Clifton Merchant Magazine - June 2004

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Clifton Merchant Magazine • Volume 10 • Issue 6 • June 4, 2004


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…on our cover

JUNE

2004

inside…

Opinions, Letters, Observations . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Mr. Pienciak Goes to Washington . . . . . . . . . .18

On June 21, at 6:30 pm at Clifton Schools Stadium, the members of the CHS Class of 2004 will take the field to participate in the annual commencement ceremonies. This month’s magazine celebrates the achievements of these students and shares stories of their hopes and future plans...

Do Your Best and Have No Regrets . . . . . . . .24 Meet the CHS Top Ten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50

Official Notice!

The Case for School Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 Is It For Sale, or Not? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .66 Who Owns This Property? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68 Memorial Day & Avenue of Flags . . . . . . . . . .76 Playground Fun & Summer Events . . . . . . . . .82 Sea, Sky & Feng Shui . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .88 Clifton’s Animal Precinct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 Academic & Athletic Camps . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92

Due to the holiday, our next edition will publish on July 9.

57 The CHS Prom

Clifton Merchant Magazine is published monthly at 1288 Main Ave., Downtown Clifton • 973-253-4400


O

ver the past few months we have done the best we can to keep our community informed of the Case for School Space and the effort to site and build a new school for 8th and 9th grade students. Last month, we helped organize a petition drive which collected nearly 4,000 signatures urging elected officials to take Schultheis Farm off the potential site list and use the site recommended by the volunteer Community Advisory Board, Latteri Park. There were at least two reasons for that proposal by us. First and foremost, Latteri Park is owned by the Board of Education. And there is but one reason for the Board’s existence: to educate Clifton public school children in the most efficient and cost effective method available. Therefore, I said that if the Board owns the park and it costs nothing to purchase, let’s use it. I concluded “If it’s free, It’s for me.” The second reason is that spending $7 million to buy property when the Board already owns enough property to build the school is just plain dumb.

The Not In My Backyard Train: After attending the meeting at Mayer Textile Machine Corp. at 290 Brighton Rd., I would like to pass along my feelings towards this company as they jump on the Not in My Backyard Train passing through Clifton, as the search for new school sites to educate our children continues. I would first like to thank the company for allowing me the opportunity to voice my opinions towards their opposition for this building to be utilized for a school. I must first address the fact sheet that this company distributed to my neighborhood. The opening line of the fact sheet referred to the Board of Education and to “their mysterious ways of planning.” There was nothing mysterious when Mayer staff gave school officials a sales tour in July, 2003. There was also nothing mysterious as Meyer opened its doors to Board architects. Nor was there nothing mysterious about the City’s Economic Development Director being involved with the volunteer Advisory Committee and his labeling of this building as prestigious in his reports to us. In reference to wasting millions of taxpayers’ dollars when alternative property is available at no taxpayers’ expense, I say if Mayer was handed a check for the building last July, the company would have taken the money with no regard for the neighbor’s feelings. In reference to the traffic congestion, noise and air pollution a school would have on Brighton Rd., everyone knows there are trucks on this road all day and the entire city is congested with traffic. 4 June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Opinion by Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko

Late in May, another proposal was presented by the Board of Education: to raze School 14 and build the school for 8th and 9th graders there. The plan also called for the Mayer building on Brighton Rd. to be used as the new School 14. Our report, which begins on page 60, details some of the specifics of the proposal. But based on the neighborhood opposition, it does not seem likely that the School 14 proposal will move forward. The Board is running out of time if it wants to put any proposal before voters this December. On June 2, the Board is meeting again with the Council to try and come to a consensus. It seems the Board is focused on selecting either Latteri Park or Athenia Steel. No matter what the choice, it seems that Clifton students are stuck in the middle and likely will be there for years to come. What a sad situation this has become. But, as a local homeowner, I would rather have the school bus traffic twice a day, instead of trucks all day. In addition, in the Mayer sales flyer stated,: “A great location and easy access to major highways and amenities.” Which is it, congested or easy access? How would property values be affected if a school was here? Very little. With all that is being built around this city—new town homes, single family homes and shopping malls—this would certainly make up for losing the Mayer building as a ratable. I don’t know of anyone having trouble selling their home because a school is near by. On the other hand, there are property owners close to industry and manufacturing in this city that find it difficult to sell. I would also like to say shame on those in the audience who felt the need to belittle and catcall the School 9 HSA President as she attempted to express her views on a topic that affect us all. Her views were important to her and her family, as much as your views are to you. And to those who did not understand my connection to the area, I have lived near the Mayer building for the past 35 years, and have children in Clifton Public Schools. I am not someone’s messenger—as I was referred to by someone in the audience—these are my own feelings and words. In closing, I will leave you with my feelings towards the Mayer Corp’s opposition to sell this building—Let’s stop the Not in My Backyard Train. Thomas V. Lyons, Jr., Co Chair Clifton Public School Community Advisory Committee


Clifton Merchant Magazine

Letters to the A Recipe for Disaster: Your petition to put a public school on Latteri Park gives new meaning to the acronym NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard. Latteri is Clifton’s park—that is why the City Council said no to turning it into an asphalt jungle. Latteri Park, on Allwood Pl., intersects with Dwasline Rd., the street with no sidewalks. Last year a woman was run down and killed by a car because she was forced to share the road with vehicles. Walking her dog one moment...dead the next. I wonder...1,700 children going to school...and the Council has refused to put in sidewalks... isn’t this just another recipe for disaster? Your petition states “the area surrounding Latteri Park does not suffer from pre-existing traffic problems.” Are you kidding? There are developments in Styertowne and Clifton Commons and bizarre traffic patterns at Costco. There are nine traffic lights now where none existed a few years ago. Everyone avoids Main Ave. like the plague. And guess what? The alternate route is Dwasline to Allwood...right past Latteri Park. 16,000 MAGAZINES are distributed to hundreds of Clifton Merchants the first Friday of Every Month. HOME DELIVERY AVAILABLE $15/year in Clifton $25/year out of town SEE PAGE 90 TO SUBSCRIBE entire contents copyright 2004 © tomahawk promotions

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Let's find a better location. The citizens of Clifton need Latteri Park and its neighbors need less congestion and sidewalks—not a school. David Gross

What is Affordable? One of the participants at the Board of Education meeting noted the “hidden costs” of building a school in Latteri Park—widening of roads, increased costs of gasoline for buses, etc. While these costs should not be ignored, there is another “hidden” cost all Clifton taxpayers must consider—the purchase of Schultheis Farm. The City Council said they will purchase the farm should Mr. Schultheis decide to sell. Therefore if Latteri Park is not used for the school, we will need to purchase additional property to build schools. Then, in addition, we will purchase Schultheis Farm in the not-too-distant future! Can taxpayers afford all of this? Unfortunately, the Board cannot reject Latteri Park out-of-hand, since, as Cheryl Hawrylko stated, the prospect of getting Clifton voters to spend additional funds is not very good. Losing any park is to be avoided if possible and perhaps we

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must reexamine other options. These include an expansion of Christopher Columbus Middle School and/or other schools; reconsidering other sites proposed by the search committee and pressuring Trenton for our fair share of school funding. Ideally, Latteri Park should remain untouched. Realistically, however, the mood of Clifton voters, as well as the financial status of the city, may not allow us this option. George S. Dikdan

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Tom Hawrylko BUSINESS MANAGER Cheryl Hawrylko GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael McDonald EDITORIAL INTERN Elaine Sanchez WRITERS Jack DeVries, Joe Torelli, Fran Hopkins, Raymond Tulling Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Letters to the

Editor

No More Housing: I am writing about the proposed development of the property behind 137 and 143 William St., in Delawanna. Please do not let this development happen. I have heard that the development will consist of 10 housing units. Have you seen that lot? It’s small. Ten units will be a tight, uncomfortable squeeze. An important reason that these buildings should not be allowed to be built is that it is watershed property. There is a creek running behind the property. It and the surrounding woods are home to all kinds of wildlife, similar to the nearby Anderson Tract. If these woods are torn down and the creek stopped up, where will all the animals go? This creek is one of the only ones in Delawanna – and Clifton, actually – left untouched. If the developments are allowed to be built, most of the animals will perish and those that don’t will have nowhere to go. And that’s not even mentioning the trees, some of which have been there for over 70 years.

15-year-old Brielle Ocot, at rear, wants the housing development at 137-143 William St. to be stopped. She is pictured with Nathaniel Ocot, Michael and Sidney Tuzzilino, Madison and Cassie Wood and box turtles found in the creek behind their yard.

These woods provide a place to play for the neighborhood kids. It’s the only place left in the neighborhood where they can get wet, climb trees and pretend. It’s hard to pretend you’re exploring a forest when your trees are telephone poles and your rivers are cement sidewalks. True, I don’t play there anymore, but my little brother and his friends do and we need green space, not more housing.

Who has a Photo Memory? Do you or any of your readers remember a copy of a painting that ran in the Herald News, probably between 1976-1983, of a horse drawn carriage, perhaps in the winter, on Garrett Mountain with the NYC skyline in the distance? The Passaic County Historical Society does not recall it and the Herald does not keep records. Anyone with info, please write: Insdoc1@aol.com. Dr. Frank A. Klump, Sparta

When I call Clifton, they ask me how I know so much about the news. Clifton Merchant Magazine is my secret. Excellent city coverage. Martin Bania, CHS Class of ‘64 Arvada, California

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

I would rather have him play on the property behind 137 and 143 William St. than at nearby Dunny Park, where the slides are marked with obscene words and pictures and where equally obscene things flow from the mouths of kids. Because of the park’s locationbehind homes, shady activity—smoking and drinking—goes unseen. I hope the city will not allow this project to pass. Brielle Ocot

As long time residents, we want to thank you for the contribution you make to our community. Your publication presents the challenging issues that affect both the residential and business community in a straightforward style that is informative, useful and greatly appreciated. Bob and Lyn Puleo The goal of Clifton Merchant Magazine is to be a positive, fair and frank voice for our town. We will continue to be an advocate for good schools and efficient and fair government. It is our honor and pleasure to call Clifton home. Send us your opinions, whether pro or con. Anonymous letters are never published. Be sure to include your name and phone.


The Clifton Clippers have gone to war. Will be back after we hang Hitler and Tojo, read the sign in the window on a Center St. storefront. “About 15 guys rented a store on Center St. to use as a clubhouse where they could hang out,” wrote Maryann Andrascik Forster, a niece of Mike, Tom and Joe Vincek. “Once a month or so, they held dances and sold hot dogs and soft drinks to earn enough money to pay the rent and buy sweaters,” she continued. “Joe, a retired Clifton Police Officer, lives in Bradenton, FL, provided me with information and this photo. Tom, deceased, is pictured in the center of the photo.” Some other Clippers included Morris Petryna, Andy Nalepka, Frank Skupin, Emil Sova, Harry Stefko, John Sietz, John Bulyan, Charles Peletez, John Kowal, Walter Kusmich, Bill Schoviec, Fritz Wise and Joe Peltz. Why the name Clifton Clippers? “I guess it’s the association with the

speed of the clipper ships, which they used as a logo on their club sweaters,” said the niece. “Also, Clifton Clippers sounds great.” If anyone has info about the Clippers, contact Joe Vincek. Email to rrforster12@yahoo.com or contact Clifton Merchant Magazine, 1288 Main Ave., Clifton NJ 07011.

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Corrections: In the names of war dead in last month’s publication, we would like to add Stephen Kucha and William Weeks, both who died in action during World War II, reported Marie DiFrancisco. Also, Angelo ‘Skeets’ Santin stopped by to inform us that the name of World War II hero ‘Gigito’ Netto should be added to the list. On a lighter note, Skeets also had some information to add to May’s story on the history of the Cliftonia/Lee’s Hawaiian Islander. He informed us that the Viking room at the old Cliftonia was actually frequented by a local clan of Vikings, who also had a club house near the corner of Trimble and Lexington Ave. “They had a great football team too,” said Skeets. “Every Friday and Saturday before the war, there was one big Viking who had a great collection of big band records. He’d bring them to the Cliftonia and run a dance party. The guy used to be a DJ before DJ’s were invented.”

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Meet the Class of 2004 by Tom Hawrylko

I

f there is any one place that illustrates Clifton at its most diverse, it is our high school. This is the city’s melting pot, where nearly 3,500 kids from every distinct neighborhood have a chance to renew old acquaintances, make new friends, learn about different cultures, find mentors in teachers, develop interests and prepare for tomorrow. CHS is a four year opportunity to shine before being thrust into life, a place to grow before going off to college, military service or into the working world. For our kids, Clifton High is a field of dreams. Whether in the band, on the sports field, in the class, on the stage or anywhere where their talents and interests take them, CHS is about opportunity and growth.

What does the well-dressed CHS student wear? Senior Kevin Green shared his dress code: New party shirt, celebrating fun, sun, spring break or declaring a state of mind. Standard issue CHS identification tag, hanging from lanyard, color coded to determine grade. Often customized but like snowflakes, no two are alike. A serious folder and notebook, often from a top 10 school. This one is from Penn State, which his sister attended.

Another standard issue for most high school kids, a cell phone, ready to accept text messages, often serves as a camera, alarm clock and performs various other functions. Annoying ringer is optional and changeable.

Well worn low rider jeans with large cuffs to set off the Adidas sandals.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Most of the surveys and stories on the following pages were prepared by Elaine Sanchez, a CHS Class of 2002 grad, who finished her high school career ranked ninth academically. After a year at New York University, she transferred to Rutgers in New Brunswick, where she works for the The Daily Targum, the university newspaper. Sanchez, who is double majoring in journalism and political science, will be working this summer for Clifton Merchant Magazine. During the last few weeks, our editorial intern, Elaine Sanchez, has been meeting with students, conducting surveys and writing stories. Over the next 50 pages, you’ll read about a diverse group of students, learn about their dreams and ideas and hear about their hopes and plans for the future.

Some are already focused and have a plan for their future... others are still searching and considering the options. No matter what path they take, it is always a pleasure to

publish the June edition as it is a magazine filled with so many dreams and goals. On behalf of Clifton, we wish the Class of 2004 Godspeed and a safe journey!

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Q&A What was your favorite class over the last four years? Jorge Baez: My favorite class over these past four years has been Italian I, II, III, and IV. They have taught me how to grow responsibility and how to be dedicated at everything I do in life. Mr. and Mrs. Rossi have both been huge influences in my four years here. I thank them both greatly.

Christopher Stetz: My favorite class was the two years I spent in Mrs. Cohen’s computer programming. The class gave me a handson approach to designing and creating operating programs. Jennifer Carrara: My favorite class was Mrs. Dutch’s biology 100 class because she made it fun and interesting even though the work required a lot of thought.

Amanda Walsh: My favorite class was Sign Language because it was the one class that was small enough to ensure that everyone knew everyone else. Also, the teacher, Mrs. Mistretta, was really amazing, and the class helped me decide on my career plans.

Marco Saad: My favorite class would have to be my American History II class with Mr. Kuehn. Every lecture would be interesting and fun. Actually, it’s not really a lecture. It’s a discussion, and we’d joke around as well as learn. Tushar Patel: Economics. Mr. Lotito knew how to made the class fun as well as educational.

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Marcin Bryja: My favorite class over the last four years in high school has to be Mr. Dionisio's Chemistry class along with Miss. Powers during my junior year. He was a really great teacher who brought laughter into his teaching. Miss. Powers was a great help in lab, helping you be the best that you can be and going through all the steps with you. They were a good team, and I will always remember them as my favorite teachers in my favorite class.

Ariela Ruiz: My favorite would have to be Spanish. I have had Mrs. Franek for Spanish for the last three years.


Angelito Cabigao: I enjoyed Mrs. Knox’s English class. Every day I come in, Mrs. Knox starts the class always with a smile and friendly chats. She catches the class’ attention because she’s so kind-hearted. I learned to enjoy reading because of her. It’s nice to have a teacher who always has a positive attitude toward everything she does.

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Jeremy Rivera: My favorite class during my four years at CHS was ROTC. Under the instruction of Sgt. Maj. Davis and Gunnery Sgt. Singleton, I learned values, morals, respect, proper conduct, and how there is a whole world outside of New Jersey. In this class, I have had the opportunity to go to Quantico, Virginia to a mini-bootcamp.

Andreas Doris: Actually, I had two favorite classes—chemistry with Mr. Chilowicz and graphic arts with Mr. Gonzales. They were both very cool teachers, and they were both fun classes. Jilian Fueshko: My favorite classes were physics with Mr. St. Clair and choir class. Mr. St. Clair always made class fun and interesting. The combination of his teaching and attitude along with the class’ personality made it one of the best times of high school. Choir for four years has always been fun. It is the largest class I’ve ever had with up to 75 kids in it. I’ve made and kept a lot of friends over the years in a class that lets us enjoy each other as well as sing, something we love. Alicia Murphy: Business law with Mr. Lopresti was my favorite class in high school. I enjoyed it since it was centered around law, and that’s what I intend on studying in college. Also, Mr. Lopresti presented it in a fascinating manner. Samantha Gonzales: My favorite class over the last four years is design applications, which I am currently taking in my senior year. This class has helped me develop problem-solving ideas for design. This in turn helps me for my major in college, civil engineering. In addition, my teacher and fellow classmates help each other out.

Amanda Fabiano: My favorite class would have to be Mr. Carissimo’s senior anthropology class. The topics are very interesting, and he makes learning fun. I’d recommend taking his course. Matt Amelio: Ms. Craig’s speednotes class. It’s an excellent college prep course, and she makes the class enjoyable. Katherine Koumoulos: I guess business law and business management and the Co-Op marketing classes. In Co-Op, we learned about running a business and going on job interview and developing important skills for our future. My goal is to eventually own my own business so this was a perfect fit. Both Mr. Valenzano and Mr. LoPresti were great teachers.

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Heart of a Champion Photos and Story by Gary Anolik

K

aren Langner stood at the end of the pole vault runway on the very hot second day of the Passaic County Championships, gripping a pole vault, concentrating. She was looking up at a bar set at 10 feet, six inches off the ground. Never in the history of Passaic County has a girl ever vaulted that high. Langer had already attempted and failed to jump this height twice today. Track rules only allow three attempts. Langner looked down at her taped ankle, which she broke while pole vaulting in her freshman year, then she worked it back into shape. Langner worked so hard that she was in position to win the All-

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

County pole vault competition by one foot, six inches. This is in a sport where championships are won by a quarter of an inch. Langner looked up, leaned forward, took her carefully planned steps, planted her pole and jumped. She cleared the 10 foot, six inch high bar, and came falling down into the record books. Legendary sports writer Paul Schwartz commented on Langner’s effort: “I knew that she would be the first to top 10 feet, but for her to do this on such a consistent basis, and to make history like she did today is a testimony. It’s a testimony to her work ethic, her focus, and her dedication.”

Shwartz’s comments could not be truer. Langner, 18, was born and raised in Clifton. She is the daughter of Susan and Frank Langner and has a 16 year old sister, Stephanie. She went through the entire Clifton Public School System, with remarkable results. She is in the top 4 percent of the graduating class, and won this year’s student athlete award. She was AllNorth Jersey on the indoor track this year. Langner is also a sergeant on the Majorette team. Langner played basketball “since I was one” and went on to play at CHS, but left because she felt more satisfied in track. This fall, she’ll attend Rutgers University. “I want to major in physical therapy. I want to be able to help athletes.” commented Langner. At Rutgers, she will compete in the pole vault and pentathlon. As impressive as all her accomplishments are, her best qualities shine brightest when one speaks to people that know her.


team, Coach Andy is the big brother you can talk to.” Piotrowski said that he was very emotional about Karen’s career coming to end at CHS. “I know that as long as there is a Clifton Track program, Karen will be there. Her eye is so good for this sport that she will make a great coach one day. But as far as putting into words how I feel about her leaving, I really cannot do it.” Fellow track mate Paul Kornaszeski said that “It took a little while for us to be friends, but it’s been a great four years being on the same track team with Karen.” Diane Szaflarski said “She’s my role model”. The final word on Langner is summed up best by Schwartz. “I’m not so certain we are going to have many kids pole vaulting past her records in the next few years. She is a real pioneer in the sport. If anybody can beat this record it will be someone from Clifton, someone

When she’s not setting records, Karen Langner works at The Village Baker.

who witnessed Langner’s dedication. One thing is for certain even if this record is eclipsed in the next few years, her influence, character and presence will last for a long time past that.” True to form, responding to how long she thinks her record will last Karen Langner responded: “I don’t care, as long as someone from Clifton breaks it.” 1176

“She is a counselor’s dream” said CHS counselor Mary Ann Birch. “She is focused and enriches the life of everyone she meets.” Girls track coach Florence Calise said “If I had another daughter, and I have three, Karen is a daughter that I would want.” Coach John Pontes recalled the day Langner broke her ankle. “It was about only the third day that she practiced, and after everything was taken care of I thought ‘I hope we see that girl again’. What proved that she has the heart of a champion was that she not only came back, she came back to be the best. She is a sweetheart, a quite girl. If you saw her in school you would never know she’s the best in North Jersey. She’s got a great future ahead of her.” Asked who the biggest influence in her life is, besides her family, Langner said her pole vaulting coach, Andy Piotrowski. “If Coach Pontes is the father of the track

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Q&A Where did you work during high school? What was your favorite job? Jennifer Carrara: Professional Landscape Management Corp. and Mt. St. Dominic Softball clinic. The clinic was my favorite job because it gave me the chance to work with fantastic coaches as well as teaching girls how to play softball. Angelito Cabigao: I work in Hermes of Paris in New York City, and I chose this job as part of an internship program and to get the feel of working in a big city. I’m also a student poll worker. It’s a new program designed to get teenagers involved in the voting process and it helps me realize the importance of voting. Both are great jobs since they give me a taste of the two majors I’m considering —business or pre-law. Jakub Bilinkski: I worked at the Upper Montclair Country Club in the bag room. It’s a great job because you make good hourly pay, plus you make great tips. Amanda Walsh: I worked at Footnotes Bookstore in Styretowne. I love to read, so a book store seemed like the perfect place for me. This was the only job I had during high school. Christopher Stetz: I work occasionally for a communications networking corporation. This allows me to gain experience for my future career.

Sean Cooper, Debbie Morton and Marcin Bryja at Richfield Farms.

Jorge Baez: During high school, I’ve only had one job. This has been at St. Paul’s Church as a parttime custodian. I did this because I enjoy working in that atmosphere filled with great people, such as Father Mazza, who has also taught me some valuable lessons. The job is definitely my favorite. I feel blessed every time I work there. Shaminder Jassal: Bradford Licensing was my only job during high school. I wanted a job where I could basically make up my own hours and it provided flexibility. 1317

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Michael Rogers: I worked at the Boys & Girls Club as a soccer referee in the winter. In the spring, I started two jobs. One job was planting and landscaping for a nice man, Andy. The other was a truck loader at D&R Concessions in Hawthorne. I also referee soccer on weekends. Refereeing and loading trucks are my favorite becuase I’m working with good friends of mine.


Marcin Bryja: During the end of my Junior year, I had gotten my first job at Richfield Farms. I felt the need to be financially stable and not so dependent on my parents. Also, the distance wasn't too far out of my range. There was no need for transportation but only my two legs. I had been visiting Richfield Farms ever since i was a kid, and I always said that I was going to get a job there, and that is what I did. Anas Elmatarneh: I used to work in a police station and also in a supermarket with my brother. My favorite job was working with the undercover police. Stephanie Crique: My first and only job is at the Chiropractic Wellness Center, and I have been working since March 1, 2003. I am the secretary, chiropractic assistant and technician. I like my job because I do a variety of different things. Samantha Gonzales: I worked at Sam Goody on Allwood Road because I wanted to earn money to help pay off bills at home and help out my parents. I have been working there for around a year, and even though it is a tough and competitive job, I enjoy it because my managers and the employees are all sincere and nice. Michael Liberti: When I was in high school, I worked at Stop & Shop. The reason I worked there was to become responsible, become part of the work force, and saved money for college. My favorite job at work was stocking shelves. Daniella Castronuovo: I worked at Master Pizza, Head Spins Hair & Nail Studio and now at the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce. I worked at Master Pizza & Head Spins because it was in the area of my home. The Chamber was part of a co-op. I’d have to say they were all really exciting and great experience jobs.

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he Village Baker is not your ordinary bakeshop. We’ll always have your favorite rolls, rye bread and butter cookies. But when you visit, you’ll find so much more. Our bakery case features terrific European style tortes and cakes, and we have a wonderful selection of Viennese pastries, like croissants, brioche and danish. Our rugelach is like none you’ve tasted before! We ship decorative tins of freshly baked rugelha everywhere. We’ve got a great selection of prepared foods, soups, salads and side dishes. Let us cater your event, picnic or barbeque! Our potato and macaroni salad is second to none, and our creamy cole slaw is outstanding. We can supply everything from cookie, pastry and brownie platters to sheet cakes for any occassion. Going on a road trip? Stop by and see us first! Grab some of our great summer salads and a loaf of freshly baked bread for the ride. We’ll bake just about anything you’d like! And don’t forget the doughnuts, muffins and crumb buns! Chef/owner Tom and Roselie Halik look forward to seeing you at The Village Baker.

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At the Chamber of Commerce, Daniella Castronuovo gets to meet local executives, such as Harry Swanson of the City of Clifton, and Harvey Schutzbank of Harve Benard. Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Saint Paul School Academic Excellence in a Christian Atmosphere Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

1255 Main Ave • Clifton • 973-546-2161 • stpaulschool@aol.com

Pre-K through Grade 8 Full & Half Day Pre-Kindergarten • Full Day Kindergarten Morning Care and After School Care Programs Maximum Ratio of 25 students to 1 teacher Academic Courses offered in: Language Arts • Literature • Mathematics • Science • Religion • Social Studies Art • Music • Physical Education • Technology Extra Curricular Activities: Basketball (Girls & Boys) • Cheerleading • Drama • Music • Journalism John Hopkins University Gifted & Talented • Continental Math League

Congratulations to the Class of 2004!

Saint Paul School The Place to Be for... Classes for September are filling up fast! Call today to register! 16

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Q&A Tell us about your greatest achievement over the last 12 years. Regina Hemsey: My greatest achievment in the past 12 years is just turning out to be the person I am today and allowing myself to get where I am today. Heather Fleming: The bonds of friendship I have made over the last 12 years will carry me through the rest of my life. Also, I’ve realized my goal to become a teacher, shaping young minds and starting them on their journey of life. Kyle Handoga: I have had a chance to try everything I had an interest in and had a chance to pursue it. Victoria B. Jarosz: My greatest achievement was when I received my acceptance letter for the college of my dreams, Kean University, in the mail. My hard work over the past 12 years has finally paid off. I really felt honored. Esra Qawasmi: Working with kids at the Boys and Girls Club.

Yorkis Vasquez: Probably when I first arrived in this country, getting to know and learn English as a second language. It was difficult since I was a very young girl, but I got through it. Jennifer Turi: Making National Honor Society Matthew Sieradzki: My greatest achievement has been my academic success. I have been able to maintain high grades in honors/AP courses, scored high on the SATs, and received scholarships from all of the colleges to which I was accepted. Naz Emini: My greatest achievement over the past 12 years is that I made the honor roll five times. Also, I became more independent and made it through school without ever having any problems with the teachers, the school faculty, and without ever getting suspended.

Patrice Fuschini: My greatest achievement over the past 12 years was becoming the woman I am. It’s nice to be happy with who you’ve become. Leydi Perez: My greatest achievement is being able to finish high school and graduate on the field.

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To a Liberal Education... I

t has become increasingly difficult to catch CHS senior Adam Pienciak when he isn’t performing politically-oriented public service— or just talking politics. He’s apt to be discussing the best location for Clifton’s next school, the threat of terrorism, the presidential campaign or how the United States ended up in Iraq. Other times, you might find him registering students to vote or preparing for his job as a certified election worker. Pienciak worked his first poll in Nov., 2003, months before he was even old enough to vote. Last summer at the American Legion Boys State, Pienciak was elected a state senator, the first Cliftonite in years to reach that level of public office. The prior summer, he represented New Jersey at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Congress in Washington, D.C., after being chosen to represent CHS at the state conference. Pienciak joined students from across the nation and 30 countries in personal meetings with government officials, diplomats and world leaders. He subsequently participated in the weeklong National Youth Leadership Forum on Law, also in Washington. It is no surprise, then, that Pienciak will attend the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, where he’ll study diplomacy and politics just three blocks from the White House. GWU has awarded him a partial presidential merit scholarship for his leadership skills and academic achievements.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

During his years at CHS, Pienciak participated in activities that helped prepare him for a life in public service, including serving as founder and president of the Model United Nations team and belonging to the mock trial team. He also represented CHS at the Rotary Youth Leadership Award Conference and the 2003 statewide Guarini Center Oratorical Contest. Throughout the school year, Pienciak appeared as a regular pundit on the Monday night CHS cable TV talk shows, providing entertaining banter, especially whenever the subject turned to politics. He also addressed the senior class as part of the voter registration campaign. As an honor student and Edward J. Bloustein Scholar—he finished in the top three percent of his class— Pienciak has enjoyed a range of other activities: working on a mayoral campaign in Jersey City, distributing sandwiches to the home-

less in New York City, raising money for cancer research and volunteering in the “Service for Peace” program last summer in Paterson. In between the social service and politics, he pitched and played first base for the Mustangs varsity baseball team and American Legion Post 8. But his experience in Clifton will soon just be part of life’s portfolio as Pienciak heads to Washington, D.C. “Given that I am politically active and considering a future in public or foreign service, there is no better city for me to attend college,” Pienciak said of his plans for the fall. “Instead of reading about developments on Capitol Hill or at the White House from a distance, I want to be able to experience the events up close, right in my backyard.” But Pienciak, whose family resides in Albion, said he expects to stay involved in Clifton and perhaps return here to serve his hometown.


Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A What factors from the past 12 years influenced your future decisions? Amanda Fabiano: Through the years, so many teachers have made an impact on my life. I want to be a teacher and touch people’s lives the way my teachers have done for me. Without them, I wouldn’t be the same. Gina Meyer: Everyone really had a positive influence on me. I was lucky to always have great friends who I hope to have for a long time. Everyone—your family, friends, teachers— they all play a part into the person you are today. Matt Amelio: During my elementary years, my family had the greatest influence on me. As I entered my high school years, my involvement in school politics, being class president in each of my four years and the relationships I formed with classmates, teammates, teachers and coaches helped me to develop a greater appreciation for people and the beliefs they stand for.

Michael Rogers: Trying new ideas helped me to choose my career. Taking C.A.S.T. classes helped me a lot. At first, I thought that it would just be easy. Then, when I started C.A.S.T. II my junior year, I knew that I wanted to focus my future on the communications field. This was because the class was fun and very interesting. I have our teacher, Mr. Dixon and Mr. McCunney, to thank for putting me on the path to my future. Jeremy Rivera: I have chosen to go to the Air Force. My father, brother, and best friend have influenced my decision. My father retired from the Army, my brother is currently in the Navy, and my best friend is also in the Army. I thought I would choose the Air Force because it is different, and my father told me it was better to go to that branch than any other. Clifton’s ROTC program was also a big influence on my decision. This class gave me the motivation and provided the knowledge I needed to come up with my choice to go to the military. Angelito Cabigao: My family was always the biggest influence... always encouraging me to experience the best and explore everything. My cousins are another reason I keep a positive attitude in everything I do. I want them to see me as a positive role model.

Shaminder Jassal: My 2nd and 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Force, was someone who was there for you whenever you needed. She never gave up on you and always knew you could conquer your goal in life, no matter what it was. 20

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Alicia Murphy: Over the years, my mother has influenced me the most. She’s always pushed me to try my hardest and follow my dreams. When I wanted to quit, she encouraged me. And when I accomplish something, she is always so proud.

Stephanie Crique: A factor that helped influence my decisions for my career plans would be my family because they shared with me their experiences abut certain careers. My job also helped influence my career plans because it helped me realize I wanted to help people and also made me consider becoming a chiropractor if my other plans don’t work out for me. Because of these factors, I am planning to become a nurse or a medical technician. Hopefully, my career plans will all work out. Michael Liberti: The factors that influenced my decision was my job, the annual Safety Town program, school and all my teachers because they all had faith in me and each taught me responsibility. Jorge Baez: In my junior year, while taking Algebra II and Geometry, I realized that I was always good in math and that I would continue to enroll in as many math classes as possible. Challenging myself and getting consistant good grade inspired me to study Civil Engineering.


Federal Mortgage Offers Senior Citizens A Reverse Mortgage

F

or some 32 years now, Anthony A. Accavallo, shown here, has been helping make the American Dream become a reality, right here in Clifton. As President of Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. at 1111 Clifton Ave., Clifton, he and his firm have written millions of dollars worth of mortgages which have allowed people to purchase homes. And while that work has been fulfilling, Accavallo said he is getting his greatest satisfaction these days by helping senior citizens with reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a special kind of mortgage loan for seniors. “It is a safe, easy way to turn your home equity into tax-free cash,” he continued.

“Unlike a home equity loan, you do not have to make monthly payments. Instead, a reverse mortgage pays you. More importantly, you do not have to repay the loan for as long as you live in the house. It’s a great way to keep your home and get money from it at the same time.” The name “reverse mortgage” describes exactly what the mortgage is — it is the exact opposite of a conventional mortgage. That is, with a conventional mortgage the borrower pays the lender but with a reverse mortgage, the lender pays the borrower. In the past, a senior citizen in need of money would have to take out a loan against their house and immediately start making monthly payments again or sell their home.

How do I qualify for a Reverse Mortgage? It’s simple. You and your co-borrower must be at least 62 years old. You must own your home free and clear or have just a small balance on your existing mortgage. Best of all, there are no income or credit requirements to satisfy. How can I receive my money? You can receive it in several ways: •Equal monthly payments as long as you live in your home •Equal monthly payments for a certain period of time •As a line of credit you can draw upon as needed, for whatever reasons •As a lump sum draw at closing •A combination of the above, to meet your requirements.

But a reverse mortgage allows seniors to borrow against the equity they already have in their home... and they never have to make a monthly payment. Each reverse mortgage candidate is required to attend a free counseling session with a local independent housing agency approved by FHA (Federal Housing Administration). Candidates are encouraged to bring other family members with them to help in the decision-making process. “This process ensures that the borrower understands the program fully and aides them in determining whether or not a reverse mortgage is for them,” said Accavallo.

When must I repay the loan? You must repay the loan if you no longer live in your home. In the event of your death, your heirs can choose to repay the loan and keep the house or sell the house and repay the loan, What are interest rate charges & fees? •An adjustable rate of interest is charged on reverse mortgages •Closing costs are typical for any mortgage closing and all may be financed •No out-of-pocket expenses at closing Are Reverse Mortgages safe? •Yes, FHA and FannieMae guarantee the payments you receive •FHA and FannieMae also guarantee you will never owe more than your house is worth — no debt left on estate

Federal Mortgage & Investment Corp. Not a Government Agency Mortgage Bankers Licensed by NJ Department of Banking & Insurance Licensed by NY & CT Department of Banking 1111 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07013

1-800-788-1184 www.federalmtg.com Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A Where will you be in Sept 2010? Patrice Fuschini: I expect I will be a registered nurse and working at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

This column was originally started by our founder, the late Murray Blumenfeld. In his spirit, we continue its publication.

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he month of June is known for graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and Father's Day.

A

gift of jewelry is an everlasting token for the person celebrating a special event this month. Morre Lyons has gifts for the bride and groom, their wedding parties, Dad, and the graduate. In addition to jewelry, we have many

Matt Malaszuk: I’ll be a police officer. It’s a secure job and you get to help people every day. Plus after 25 years, I can retire with a pension and then I can open my own business. The ultimate goal, I guess, is to own a paint ball shop. That way I get to work and play paint ball.

Swarovski pieces to fit your needs. New merchandise has begun to arrive in our store this month. We would like to tell you about some of our new items. We have been selling silk cords in a variety of colors to accent pendants instead of the traditional chain. For all you women who are part

Daniela Kuvo: Probably working in a private school, learning to become an Albanian-to-English translator.

of that special club (and you know who you are)

Regina Hemsey: Attending law school.

Diamonds by the yard is a popular item along with

Kimberly Mistretta: Teaching at CHS! Kyle Handoga: Working as a landscape designer, and also be on the PBA Tour as a professional bowler.

we have a great selection of Red Hat Pins. colored gemstones accented by diamonds. White gold continues to be a dominant choice, however yellow gold is seeing a resurgence in its popularity. And don't forget our stunning sterling

Michelle Silva: I am hoping that I will be a famous reporter, interviewing a lot of celebrities. I expect to have a huge house to live in, and my family can visit when ever they want. My parents would have a comfortable place to come and visit, and they would have everything they want.

silver pieces which we add to our inventory on a

Katherine Koumoulos: It is so hard to say but I would like to own my own fashion business.

known to man. For centuries it has been a symbol

regular basis. Remember, sterling silver comes in all designs from the classic to the fanciful and is appropriate for all ages and all occasions. June has 2 birthstones to pick from and they are pearl and alexandrite. The pearl is the oldest gem of purity, wisdom, beauty, and wealth. Alexandrite is one of the most fascinating gemstones because it actually changes color from green in daylight to

Carmine Pagliarvlo: If things go right, and I think they will, I should be living in a mansion.

red in incandescent light. Have a happy month of June and we'll talk to you next month.

JEWELERS RICHFIELD SHOPPING CENTER 1354 CLIFTON AVE • CLIFTON • 973.777.4329 www.morrelyons.com

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Regrets? She has None. A

fter being asked how she managed to accomplish so much, Chiara Cristantiello effortlessly spouted out this philosophical piece of logic: “No matter what, you cannot not try. I’d rather try and say ‘I didn’t get what I wanted’ than not try and say ‘I could have had it.’” A focused student and an inspiring student leader, Cristantiello is a young lady of conviction, who houses strong beliefs in her bright mind and isn’t afraid to share her opinions with others. During her stints as recording secretary of her sophomore class and of the SCA her junior year, Cristantiello was given a platform to promote her ideas with the student body and do her best to make them realities. “It makes everyone on the board involved with the school,” she said of the council. “We learn about the diversity in our school and reach out to each different person, each different race.” One task she handled as a council member was fundraising. She and the other officers put forth an idea (which was implemented a year later) for a more equitable system of tracking individual accounts. The goal was to see which students were contributing and which were simply reaping the benefits of their fellow classmates’ hard work. Also, she and other members successfully lobbied to bring back the CHS Talent Show, a huge money generator, and eventually won the battle. Considering she was an officer in student government, her passionate opinions on a whole range of issues come as no surprise.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

The Cristantiello family: Joey, Deanna, Chiara and their dad Al.

One such topic she feels strongly about is the overcrowding. Cristantiello pointed out some problems with the school’s current system, such as the insufficient amount of time allotted between periods. “It takes more than four minutes to get to class,” she said. “Teachers take attendance five minutes into the period to wait for students to get to class and then attendance takes up more time. Because the school is so overcrowded, it takes the time out of class time.” As an Honors and Advanced Placement student, Cristantiello said she was, for the most part, shielded from the inconveniences accompanying filled-to-capacity rooms. However, she shared a first hand account of the pushing and shoving found in the stuffed hallways. An unintentional punch to Cristantiello’s mouth resulted in a bloody mess and a trip to the nurse. “Everyone gets aggravated when

people are touching you in the hallways,” she said, adding that warm months are the worst due to the heat and sweaty bodies. “It just makes everyone angry and agitated.” Cristantiello is also involved with athletics, having played varsity softball and soccer. She has played soccer since she was four years old for Clifton Rec, Stallions travelling teams, PASCO and the Hot Spurs from Ramsey. “I love the sport,” she said. “I think it makes you disciplined, keeps your priorities straight and gives you time management skills.” Cristantiello also described her respect for girls’ soccer coach Stan Lembryk, saying, “Coach Lembryk built the soccer program up, meshed us together and turned us into a team.” Cristantiello talked about her favorite teacher, Mr. Frankel, the substitute accounting teacher who replaced Ms. Cicio when she left on maternity leave.


Chiara Cristantiello

her happy family is a tightly knit group who has “always been there for each other.” She recalled her mother’s dedication to volunteerism, which included being president of School 5’s Home and School Association, the vice president of the Western Little League and president of the clubhouse. Cristantiello’s father Al is a deacon who is involved with the Presbyterian Church of Upper Montclair. Chiara, who expressed her own love of community service, has followed her parents’ footsteps. With her church, she traveled to Maine, just outside Newport, to build a wheelchair-accessible deck ramp for a senior citizen who didn’t have the economic means to pay a construction company herself. 1274

“He made me love accounting,” she said, adding that, as well as covering the chapters of the textbook, he wrote inspirational quotes and words of wisdom of the board — “he talked a lot about righteousness.” “It’s so hard to come in as a substitute, but Mr. Frankel did a great job. He was my most inspirational teacher,” she said. In addition to accounting, for which she received credits from Bloomfield College, Cristantiello is taking AP English, environmental science, honors calculus and drama, which she says “helps you become comfortable with other people and in front of other people. It brings out the animated person in me.” A four-year Distinguished Award recipient and member of the National Honor Society, Cristantiello, ranked 26 in her class, has been awarded scholarships from the Parent Teacher Student Association, Tri-state Italian American Congress and the Leeandra Fund. The 17-year-old is heading off to Rutgers University in September, where she will attend Rutgers. Because the college does not allow freshman living on campus to bring cars, Cristantiello said it will be difficult to visit her family whenever she wants but she’ll try to come home whenever she can. The daughter of Al and Diane, who died last year, and older sister to Joey, 15, and Deanna, 12, Cristantiello said

For three days, Cristantiello said she and the group of volunteers were able to laugh and have fun while building an entire ramp. “It gives you a sense of accomplishment,” she explained. “And it makes other people happy.” Another extracurricular activity of which Cristantiello is proud is Teens Institute of the Garden State (TIGS), which offers alternatives to drugs and alcohol. Founded by Mr. Baker this past year, the club has sponsored dances, a trip to Great Adventure and a stuffed animal drive for a cerebral palsy center. Cristantiello has also represented Clifton during a conference in Freehold, where she trained eighthgrade mediators interested in becoming TIGS. “I just like to help other people out,” she said. At Rutgers, Cristantiello is hoping to start a peer mediation club, which would help out high school students, since there are already many clubs that assist elementary and middle school students. Immune to senioritis because of a need to follow through her endeavors, Cristantiello said she’s excited about going off to college. “I can’t wait to go to Rutgers, meet new people and keep old friends.” Oh, one last Chiaraism to consider... “You can’t turn around and change everything in the past, so always do your best and have no regrets.”

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Q&A Where will you be in September 2004? Leydi Perez: I will be a freshman at Andrews University in Michigan. Caroline Esquinca: In Puerto Rico, attending the American University of Puerto Rico .

Regina Hemsey: Nearby at Caldwell College, majoring in criminal justice and studying pre-law. Kimberly Mistretta: I will be in college at SUNY-Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge, New York.

Paulina Chernenko: I will be very busy! I will attend Felician College as a full-time student and continue working part time at the North Jersey Cardiology Center.

Malvina Puc: At Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Patrice Fuschini: Attending William Paterson University where I will major in nursing. Jennifer Gaspar: I will be attending PCCC. I expect to be there for two years and then transfer to a four-year college to get a bachelor’s degree in human services. Matthew Sieradzki: Boston U., majoring in print journalism. Shonel Symister: I will be at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

Heather Fleming: I will be attending Bergen Community College and majoring in early childhood education.

Jennifer Noto: Attending Montclair State University and majoring in biology.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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The best cardiac care is just a heartbeat away.

The Eastern Heart Institute at PBI Regional Medical Center. You don’t have to travel far to get the top-notch cardiac care you deserve. At The Eastern Heart Institute, you’ll find the highest level of cardiac services anywhere — plus the personalized attention that can make such a difference to you and your family. You’ll see the same team of highly qualified cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, electrophysiologists and nurses throughout your treatment — one dedicated team who will work together to ensure the best possible results. Doctors with top credentials. Many of our doctors have national reputations, and are among the first to adapt new technologies such as clampless "beating heart" bypass surgery, innovative techniques to treat atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias, and stentless valve replacements. We’re also a leader in interventional procedures, performing thousands of angioplasties a year at our state-of-the-art catheterization lab. Our success has led to patient referrals from all over the country. A reputation you can trust. Give your heart to people you can trust: the extraordinary team of cardiac specialists right here in your backyard. For more information or a physician referral, please call 973-365-4626.

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Just Keep Swimming... I

n the water, Kristin Reilly has motivated nervous swimmers, encouraging them through their flip turns and dives. On her feet, Reilly has helped unite young adults of all personalities together on their religious journeys. One may refer to Kristin as the “go-to-girl” when it comes to making all types of people feel comfortable in their surroundings. “You can’t just be nice to the people you know,” the friendly socialite said. “Sometimes, people are quiet and to themselves, and I try to include them and talk to them.” Reilly applied this philosophy throughout her tenure as co-captain of the CHS girls swim team with Samantha Eromenok during her junior and senior years. Her responsibilities not only included leading the team in pre-meet stretches and firing up members with cheers before competitions, but Reilly also handled concerns and problems and readily provided advice. Of course, the 18-year-old enjoyed non-leadership festivities that came with being a member of the team. She admitted to toilet-papering the houses of the boys swim team a time or two and also had a great time during the girls’ pasta dinners. “I loved it” was Reilly’s simple response when asked how she felt about being the team’s leader — which she feels is her greatest accomplishment. “I loved having the girls look to me for help, and I loved giving it.” Her personable nature also led to fulfilling experiences during the St. Philips Antioch, which she was involved in several years. During this Friday-night-toSunday-afternoon retreat, Reilly was a team member, organizing weekend activities and led a “share group” of six Confirmation candidates. “The people were nice to work with, and the games were designed to get people to know each other and not feel awkward,” Reilly recalled. In addition to leadership, listening skills, and lots of patience, Reilly has the ability to confront challenges. While her favorite subject this year was Ms. Mayewski’s drama class, where she learned to be comfortable and not embarrassed in front of classmates, her most difficult subject was Advanced Placement Psychology. She found the subject interesting, particularly because it encompasses topics like personality, dreams, and the brain, and ultimately “tried her hardest,” something she seems to do in all facets of her life.

Best friends Gina Barbone and Kristin Reilly.

The middle child of Jeff and Diane, Kristin has come a long way from her elementary years in School 2. Next year, she’ll be heading off to William Paterson University, and she’s excited about the change of atmosphere. However, Reilly will miss seeing her friends and teachers in the hallways of Clifton High, and she is almost certain she’ll be fighting back the tears come graduation day. “I’m probably gonna cry,” Reilly said with a laugh. “I’m sad about leaving CHS.” This summer, the hard-working senior will be juggling two jobs — one with Montclair’s Sodapop Shop and the other with her Aunt Debbie and Uncle Joe’s catering business —while fitting in time to hang out with her boyfriend Greg, also a senior, and her friends. Reilly’s advice to the Class of 2005 aptly demonstrates the perseverance and drive of this young woman. “Do your best in school because four years go by fast. You don’t want to regret that you didn’t work hard enough.” Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A What is your favorite high school memory? Christie Lotz: My CHS memory was being on the swim team and meeting all of the extraordinary kids and coaches on the team Caitlin White: Being named the captain of both the bowling and volleyball teams. Eliza Elmo: Having Mrs. Stalbaum for three hours in the lockdown. Nicholas Stambuli: The many times that we stayed at school till 1 am to get ready for the spring play, and living on Dr. Pepper and Chinese food during those nights. Matthew Sleece: Making it to the State Finals for soccer freshman year.

Erin Prendergast: Cheerleading on the track at the Friday night football games and producing the morning news every day.

Aakash Shah: Ending Fairlawn’s undefeated season in volleyball and playing the best game of my life Kristen Bridda: Going on a tour of the school with Ms. Saddik and her “sword.” Ray Tulling: The most memorable high school experience I had was the day members of the United States Navy performed a special concert for the school in the auditorium. It was unexpected, energetic, unique and entertaining. That was reflected on their performances of popular modern songs, such as “Bring Me To Life,” “Hey Ya,” “Fighter” and “Milkshake.” Students were even brought on stage to dance, and sponge balls were tossed into the crowd. The hype among the students continued after the show and was talked about for weeks.

Mayerlin Baez: My favorite memory was skipping 10th grade and being placed in 12th grade. James DiMaria: Participating in Career Day with the Clifton Fire Department.

Katie Doyle: Senior year, I was able to intern at the Clifton Police Department. This internship led to opportunities. I was employed by the police department, and I am positive about my career choice because of this program.

Kunal Desai: Making the county finals in tennis and joking around with my classmates.

Jamie Flynn: Ms. Saddik dancing to “Maniac” during the morning announcements.

Jennifer Noto: My favorite high school memory has to be cheering at the football games and decorating the houses the nights before... memories of a lifetime!

John Brock: Having Mr. Bornkamp and Mr. Gonzalez as my teachers.

Kyle Scudilla: My favorite memories came from Junior Prom, Homecoming and Senior Prom. I had a lot of great times with my friends.

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She’s Bomb-Diggity! C

assie Craig has been called many things by her students (including that headline) but on June 7 she’ll be known as the 2003-2004 Educator of the Year. The Clifton Teachers’Association awarded Craig the distinction after a nomination by her peers and an evaluation process, in which professional background, personal assessment and community, professional, and statewide contributions were considered. Cassie Craig walked into CHS from Fairleigh Dickinson University 35 years ago, when she was hired as a teacher in the Business Education Department. Since that time, she has immersed herself into the culture of the school and the community at large. While taking her master’s thesis at Montclair State College, she designed a course which fits the listening and notetaking needs of the college-prep student. Her text, Monroe’s Speednotes, has been used since 1983 in the district and her course, Speednotes/College Computer Keyboarding, is a sold-out elective at CHS. In addition to her classroom work, Craig has been assistant band director for the Mustang Marching Band for 12 years. While not a musician, Craig’s role is in physical fitness and conditioning for the members. She has also received numerous educational awards, including the Princeton University Distinguished Secondary School Teaching Award in 2000 and many Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Upon receiving news of her selection, Craig, said she felt “deeply touched and satisfied, grateful and appreciative of the recognition and infused with a new energy to strive for a higher level of excellence.” Many would argue that this boundlessly energetic teacher evokes similar feelings within her students. We asked the students of her speednotes/college computing keyboarding class what they felt about Cassie. This is what they had to say: “At prom, she was so happy to be around us and share the special night with us that it made me realize how much she enjoys teaching,” said Garret Blasko. “She’s a great teacher but my favorite memory with Ms. Craig has nothing to do with school,” added Gina Meyer. “It is our ‘American Idol’ talks. We both love the show, so we always talk about it the day after it’s on TV.” Erin Prendergast said that Craig’s class was both fun and practical: “Over four years, her class was one of the few I always actually wanted to go to. Furthermore, her class is awesome because the material you learn can be used in life, unlike other subjects.” Dusan Friga said Craig helped him set goals: “As a bilingual student, I need to work twice as hard to get ahead. Ms. Craig encouraged me to stay focused.” Positive reinforcement works well: “Ms. Craig is someone who always makes you smile, just because she always has a smile on her face,” added Jackie Lopresti.


Cassie Craig on her award: I got to share this wonderful news with the most important people in my professional life— my students—we celebrated together the entire day!

And then there is the unpredictable Craig: “My favorite memory was when she threw my floppy disk out the window because she’s always said she would. I just never believed her,” said Matt Hoey “Ms. Craig, you are a beautiful person, and I am so glad I took your class. You’re fun, loving and amazing,” said Samantha Cruz. “ I will miss you so much.” It is obvious that the students at CHS have a deep appreciation for Cassie Craig. And the feeling is mutual. “Teaching is my enduring passionate obsession,” Craig has said. “It is within the invisible boundaries of my classroom where my passionate obsessing explodes, takes flight and permeates the environment.”

Some students said Craig can almost walk on water... but that’s not exactly true: “Once she walked on top of her desk,” one student wrote. “It was at the beginning of the school year. I remember there were some guys who didn’t want to listen, so she stood on the desk and said, ‘Now I have your attention. Listen up!” And then there is the practical skills Craig has given CHS students, as another pupil noted: “I’ve learned how to properly format when writing reports and outlines. This will help me during college and in the future.” To conclude, Cassie Craig said: “Each day, I experience tremendous love and respect, coupled with intense laughter, entertainment and discipline. Teaching is truly one of the gifts of my life.”

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Q&A How will you stay involved in your hometown of Clifton? Abdallah Abualhuda: I will vote when there are School Board elections and even the City Council election. Also, I’ll stay active with the hometown recreation center.

Stefanie Cupac: I’m staying home the first couple of years, then I’ll think about moving away. I’ve grown up in Clifton my whole life, so it’s definitely a big part of myself and who I am. Having younger cousins in the Clifton school system even after I graduate will help me stay involved a little more, and I look forward to helping them and their friends and being involved in any way possible.

Shannon Vida: I will stay involved by doing my civic duty and vote. I will probably stay in Clifton. Nimisha Thakkav: I will be moving to New York City to attend New York University, so I will be close to home. I hope to visit my friends and family often.

Jennifer Koc: I will possibly be working as an EMT/Paramedic in Passaic, Clifton or West Paterson. I also hope to open my own day care in Clifton—if I could— or somewhere else close by. And I will be still voting in the future. Ellis Molina: I’ll enjoy local things like markets, parks, and maybe even work here. My family lives in Clifton, so I’ll always be in town.

Luis Eduardo Lopez Lopez: I love Clifton. I have lived here for the past four years and learned that Clifton is full of great people who love to live in harmony within the community. I would probably come back to do volunteer work to “pay back” this town and the people and the beautiful years that it has granted me. Neil Reilly: As long as I am a citizen of Clifton, I will stay aware of issues in town and in the school system. Nothing is as important to the growth and status of a municipality as the schools it puts forth. My work may take me to New York City, but I will always have family and friends here. 1348 Clifton Ave • Clifton

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Samantha Gonzales: I will stay involved with community efforts in Clifton, such as food drives, and church activities, such as choir. Even though I will be dorming at NJIT, I hope to return to Clifton after I graduate college to work here for a few years, starting off my career in the town from which I was educated.

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Q&A Do you think your vote makes a difference? Mike Struski: If the election comes down to one vote, I like to think that one vote is mine. I am not registered with any party yet. Jumana Nammour: Young people’s opinions are sometimes overlooked and taken for granted. Through voting, we have a chance to voice our opinions about the issues that we feel are important. I feel that my vote this November will make a tremendous difference. Louis Pounds: Yes, I firmly and strongly believe that my one vote makes a difference because it allows me to get my point and opinion across. I am not yet registered with a political party.

Neil Reilly: I am not and do not plan on being registered with a party. My vote, however, is important, and I plan to participate since it is my duty as a citizen. Since I am not serving in the military, I can at least lend my voice to the election process. Kate Haring: Absolutely, voting is a privilege. You must vote to have your voice heard. If you don’t vote, you cannot complain about how things are done or not being done locally or nationally.

John Ferreri: Every vote makes a difference. Voting gives you the right to be heard and lets you decide who will run our government. I am not currently registered with a political party. Lee Verderosa: Yes, my vote does make a difference because my vote is my voice, and although I may only be one voice out of many, my opinion will still be heard through the ballot I am not registered with any political party. 36

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Tim Reilly: It absolutely makes a difference. It is the easiest way to voice your opinion about what you would like to see happen in your city, state, and country. There’s no reason not to vote. Fatma Bekheet: I am a registered Clifton voter, and I think every single person’s vote counts. This is evident in the recent school budget vote that passed by only a few votes, making it very close.

Sandra Castro: Yes, I believe that one vote counts. It changes everything. You are being heard. By voting, you are participating in something you believe in. Andrew Kropilak: Yes, I feel my vote makes a difference because if everybody felt that way, it would add up to millions of votes, which, in fact, would make a difference. Patrick Lotorto: My vote undoubtedly makes a difference, especially at the local level. The School Budget passing by a mere three votes just proved that. I am not registered with a party, however I lean toward Republican views.

Matt Malaszuk: That’s a no brainer. Every vote does count and when I turn 18 in July, I’ll register and I’ll vote Republican


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Q&A What steps can society take to encourage more young people to vote? Thomas J. Egan: Personally, I think we need to revamp our whole government and make it fair, eliminate the electoral college. do that and I feel voting will increase. Chiara Cristantiello: Schools illustrate and educate how important our freedom to vote is. I have learned so much about political parties from the 19th century, however, I have not been taught about the political aspects of today. I feel it is important to teach us about the present in order to make the decision we feel is right. Stephen Arriaga: Get more real with the younger generation. A good way is to set up meetings where there are activities and events that young people enjoy. If young people see that government officials are interested in the things they do, they maybe they’ll be interested in what these officials do.

Hector Veloz: I think that it will make a big difference because the more of us that vote, the bigger the impact it has on the final outcome. Luis Eduardo Lopez Lopez: Society can involve and intrigue children in an early age, telling them they can make a difference to the world if they speak up. One of the ways to speak up is through voting. Christine Gallagher: I think society can encourage more young people to vote by having politicians visit the schools and talk to young people about voting. Linda Baron: Elected officials can listen to students. Many students have opinions, views and thoughts on the issues. Students also deal with so many drug, alcohol, and sex problems on a daily basis. Thus, “they” should find out what it is young people need and think.

Jumana Nammour: I think the government should get more celebrities that young people look up to in order to encourage them to vote. Young people in today’s society idolize their celebrity role models, and if they know that they are voting, then maybe the young people will do the same.

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Tim Reilly: Young people mostly don’t vote because they are either too lazy or they have no opinion. Somehow, perhaps by having elected officials visit us in the schools, kids need to be shown that it is definitely worth their time. Kyle Scudilla: I think the schools play an important role in getting teenagers to vote. Registering in the classroom this year was very convenient, and I’m sure that also encouraged some people to sign up when they may not have otherwise registered. Mike Skurski: I think society should try and make young people feel more like the election is about them. The candidates don’t try and reach out to them. They should talk about issues that concern them, not rich people. They need to take time to sit down and listen to what young people have to say. Society should show young people they care about them.

Patrick Lotorto: In order to encourage more young people to vote, debates between candidates must be arranged with issues pertaining to the younger voters, perhaps even moderated by a young person. Kate Haring: Students and everyone in society needs to be constantly reminded to vote through school, work and community newspapers and other media.

Stefanie Cupac: To encourage more young people to vote, society doesn’t have to do a lot. Our mentors should continue to tell us how important it is to vote and get our voices heard. They need to express that it’s not only something our parents do. TV networks, such as MTV, have been trying to get young people to vote, and I believe that is one of the ways to get them involved. 1630

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Q&A What will you be doing this summer? Nicole Nunno: This summer, I plan on spending as much time with my friends and family, but especially my friends since many are going away. Sammy Qassis: For the most part, I’ll be training for cross country in college, working, but most of all, enjoying my summer with friends and family before they leave. Jennifer Noto: I plan on working this summer and spending time

Nicholas Stambuli: I plan on working full time at Four Wall Lighting and Design making, repairing and shipping theater lighting and equipment. And, of course, I’ll be down at the Jersey Shore every weekend. Jeanne Wilson: I’ll work part time as a lifeguard at Bellin’s Swim Club. I will spend my time swimming, at the movies, and with my family at Brigantine Beach. Paul Pomykala: I’ll be working as a counselor in the ArtSports program for Clifton Rec. I’ve worked at Jackal Stadium but I love sports and what better way to make money than to be involved with sports and kids? Vanessa Medina: This summer, I’ll be working at my current job at the Sproviero Law Office as administrative assistant to the judge of Lodi. And on my time off, I’ll be spending it at the beach. Matt Short: I will be working at Valley Pharmacy this summer but will take time for vacations to Wildwood, Hershey and Delaware. But, the bulk of my summer will be spent with my girlfriend, Christa.

with my friends before we all go away for college. Also, I hope to spend as much time as I can down the shore. Greg Kokoscka: September, I will be taking a semester off and working to make some money for college, while spending time with my girlfriend Kristin Reilly. Matthew Largi: Working down in Seaside and spending time with my best friends from high school.

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Classic Community Kid T

ed Heiselman is a classic example of the “community guy,” devoting much of his free time to city affairs. He’s also an idealist, someone who hopes to improve society any way he can. For instance, Heiselman became involved with the health department’s “TASTE test” program last summer after his father, Ted, developed lung cancer. Heiselman, then 17, went from store to store, trying to see whether the cashier would sell cigarettes to an underage consumer. Eventually, Heiselman became the department’s leading crime buster. “I had to appear in three or four cases,” he said. “I think it was a good program, and it prevented stores from overlooking IDs.” These days, on Mondays and Tuesdays, Heiselman can be found from 12:45 to 4:15 pm at the Clifton Division of Health, where he is a clerk.

Then, after school on Wednesdays and Fridays and on Saturday afternoons, Heiselman works at the Art Center on the City Hall complex, where he is responsible for carrying out monthly mailings, press releases, and assisting in the art shows. Heiselman enjoys the art world and has especially admired the sculpture exhibit which Heiselman said featured intricate wood carvings . At CHS, Heiselman joined the lacrosse team his senior year and was immediately hooked. Despite breaking his arm freshman year and destroying any intention of trying out for the team, the midfielder bounced back this year to get in shape and played for the junior varsity team and, on occasion, varsity team. Off the field, Heiselman also tackled physics, algebra II, economics, and British literature, among other subjects. But he is most interested in the sciences, which makes it no surprise Mr. Tim St. Clair, who teaches physics, was his favorite teacher. “He’s a great teacher, who makes learning fun,” Heiselman said of St. Clair. “He’s always moving and keeps our attention. I’m never bored in that class.” The 18-year-old also plays basketball, lifts weights, and hangs out with friends during his spare time. Seeing his friends on a daily basis is what he’ll miss the most after graduating. But don’t get him wrong. He’s excited about the nearing graduation. “I can’t wait,” he said with a smile. “They said back during freshman year that the next four years fly by, and they do. They go by so fast.” “I’m going to feel a whole bunch of emotions during graduation,” he added. “But most of all, I’m going to be happy.” This fall, Heiselman will be commuting to William Paterson University, where he said he feels comfortable and likes the campus and library. He’s not sure exactly what major he will be pursuing, but he knows it will deal with science, the subject he loves. Until then, Heiselman is planning to take a summer trip with his older sister Jodi, hopefully to Australia or maybe even Hawaii. “This summer, I just want to relax,” he said. For this busy community guy, a relaxing vacation is well-deserved. Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A Who influenced you the most during high school? Jennifer Turi: Mr. Groh. He put so much enthusiasm into teaching, and it inspired me to do well.

Victoria B. Jarosz: My mother; She has been a teacher for 33 years, and she has truly inspired me.

Paulina Chernenko: My husband, German. With his support and love, I feel like I could accomplish anything.

Jennifer Gaspar: My mom, being a single mother, has influenced me throughout the years. She is raising six kids on her own, and I am very proud of her. She is also proud of me since I am her oldest child, and the first one to graduate. Regina Hemsey: My family who always kept on pushing me to do my best and never settle for less. Michelle Silva: My mother Patricia and father Reneiro have influenced me the most. They had always encouraged me to do good work during my high school years.

Paul Pomykala: My late uncle Matt who was a Passaic Firefighter for 33 years. He will live forever in my heart and I would be proud and honored to follow in his footsteps.

Yorkis Vasquez: My Aunt Iris has always supported me through everything. And my mother, of course! Mr. John Groh influenced me a lot, and he’s a great teacher. So did Ms. Cassie Craig. I love her so much. She is not only a teacher, but she’s a great friend.

Matthew Sieradzki: Besides my parents, who have supported me throughout my school years, Ms. Susan Peters—my freshman honors history teacher and current vice principal—has been most influential. She taught the importance of being organized and of setting goals and then achieving them. Ms. Peters always treated me in an understanding and supportive manner. In addition, being part of the Mustang Band for the past four years has been a major influence. Not only has it taught me ab out discipline, dedication and teamwork, but it has made music an important part of my life. Esra Qawasmi: My sister, who is also my best friend. Shonel Symister: My parents always encouraged me to achieve. Naz Emini: My parents. They were by my side in good and bad times and encouraged me to do better every step of the way.

Family first for Regina: From left, parents Robyn and Fred Hemsey, grandparents John and Rose Marie Filipone, Regina Hemsey and her sister Francesca.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Heather Fleming: All my teachers but it has been my parents’ constant support through all my ups and downs that has influenced me most significantly.


Like Father, Like Son A

bout sixteen years ago in Cairo, Egypt, the story is told, a family was driving along a road, with a crying one-year-old who wouldn’t be appeased. The father, mother, and aunt tried everything, but the wailing continued. Finally, having exhausted all other options, the mother turned on the radio. And to everyone’s surprise, the relentless sobbing immediately stopped. “That was the first sign of my connection with music,” said Marco Saad. Since then, Saad has developed the ability to play the violin and tabla, an Arabic drum, by ear. He described his knack for music, a gift that he says keeps him balanced. Saad said he enjoys all types of music, however, he especially likes Middle Eastern dance songs. Other than being musically inclined, the senior is also an artist. He loves to draw anything and everything, and he sketches mainly for his church, St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church in Belleville. During his junior year at CHS, Saad joined the art club, but he found the club short of his personal needs. “I felt the club didn’t feed my particular artistic abilities,” Saad said. “I just wanted to draw and sketch, and that’s it. It just didn’t work.” That didn’t stop Saad from following his muse during his own free time. He became so serious about his talent that he even contemplated becoming a professional artist after graduation, hoping to be someday a cartoonist or video game designer.

But, with the guidance of his father, Nader, Saad took a change of heart and realized he wanted instead to continue in his father’s footsteps. His dad also had artistic talent, however he decided to take up dentistry and now has two offices in Jersey City and Clifton. “I think my father is the smartest man in the world,” Saad said of his role model. “He’s always two steps ahead of everybody and knows what to say and do about everything.” “If I go to art school, I’ll be, at best, an art teacher,” the 17 year old CHS graduate said. “I want to be my own boss, not work for someone else.” That rationale is the basis of his decision to attend New Jersey City University next fall and study biology. His ambition is to become a dentist and continue his father’s practice, while also keeping art and music as hobbies on the side. Saad is a diverse young man who speaks three lan-

guages (English, Arabic and Coptic, the last phase in the evolution of the ancient Egyptian language), who remains active in his church, where he teaches Sunday school to eighth graders and recites hymn lessons and vespers. “Church keeps me busy,” he said. Saad, who confesses to having “senioritis since freshman year,” is looking forward to graduation, but he knows he’ll have mixed emotions while on the field. “You only graduate high school once,” Saad declared. “I’m hoping for a perfect graduation, and I want to cherish the moment.” He is also going to miss seeing his friends everyday, such as best friend Peter Aziz, a junior. But he is assured they will keep in touch, especially because they are so close. Who will he miss the most? “The girls,” Saad joked. But, on a more serious note, Saad provided the incoming Class of 2005 with some words of advice, stemming from personal experience. “Work hard and have fun,” he urged. “But don’t just work hard, and don’t just have fun.”

Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A What will you miss most or least about high school? Tajash Shah: Seeing all my friends after every class and all the parties. Goodbye to the science classes and the smell of the locker room.

Matt Hoey: Catching up on all my missed sleep time because of parties the night before. I could live without the smell of the hallways.

Matthew Sleece: I’m going to miss seeing my friends and my teachers.

Daniel Kuleta: I am going to miss seeing my friends everyday in class.

Aakash Shah: I will miss my friends and the comfort of being around things that so familiar to me. I will miss all the teachers, such as Mr. St. Clair, Mr. Harding and Mr. Alschen, that have made a great impact on my life. I will not miss: 1. The crowded halls. 2. The totem pole in front of the lower gym. 3. AP green sheets.

Yavuz Bayram: Free lunch.

Daniella Castronuovo: I miss my friends but I can do without waking up so early every morning. James DiMaria: Waking up at 5:30 am to park—I’m being sarcastic! Katie Doyle: I’ll miss friends and my English teacher Ms. Saddik dancing to the morning news! She got everyone in a great mood.

Jamie Flynn: Ms. Saddik and seeing my friends everyday. Aurora Janji: Having fun when teachers are absent. Eliza Elmo: Being able to find any one of my friends at most any time during the day. Christie Lotz: No question: the thing I will miss the least is getting trampled in the crowded halls. Caitlin White: The overcrowded hallways and classes. Luigi Cascareno: The smelly kids who do not shower. Aurora Janji: The crowded halls and wearing ID tags.

Ray Tulling: I will miss seeing all the familiar faces I’ve grown up with over the years on a daily basis, and all the good times that came along during those four years. High school is memorable because it occurs during the best years of your life, and although I’ll never see most of these people again, certain memories will last. The least? Waking up tired and sluggish every morning. As a zero-period student senior year, my alarm went off 5:30 every morning. School started at 7, but usually all the parking spaces were taken by 6:30. Therefore, I had to arrive before then. Hopefully, my classes next year will allow me to get more sleep. Erin Prendergast: Crowded halls. John Brock: All those reports! Chiara Cristantiello: Homework, fighting for chairs in the cafe, and trying to survive the South Wing intersection. Kunal Desai: The crowded hallways and the calculus tests. Daniel Kuleta: Overcrowding in the hallways.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


The Administration, Faculty & Staff of

Paramus Catholic High School Congratulate the Clifton Members of the

Class of 2004 These students so far have been offered about $850,000 in scholarships to which they have so far accepted $225,000.

God Bless You All! Diego Crespo

Oksana Rusynko

Rhea Guieb

Johnson & Wales Full Scholarship NJSIAA Wrestling State Champion

University of Delaware

St. John’s University Scholastic Excellence Scholarship

Craig Jandoli Seton Hall University St. Andrew’s Hall Seminary Program Scholarship PC Student Government President

Wilson Maldonado LaSalle University

Junior Payano Franciscan University of Steubenville Eagle of the Cross Award

James Feimster III Delaware State University

Suzanne Janusz Rutgers University Merit Award Scholarship #1 Ranking Class of 2004

Kristine Nativo Boston University Scholarship

Nicholas Poggi Dominican College

Tiffany Strobino

Sean Loftus Montclair State University

Lisa Novak Bloomsburg University Presidential Leadership Award Scholarship

Daniel Rose Seton Hall University

Larissa Sydor University of Connecticut

William Paterson University

Other scholarships pending.

Welcome to the 40 Clifton Members of the Class of 2008!

425 Paramus Road • Paramus, NJ • 07652 • 201.445.4466 Clifton Merchant • June 2004

47


The Sibling Act H

e said they have been good friends since they were young children. She said they have been close their entire lives. He admitted to the typical sibling bickering that sometimes arises. She said together, they have encountered their fair share of scolding. It’s not difficult to immediately see that Tom and Amanda Garretson have quite a healthy and strong brother-sister relationship. This fall, their bond will enter a new stage, this one away from home, as Tom joins his sister to attend Villanova University. After visiting his 19-year-old sister at the college, Tom, 17, admired the beauty and atmosphere of the campus, as well as its accessible location. “It’s an hour from everything you need,” Tom said, noting its proximity to the Poconos and the Jersey Shore. Amanda, who graduated CHS last year and is now a nursing major and psychology minor, was also one of the influences in Tom’s decision to attend the university. He got along well with her friends and saw that “everyone presented themselves well.”

Tom and Amanda Garretson will both attend Villanova University in Philadelphia.

Amanda confirmed Tom’s positive assessment of the school. “I absolutely love it,” she said. “It was the best decision I ever made.” Amanda is also thrilled to have her brother around next semester. “We’ve always been close since we were younger, and we’ve always gotten in trouble together. I couldn’t be happier,” she said. Tom hopes to become involved with the club volleyball team and possibly the Blue Key Society, a college orientation program in which Amanda participates. 1704

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He is likely to take up a major in finance or economics and is anticipating a chance to “start anew.” Tom also pointed out he has to get used to Philadelphia being “the city” instead of New York. Tom’s desire to participate in athletics at Villanova stems from his CHS career as a weak-side hitter for the boys volleyball team. Also, Tom was the vice president of his sophomore and senior classes, which he found “pretty interesting to see how everything works behind the scenes.” He said despite the unfortunate red tape that hinders the realization of some ideas, he feels he and other members of the student council were able to progressively make the school year better. Although eager to experience a fresh, new phase in his life, Tom said he will always be tied to his hometown. “I’m going to miss it,” Tom said. “I do love Clifton. It’s where my family is; it’s where my roots are.”


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Meet the CHS Top Ten by Elaine Sanchez

Grades matter, but dreams are just as important to the Top 10 students of the 2004 Clifton High School graduating class. Clifton Merchant Magazine asked Elaine Sanchez, a 2002 CHS graduate and am editorial intern here this summer, to speak with these unique students about their lives and future plans. Here are their stories:

Kyle Scudilla Kyle Scudilla has a dream to work as a sports journalist for either ESPN or a major newspaper. He’ll begin pursuing his professional dream by studying journalism and business at Villanova University this fall. Spring has been a busy time for Scudilla. Besides preparing for Advanced Placement tests in chemistry, calculus, psychology and English, he’s also been focused on the diamond—playing second base to the Mustangs baseball team. “I’d rather have too many things to do than two few things to do,” he says. From left, front: Mithra Maneyapanda, Nicole Holleuffer, and Christine Barabas. At rear, Jaclyn Pangilinan and Kathleen Bakarich.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Since being inspired by godfather Paul to join Little League as a first grader, baseball has become Scudilla’s “number one hobby, my favorite thing to do.” The 18-yearold is also a baseball instructor, sales assistant, and cashier at Lefty’s Sports Academy on Bloomfield Ave., and this summer, he’ll play for Clifton Post 347 American Legion team. A four-year attendee of the Academic Awards Dinner, Scudilla was awarded this year’s Villanova Scholarship. Ranked eighth in his class, he credits his mother Ingrid for his helping him attain his success, calling her a role model. “My mother represents good character and leadership,” he says. “She is a

caring, selfless and loving person and did an excellent job raising me.” Like the others in the Top 10, a short interview cannot begin to describe the effort that goes into achieving high school excellence. When asked how he’s accomplished so much, Scudilla says, “I don’t know—it’s tough sometimes.” His schedule from the past night included coming home from baseball, going to work, and then started his schoolwork at 10 p.m. “It gets crazy,” he says, “but I don’t mind having a lot of things to do.”

Jennifer DaLuz The first person in her family to attend college in America, Jennifer DaLuz, the daughter of Irene and


Mateus, has done much to make her parents proud. Coming from Brazil, Daluz and her family moved to the United States for “a better life and better opportunities.” Because of its proximity to her home and affordability, DaLuz will attend Montclair State University this fall. Ranked tenth in her class, DaLuz says her secret to success is simple: “I’ve always tried to do my best and work hard.”

Sucharita Boddu Confidence for Sucharita Boddu was gained not only in the classroom, but flying over a lake. Last summer at a leadership training program at the Poconos, she conquered a fear of heights by allowing herself to be slingshotted over a lake from a tremendous altitude. “It was incredible,” she says. “After I performed this feat, I felt I could do anything.” It looks like she can. Boddu’s honors include induction into the National Honor and National Latin Honor Societies, the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, and placing fourth on the National Latin Exam. Aspiring to someday work for “Doctors Without Borders” or the Red Cross, she’ll study biochemistry at Stevens Institute of Technology on a full scholarship.

Chrissy Barabas Like classmate Sucharita Boddu, fifth-ranked Chrissy Barabas enjoys an adrenaline rush. She loves to ride horses, surf, and snowboard. This fall, she’ll apply that spirit of adventure to the classroom when she attends the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the Honors Scholars Program studying education. The transition should go smoothly as Barabas has already taken four

CHS Top Ten Facts • A perfect split—five attended Woodrow Wilson Middle School while five hailed from Christopher Columbus. • Three attended School 2; Schools 9 and 3 each prepared two Top Ten students. • They applied to an average of four schools; Rutgers was the most popular choice. • They completed college applications in an average of five weeks. • Combined, they applied to 27 different colleges.

college-level courses, including the Freshman Experience, Psychology, Religions of the World, and Music in World Cultures. “The classes were a good introduction,” she said. “I shouldn’t feel too overwhelmed next year.” She plans to spend her summer at Monterey Beach on the Jersey Shore, where she vacations every year.

Jaclyn Pangilinan Jaclyn Pangilinan, ranked fourth among graduates, also loves the water. Having qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in swimming, she will travel to Long Beach, Cal., this summer, vying for a spot on Team USA. An Honors and Advanced Placement student, Pangilinan is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, and earned a place on the Distinguished Honor Roll three years. Pangilinan has been accepted into Harvard University, where she will study economics. “It was an ideal balance between academics and athletics,” she says of her choice of school..

Mithra Maneyapanda Scholar-athlete Pangilinan admires classmate Mithra Maneyapanda, because “he is not only valedictorian but also excels in both soccer and tennis.” Maneyapanda reciprocates her praise, saying Pangilinan is a role model. “It is always better to have a role model that you know,” he said. “Jackie’s motivation, focus, sacrifice, and balance is something to admire.” Maneyapanda’s words about Pangilinan could be describing himself. For 14 years, he has played soccer—the last three as a member of the Mustangs varsity team. He also played on last year’s Metrostars U-17 team, which placed second in the national finals. In addition, Maneyapanda is a fouryear member of the Clifton varsity tennis team. Explaining how he makes time for school and sports, Maneyapanda explains, “I always had a schedule,” he said, “and I try to stay organized.” Mithra is the third and last of three Maneyapandas to finish among the CHS Top 10 students (top five to be exact). In 2001, sister Seetha was valedictorian and brother Mookie was ranked fifth.

Marsha Abraham Seventh-ranked Marsha Abraham is addicted to reading, Starburst candy, and sleeping. Her summer plans are low-key, and include seeing her friends, watching television, reading, and sleeping. “I sleep any chance I get,” she says. Perhaps her affection for slumber is a result of long hours devoted to her studies. Abraham has earned Distinguished Honors every year, managing to achieve the distinction in spite of a challenging schedule.

Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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This year, her studies included science seminar, computers, and Advanced Placement courses in biology, chemistry, calculus and English. Abraham will attend Rutgers University to study either biology or chemistry.

Nicole Holleuffer As a kindergartner, Nicole Holleuffer persistently asked for a pet. Because of her interest in animals, she knew then she wanted to be a veterinarian “to help [animals] live healthy and happy lives.” The salutatorian has two cats, Serena and Mimi, and a bird Pippy. By volunteering at the Clifton Dog and Cat Hospital (where she works Saturdays) and the Clifton Animal Shelter (where she helps Sundays), Holleuffer has gained “a learning experience more than what you learn in school.” By volunteering, Holleuffer had the opportunity to witness the fourhour surgical removal of a cancerous tumor from a dog. In the midst of her outside animal education, Holleuffer has made “homework and studying a priority.” This fall, the second-ranked CHS graduate will attend Cook College at Rutgers.

Katie Bakarich The youngest of four, Katie Bakarich enjoys civil service. The third-ranked CHS student works in Clifton Memorial Library’s Children’s Room and enjoys helping young kids. Her library job is also conducive to her own needs as a high school student who oftentimes needs to do research for an upcoming report. An outside hitter for the girls’ volleyball team, Bakarich found she needed to make sacrifices during the hectic fall season to make time for school, sports, work, and those dreaded college applications. “I was lucky because work was very flexible,” she said. “You learn to balance a lot of stuff, eliminate television and make time for schoolwork.”

Adam Diaz Sixth-ranked Adam Diaz has had a charmed four years at CHS. He has played the leading heartthrob in Grease, a thief in Anything Goes, and a pious reverend in Footloose. His love of the footlights has also put him before the camera.

Their College Agenda 1. Mithra Maneyapanda Rutgers, Biology 2. Nicole Holleuffer Cook College at Rutgers Pre-veterinarian 3. Kathleen Bakarich Fairfield University Accounting 4. Jaclyn Pangilinan Harvard, Economics 5. Christine Barabas University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Education 6. Adrian Diaz The College of New Jersey, Communications, Theater 7. Marsha Abraham Rutgers, Biology 8. Kyle Scudilla Villanova, Journalism, Business 9. Sucharita Boddu Stevens Institute of Technology, Biochemistry 10. Jennifer Daluz Montclair State University, Undecided

He was also a contestant on CAST’s own Who’s Line Is it Anyway? where a comedic skit required him to be a human switched into a dog. Starring in three musical productions and two dramatic productions, Diaz has shown that intelligence and focus calls for more than seriousness; it also requires imagination and creativity. Diaz will attend The College of New Jersey in Ewing, where he hopes to further his performing career as a communications and theater major.

Kyle Scudilla, Adrian Diaz, Sucharita Boddu, Marsha Abraham Jennifer Daluz. Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A Where will you be in September and how did you reach your decision? Luis Mangual: Nassau County College, which is a junior college. Paolo Tolentino: At Rutgers University’s School of Engineering. Nicholas Stambuli: At Cook College of Rutgers University. They offer a great education in environmental sciences. Plus, I can live away, but I can also come home if I need my clothes washed. Matt Short: I will be attending Montclair State University. My sisters both received a solid education there, and it is an easy commute for me. It’s also a top school and offers a strong communications program.

Anna Bosol: I’ll be studying fashion marketing and management at Berkeley College. Fashion was always something that I liked and being in the business will give me an opportunity to travel and meet new people. Andrew Palmer: I will be attending William Paterson University in September. I will also be looking to expand my knowledge of the communication field as my years progress in college. Payal Rana: Rutgers University. I always knew I was going there, so there wasn’t a long thinking process involved. Alexis Abren: I will be at NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College. Luis Eduardo Lopez Lopez: I will be attending Montclair State University because I want to be close to my family and friends. Also, I love Clifton, and I don’t have the heart to leave it. Christopher Sadowski: In September, I will be at RutgersNew Brunswick studying physics and mathematics.

Lauren Kane: I chose Berkeley because they have a great interior design program, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

Samuel Eichner: Stevens Institute of Technology because it has a great campus, an excellent staff and offers exactly what I need to get a job I will like.

Jeanne Wilson: I will be at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown Convent Station. That school gave me the biggest scholarship of all six schools I applied to. I got correspondence from the teachers, coaches, and admissions staff on a daily basis, and I felt the most comfortable with the students and faculty there. Josh Kotz: At NJIT, majoring in computer science, because I’m interested in the field. Jason Shagawat: Rutgers in New Brunswick. They are a Division I track team. Matt Malaszuk: Caldwell College where I’ll double major in Business Management and Criminal Justice.

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He Rocks, He Rolls S

everal years from now, he just may be the biggest thing since his sports idol, pro bowler Pete Weber. After all, Kyle Handoga’s long-term goals include landing a spot on the Professional Bowling Association Tour. And he has a good shot at achieving his dream. This past season, and for that matter, a few before that, Handoga has been a consistent player in the Garden State bowling circuit. The CHS senior led the 18-team Northern NJ League with a 214 average and helped bring Clifton its second straight Passaic County Tournament championship with his 588 series and 216 high game. A member of Clifton’s 2002 NJSIAA championship team, Handoga finished his senior year with a 244-710 high series and has a career-high 279-789 high series. This past January, he was named Boys Bowler of the Week by the Star Ledger. And that’s not unusual for the kid from Clifton who got his start in the former Astrobowl bowling alley, where Handoga’s parents took him as a 5-year-old. These days, he’s in a competitive circuit as he bowls for the Stan Niemiec Youth Travel League, where Handoga has rolled a high series of 794, has an average of 220 and rolled a perfect 300. On the lanes and in the bowling world, the 18-year-old looks up to Weber, declaring the Pro Bowler his favorite athlete. “I like his enthusiasm for the sport. I laugh at his antics. He’s intense, but sometimes that’s the way you need to be to win,” Handoga has said.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

From his experience as a CHS kegler, he has learned “responsibility and never to give up.” He also greatly admires his coach, Brian Small, who “didn’t only try to give us tips but also pushed us hard.” Aside from his goals on the lanes, Handoga’s practical side has him headed to the County college of Morris where he will study to become a landscape designer.

Handoga credits the collective efforts of his family, teachers and friends as the major influences of his life. “Each puts forth a different quality,” Handoga said. “My parents supported and pushed me harder, my teachers showed me respect, and my friends showed me compassion and understanding. Without them all, I would not have made it as far as I did today.”


Prom Costs Party Bus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $170 per couple shared by 15 couples ($2,550!)

Prom Bids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $115 Class dues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $125 must pay to get prom bids

Tuxedo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $108 Boutonniere & Corsage . . . . $45 Dress, shoes, purse, etc . . . . $350 Nails . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 Hair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $60 Prom Photos . . . . . . . . . $40-$60 Hotel at Seaside . . . . . . . . . $130 per person

The CHS Class of 2004 danced and dined the night away May 21 at the Skylands in Randolph. Although the prices are not fixed, these were the typical costs to attend the extravaganza. Although it may have cost a hefty fortune, most grads will agree the memories of the special night are priceless.

Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Q&A Provide some words of wisdom to the Class of 2005... Andrew Palmer: Don’t slack off your senior year. It might hurt your chances for a bright future.

Christopher Sadowski: Try not to slack off senior year, and don’t wait until the last minute with physics labs!

Sammy Qassis: Dedication and persistence are the keys to success in anything and everything you do in life, in school, at home... anywhere!

Kristin Reilly: Have fun, be safe. Make your last year here a memorable one with friends and school.

Lauren Kane: Live each day to the fullest and enjoy life because senior year flies by and it’s over before you know it. Vanessa Medina: Don’t get caught up in what people say or think,. Be yourself. Live without regrets.

Matthew Largi: Run track. It’s awesome. Samuel Eichner: Expect everything and the unexpected never happens. Josh Kotz: Just relax. Life is not that hard. You only make it seem that way.

Nicole Nunno: It’s easy to get caught up in a mess. As long as you steer clear of all of that, you’ll be fine. And always make the best of every situation you are in. Luis Mangual: My advice is to enjoy the time that you have while you are at CHS. Augusto Garcia: Studying is the key to success. Payal Rana: Time goes by fast, so enjoy your senior year. Anna Rosol: High school goes by so fast, even though you might not realize it. Work, have fun and make the best of it. 1303

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The Case for School Space: The Saga Continues by Fran Hopkins

W

hen the City Council and the Board of Education met in joint session on May 26 to talk again about school sites, most interest centered around two locations: School 14 and Athenia Steel. The Board’s “homework” from that meeting was to present the School 14 proposal on June 1 for community input. At the packed June 1 meeting on St. Andrew’s Boulevard, Dr. Michael Rice, Clifton’s Superintendent of Schools, presented a proposal to tear down School 14, a school currently educating approximately 300 students, in June 2005, and replace it with a 1900-student grades 8-9 central middle school. The School 14 property on St. Andrew’s Boulevard is 7.9 acres.

14 proposal versus building a school at the Board’s Latteri Park property, Dr. Rice indicated that building a school at Latteri Park would cost about $1.5 million less than the School 14 plan. Joe Kolodziej, Board of Education President, said prior to the June 1 meeting that the School 14 site was being considered for a number of reasons. While both School 14 and School 16 are on the

list of Board owned properties with “significant acreage,” School 14 was favored because it is more centrally located. In addition, the 51-year-old School 14 building is in need of a significant amount of upkeep: the roof, windows, and portable classrooms at the site need to be replaced, Kolodziej said. School 16, by contrast, doesn’t require renovations.

“We estimate that these trailers would take up only about one-fifth of Latteri Park, leaving most of the park intact.” –Board of Education President Joe Kolodziej

Why School 14? A passionate School 14 crowd packed the school’s multi-purpose room at the June 1 meeting. For two hours, dozens of frequently emotional speakers took the microphone to implore the Board to “save our school.” Many questioned why the Board would even consider destroying one school and replacing it with another when the Board owns vacant property – Latteri Park – which was purchased over 50 years ago for use as a school site. Speaker after speaker vowed they would never allow the School 14 proposal to pass. Asked specifically about the costs of the School 60

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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According to Kolodziej, the plan would call for the entire School 14 community—students, teachers, administrators—to be kept together and temporarily educated in modular classrooms (trailers) beginning in the Fall of 2005. Initial thoughts are for between 10 to 15 modular classrooms to be temporarily located in the Rosemawr section at Latteri Park until a new school is constructed and ready for the School 14 community in Sept., 2007. “We estimate that these trailers would take up only about one-fifth of Latteri Park, leaving most of the park intact,” Kolodziej said. “The Park’s recreation areas could be used by the School 14 students too.”

Clifton Unite’s Response Because a School 14 neighborhood flyer circulated last weekend noted that Latteri Park would become the site for modular classrooms, Clifton Unite’s Jeff Gruen was asked for his organization’s position about the possibility of temporary classrooms at the Park. “We believe that the responsible thing for all citizens at this point is to avoid speculation and to trust that our duly elected public officials will inform us at the appropriate time regarding their proposed school siting for the upcoming referendum,” Gruen said.

Jeff Gruen of Clifton Unite making his presentation regarding traffic access and busing students to Latteri Park if the site was used as a school.

Role of the Mayer Building Meanwhile, renovations would begin at the Mayer Textile building and that facility would be ready to accept 500 Clifton High School students in September 2006 as originally planned. However, a new twist on this plan is that, in September 2007, high school students would not return to the Mayer building; instead, ninth graders would attend the new grades 8-9 school and older students would go to the high school.

At that point, the Mayer building would re-open its doors as a stateof-the-art elementary school for the children who’d formerly attended School 14. The new school would be “about one and a half miles away” from where School 14 is now, Kolodziej said.

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It’ll Be Athenia Steel or Latteri Park After receiving a petition signed by nearly 2700 Clifton residents opposed to Schultheis Farm as the site of a 1700-student, grades 89 middle school – residents who favored instead a school at Latteri Park – the City Council rescinded its support of Schultheis on May 4. The Council offered to meet again with the Board to look for another site. On May 5, as a result of the Council’s reversal (Schultheis had been the consensus choice of both the Council and the Board of Education), the Board of Education withdrew its plans to build a school there. The Council heard again from residents about school sites at its May 18 meeting, Schultheis neighbor Bob Wittmann presented additional pro-Latteri Park signatures, bringing the total up to 3,300 (now approaching 3500, per Wittmann). Jeff Gruen, head of Clifton Unite, a group of residents opposed to a school at the Board-owned Latteri property, offered an alternative to this magazine’s slogan, “If it’s free, it’s for me” Gruen’s slogan: “Can’t fool me, no way the Park is free.” Gruen also outlined possible costs and consequences of building a school at Latteri. On May 19, the Board voted to meet with the Council on May 26. Before the meeting, however, the Herald News reported that the Board was considering razing School 14 and building a middle school there. This leak upset the School 14 community and created an awkward atmosphere when the Board and Council met on May 26. Two additional meetings were then announced: a special Board meeting on June 1 at School 14 and another joint Board-Council meeting on June 2. On June 1, speakers begged the Board to leave School 14 alone and to consider other options. Some attendees lectured the Board that a school site is their decision, not the Council’s, and that the Board did not need the Council’s approval. “No one is dictating to us,” Board President Joe Kolodziej responded. “We want a solution that’s best for the kids and the community.” As the we went to press, it was expected that the Board and Council would announce a school site decision after their June 2 joint meeting, with sources indicating that the choice was likely to be either Latteri Park or Athenia Steel. 1527

However Kolodziej said this would only be considered if three major issues could be resolved: 1) contamination–the property would have to be certified clean by March/April 2005 so that groundbreaking could occur then; 2) access – two more entrances/exits would have to be created (“I would favor opening up Svea Avenue plus either a Paulison Avenue or a Route 46 access,” Kolodziej said); and 3) noise–a great deal of noise emanates from the nearby Parkway Iron Works, on Route 46, which is adjacent to the proposed school site. Would special soundproofing make it possible to create a quiet environment inside the school? Kolodziej noted that special acoustic materials were used for the seniors complex, but that structure is a considerable distance away from Parkway Iron compared to where the school would be. Time is short now if one of these plans is still to be voted upon in a December referendum, as originally scheduled; the Board must make a decision by its June 9 meeting. While an 8-9 school at the School 14 site would be built to accommodate 1,900 students, an 8-9 school at Athenia Steel would house 1,700 students. Kolodziej explained the 200student difference.

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The Cost of Trailers “The cost of the School 14 plan is about equal to the cost of the previous Schultheis plan,” said Kolodziej. Modular classrooms could be placed along Allwood Place, closest to the street, to minimize the costs of running electricity, water and sewer connections. “And once those connections are in place, they’d be available at the park for future use.” Modular classrooms can be single-sized, accommodating 25 students, or dual classrooms, holding 40 students. Because they’d only be needed temporarily, Kolodziej said, the Board would lease them rather than purchase them. Kolodziej thinks that the Athenia Steel plan might be cheaper. Expenses associated with Athenia would be those of remediation of contamination; construction of additional access property; and noise abatement.

“I’m totally opposed to putting School 14 on the ballot this quickly. It’s the speed thing. Deal with the overcrowding for a couple more years and come up with a long-term plan.” –Joe Cupoli

With School 14 literally in his backyard, Joe Cupoli is skeptical about the rush to raze School 14. “Dr. Rice held a meeting with ‘key communicators’ from School 14 on Friday afternoon (May 28),” Cupoli said. “He gave us an explanation of how and why School 14 suddenly became the magic solution to all of Clifton’s school problems.” “I’m torn,” Jacqui Cupoli said. “I want a middle school desperately. But I don’t want to see the grammar school go.” Joe Cupoli is concerned: “Is School 14 the best solution? It doesn’t make sense to us. Unless you convince me that it’s right, the community will work very hard to vote it down. Why knock down a perfectly good school when you can use Latteri or some other property?” he asked. “I’m totally opposed to putting School 14 on the ballot this quickly,” he added. “It’s the speed thing. Deal with the overcrowding for a couple more years and come up with a long-term plan.“If I wanted trailer education, then I’d go live in a trailer park,” Cupoli said.

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“The original plans for Mayer called for it to house 500 high school students,” said Kolodziej. “If the Mayer building becomes a 300-student elementary school instead, then the grades 8-9 school will need to have the capacity to accommodate 200 more students.” If the Athenia Steel property becomes the site of the new 8-9 school, then the Mayer building can be used for a variety of purposes, including a magnet school.

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Is It For Sale... Or Not? D

on Machiorlete and Gerd Rohmert made their position very clear: they have no intention of selling 290 Brighton Road, the vacant Mayer Textile building, to the Clifton Board of Education. In fact, they have no intention of selling the building to anyone. “We took the the building off the market about six weeks ago,” said company’s controller Machiorlete. Why did they take it off the market? “Because we can’t sell it,” said Rohmert, president of the company. “Whenever a potential buyer asks if the property is subject to condemnation, we have to produce the letter we received from the school district that says they’ll start condemnation proceedings if we won’t sell to them,” Rohmert said. “That scares buyers away.” Board attorney Tony D’Elia confirmed that the Board did express its interest in purchasing the property in a letter to Mayer dated August 7, 2003. “We thought the fair thing to do was to let them know of our intentions,” D’Elia said. “There’s nothing worse than someone buying a building to start a new business and then finding out later that the school district plans to buy the building.

“In any case, we would pay Mayer the fair market value for the property,” D’Elia added. But Machiorlete and Rohmert maintained that it isn’t about the money. “Our opinion is that a school doesn’t belong on the industrial side of the road,” said Rohmert, president of the company. Brighton Road is lined with various industrial and office buildings on one side of the street – the Mayer side – and with residential homes on the other side. School 9, at 25 Brighton Road, is located on the residential side.

CAC co-chair Tom Lyons.

When asked why they provided Clifton Superintendent of Schools Michael Rice and then-Board President Marie Hakim with a tour of their facility last July, Machiorlete said, “They just showed up here and asked to see the building, so we showed them around.” Machiorlete and Rohmert explained why they believe that a school at that location is inappropriate. “There are 18-wheelers coming through here all day,” Machiorlete said. “The speed limit is 25 miles per hour but the police are always parked here catching speeders. There’s not enough room for parking. We’re concerned about the impact on businesses if this becomes a school zone.” Mayer brought suit against the Board last Fall in an effort to have their building removed from consideration as a school site but the judge dismissed the case. Observing that other areas of the city were able to get sites removed from consideration via the petition route, Mayer officials began their own petition and had employees distribute flyers to area residents, warning of the traffic congestion, noise, increased park usage and tax

BEEFSTEAK The Clifton Department of Public Works invites the community to a Benefit Beefsteak for Daniel Dillon on June 11, from 6 to 11 pm, at St. Philip’s School Auditorium. Daniel, the son of a DPW employee, was injured in a snowboarding accident and sustained facial, rib, pelvis and brain stem injuries. Info: Vince Cahill at 973-470-2241 • Pat Doremus Sr. at 862-881-7132. Donations are also being accepted. Checks should be made to “Daniel Dillon Fund” and mailed to DPW, 307 East 7th St, Clifton NJ, 07011.

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consequences that a school there would create and inviting them to a meeting about it on May 19. Petitions were also at the Mayer door for collection of signatures; Machiorlete and Rohmert intend to present them to the Board of Education. Estimates of attendance at the meeting vary from 70 to 150, with a significant percentage of attendees being Mayer employees, according to Tom Lyons, a co-chair of the Community Advisory Committee that studied school sites for two years. Lyons lives nearby in the Mayer neighborhood and spoke at the meeting in favor of turning the building into a school. “I was shouted at and booed while I was reading my comments,” Lyons said. “Some yelled out, “You work for the Board of Ed!” and “Who wrote that for you? (Superintendent of Schools) Rice wrote that for you!” Another Mayer meeting attendee was Joanne Berthold, a nearby resident who is president of the School 9 Parent Teacher Organization but who chose not to identify herself as such. “I got up to speak after Tom (Lyons) did,” Berthold said, adding she was treated the same.

When I heard people say, ‘The kids in the community are a disgrace – the schools and the parks are a disgrace,’ that was it,” Berthold added. “I told them about the fifth graders at School 9 who plant and clean at the school and the Little Leaguers who clean the park (Mt. Prospect),” she continued. “There would be no problem having a school there – School 9 is less than half a mile away and has been there for 80 years! And I haven’t heard anyone say that they wouldn’t want a school at Mayer.” “We’re in favor of good education,” Machiorlete said. “We know there’s overcrowding in the schools. We just don’t want (a school) here.” Mayor Jim Anzaldi confirmed that Machiorlete and Rohmert “reached out to me” last week to discuss the situation. “I’ve suggested other places (for school sites), but I think the School Board has its mind made up (about Mayer),” Anzaldi said. “But my opinion is my opinion.” So how will the school saga conclude? “It’s sad,” Lyons said. “The people are getting fed up. We have to do something. Who’s going to stand up for the kids?”

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More Questions Than Answers Just beyond the intersection of Paulison and Clifton Aves., many could easily get lost on this 35-acre parcel of land that oldtimers refer to as the former Athenia Steel plant. Since the company closed in February 1988, various plans for recreation, education and housing have been floated for this tract of land. But with issues of congestion and contamination, the only project to come to fruition is the 125 unit subsidized senior citizens housing project, seen below.

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t’s a huge piece of property by Clifton standards, 35 acres set in a central city location near the Municipal Complex, the Board of Education administration building and Clifton High School. It’s the site of the former Athenia Steel plant, a once-thriving producer of steel products that operated there from 1907 until its closing in 1988. In 1999, the City of Clifton entered into a contract with National Standard, the property’s owner, to buy the property for $5.5 million. This purchase money is released to the current property owner as portions of the former industri-

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onion, capers, pepper and lemon—will allow patrons to go back to work content but not tired. Bel Vedere’s selection of meat entrees—veal, lamb, beef and pollo—are equally diverse and offer some clever and creative surprises, such as filet of ostrich with wild mushrooms in a reduced pinot noir sauce. Over his two-plus decades of ownership, Vincent Arcangelo has also created a fine wine collection and offers bottles of his diverse reserves at a fair price, adding to the always pleasant and sophisticated Downtown Clifton dining experience at Bel Vedere Restaurant. A private party room which can accommodate 60 is available on the second floor. Bel Vedere is a restaurant Cliftonites come back to time and again and it a place out of town guests will certainly enjoy.

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This sketch of the Athenia Steel property, provided by the city in 2002, shows the plans for ballparks and 250 units of housing. Other ideas considered included building an ice hockey arena somewhere on the land.

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What’s Clean, What’s Not? Everyone agrees that National Standard’s cleanup timetable has been frustratingly slow. “We don’t know when they’ll be done,” said Jim Yellen, Clifton’s City Engineer. “They’re moving at their own pace.”

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While ambitious plans have been floated for the development of the remaining 29 acres, including an elaborate city recreation complex and a school, no further development can occur until the DEP certifies additional portions of the property to be clean. “A second portion of the property is cleaned up, but Clifton is waiting for the DEP to release it,” said Barbara Sacks, Clifton City Manager. Sacks explained that the DEP might hold up on certification of the cleaned piece of the property in order to pressure the current owner to clean up the entire property. 1219

“The DEP can tie release of the second section to the cleanup of the third section to get the owners to finish the cleanup before they get their money,” Sacks said. Clifton Mayor Jim Anzaldi echoed Sacks’ comments. “The State is taking a hard line as far as releasing portions of the property,” he said. National Standard needs to complete “due diligence” – for example, digging test wells to determine the extent of contamination – the Mayor explained. Yet even these initial efforts to assess the extent of contamination and the remedies necessary are not complete.

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al property are remediated – cleaned of potentially harmful contaminants. However, after five years, only six acres of the property – those occupied by the new senior citizens complex – have been certified clean by the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

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Who Owns The Land? One reason for this snail-like progress is likely the fact that the former owner of the property, the Niles, Michigan based National Standard Company is bankrupt and the firm, and subsequently Athenia Steel property, is now owned by Davis Wire of Irwindale, California. “The remedial investigation is still ongoing,” said Titus Magnanao, case manager with the DEP in Trenton. “It could be years before the property is cleaned up. It all depends on how active the responsible party (Davis Wire) would like to be.” Magnanao said that the DEP has other issues with the site, including landfill closures that are not completed. What could expedite the remediation? “The owner would have to want to put out the money and remediate the site to the satisfaction of the DEP,” Magnanao said. At Davis Wire, the Corporate Manager for Environmental Affairs, Tariq Ahmad, said he was reluctant to discuss the Athenia Steel property. In fact, Ahmad would not even verify that Davis Wire owns the property. “I cannot confirm or deny information,” Ahmad said. “This is a sensitive issue and I need to discuss it further with our attorneys.”

Deep within the Athenia Steel property, Clifton kids refer to this spot as ‘the Gates of Hell’. The site has also been featured in the magazine Weird New Jersey.

Leave it Green Murky ownership issues aside, some maintain that the Athenia Steel property is best left undeveloped. One environmental expert who is familiar with the property but who declined to be identified for this article believes that the most appropriate use for the Athenia Steel property is as a passive park. “They should forget about putting a school or housing there,” the expert said. “A greenway is a very viable approach and is favored by the DEP.”

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A passive park is a natural area reserved for simple recreational activities such as walking, picnicking, and bird watching; a greenway is a path or trail used for walking and bike riding.

A Suitable School Site? Despite its environmental and ownership status still unsettled, Athenia Steel is yet again under discussion as a possible location for a school – a 1700-student central facility for grades eight and nine. But the question remains: how can a school be built at the site in a timely fashion when it’s not even known what cleanup, if any, is required? Furthermore, how long would it take to accomplish this clean up if remediation is needed? And finally, who would pay for remediation costs? Usually discussed as the section of the property that might be suitable for a school is an area of seven acres at the northern end of the property, near Parkway Iron.


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What About The Referendum? Between March 5 and May 5 the Board of Education and district administration planned for a December 14 referendum that would pose two questions to voters: one involving the Schultheis site and the other, the Mayer building. What’s the status of the referendum now that Schultheis is no longer the proposed site? “A site has to be approved by the Board at its June 9 meeting in order for both questions to be on a December referendum,” explained Board President Joe Kolodziej. Otherwise just the Mayer proposal, which is only a partial solution to the school overcrowding crisis, will be possible for December. While by law, school referenda may be held on other dates—besides the second Tuesday in December, other possibilities are the fourth Tuesday in January, the second Tuesday in March, the third Tuesday in April and the last Tuesday in September —holding the referendum any later than this December will mean delaying a solution by another school year, said Dr. Michael Rice, Superintendent of the Clifton School District. That’s because, in order for the State to make a

determination as to the funding that will be available to Clifton’s School Board under the Educational Facilities and Construction Financing Act, “educational specifications and schematics have to specify the site and must be submitted to the State as soon as possible,” said Business Administrator and Secretary for the Board, Karen Perkins. The State will then take some time to review this information and determine the amount it will pay. That amount, in turn, must be included in the referendum wording. Then there is the issue of two questions vs. one. Although Dr. Rice reiterated at the June 1 meeting that the latest discussions still call for a two-question referendum, this could change. “The Board has until October to decide the wording of the referendum,” Kolodziej said. “Right now it’s still two questions, but some say it should be one big question. We have five months to decide.”

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


According to City Engineer Jim Yellen, “the extreme back portion of the property is thought to be relatively clean compared to the middle where the buildings were.” The rear portion of the property could be clean, Anzaldi agreed. “It was part of an old farm; it wasn’t used by Athenia. It’s forested. But it needs to be certified clean by the State.” To help resolve the impasse, Anzaldi said that it might be possible for the City to get the State to intervene so that the DEP will release the clean portion of the property if the City lets the State know that the property is urgently needed for a school. Anzaldi even suggested that, if the Board of Education decides to build a school on the property, the City may be able to expedite the cleanup by completing the “due diligence” tasks itself instead of waiting for the property owners to do it. Presumably if the City did this, Clifton would be reimbursed because, as City Manager Sacks noted, “The cleanup doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything; it’s paid for by National Standard and the DEP.”

Board Opinion Split At the June 1 special Board of Education meeting held at School 14, members of the Board expressed widely divergent opinions about Athenia Steel to the standing-room-only crowd. Board member Jim Leeshock asked: “I want to know if my kid goes to a school at Athenia Steel, will he glow in the dark?” Similarly, Board member Norm Tahan made this ominous statement: “When the information comes out about Athenia Steel – and it’s going to come out – not too many people will want to send their kids to a school there.” Tahan was referring to a December 2003 environmental report, updated in May 2004, that was recently made available to the Board. Disagreeing with Tahan’s interpretation, Board member Kim Renta maintained: “I’m pushing for Athenia Steel.” In any case, contamination of the Athenia Steel property is a “major issue” that could remove the site from consideration for now as a school site, said Board President Joe Kolodziej. “The property would have to be cleaned or certified clean by March or April of 2005 so that groundbreaking for a new school could occur then,” Kolodziej said.

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The Christopher Columbus Middle School Band provided the musical accompaniment at this year’s Memorial Day service at the War Memorial in Downtown Clifton, and what a job they did. They filled in for the Marching Mustangs who were in Washington performing at the dedication of the World War II monument. Here in Clifton, special recognition was given to the World War II vets, many of whom are pictured on this page.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Above, Fred Gaestel, the CCMS student who performed Taps. The CCMS Orchestra was directed by Paul Oster.

One Day in June: Sixty years ago, American and Allied forces put into motion the final strike against the greatest tyranny the world has ever known. The strike was the invasion of occupied western Europe. The tyranny was Nazism and the Third Reich. The date and place was Tuesday, June 6, 1944, on Normandy Beach, France. At approximately 12:15 am, 570 Allied pathfinders parachuted into the Cherdourg Peninsula to mark landing zones for 18,000 American, British and Canadian paratroopers and glider-borne forces that would soon follow. With the airborne invasion unfolding, aerial bombardment and naval gunfire would begin attacking German troops and gun emplacements. Offshore, 5,000 ships holding over 200,000 sailors, soldiers and coast guardsmen began disgorging their assault forces into higgins boats that would deliver thousands of infantry, rangers, engineers and medics to beaches with names called

Melaina Oliveras of School 8 stands next to a picture of her dad, Victor, who on March 12 deployed to Iraq for a year. On that day, School 8 held an assembly in which Melaina and her third grade classmates sang patriotic songs honoring Mr. Oliveras and his fellow soldiers with the 204th Engineer Battalion out of New York.

Omaha, Utah, Sword, Juno and Gold. Over the next 15 hours, German positions would be overrun, minefields cleared and a foothold established on continental Europe. Within one year, the German government would surrender unconditionally.

From Cornelius Ryan’s book The Longest Day, the U.S. First Army would set the cost in its afteraction report for the Normandy Invasion: 1,465 killed; 3,184 wounded; 1,928 missing; 26 captured. by Clifton Veterans Alliance Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Cafe Bustelo, a subsidiary of Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc., has recently opened offices and distribution center at 60 Page Rd., the site of the former Thompson Printing Company. The manufacturing and distributing firm is part of the largest espresso coffee company in the United States, which in Feb., 2000, purchased Tetley USA’s espresso coffee business and tripled its sales from $25 million to $75 million. That acquisition added Cafe Bustelo, Medaglia D’Oro, El Pico and Oquendo coffee brands to the wholly owned Hispanic company’s name. When visiting Styertowne, please stop by our brand new art gallery, The Artisan’s Touch, located at the lower level, right next to Dunkin’ Donuts.

B

Mayor Anzaldi with John Cortez of Cafe Bustelo at the opening of the firm’s sales and distribution center on Page Rd, just off Brighton Rd., on May 7.

Cafe Bustelo is the number one espresso coffee in the United States, according to IRI and Neilson statistics, and is preferred in Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican households. Its parent, Rowland Coffee, which sells 80 percent of all espresso coffee purchased throughout the U.S. retail distribution system, also manufactures a Bustelo Iced Tea Mix, five flavors of Bustelo Cappucino, and a Bustelo chocolate mix drink. The Chez’ Tels, Dr. Valente, top left.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

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Dr. Robert Valente, the principal of Christopher Columbus Middle School for the past nine years, is retiring. After spending 34 years in education (20 years with Clifton Public Schools) Dr. Valente is not leaving teaching entirely. He will be on staff at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA instructing new teachers. He also expects to help out with his new grandkids, Spencer Robert and Elayna Grace, and yes, he may be found playing drums in local clubs


Clifton’s Avenue of Flags on the grounds of the municipal campus features 670 flags—each sponsored by a family in memory of a living or deceased veteran. The ever-growing display has been called the largest American flag exhibit east of the Mississippi River. Flags are three by five feet and stand on a 10-foot pole with a brass name plate. To sponsor a flag ($100), call John Biegel at 973-471-8828 or Keith Oakley at 973-777-0264. The display goes up again the mornings of June 14, July 4 and Labor Day and comes down before dusk. Photo: Al Hastick

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Dante Liberte has just won a new car. What is he going to do? No, he didn’t go to Disneyworld, but Liberte did go on a vacation. He and his wife Caroline were the grand prize winners of the Boys & Girls Club’s Go For The Gold raffle held May 18. Their luck handed them a 2004 Lincoln Mercury LS, an American luxury vehicle valued at $32,610. Meanwhile, coming in second place wasn’t so bad for Frank Crowley. He won himself a 2004 Honda Civic DX valued at $13,500. The fundraiser, which sold 800 tickets for $100 each, raised money for the club to provide year-round services to thousands of Clifton kids.

Nancy DeLuca, club board member and co-chair of the Car Raffle Committee, winners Dante and Caroline Liberte and the club’s executive director, Dolores Colucci.

Cuts for Men: Laurie Kirwin, standing at left front during the grand opening on May 12, has announced a new franchise at 618 Van Houten Ave. At Cuts, men perform total body strength training through the use of hydraulic resistance. Cuts is a bare bones approach to fitness that focuses on the basics. The equipment adjusts automatically to a man’s level of fitness. The goal is to maintain elevated heart rate for 30 minutes and to get back to life. For info: 973-779-8777.

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Mike Novack will launch his restored 100 year old gondola with a party on June 16 from 6 to 10 pm at Tracy’s Boat House, on the water, in Little Ferry. The gondola, ‘Il Signor Contento’ has a linage which traces back to the late 1800’s in Venice, Italy. Built for Lord Byron, the British philosopher, she was berthed in Venice for many years. How Novack found and restored the gondola is a longer story, one which he will share on June 16. For details, call 201-372-9740 or go to gondolaman.com.

Your life is not complete until you help someone less fortunate. That was the motto of Al Rembish, who passed away on May 29, 2002, and for whom The Order of Alhambra, Aurora Caravan 55 of Clifton, recently dedicated a memorial. Rembish, pictured below, was a Past Grand Commander of Aurora Caravan 55. Back in the 1980’s, he organized and chaperoned trips for exceptional children to the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and many other events. On Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, he’d host parties for mentally handicapped and physically challenged kids. Each spring he also organized and managed trips for them to Camp Hope.

From left, Al Rembish’s sister, Amelia Hartmann, his daughter, Karen Timochko and Joseph Imperato, Grand Commander, Aurora 55 Caravan.

Over the years, he held many national offices and rose to the post of Supreme Organizer within the International Order of Alhambra. However, his greatest works were always on behalf of Clifton Aurora Caravan 55 where he raised funds for his programs by organizing a country western beefsteak held at the Sacred Heart School Gym in Botany Village each winter and by running Italian Night dinners and other fundraisers. Rembish was instrumental in the building of the Gazebo at the Adult Opportunity Center on the City Hall property and raised funds for the

group home located there. Friends say his love and respect for all people and his enthusiasm will be remembered by the exceptional children that he loved so much as well as by his members in Alhambra. Clifton DPW employees are hosting a benefit beefsteak on June 11 at 6 pm at St. Philip’s School Auditorium, Valley Rd., with proceeds to help Daniel Dillion. The son of a DPW employee was injured in a snow boarding accident, leaving him with severe injuries. Donations and raffle prizes are needed. For info, call Pat Doremus at 862-881-7132 or Vince Cahill at 973-470-2241. Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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p u t i k l Cha to d n u o r g Play

Fun!

From playground fun to trips to nearby amusement parks, the Clifton Recreation Department has plans for another summer of events. These programs are for people of all ages, skills and interests. The following pages offer some ideas. For more specific info, call 973-470-5958. 82

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


Safety Town is an annual program for children entering kindergarten to teach little ones the basics on how to keep safe and healthy at home, school and on the street. The program, a Clifton institution in existence over 25 years, is presented by the City of Clifton with the cooperation of the Board of Education and several civic organizations. It is conducted over two weeks, from 9-11:30 am, Monday through Friday, and this year will be held from July 19 through July 30. Safety Town is run at School 2 at 1270 Van Houten Ave., and, thanks to community support and volunteerism, the fee for Safety Town is still only $20. To register, call 973-470-5853. The Special Olympics Torch will pass through Downtown Clifton on June 4 at 9:30 am. Meet at the Clifton Recreation building on the corner of Main and Washington Aves. and cheer on the Special Olympians. Clifton athletes will compete in a variety of events and represent the city at the 2004 NJ Special Olympics, held in Trenton through June 6. Call 973-470-5958. For more info on NJ Special Olympics, call 800-650-7665. For info on Clifton’s Buddy Canteen, call 973-470-5958 .

To register your child for Safety Town, call 973-470-5853.

The Clifton City Picnic is a tradition that began in 1967. Held at Main Memorial Park, it is July 3 from noon to 6 pm. Fireworks will follow. Local performers will be on the stage, clowns will stroll the grounds, plus free activities and kiddie rides are offered through the generosity of sponsors. Food stands will be set up around Races Pond. Bring lawn chairs. Family races and events, such as a watermelon eating contest, potato sack and 3-legged races, are from 1 pm3 pm. Volleyball nets will be set up an fireworks begin at dusk. $3 tick-

ets are on sale at the City Clerks office. Volunteers and vendors are needed. To discuss ideas, call Mayor Anzaldi at 973-470-5757. The Clifton Association of Artists hosts its 41st Annual Juried Outdoor Art Show and Sale on June 6, (rain date June 13) at Jubilee Park, Allwood Rd., and Clifton Ave. Professional and non-professional artists are welcome to participate. No crafts or velvets. In addition to this annual art show, the CAA meets monthly at the Clifton Arts Center on the city hall campus. Call 973-773-9721 for info.

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Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Crafty Kids Day takes place on July 24, 10 am to 2 pm at the Clifton Rec Center, 1232 Main Ave. Come and make a variety of crafts, including beads, painting, wood projects, clay, canvas bags and more. Projects cost between one and 10 tokens, which can be purchased for 25-cents each. New projects have been added for adults. Call 973-470-5958. T.G.S.O. (Thank Goodness School’s Out) Pool and Skate Parties happen on June 25. Swimming is from 10 am to 2 pm at Bellin’s Clifton Swim Club. Skateboarding, rollerblading and roller-hockey is from 2:30-7:30 pm at the Clifton Skatezone. Tickets for each event are $2 per person and are available at the Recreation Office. Bellin’s Clifton Swim Club on Main Ave. is open daily through Labor Day from 10 am to 8 pm. For membership rates and other info, call 973-365-1209. The whimsical art of Ray Mauro will be displayed at the CAA show on June 6.

It’s Ladies Night at... Ladies, This is your chance to introduce your special guy to the benefits of exercise. Join us for Ladies Night on Saturday June 26 from 6pm to 9pm at Cuts Fitness for Men, located at 618 Van Houten Ave, Clifton (across from Curves).

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Clifton Skatezone Anniversary Celebration Weekend is June 2627 (raindate is July 3) at the Clifton Skatezone, 85 Third St. The extravaganza will feature activities like skateboarding, inline skating, BMX biking and roller-hockey. In addition, there will be food, vendors, skills clinics, best-trick contests, roller-hockey games, demonstrations, raffles, freebies and lots of skating. Admission is free, however all participants must provide a waiver signed by a parent/legal guardian in the presence of a Skatezone staff member and wear the required safety gear. Basic membership to the Skatezone is $25 and gold membership is $110. Nonresident fees are higher. William Kabbash, who many will recognize as the crossing guard on Main Ave. and Park Slope, invites all to the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, on Long Hill Road in Little Falls, on June 18-20. Tabooley, kibbee, gyros, falafels, humos will be among the delicious international dishes served up. There’ll be clowns, magicians and characters for the kids. Call 973-256-8961. \


Clifton Arts Center and Sculpture Park on the grounds which surround city hall, offers a respite from the ordinary. While touring the 26 acre complex, view the 14 historic barns which once housed the US Quarantine Station for animals entering the country. The buildings are on the National Register of Historic Sites. One of the few municipal art parks in the country, Clifton’s Sculpture Park was the catalyst for creating the indoor art gallery and Arts Center. The Sculpture Park opened in 1994 and was conceived by Dr. Jerry Raphael. For info: 973-472-5499.

At Clifton’s Sculpture Park you’ll meet Kokopelli by Miles Van Rensselaer.

Clifton Arts Center by Suzane Duke Bujara.

The Artisan’s Touch, on the lower level of Styertowne Shopping Center, is an art gallery and studio which offers jewelry, photography, sculpture and a variety of fine art in various mediums on display and available for purchase. Owned by Mike Bertelli, of Bertelli’s Fine wine & Liquors on the upper level of the center, is the proprietor. For more info, call 973-471-0001. The Book Nook, a non-profit group within the main Clifton Library, has a number of novels, histories, biographies, children's stories, encyclopedias and a great variety of both hard covers and paperbacks on sale at bargain prices. Their office is on the first floor of the Library. Call 973-772-5500 for info.

Thousands of dollars in grants will be awarded to Passaic County organizations for arts and cultural programming. The funds, from the NJ State Council on the Arts, are awarded by the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College for projects planned for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2005. Grant writing workshops for organizations interested in applying are as follows: on June 8, at 1 pm in Paterson, at the Hamilton Club Building of Passaic County Community College, 32 Church St.; on June 8 at 6:45 pm in Hawthorne, at the Louis Bay 2nd Library, 345 Lafayette Ave. Call Aline Papazian at 973-684-5444 or Angela Helenek at 973-684-6507 for details. 1040

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Registration for the Clifton Public Library’s summer programs for children begins on June 21. Families may begin registering at 10 am at either the Clifton Memorial Library or the Allwood Branch Library. Programs include storytimes for children in kindergarten through third grade, preschoolers (ages 3 1/2-5) and toddlers (ages 2-3 1/2). A program for infants up to 24 months and their caregivers is offered at the Allwood branch. An arts and crafts program will be offered at both libraries for children from third to eighth grades. There are numerous other programs as well. Admission is free and programs are open first to Clifton residents. Registration should be done in person, as proof of residency and proof of age is required. For more info or details, call the main branch at 973772-5500 or the Allwood branch at 973-471-0555. The Passaic County Fair is July 15-18 at Garret Mountain Reservation, West Paterson. The goal is to create an old-fashioned fair to showcase the people, crafts and diversity of the 16 municipalities of the county. That will be accomplished via community exhibits, multi-cultural performances and a celebration of the county’s history. An area of the mountain top fairgrounds has been designated for crafters and cultural organizations. The organizing committee also seeks artists and performers, both individuals and organizations. Co-chairs are Sue Amoresano and James Van Sickle. Call 973-225-5382. 1563

If you love the sound of a wooden bat cracking a hardball, be sure to cheer on the 2004 Clifton Silk Soxs, organized by General Manager Bob Potts and managed by John Luciano. A schedule is below. For info, call 201-796-6699. 6/6 ........Allamuchy (2) Noon Green Acres Park 6/8 .......at E. Hanover 6:15 pm Parsippany Hills Park 6/13 .....E. Hanover (2) 11 am Nash Park 6/15 .....at E. Hanover 6:15 pm Parsippany Hills Park 6/19 .....at Maplewood (2) Noon Memorial Park 6/20 .....at Newark (2) Noon Westside Park 7/10 .....Newark Noon Nash Park 7/11......To be scheduled 11 am Nash Park 7/17 .....Maplewood (2) 11 am Nash Park 7/18 .....Newark (2) 11 am Nash Park 7/24 .....Maplewood (2) 11 am Nash Park 7/25 .....Allamuchy Noon Nash Park Passaic County Senior Art Show seeks residents 60 and over, to enter show-ready work for the annual exhibit which will be held June 14 to 25 at the Louis Bay 2nd Library & Community Center, 345 Lafayette Ave., Hawthorne. Call 973-881-4950.

Clifton Recreation Free Concert Series sponsored by the Board of Recreation

Sunday Evenings, 7:30 July 11th

Main Memorial Park (Main Ave & Park Slope)

Montclair Community Band “Crowd Pleasers” July 18th

KrackerJax "Party Band" July 25th

Nick James & Amarillo “Country” August 1st

Beatlemania Again "Tribute” August 8th

Ableman "Polka Music PLUS More!" August 15th

Island Breeze "Calypso Festival" This project is funded, in part, by the Passaic County Cultural & Heritage Council at Passaic County Community College, through a grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

August 22nd

Reminisce “50’s Harmony” August 29th

Boisterous Banjos "Banjo/ Sing–A-Long"

In case of rain, concerts are cancelled. Bring a chair. For information, call 973.470.5956 86

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


The Downtown Clifton Street Fair is on June 5 (raindate June 6) will feature the doo wop sound of Larry Chance & the Earls, plus three a cappella groups on one stage, and the Ultra Band, who will headline the jazz stage in front of the Luna Rossa Jazz Restaurant, near Harding and Main Aves. In addition to musical acts, crafters and artists can rent space for the event, which runs from 10 am to 5 pm, in the city’s business district. To vend, perform or for more details, call 973-253-1455.

Larry Chance and the Earls, whose hits include ‘Remember Then’ and ‘Life Is But a Dream’, perform in Downtown Clifton on June 5. A t left, the Ultra Band will headline the jazz stage in front of Luna Rossa Jazz Restaurant on Harding Ave.

Lollipops & Roses III is the third annual concert featuring past, present and future members of the CHS Marching Mustang Band. Held June 13 at 2 pm in the CHS auditorium, tickets are $7 while kids under 12 are free. For info, 973-470-2292. The new Clifton Community Band, another intergenerational music group, has been invited to perform on July 4 at the Congress Hall Inn in historic Cape May.

Free Concert Directory: the Music Matador, Bob Obser, offers the 13th annual directory of free concerts happening in Northern New Jersey from June through August. The schedule has grown from about 50 listings in 1992 to nearly 500 for the upcoming June edition. To receive via mail, send a donation of $3 or more to Bob Obser, 6 Grant Ave., Clifton, NJ 07011. Call 973-772-5291.

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Sea and Sky is an exhibit and sale of the photography and paintings of Daniel Lai and Belle Hsu on display at the Clifton Arts Center Gallery, June 9 through July 10. This show incorporates the themes of water and sky with special placement of design and form. Harmonious energy and flow will transform the gallery into a Feng Shui experience. Daniel Lai is a self-taught fine art photographer. He was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Lai’s series of Sky is largely derived from mythology and fiction. It is an exciting domain in which myth, fiction and reality commingle. The artist states: “It is a black and white visual tale that tranquilizes the babel of curiosity of myths, doctrines and literature pertaining to a world origin—the ancient Mayans. Gravity, waves, light, emotions and biology are still the main plot of the tale.” Belle Hsu has been deaf since birth. She was born in Philadelphia to Taiwanese parents. She learned American Sign Language before learning English. Hsu developed a talent for art at a young age. Her paintings of Sea reflect her thinking and philosophy. Hsu tends to synthesize many diverse experiences and influences into her own work and she likes to create an indelible impression in the viewer’s mind. Her paintings of water lilies and fish are a mixture of oil paintings and digital photography and art. In conjunction with this exhibit, there will be a piano recital—the Joseph Israel Bookstaber Memorial Award for Pianists—in the Clifton Arts Center Gallery on June 26 at 4:30 pm. Tickets are $5. This event is sponsored by the New Jersey Federation of Music Clubs. Call the Arts Center for reservations at 973-472-5499. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday: 1-4pm

The Clifton Arts Center is a municipal facility governed by an Advisory Board and operated as a non-profit agency. First opened to the public in January, 2000, the Center is located on the grounds of the municipal complex near the intersection of Clifton and Van Houten Aves. There is also an extensive sculpture park with displays throughout the campus. Group tours are available by appointment.

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Preservation New Jersey in partnership with the Historic Preservation Office of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection has completed a five year plan for historic preservation in New Jersey, entitled NJ Partners for Preservation: A Blueprint for Building Historic Preservation into New Jersey's Future. The plan provides guidance and direction to government agencies, private organizations and individuals in their efforts to protect & preserve New Jersey’s history. To obtain a copy of the plan, call 609-984-0545.

Is this a Gaetano Federici sculpture? The former Gorny and Gorny Funeral Home, (below) on the corner of Hazel St at the Paterson and Clifton border, will soon be demolished to make way for a Paterson Public School. While there are a number of historic artifacts on the property, from stained glass to the weather vane atop the structure, one of the most striking items on the property is the sculpture shown at right. Does any reader know if this work is a Federici? And even if it is not, should this work be saved and incorporated into the new school?

Is this a Gaetano Federici statue?

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Call Keri at 973.365.0220 to make an appointment. 88 Market Street, Clifton Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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The Hawthorne Caballeros and 10 other senior drum & bugle corps perform in Clifton Stadium on the evening of July 17. The Hawthorne Caballeros return to Clifton Schools Stadium for the 40th annual Drum Corps Grand Prix on July 17 at 7 pm. Expect an evening of high stepping drum and bugle corps competition and exhibition...a fun night of Americana. In exhibition will be the Raiders of Bayonne, the Skyliners Alumni Corps, New York; Golden Knights Alumni Corps of Union; Caballeros Alumni Corps. In competition will be the Hurricanes, from Derby, Conn.; the Skyliners, the Buccaneers of Reading, PA.; the Bushwackers; the Sunrisers, the Grenadiers, of Kingston, Ontario, and the Caballeros. Tickets are $5 to $18 (group discounts available). For more info, call 973-423-9702 or log onto www.cabs.org.

Subscribe To Clifton Merchant Don’t Miss Another Issue. Have It Mailed To Your Home. $15/YEAR WITHIN CLIFTON • $25 FOR 2 YEARS—OUT OF TOWN $25 PER YEAR • $40 FOR 2 YEARS Name:____________________________________________________________________________________ Address: __________________________________________________________________________________ City: ____________________________________________________________State: ____________________ Zip:____________________________________________________________Phone: ____________________

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, who many still recall as the Garfield Cadets, host the Big Apple Invitational at Giants Stadium on July 22 at 7:30 pm. Featuring world class junior marching bands from across the country, tickets range from $10–$25. For info, call 1-877-512-TUBA or log on to yea.org.


Debbie Tauber grew up in Clifton, married and raised her family here. She left her successful 15 year position as a medical office manager to pursue her passion: animals. She and John, her husband of over 25 years, became certified as NJ Animal Control Officers (ACOs) in 2000. Debbie has been employed for the past four years by the city as a part time ACO. This year she took on additional duties as Shelter Coordinator and has completed training at the Ocean County Police Academy to become certified as an Animal Cruelty Investigator. We asked Debbie to answer questions she is asked most frequently in her job. What is an Animal Control Officer (ACO) and how do you become one? ACO certification is obtained by taking a postgraduate course at a state university and passing an exam. Only certified ACOs can apply for municipal positions when they become available. The days of the ‘Dog Catcher’ are gone. Today’s ACO helps to rehouse lost or stray animals, trap and relocate wildlife, educate citizens about disease, safety and prevention of cruelty to animals. They must also be knowledgeable to enforce all city ordinances and state statutes concerning animals and appear in court to testify at trials. Animal control is a public service and the ACO is a public servant on the job even when ‘off duty’. It doesn’t matter if it’s below freezing, snowing or worse. If the public or the police have an animal related problem they can’t contend with, ACOs’ are here to help facilitate the animal’s needs. Do they need medical care? Are they lost? Who is the pet’s owner? What kind of predicament did this creature get itself into? Not to worry though, the ACO will do his/her best to find a safe environment for the animal and deliver them to it. This is a big part of the ACO’s job that many people don’t realize. They not only help animals, but also assist people in their time of need.

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TV’s Animal Precinct’s ASPCA Agent Anne Marie Lucas and Clifton’s ACO Debbie Tauber at a recent conference.

How many ACOs does Clifton employ? Clifton currently has only one full time ACO and there are three part timers: one who cares for the shelter dogs in the morning, one who goes out on calls in the afternoon and early evening and one who only does emergency calls as needed. Do the Clifton ACOs cover other towns? Clifton is contracted to provide services to Carlstadt, Wallington, Little Falls and mutual aid to Passaic. What is the most rewarding part of your job? There are a lot of highs and lows in this job, but I think I get the most pleasure when I find a stray animal that has a collar with a license on it. I can look it up on my computer in the truck and take it right back to the owner, bypassing a stressful night or several days in the shelter. Both the animal and the owner are rewarded as well. To contact animal control, call Clifton’s health department at 973-470-5761 or Clifton’s police department at 973-470-5900.

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John Pontes, distance and sprints coach for CHS and Andrew Piotrowski, pole vault and hurdle coach, will host a track and field camp on July 12-16 for ages 7 to 13. Emphasis will be on fundamentals of running, introduction to track and field, body awareness and to develop speed and stamina. For ages 14 to 18, a camp will be held July 19 -23 to teach athletes to become students of their events so they can build upon their own strengths. Events include pole vault, sprints(100m to 800m), hurdles(100HH and 400IH), distances (beyond 800 m), throws (shot put and discuss) and jumps (long & triple). Both camps run from 9 am to noon at Clifton Stadium. Price for ages 7 to 13 is $110 and for ages 14 to 18 it is $130. Participants receive a t-shirt. Call 973473-5060 or email andypv44@hotmail.com. The CHS Athletic Hall of Fame will hold its 2004 induction Oct. 10 at the Brownstone from 2-5 pm. Inductees include Louis Andreotta, Class of June ‘44; Edward Bednarcik, Class of ‘75; Edward Klimek, Class of ‘87; Larry Kondra, Class of ‘69; William Lahanas, Class of ‘88; Sam Poulis, Class of ‘88; Keiko Tokuda, Class of ‘98; Brian Torres, Class of ‘94; Laura Tynio, Class of ‘98. Info: Bob Zschack at 973-345-0618.

Clifton is SoccerTown USA: CHS junior Nicole Krzysik, a defender for the Lady Mustangs, was named to the 2004 Parade All-American Girls Soccer team. The magazine named Clifton’s Danny Szetela, now playing for the US National Team, its 2004 Player of the Year.

Stan Lembryk’s Training of Champs Soccer Camp for boys pre-k to 8th grade is Aug. 9-13 and for girls pre-k to 8th grade, Aug. 16-20, from 9 am to noon, at WWMS. CHS ‘87 grad Lembryk is the CHS girls soccer coach, director of USA Soccer Academy and head coach NY/NJ U-18 Metro Stars (MLS). Cost is $120; register by June 15 and save 10 percent. Call 973-686-1764. Joe Vespignani’s Soccer Camps for kids ages 3 to 10 is on July 12-16 and Aug. 9-13, 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Camp is at the CHS varsity soccer field. The fee is $80 for one week or $150 for both, which includes a t-shirt. Coach Vespignani in the last two years has guided Mustang boys soccer to a 99-14-6 record, two Passaic County Championships, two league titles, and was twice a finalist in the state sectional. Call 973-334-0207 or email VespignaniSoccer@aol.com.

Coach Andrew Piotrowski (above back in 1998) has organized the first CHS Track & Field Alumni Meet on June 6 at 4 pm at the stadium. All events, including a team relay, will be staged except pole vault and discus. Odd graduating years will compete with even numbered grads. To register ($7 entry fee), call Piotrowski at 973-4702280 or email him at andypv44@hotmail.com. 92

June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Mustang Baseball and Softball Camp for kids 7-17, is June 28-July 2 and July 6-9 at Nash Park, from 8:45 am until noon. Offense/defense skills will be covered in the first week. July 6-9 is designed for pitchers and catchers. CHS varsity baseball coach Rich Bel Bruno is director while CHS softball varsity coach Juliann Magliarditi and Pequannock head varsity softball coach Mary Ann Goodwin co-direct the softball division. The fee is $100 for the five-day program and $90 for the four-day pitchers and catchers camp week. Call 973-773-7248 for info.


Mustang Hoops Basketball Camp is June 28 to July 1 ($125) and Aug. 2 to 6 ($150) in the CHS gym. Directed by CHS coach John Michael Santulli, both camps run 9 am to 3 pm. Early bird and pay-in-full discounts. Make checks to Mustang Hoops Basketball Camp and mail to: 16 Addicts Rd., Westwood, NJ 07675. for more info, call 201-310-9152 or email jmsan@msn.com.

The Harlem Magicmasters go up against the Clifton/Passaic Shooting Stars in a Slam Dunk Charity basketball game on June 27 from 5-7 pm at the CHS Gymnasium. The event is part of PBI Regional Medical Center’s Athletic Center of Excellence and Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Awareness Day. Other events include free medical screenings, snacks and beverages, recreational activities for the young and old, promotional giveaways and prizes and an autograph session with top athletes. Screenings will be held from 1-4:15 pm at CHS, 333 Colfax Ave. There is limited booth space available for health, fitness, nutrition and sports sponsors. For more info, contact ACES at 201-944-9950 or PBI at 973-365-4626.

MVP Basketball Camp for boys and girls, grades 3 through 9, by former CHS boys basketball coach Pete Vasil, is June 28 through July 2, 9 am to 3 pm at St. Paul School on Main Ave. Coach Bob Hurley of national boys basketball power St. Anthony will be a guest speaker on July 1 at 9 am. Vasil, who coached the Mustangs from 1997 through 2003, is currently an assistant coach at William Paterson. Cost is $155. Call 973-569-0407.

Ken Kurnath will be roasted in a red, white and blue affair on June 14 at 6:30 pm. Kurnath will be honored for his 15 years on Clifton’s Board of Education and his four decades of service to Passaic Schools. Norm Tahan is chair and seeks Kurnath’s former students, friends and athletes. Tickets are $30. Call Tahan for info/tickets: 973-569-0936.

The Boys & Girls Club of Clifton will hold registration for its Summer Basketball League on June 8 and 9, and June 15 and 16 from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Club, 181 Colfax Ave. The league is for boys grades 5-8 (Middle School Division) and grades 9-12 (High School Division, no 18-year-olds or graduating seniors are eligible to play). Games are played Tuesdays and Wednesdays, starting July 6 and conclude Aug. 18. Cost is Boys & Girls Club of Clifton membership plus $20 event fee. For info, call 973-773-0966.

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant

Summer Music Camp or Summer Art Camp presented by the Clifton Public Schools Department of Fine and Performing Arts is 8:30 am – 12:30 pm four days a week, June 22 through July 16 at WWMS. The course is for students entering grades four through eight. Music Camp includes daily participation in a small group instrumental lesson, a large group ensemble and two new segments that were added this year: music composition on the computer and musical theater, which will include singing, dancing and acting. The program will conclude with a concert and theatrical presentation. Kids in Art Camp will have sessions in drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking. Students rotate through each to give them exposure to various forms of art expression. A portfolio of student art work will be presented at the conclusion. Tuition is $100 for Music Camp and $125 for Art Camp. Music students must provide their own instruments, and art students must supply a sketchbook. All other supplies and materials will be provided. Students must sign up for the entire four weeks of the programs. Art and music teachers have applications. Call 973-594-4199 for info. Academic Skills Building: As one set of books close on the academic year at St. Andrew the Apostle School, another set is open in preparation for summer classes to be held at the school on Mt. Prospect Ave. The summer school, now in its twelfth year, is staffed by some of the regular teaching staff at St. Andrew School. The early childhood classes are coordinated by third grade teacher Dona Piasecki, the middle grades by Janet Garrett and the junior high level by Edwina Walsh.


Students are accepted from kindergarten through grade eight. Children from public schools as well as private and parochial schools are accepted on a firstcome basis. Limits are put on class size to ensure small group instruction and individual attention. The core curriculum subjects are taught: reading, language arts and mathematics. Students may use the program for remediation or to refresh skills in preparation for the next grade level. The program runs from July 1 through July 30. Classes are held Monday through Friday,9-11:30 am. Informal instructional groups are formed giving students the opportunity to interact with the teacher in a way that may be different from regular class instruction. Parents are given a report at the end of the sessions which may be given to the sending schools if students are to receive credit for attending summer school. Registration is now open for all grade levels. For info or a registration packet, call 973-473-3711. More info at http://standrewschoolcliftoncatholicweb.com. The Menconi Music Studio, 309 Lakeview Ave., offers a summer session featuring two fun and educational group programs for first time music students. Courses include Introduction

Clifton’s Annamaria Menconi was inducted into the Bloomfield Mandolin Orchestra Hall of Fame. From left: Kristine Massari, mandolin I, Annamaria Menconi, principal mandola, Mimi Mansky, guitar/flute and Carolyn Vadala, mandolin II.

to Music and Introduction to Guitar. Other instruments may be offered if there is sufficient interest. Attendees will be divided into appropriate age groups. Classes are one hour in length, They will be held on six consecutive weeks starting the second week of July and ending the second week of Aug. Tuition for either class is $60. Textbooks and instrument rentals are additional. Call the Studio at 973253-7500 for details. Anna Marie Menconi, owner of the studio, also announced that her school’s recital will be June 19, noon to 4 pm in the audi-

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torium of School 3 on Washington Ave. About 40 students will perform, showcasing their achievements on instruments ranging from piano, mandolin and guitar to voice. `Our goal is to preview events in our community. From picnics to the performing arts, we want to know what our neighbors are doing so that we can share that good news on these pages. Mail you publicity and photos 30 days in advance to: Clifton Merchant Magazine Tomahawk Promotions 1288 Main Ave., Clifton 07011.

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Happy Birthday To Nicolas Belcaro . Jonathan Borrajo Karl Aponte . . . . Jeffrey Angello . . Thomas Lesch . . .

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Dorothy and Joe Deliberto celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 27 Samantha Malenchak . . . . . . . . . Michael Reuther . . . . . . . . . . . . ., Joseph Sassine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Diane Canavan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shaun Columbus . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nora Abbasi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Koreana Sabo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ava Nicole Genardi turns 6 on June 9

Robert Ciallella . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/9 Adam Soder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/11 Christopher Stetz . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/13 Annette Vander Teems . . . . . . . 6/13 Anne Sanfratello . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/14 Danielle Dvorak . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/16 Derek Dvorak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/16 Stephanie Dvorak . . . . . . . . . . . 6/16 Shauna Farrell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/17 Bob Fritsche . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/18 Raymond Kuruc . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/18 Sean Rouse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/18 Tabitha Sosa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/18 Christopher Van Valkenburg . . . 6/19 Maria Silva . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/21 Joseph Hrina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6/23

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Open your heart and your home. Happy Anniversary to Rich and Susan Van Blarcom Mike Skurski . . . . . . Jack DeVries . . . . . Lori Homsany . . . . Connie Musleh . . . Dorian Patti . . . . . . Walter Vladyka . . . Monica Szewczyk . Robert Conklin . . . Christopher Lucas

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Andresen, who has gotten straight A’s (except for a B in science recently), isn’t sure if he inherited his neat handwriting. He did note that his mother, Jennifer, once took an architecture course. And she does work in the fashion industry for Tommy Hilfiger. Andresen, an only child, also said he enjoys drawing pictures in art class. Dona Piasecki, his third-grade teacher, said she’s pleased that the contest “promotes penmanship. And for a boy to win, that’s great. They say boys don’t write as neatly as girls.” But Andresen put that theory to rest. story and photo courtesy of The Beacon

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Thomas Andresen, pictured at right, a third-grader at St. Andrew the Apostle School, has been named by ZanerBloser Educational Publishers as the NJ state champion in its National Handwriting Contest. The Columbus, Ohio-based publisher recently evaluated the handwriting legibility of more than 130,000 students nationwide. Andresen will compete against other state winners in the third-grade category for the national champion title. Zaner-Bloser also will pick a grand national champion from all the entries. “It felt great,” said the 9-year-old, who learned about his big win with a school-wide intercom announcement in homeroom one morning; that day, he also received a certificate from the publisher. But there’s even more in store for Andresen. At the school’s June awards ceremony, Zaner-Bloser will present certificates and ‘classically designed’ pens to the winner; Dona Piasecki, his third-grade teacher; and Sister Margaret Murphy, the principal. The school also will get a gift certificate for Zaner-Bloser materials. Andresen said he completed the contest form in 10 minutes. He and his classmates copied the following sentences in their best handwriting: I like to write letters to my friends. I always use my best cursive writing. Then, he wrote three sentences of his own tied into one of his two sports activities, football and lacrosse. The sentence read:I try to write neatly. Penmanship is important, so I do my best. My football team is named the Mustangs.

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Clifton Merchant • June 2004

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Recent Clifton History: In July we will continue our look back at Clifton in the 1990s. Please send us facts, photos and memorabilia from the 1990s. You can mail material to Tomahawk Promotions, 1288 Main Ave., Clifton NJ 07011.

The Board of Education and City Council got together for a friendly game of basketball in the early 1990’s. Send us your photo, especially of business openings and other non-political events. We’ll publish them in our July edition.

Final Notice! Because of holiday schedules, the July edition of Clifton Merchant Magazine will publish on July 9.

St. John’s Cathedral High School is hosting a reunion of all classes from the 1960’s on June 19 at the Continental Airlines Arena. Organizers Joe Stambuli and Olga Oliver said the former Paterson school was located near the Passaic

County Jail. They ask former classmates to meet at the Winner’s Circle Club at 4 pm for cocktails and dinner. Afterwards, the groups will attend the Doo Wop Oldies Show at 7:30 pm. Call Stambuli at 973-2287889 or Oliver at 973-523-6215.

Dr. David R. Moore, Chiropractor Dr. Moore and staff would like to wish all Dads a happy Father’s Day. Pictured here is Dr. David Moore with his dad, Bob. To learn more about how Dr. Moore and his staff can get you back into action go to

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June 2004 • Clifton Merchant


East Ridgelawn Cemetery... ...invites you to visit our Mausoleum on Main Avenue to see the inspirational art adorning our new building. Within the Mausoleum, our artist has painted a serene and peaceful view, entitled ‘Eden’, where visitors can pause to celebrate the lives of those who have passed.

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