences. After I left Calcutta, I made a commitment to myself, that wherever I am and what ever profession that I eventually pursue, I want to be in a place where I can work with, and for children who are limited in resources and of low economic backgrounds. Ultimately, they are our future and I believe change and hope begins with them.” She returned to New Jersey in 2009, working as a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Specialist at a maternal and child health organization. The next step was to pursue her Masters in speech language pathology at Mercy College in New York. Torres will graduate in 2014 and plans to work with children concerning their speech and language communication disorders. In August of 2012, she married Jorge Torres, a Montessori school teacher that has a passion for working with children. “One of our goals is to volunteer for Operation Smile, an organization that helps children with left lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. With Jorge’s experiences as a child with a cleft lip and palate and my experiences in speech language pathology, we


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hope to have the chance to learn “Five years after from other professionals in this graduating, I stuck by area and use our experiences to my decision of helping make a difference.” New Jersey and working Torres added, “Who knew that for someone that can relate to the little a shy, timid girl like myself would man, the hardworking taxpayer, and eventually make big decisions the middle class. Working for the such as traveling to different Congressman, I interact with elected countries like Kuwait and officials in the district and deal with Thailand, live overseas and evenmatters related to the Military tually get married?” Academies and other issues.” Fahim Abedrabbo, 28, is makAbedrabbo and other young profesing big moves while still living sionals started an organization that and working in Clifton. With a would assist people of the Arab passion for politics, he was a American community. “I am passionPolitical Science and Law major ate about giving back. Community at Montclair State University in service is the way of life. We were put 2007 and earned his M.A. in on this earth to do well by our own Public Administration from individual beliefs.” Seton Hall University in 2012. Abedrabbo’s future goal is to get Fahim Abedrabbo with his bride to be, Hannah. After earning his undergraduhis Ph. D in education. “Between my ate degree, he interned in father teaching me the importance of Washington for Congressman Bill Pascrell and was the value of education, to shadowing Congressman Bill offered a position in the New Jersey District Office. Pascrell’s work in education when he was in the NJ State “This internship confirmed my dream of working in polCapitol and on the United States House Floor, education itics,” he explained. “As I started my career, I knew that has become the forefront of our future.” helping the taxpayers in my hometown and in the Wedding plans are also in his future. Abedrabbo is Congressional District was more gratifying versus getting engaged to pharmacist Hannah Adi, “a person who has lost in the maze of Washington D.C.” the kindest heart and is the sweetest person I have ever Abedrabbo is a Field Representative for Congressman met. When they say everyone has a soul mate, I know I Bill Pascrell, and also works as an Adjunct Professor of have found mine and I am excited to spend the rest of my Political Science at Montclair State University, his alma life with her.” They set the date for March 23, 2014. mater. He is also the Chair of the United American Arab “Between college, graduate school, and lifetime expeCoalition, an organization that brings awareness to riences, I have learned a lot since Clifton High School. I Middle Eastern culture and aid to the Community). He is had many favorite teachers and fond memories at CHS. also very active in the Democratic Party in the City of Their personalities and their styles of teaching left a long Clifton and Passaic County. lasting impression.”

Have Clifton Merchant Mailed. $27/YEAR SUBSCRIPTION Mailed via first class to your home.

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MUSTANGS BE?

CHS GRADUATION June 28, 2013, Joe Grecco Field

Some 782 Mustangs of the CHS Class of 2013 took the field as high schoolers for the last time on June 28, moving on as graduates. Photos on these pages are from that Commencement exercise. Off to colleges, the military, area jobs and local business, they enter the next stage of life. Ten years from now, we will be reaching out to them to determine Where are These Mustangs Now?

68 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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FRIDAY JUNE 28, 2013

Clifton Merchant • July 2013

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Business History

Landmark at 777 Passaic Ave. now managed and owned by Mountain Development Corp. The five story office building—a landmark at Allwood Rd. and Passaic Ave. since 1985—recently purchased and now managed by Clifton’s Mountain Development Corp. has a storied history as its predecessor was the eatery that stood up to a Sherman tank. Known for decades simply as Gene Boyle’s, the stately white mansion with huge white columns set on eight acres was an elegant eatery until the 1960’s. Named for its owner, people dined there on white linen table cloths amid an air of quiet conversation and soft piano music. Gene Boyle and his dad purchased the building in the late 1940’s and renovated the dining area while the family resided upstairs. Over the years, the junior Boyle grew with the industry and brought the restaurant 70 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

to a new level of sophistication. The quiet and bookish looking son was a master of seating people strategically to create what we know today as networking. People from all walks of life—from high powered politicians to young married couples—were comfortable with his warm ways. Political affairs were hosted there as were weddings and society events. Throughout the 1960’s, Gene Boyle’s employed 70 tuxedo wearing waiters and had its own on-premise baker. Boyle and his wife Marge were proud of their growing reputation and spent their Monday nights off dining at famous Manhattan eateries looking to bring sophistication and new culinary experiences to Clifton. With many elected officials frequenting the establishment, it was not a surprise that Boyle set his sights on public office.


Already a Passaic Valley Water Commissioner and involved in many philanthropy and social organizations, Boyle accepted the Republican nomination for Congress in a special election in 1969 and was given almost no chance against Robert A. Roe. Boyle’s pedigree in GOP politics connected him to President Richard Nixon, who won the 1968 election over the Democratic incumbent Vice-President Hubert Humphrey. To show support, Nixon hosted Boyle with a half-hour campaign conference to discuss topics. Nonetheless, Boyle lost to the Democrat. By the 1970’s, the trend to fast foods and casual dining took its toll on places like Gene Boyle’s. Dining in white gloved establishment soon became a thing of the past and Boyle knew it was time to close the doors. After it closed, the contents were auctioned off and the building was destined to be demolished. In an effort to draw attention to the soon-to-be constructed 77,000 square foot structure, the developers hired a World War II Sherman tank to knock down the old restaurant. They estimated it would take 30 minutes, the weather, however, did not cooperate on Feb. 12, 1983. The tank could not get much traction on the ice and snow, so ordinary bulldozers were called in and took an hour and a half to clear the site.

Today the property is 65 percent occupied. It was purchased by Mountain Development Corp., a local developer who recently completed a data center on Delawanna Avenue. The company is planning to renovate the lobby and anticipates leasing the available space to users who will compliment the current mix of professional, medical and sales offices. For information about the building, contact Bill Martini at 973-643-3333.

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Ukrainian & Polish Sto lat! Greg Komeshok, Passaic High School Athletic Director and Third Ward Park music impresario, reported that the July 18 concert by Jimmy Sturr marks the 10th anniversary of the international Polka star visiting Passaic. The free event is a rain or shine happening so be sure to pray for good weather. Sturr is a legendary performer, with 18 Grammy Awards. He and his band have performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, Poland and in casinos across the globe.

Free Concert Thursday, July 18, 7:30

Jimmy Sturr & his Orchestra Passaic’s Third Ward Park corner of Van Houten and Passaic Aves.

Bring blankets or lawn chairs! Sponsors include Wawel Bank, Garden State Honda, State Senator Paul Sarlo, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, Assemblywoman Marlene Caride, Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin, Sheriff Richard Berdnik, RosolDul American Legion Post #359, Passaic Check Cashing, Weiner and Mazzei, PC, and Slovak Catholic Sokol. This project is funded in part by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College, through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of the State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Park is Handicapped-Accessible.

Call Greg Komeshok for more info: 973 - 473 - 5111 72 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Mnohaya lita! The Ukrainian Cultural Festival is on July 12 to 14 at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center in Kerhonkson, NY. It offers a weekend of culture, food and fun in the Catskills Mountains. Now in its seventh year, performers such as Canadian violinist Vasyl Popadiuk (above) and his five member band Papa Duke who perform Gypsy World Fusion with classical, jazz, latin and pop undertones. Headlining the Festival is singer and performer Vika, who sings in Ukrainian, English and Russian. An international performer, her song Want You is currently featured in the film Arthur Newman which stars Emily Blunt and Colin Firth. The Ukrainian Heritage Center and resort Soyuzivka is run by the Ukrainian National Association, an international fraternal insurance company based in Parsippany. The resort is open to all and offers overnight accommodations, sports facilities and camps for children. Many of the buildings on the resort are of traditional Ukrainian woodworkings, symbolic of Ukraine. Come hungry. The kitchen offer lots of pierogies, stuffed cabbage, potato pancakes, borscht and more. Call 845-626-5641 for info.


Clifton Merchant • July 2013

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Neighborhood Events SS. Cyril & Methodius Church on Ackerman Ave. continues its centennial anniversary on Aug. 10. A 7 pm liturgy will be celebrated by the Most Rev. Jozef Halko, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Bratislava and delegate for Slovaks living outside of Slovakia. Planning at a June 11 The 100th anniversary celebration will come to a close on Nov. 3 with a 10:30 am liturgy celebrated by Diocese of Paterson Arthur J. Serratelli and a banquet which will follow that day at The Venetian in Garfield. Tickets are $80 or $40 for those 12 or under. Call the rectory at 973-546-4390. The parish was founded on Oct. 22, 1913, when a group of Slovaks from Clifton and Garfield gathered in the Clifton Volunteer Fire Company No.2 Firehouse on Arthur St. At this meeting, attended by 30 men, it was unanimously agreed to start proceedings for the establishment of a new Slovak parish. At a second meeting two days later, they voted to place the parish under the protection of SS. Cyril & Methodius, naming the parish after the Slav Apostles.

meeting are those pictured as well as Deacon Eugenio Morales, Msgr. John Demkovich, Mike and Helen Zihal, Vladimir and Slavka Gonda, Erik and Jana Golias, Martina Szotak, Evelyn Morales, Cristina Vargas, Maritza Neira, Suimi Ben and many community children.

Centennial Committee members include (kneeling from left) Rev. Martin Kertys, Chair Bob Raichel and John Pogorelec Jr. Standing from left Tom Krack, David Bulwin, Rev. John T. Connolly, Ellen Lesch, Anthony Glodava, Anna Walentowicz, John Termyna and Rev. Hector Melendez.

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74 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant

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Historic Botany Village’s next Flea Market is July 14, 9 am to 5 pm in the Village Square. Visitors will find, vendors, merchants, great food, bargains and be entertained by a DJ. The monthly outdoor market continues to grow with more than double the amount of vendors that attended the June market. The band Sweeter Than Honey will perform in Sullivan Square following the close of the market at 5 pm. Vendor info can be found at HistoricBotany.com or call Joe at 609-731-5454. Clifton Veterans Parade Committee Beefsteak is Aug. 16 at 6:30 pm at the Boys & Girls Club, 181 Colfax Ave. Tickets are $40. Proceeds go to offset expenses for the Veterans Day Parade. While a parade route is still as of yet undetermined, but the Nov. 10 event will step off at 2 pm. Call John Biegel at 973-519-0858 or Rosemary Trinkle Baran at 862-668-9151 for tickets. You may also send your check payable to the City of Clifton Veterans Committee, 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ 07013. Hope Reformed Church hosts Vacation Bible School July 15 to 19, 6:15 to 8:30 pm. The theme is SonWest Roundup and the classes are for students entering PreK to 8th grade. There is also an adult class. The church is at 3rd St. and Burgess Pl. Call 973-779-7688.

Gregory Jobeless received the NOC Autobody Autism Scholarship Award. The CHS 2013 grad will attend Montclair State University and hopes to work for Apple in California. “He is an inspiration to all who may be apprehensive about life after high school and gives hope to families with young children on the autism spectrum,” said Odette Coronel who owns the Van Houten Ave. repair facility with her husband Noel. St. John Lutheran Church will hold a Thrift Shop on Aug. 3, from 9:30 am to 1 pm featuring gently used clothing household items and toys. The church is at 140 Lexington Ave., Passaic. For info, call 973-779-1166. Avenue of Flags Chief Groundsman Bill Van Eck reminds the community that extra hands are always needed to set up at dawn and break down at dusk the display of some 1,600 flags. The display goes up next around city hall on July 4, Sept. 11 and Nov. 11. Citizens can honor a veteran with a flag as a tribute to their service. Cost is $100 for the flag, pole, sleeve, name plate and ground socket. To honor someone, visit www.cliftonnnj.org, click on links and then click on Avenue of Flags. For set up and break down times, email cliftonrec@cliftonnj.org or call 973-519-0858.

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business

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PostNet at 377 Valley Rd. marked National Small Business Week with a reception on June 20. Franchise owner Todd Friedman—who readers will remember from his appearance in December on the CBS TV show Undercover Boss—said the idea is to celebrate the accomplishments of local firms and exchange ideas. PostNet offers services for business and individuals including packing and shipping, photo copying, printing, faxing, computer services, scanning and desktop design, notary services, passport photos and private mailboxes. Call 973-542-8071, email nj127@postnet.com or go to www.postnet.com/nj127.

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Community News Dutch Hill Residents Association awarded two $750 scholarships to CHS Seniors Andrew Mulick and Gregory Gwyn at their June 29 meeting. Pictured here are Terry McMahon, CoPresident; Marianne Miksits, Recording Secretary; Karen Napodano, Corresponding Secretary; Gregory Gwyn; John Miksits, Treasurer; Andrew Mulick and George Silva, Co-President.

The Clifton Community Band’s free outdoor concert is July 13 at 6 pm at the Clifton Art Center. Situated amongst the Sculpture Park on the municipal campus, the Clifton Arts Center is found at the intersection of Van Houten and Clifton Aves. The Arts Center will also be open for viewing. Bring blankets or chairs. Clifton Rec’s Free Concert Series is on Sunday evenings at 7:30 pm at Main Memorial Park (Main Ave. at Park Slope) from July 7 to Aug. 18. The concert series includes big band, oldies, polka and country. For a line up of performers call the Rec Dept. at 973-470-5956. Prior to each concert, meet at 6:30 for a brisk walk around Main Memorial Pond. In case of rain, concerts are cancelled. Philip Read, CHS 1973 and author of two pictorial histories on Clifton, has a new book Movie Houses of Greater Newark. With 128 pages, it features images of theaters in many North Jersey communities, including the Clifton Theater, the old Main Ave. landmark. In fact, the foreword was written by Passaic Historian and longtime Clifton Theater manager Mark S. Auerbach. Find it on July 16 in bookstores or on amazon.com now.

unzers with

78 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Volunteers from Clifton Cares will meet on various dates in July to box supplies for soldiers in Afghanistan. This is the last shipment until September and it will be completed by July 15. For those who would like to contribute items, the committee suggest purchasing freezer pops, lemonade or ice tea powders, hand sanitizer, mouthwash, deodorant, toothpaste, bodywash, shampoo, shaving cream, baby powder, Gold Bond powder, lip balm, flossing items, disposable razors, white socks, Visine, gum and hard candy. Clifton Cares has met every two months since August 2010 and mailed over 3,000 packages. Always in need of monetary donations so they can continue with the mailings, the cost is $14.85 per package. Contribution of any amount would be appreciated. Checks should be payable to Lizz Gagnon and earmarked Clifton Cares. Bring supplies to City Hall where Gagnon works in the Tax Assessors office. For questions or to volunteer, write to gags2120@aol.com or call Gagnon on her cell at 973 818- 8141.

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Gary Petagine and Sean Grady perform as Benedict Arnold and John André as they plot to surrender West Point to the British back in 1780. The Passaic County Historical Society event is at Lambert Castle on Valley Rd. on July 27. For details, call 973-247-0085

Owned by the Kocsis Family Kyle with his mom Deb and dad Jeff

1 Year Free Service With New Bike Purchase Clifton Merchant • July 2013

79


Jenifer Rutherford Photography

Birthdays & Celebrations - July 2013

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates and names to tomhawrylko@optonline.net

From top left to right: Dan Leonard and Sarah Mango will wed on July 12. Happy 30th Birthday to Marc Roche on July 25. Happy 4th to Nicholas Calvo on July 11th. Marie Angello celebrates on July 3. Walter Pruiksma turns 90 on July 26. Amanda Di Angelo............ 7/3 Ray Merced ...................... 7/3 Chris Torrao ...................... 7/4 Skip Kazer ........................ 7/5 Robyn Sue Lord ................. 7/5 Frank Rando...................... 7/5 Lori Lill .............................. 7/6 Susan Rego....................... 7/6 Ron Curtiss........................ 7/7 Angelo Grippo .................. 7/7 Edward Sepulveda............. 7/7 Jenna De Liberto ................ 7/8 Joyce Sunshine .................. 7/8 Cynthia Kester ................... 7/9 Jesse Hasting................... 7/10 80 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant


Belated Birthday Greetings to the Lakeview Bakery girls, Silvana on June 14, and Sue Helen on June 25.

Kristi Schopfer................. Anthony Zaccone............ Alyssa Marie Misyak....... Ann Schamble ................ Derek Dobol ................... Jessica Dobol.................. Joanne Gursky ................ Carrie Szluka.................. Alexander Razvmov ........ Ryan Saccoman .............. Cocoa Saccoman ........... Ashley Jacobus ............... Linda Portaro .................. Megan Suaifan ............... Kaitlin Vinciguerra........... Harry Quagliana ............ George Shamar .............. Kayla Lord...................... Anna Schubert ................ Eva Gasporowska........... Kathy Valdes................... Joseph Lopez .................. Ornella Ganoza ............. Gina Oliva ..................... Amanda Fabiano............ Lee-Ann Varga ................ Stephen Camp Sr........... Joe Prebish ..................... Frances Greco ................

7/10 7/13 7/14 7/15 7/16 7/16 7/17 7/18 7/19 7/19 7/19 7/19 7/20 7/20 7/22 7/23 7/23 7/24 7/24 7/25 7/25 7/27 7/27 7/28 7/29 7/29 7/30 7/30 7/31

Kenneth and Donna Chipura on July 11 will celebrate their 42nd wedding anniversary. Clifton Merchant • July 2013

81


Thank You Sponsors On June 9, 300 motorcyclists began at Clifton’s Avenue of Flags and then the PBA 36’s Freedom Roast then paraded through Eagle Rock Park. From there it was to North Arlington Cemetery to honor several fallen military heroes, including Jorge Oliveira, formerly of the Essex County Sheriff’s Dept. Riders then returned to the Masonic Lodge on Van Houten Ave. for a pig roast honoring Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Organized by Clifton Police Officers John Kavakich, Steve Farrell and Wayne Stine, the goal is to welcome home and honor Wounded Warriors and all others who served or are currently serving in the United States military.

Without the help of these generous local businesses, the Freedom Roast would not have been possible... Corrado’s Food Market Motorcycle Mall Shook Funeral Home LaQuinta Hotel Allwood Diner Driscol Foods Sabrett Hot Dogs Passaic & Clifton Shoprite

Nutley Shoprite On Track Wellness Center Schumacher Chevrolet Neglia Engineering Associates Neil's Pizzeria Garfield Lumber & Mill Works Kohler Distributors & Coors Lite New York Giants Special thanks to Dr. Albert Pogorelec of Integrative Wellness Center. On behalf of the men and women of Clifton PBA #36, we would like to thank a true patriot. ‘Dr. P.’ and his staff continues to support PBA #36 and our returning veterans.

82 July 2013 • Clifton Merchant



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