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Congratulations! CLASS OF 2014

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Table of Contents Comments, photos and stories on our city’s high school grads as they begin life’s journey...

What’s Inside? 6

Our CHS Class of 2014 Guide Tyler Gamba Celebrates His Hometown

10 She’s Miss Paramus Catholic Paladin Amanda Cifelli Grew There

16 Shoutin’ Out Unsung Heroes Good Folks Walking the Halls

32 Those Twin Mazur Mustangs The Sporting Life for Eddie & Alex

36 Accomplished and Achieved Over Hurdles and On To the Future

46 Yes Sir, They’re Squared Away Kids Like the Discipline in ROTC

50 Top CHS Academic Achievers Top 10 Mustangs & Their Paths 16,000 Magazines

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4 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Gabriella Marriello Graphic Designer Ken Peterson Contributing Writers Irene Jarosewich Andrew Noblett Jack DeVries Domenick Reda Carol Leonard


Working, Earning & Learning Karate Instructors & Others on the Job


Favorite Classes & Subjects What Made a Difference in 12 Years?


Shipping Out, Off To College Seniors Tell About Schools & Careers


Motivators & Influencers Who Helped Along the Journey?


Arts, Culture & Events Clifton Community Band & More


Seen in last month’s magazine... Patti Van Breveren called to say that Tania Hriniak and Leslie Fleischer made the bikinis they wore in the 1970 Youth Week fashion show. Proud dad Ray DeBrown said that‘s his daughter Joanne on her way to winning the 1972 Talent Show. Go to for more pixs.

Community Milestones The Clifton Jewish Center at 70


Extraordinary Party Places The Mountainside & Garden Vista

110 Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 Tradition: Honoring the Fallen

In our July 4th Edition

Did you graduate in 2004, 94, 84, 74, 64, 54?

If so, let’s Reminisce! Tell us what you’re up to or about your reunion plans. Send info before 6/15 to: Clifton Merchant • June 2014


CHS EvEryman Looking Back, and Forward, at Clifton High By Tyler Gamba A visitor to Clifton won’t have to stay long before he or she recognizes our city’s greatest strength, which is the enormousdiversityofourresidents.Thisdiversityismostnoticeable at Clifton High School, a sprawling maroon-and-gray complexonColfaxAve.wheremorethan3,000teenslearn, laugh,anddotheirbesttomature—beforetheresponsibilities ofadulthoodcomeknockinglikeanoldfriendhopingtocrash onthecouchforthenextsixdecades. The711seniorsoftheClassof2014,myselfincluded,have attendedthismicrocosmoftheworldforthelastfouryears. It’sbeenaninterestingride,tosaytheleast.Butnowourtime herehasended. We’ll graduate in front of our friends and family at the IZODCenterintheMeadowlandsonJune26,thefirstclassto break a longstanding tradition of graduating at Clifton Stadium.Iwouldarguethatthistrailblazingisagoodthing. Maybe because the change of scenery could symbolize the brave new world we’ll face in the Digital Age, but mostly becausetheIZODCenterhasair-conditioning. Oncethespeechesandcheeringdiedown,we’llgrabour diplomas, along with whatever knowledge has made it throughadolescence,andsetoffintotheunknown. Someofuswillgotocollege.Somewilljumprightinto Clifton’sworkforce,orserveinthemilitary,perhapsoverseas. Unlikethealumniofcountlessotherhighschools,however, CHS’s 2014 grads will feel perfectly comfortable with the growingrainbowofcultures,ethnicities,andbeliefswaiting forthemintoday’sAmerica.Afterall,it’swhatwe’reusedto. Ouracademicmelting-potisthethirdlargesthighschoolin ourso-calledGardenState.OnecanwalkthehallsofCHSand overhearburstsofconversationinanythingfromPortuguese to Tagalog, Ukrainian to Gujarati. Each of these students bringsasliceoftheirrootswiththemtoClifton,addingthe essenceofahundreduniquelocalestoourhome. And,whetherwealwaysrealizeitornot,themulticulturalismofourchildhoodfriendsremindsuseverydaythatwecan alllearnwithandfromeachother. Tyler Gamba responded to our survey with wit and insight. After learning of his goal to be a writer, we gave him the opportunity to tell more about his four years at CHS.

6 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

elbowed by screaming fourteen-year-olds. Oh God, Celebrate Diversity, Hate the Congestion someday these kids will be the ones in charge of our Except,thatis,intheCHSmoshpit.Thischokepointat country. The horror, the horror... theintersectionoftheMainandSouthWinghallwaysis I mention the mosh pit wherelawandordergotodie and these teachers only betweeneachperiod. I offered the perspective of an becausesimilarcomplaints Hundreds of kids push orphan from South Korea, adopted wereprobablymadeabout pasteachotherinfourdirecas a baby into an Italian, Polish, and their own generations 20, tions at once to reach their Russian family. The Gamba’s have lived 30even40yearsago;posclasses, congesting this thin sibly when they were stucorridor worse than Grand in Clifton since before my grandfather dentsatCHS. CentralStationatrushhour. went off to fight in World War II. While aggravating, the There is no concept of mosh pit isn’t really any‘personalspace’inthemosh one’sfault.It’sjustonequirkaboutaschoolwhosestupit.Thereisnohopeuntilyouemerge,gasping,onthe dentbodyhasgrowninwaysnonecouldhavepredictotherside. ed,especiallywhenCHSwasfirstbuiltinthedaysof Inevitably,somejerkwillshovepastyou,rantingin FrankSinatraandElvis. frustration as he tries to convince the crowd that he Theteenagersofpreviouserasexperiencedthecivil knowsexactlywhateveryoneshoulddo—somebodyhas rights movement, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the abrightfutureinCongress. hippiecounter-culture.TheylivedthroughVietnam,the Occasionally,teacherswilltrytonavigatethemosh fall of the BerlinWall—and puberty, for that matter— pitalone,wadingintothechaoswithlooksoffearand emerging through the turbulence of the last century to loathing on their faces. You can almost hear what becomebelovedparentsandmentorsinthisone. they’re thinking: I’m not getting paid enough to be

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


June Edition The Ever-Evolving Mustang... Yet, our fellow Mustangs of times past had extremely similar preferences and upbringings, usually conforming to the ‘typical white-suburban teen.’ That won’t beenoughforthe21stcentury’schallenges. The stakes are higher than ever, and the onlychanceswehaveatevolvingoursociety will require working with people who look, speak, and think differently than we do.  Luckily, the Mustangs have become naturalsinsuchanenvironment. MyAPEnglishclass,forexample,was taughtbyDr.ElissaGreenwald,abrilliant scholarwhoseintellectisonlymatchedby herloveforherstudents. Tyler Gamba seated with Anejie Ramos, and from left Eleodora Inclass,Iofferedtheperspectiveofan Gonzalez, Zion Hall and Justyna Soltys in Mrs. Lindsey Cinque’s class. orphan from South Korea, adopted as a Obviously,shehadwildlydifferentideasandexperibaby into an Italian, Polish, and Russian family. The encestodrawfromthanIdid,andthatwasjustbetween Gamba’shavelivedinCliftonsincebeforemygrandfathetwoofusinaclassof25. therwentofftofightinWorldWarII. Combined,ourAPEnglishclassstudiedworksoflitMy friend Eman Alfawair, on the other hand, is a erature from the contexts of almost every major race, JordanianMuslimwhosefathercompetedasanOlympic creed and lifestyle. When we discussed the themes of athletebeforeimmigratingtotheUS. books like The Awakening by Kate Chopin, or Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, discussions and debateswerelively. Everystudent’sopinionwasgivenrespect,andhadthe right to be voiced. It was exciting, interesting, and you can’tbuyaneducationlikeitforanypriceatsomestuffy prepschool.









8 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant


...And Our Bold, Diverse City Thatbeingsaid,thebuildingisalsonotsomeperfect utopia.CliftonHighwasfeaturedonthenightlynews moretimesthanouradministrationlikesadmittingduring our sojourn here, usually under an attention-grabbing headlinethat,nowadays,getsnothingmorethanashrug fromuslocals. Still, while CHS has its share of fools, snobs, eccentrics,anddelinquents,sodoesEarth. TheClassof2014mayhavehadthreedifferentprincipalsinfourgrades,butwe’llbeendingonahighnote withourexcellentnewprincipalAnthonyOrlando. Our final year was mercifully uneventful under his leadership, the closest we’ll get to peaceful in a school wherethereareenoughpeopletofillasmalltown.

The dramas of our freshman, sophomore, and junior pasttothepointwhereclasseslikeDr.Greenwald’sare years have faded into distant memories for me and my not only possible in Clifton, but normal.  The walls of friends, funny stories to hatearecrumblingdownin reminisce about as we ourcommunity,onefriendWe’ve overcome the bitter ignorance of say our goodbyes or lyconversationatatime. the past to the point where classes like when we meet at Sowhetheryoulovedor Dr. Greenwald’s are not only possible in reunions. I’m sure one loathedyourtimehere,senday I’ll even be able to iors, our school has taught Clifton, but normal. The walls of hate forget the mosh pit. Not us tolerance, understandare crumbling down in our community, yet,though.Notyet. ing,andawillingnesstolisone friendly conversation at a time. It is easy to look at tentoothers. current events and think The colorful Clifton that,ashumans,wewillneverovercomeourdistrustand High Class of 2014 is part of something huge, the first hateforanythingwedon’tunderstand.Theproblemsof generation to truly taste what it might feel like to have ourtimewillsurelyslideintocatastrophewhileweargue ‘liberty and justice for all.’ My fellow graduates and I overpettydifferences. nowhavetheopportunitytotakethemindsetacquiredat Afterall,plentyinAmericastillmakejudgmentsabout CliftonHighSchoolanduseittoourfavoroutintherest thecontentofaperson’scharacterbasedonthecolorof of the United States; a beautiful country we know is hisorherskin,51yearsafterDr.MartinLutherKingJr. worthimprovingandever-evolving. calledforanendtosuchracisminhis I Have a Dream Andyearsfromnow,afterthemillionsofblack,white, speech. brown, yellow, and red faces ofAmerica triumph over Ifyoufindyourselfthinkingthis,justrememberthat whatever obstacles tomorrow might hold, we’ll look Clifton High was built when segregation divided the back—together—and brag that it was only possible UnitedStates.We’veovercomethebitterignoranceofthe thankstobold,diversecitiessuchasClifton.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


miSS ParamuS CatHoliC The Catholic School Gave Her Wings, Helped Her To Fly By Domenick Reda Cifellihasalwayslovedtodance,datingbacktoher “How quickly they change,” Billy Cifelli wrote. childhood in Clifton. When she arrived at Paramus “Who would have thought this little shy girl would Catholic, she jumped at the opportunity to continue comeintoherownasthisbeautifulyounglady?” dancing. The man who belongs to “Ihavebeentakingstudio those words is not an author dance classes since I was penninghislatestnovel,rather three,” she saud cheerfully. thefatherofParamusCatholic “Then Itook five different senior Amanda Cifelli. Only classesayear.Inhighschool daysawayfromgraduationand Istartedasjuniorvarsityand only a few months away from then varsity during my junmovingoutofthefamilyhome, ior and senior years. We Cifelliisreadytostartthenext wouldpracticethreetimesa chapterinheryounglife. week until six at night, and No longer that “little shy when the season started in girl,” her presence among the winter we would comclassmatesandteachershasnot pete on Saturdays and goneunnoticed:shewasvoted Sundays.” “Miss Paramus Catholic” for The competitive dance her enthusiastic school spirit seasonrunsJanuarythrough andforheraccomplishments. MarchandthePCteamtook Dance team, challenging home the EDA2014 classes and instructors, travel National Champions in and volunteers opportunities, Varsity Hip Hop and in Cifelli said the PC experiVarsityVarietyfromacomence—from faculty to classParamus Catholic senior Amanda Cifelli, at petition in Myrtle Beach, mates—encouraged personal right, with her sister Sara, a junior at PC. SC. growth and independent think“Wewonalotoffirstplacespiritandshowmanship ing. awards,”Cifellirecalled.“Theawardsrecognizedour With a diverse co-ed student body, Paramus effortstoworkhardandshowsportsmanship.Pluswe Catholic, based on enrollment, is the largest private werealljusthappytobethere.” schoolinNewJersey.Studentscomefromthroughout Cifelli has deep connections with Clifton. Until a theregionandtheschool’ssportsteams,theSpartans, fewmonthsago,theCifellifamilylivedhereandnow arehighlycompetitive. lives in Pompton Plains. Cifelli’s mother Josephine AsafreshmanSpartan,CifellifoundahomeonPC’s establishedandownsCliftonLittleSchool,anacademDanceTeam.“Iwasonmyhighschooldanceteamall icpre-schoolanddaycarefacilityonBroadSt.,where fouryears,”Cifellisaid,citingdancecoachesDanielle Cifellihashelpedwiththechildren. MooreandStephanieFabianoamonghergreatestinfluCifelli attended School 2 and Woodrow Wilson ences.“Theyaretwonewercoaches.Theyareyoung MiddleSchool,beforestartingatPC.Sheremembers and they really pushed us, but they are also realistic. TaraSieradzki,her5thgradeteacheratSchool2asone Theytaughtusalotaboutteamandalsogoodvaluesin ofherfavorites. lifeandthatnoteverythingisaboutwinning.” 10 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

With Great Pride, We Recognize the Clifton Office’s Highest Achievers. March 2014 Award Winners

Tania Hernandez Faria

Top Lister

Carlito Chi

Pearl Wang

Top Producer

Top Sales

Pearl Wang

Ellen Weiner

Agent of the Month

Weichert Pride

Lesia Wirstiuk

Mary Jean Cetinich

April 2014 Award Winners

Alma Billings

Top Lister

Tania Hernandez Faria

Top Sales

Alma Billings

Top Producer

Agent of the Month

Weichert Pride

Here are some of our current homes on the market....

CLIFTON This charming, 3BR Cape offers a FDR, full bsmt, spacious back yard, deck & 1 car oversized garage. MLS #3140991 $294,900

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Tony Sanchez, Manager

If you’re interested in a career in real estate, call me at 973-779-1900(office) 973-801-9497(cell) Clifton Merchant • June 2014


June Edition Cifelliexpectsthesummertobebusyandatimeof greatchangeasshepreparestomove.Hernewhome willbeadormroomonthecampusofIonaCollegein New Rochelle, NY, where she plans to study Mass Communications. “I did some networking and research before I reachedmydecisionaboutwhichcollegetogoto”she said.“Ialsoaskedpeoplewhichcollegesstoodoutto them.” Thanks to input from here parents and others, Cifelli chose Iona.  “I felt comfortable and at home whenIwasthere,”shesaid. Cifellihasacquiredafondnessfortravelaftervisiting Italy and France two years ago thanks to the ParamusCatholicstudyabroadprogram.Shehopesto workinaprofessionthatwillallowhertotravelbefore shemarriesandstartsafamily. At Paramus Catholic, Cifelli’s favorite class was marketing,takenduringjunioryear.“Itkeptmeinterestedbecauseitwasrelevanttomylife,”shesaid.“The classwasproject-basedsoIwasabletogetcreative, butalsobecomfortablewithbeinginfrontoftheclass topresentprojects.Ireallylovedit,andbecauseallof thestudentswereinterested,itmadeforaveryfunand educationalenvironment.”

Amanda Cifelli and Gianna Monaco “pink out” at a PC football game, for breast cancer awareness.

Cifelli’s greatest high school memory came last summer.“Myfriend’sdadgotherticketsforherbirthdayforaLMFAOconcertatthePrudentialCenter,”she

Proudly Serving Assembly District 34... Clifton, Orange, East Orange & Montclair

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. —Eleanor Roosevelt

Congratulations Class of 2014! Assemblywoman

Sheila Y. Oliver

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12 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

recalled.“Wegotourhairandmakeupdoneallcrazy teacherstohelpme,”shesaid.“Aftergraduation,reallikethegroup’sandsomeonespottedusandaskedusto ity and responsibility will hit and I’ll miss Paramus come up on the stage to dance with the band. It was Catholic.  I met a lot of very memorable people who really cool. Nobody ever believes that story after we made my high school experience so great. I’m afraid tellthem,butitwasagreatnight.” that I will lose contact with these people. I will miss After12yearsofschool,Cifellirealizestheseformeverything,goodandbad.” ativeyearshavebeenthe For Cifelli, forming Cifelli said dance coaches Danielle basis for many relationbondsandfeelingathome Moore and Stephanie Fabiano were shipsshewillcarrywith is important. She valudes her for the rest of her her Clifton roots, which among her greatest influences. “They life. includes her favorite are two newer coaches. They are young “Life-long friends pizzeria across from and they really pushed us, but they are and the best memories Woodrow Wilson Middle also realistic. They taught us a lot about are made in high School. school,” she said. “You “I will always remain team and also good values in life and can’t get swallowed up connectedtoClifton,”she that not everything is about winning.” in peer pressure and said.“Istillknowalotof makingbaddecisionsbecauseyoustillhavealifetime kidsherewhoIgrewupwith.AndIhavereallygood togothrough.Itonlygetsmorecomplicatedafterhigh memories, feating at Bruno’s, going out to trick-orschool.”AsCifellipreparestobeginheradultlife,she treat.” knows her parents will always be there for her, but Cifellirealizesthatsheneedstoforgeaheadnomatmaybenotasclosegeographicallyasduringthefirst18 terthebittersweetfeelingsofleaving.“IfIwouldnot yearsofherlife. have met the people Idid, Iwouldn’t be who I am “I will miss being able to rely on my parents or today.ButIhavetomoveon,”shesaid.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Can a Damaged Toenail be

Melanoma? Fungus Nail? Think Again...

Dr. Thomas Graziano has treated several cases of melanomas on the lower extremity, as this photo illustrates. This patient had used topical anti fungal medicines but nothing seemed to work. When she visited Dr. Graziano, his suspicions of skin cancer (melanoma) were confirmed by the biopsy he performed right in the office. “Melanomas obviously occur in areas that don't receive much sun exposure,” he explained. “The soles of your feet, palms of your hands and toe or finger nail beds.”

14 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

“Screening is so important as melanoma can present in many different ways,” he continued. “The skin of the feet and lower legs is often overlooked during routine medical examinations, and for this reason, it important that the feet are checked regularly for abnormalities that might indicate evolving skin cancer.”

There are about 12,000 podiatrists in the United States, according to the Department of Labor, and Clifton podiatrist Thomas Graziano is one of only six who hold both a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.

As a foot and ankle specialist, my main goal for all my patients is to find caring solutions that last a lifetime. I won't just treat the symptom; I'll strive to correct the problem... Permanently. When you combine effective treatments with my genuine concern for your well-being, that's a powerful combination. -Thomas A. Graziano, MD, DPM, FACFAS

There are more than 76,000 cases of

Melanoma annually. Have a Suspicious Mole or Fungus?

Come in for a Screening Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Who is the unsung hero of your graduating class?

Kristina Azevedo: Melissa Traupmann at Paramus Catholic. She is one of the best students, highly involved in Relay for Life andvolunteersattheanimalshelter. Asma Baker: Mrs.Maak.Shewill be there to listen to you, but she also teaches very well. She really caresforherstudentsandwantsthe bestforthem. Karen Friedman: Nikki Guzman is the sweetest girl I know, an amazingfriend.Shewasoneofmy favorite teammates and made my four years here. She is so smart, funny,andtrustworthy.Iamreally goingtomissher. Elizabeth DeMuro: Rachel Egyed is kind, funny and talented. She is attending the University of Maryland and playing Division 1 Soccer.Rachelhasworkedsohard to reach where she is today and I truly admire her for that.  I am so luckytocallhermybestfriendand I can’t wait to see her further her successthroughoutcollege. Nouran Ibrahem: I’dpickmyself. No one has helped me throughout schoolbutmyself.Andifanybody neededhelpwithanything,whether itwasschoolorpersonallife,Iwas theretohelpthem. Matthew Biondi: DianaMcKenna does a lot for Clifton, including participatinginBoardofEducation meetings. She wants the best for thecityandschoolandisnotafraid tospeakhermind.Shehastheconfidenceaheroshouldexhibit. Adam Kopitar: KevinTroppico. 16 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

George Balkjy with Jillian Hagbert before the start of CAST.

Michael Kommer: Theunsungheroofthegraduatingclassof2014is GeorgeBalkjy.Heisahardworkerwhohashadtoworkforwhathe wanted.Heneverboastsandencourageseverybodytodotheirbestto succeed.Throughbothgoodtimesandbadtimes,healwaysputhis bestfootforwardandgaveeveryoneasmileontheirfaces. Robert Lupo: Karen Friedman becausesheisoneofthemosttalented, hardworking and compassionate girls I know and she does notreceiveenoughrecognition. Jazmin Cena: Me because I am awesome. No, for real—Stephanie Acevado—sheisamazing. Devon Edwards: Jordan Moore becausehehasanicejumpshot. Zion Hall: Brittany Meneghin because she kept me motivated throughEnglishclass.

Jillian Hagbert: MichaelKommer works so hard to maintain his gradeswhileplayingintheorchestra,beingcaptainoftheswimteam and playing on the lacrosse team. Heisagenuinelygreatpersonwho should be recognized for his hard workanddedication. Mohammad Abdelkarim: Eridon Hoda and Luis D. Ramos because they are both great athletes and great people to be around. They both deserve to be recognized for thethingstheyhavedone.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Who is the unsung hero of your graduating class?

Xavier Grant, Stephany Estrada, Pratik Patel, Samantha Segda, William Algieri, Susan Liberti.

Fatima Maldonado: Joanna DeDiosagreatartist,hardworker, superfriendlyandfuntohangwith. Victor Sierrei: AbrahamSedergot meontherightpathinschool. Brittany Meneghin: Zion Hall. She really goes over the top to make herself stand out. There is never a perfect moment because sheknowsitcouldbebetter. Tiadorh Rue: MrOrlando!

Luis Lopez: AdamKopitarbecause heisawesome. Mohammed Musa: Movas MohammadandMovardAlkhalidi. Aseei Bajes: Honestly, myself, because I went from failing two classes and getting suspended to Honor Roll and no detentions. I believeIchangedsomuchandnow Ionlystriveforthetopandthebest andnothingless.

Beata Dul: Nathalie Martinez. I don’tthankherenoughforstaying truetoourfriendshipsincewewere inthefifthgrade.Shehasliterally been there through my best and worsttimes. Ronak Patel: DeepPatelisaquiet guy, but still one of the funniest peopleIhavemet.He’ssodownto earth and hard working. People shouldaspiretobelikehim.

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Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Who is the unsung hero of your graduating class?

Moises Junchaya At St. Mary’s, SarahSoto.Shefoundoutstudents in a Newark high school did not havemoneytobuypromdressesso she along with other people, collectedanddonated300dresses.

David Kotwica: Jamie Castro. He isageniusandhelpseverybody.

Susan Liberti: KatieTecza.Sheis always supportive and genuinely cares about everyone. She is passionate and always thinks on the brightsideoflife.

Nathalie Miyahiro.

Cassidy Cardone: I think Jennifer Koppersisagenuinelyfriendlyand good-natured person, and she is alwaysputtingothersbeforeherself. Martinez:


Tyler Kennedy: Tyler Gamba. He isagenius.Talktohimandlethim tellyouhimself.

Hailey Meyer: Therearemany unsungheroesofthegraduating class.  These would be all the studentswhogotoschoolevery day,andforthemostpartfollow the rules, do their work, and respecttheirfellowstudentsand teachers.  They are unique becausetheycontinuetoachieve their best while not receiving accolades or public recognition. These are the students that shouldbeconsideredheroes. Aekta Patel: One of my good friendsShivaniShah.Sheissucha genuine and kind-hearted person whoalwaysputsothersbeforeherself.Someoneaspreciousasheris hardtocomeby. Kira Abrams: YayaAalrabatransferredandspenthertimetryingto brighteneveryone’sday,whichcan behardinaplacewheremostpeoplearerudeandinconsiderate.

David Fermin: Riggi and Piros. They will be famous one day. AnthonyRiggiandJamesPiros, betterknownasRiggi&Piros,have madeitbigintheelectronicdancemusicworld.TheduostartedDJing atjust16,andgotintoproductionat17.They’veperformedbeforethousandsandwillgraduatewiththeCHSclassof2014.

20 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Victoria Marucci: Stephanie Gonzalez. She is a great friend to everystudentintheClassof‘14. Gabrielle Scancarella: Liz Barattini does so much for everyone,yettoofewappreciateit.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Who is the unsung hero of your graduating class?

Corey Peirone: AlbertNolasco. Naveira Paulino: Michael Kommer because he has beenpartofmanythingsthroughouttheyearandheis averyintelligentpersonwithabrightfuture,aswellas agoodfriend. Francine Selvakumar: AullaHamdenispersonallymy unsunghero.Sheisthefirstfemalecaptainofourroboticsteamandcontinuouslyledustovictory.Shewillbe studyingengineeringatNJITwithafullride.Honestly speaking, she is my best and most trusted friend and deserveseachoneofherachievements. Albert Nolasco: IthinkRobertOrtizistheunsunghero becauseheisagreatartistandasmartstudent. Diana McKenna: MatthewBiondiisveryinvolvedand has one of the biggest hearts. He is always willing to helpothersandneverfailedtomakemelaugh. Kathy Kwiecien: DimpleUpadiyay.Shehasbeenmy bestfriendsince3rdgradeandwehavebeenthroughso manymemories.Wemadeitgirl!

22 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Brittany Griffin: I don’t have one but a group of them sat at my lunch table, including Isha Sanchez, Carolina Meza and Daijah Smalls. They’re  my unsung heroes because they madethisyearasfunasitcould possibly be. They always are theretolistenifIneedadviceortomakemelaugh ontheworstofdays.Icouldnothaveaskedfora betterlunchtable.Theyaremyunsungheroesand thebestfriendsIcouldeverhave.

At right from our cover, Kristina Azevedo, Maurice Marsilla, Katherine Scorziello, Juan Cardona, Joseph Espinal, Kimberly Rodriguez, Adam Kopitar, Emily Afonso.

Richie Bandurski: Roberto Ortiz. Heisextremelytalentedwithartand isalwayswillingtohelpotherswith anything,withnothinginreturn. Yelena Yanina: Matteo always helpsoutandlovesdoingit. Eman Alfawair: JenniferKoppers. Matthew Bodnar: LizBarattini.We have been best friends since 6th grade and Iam so happy that she hasbeeninmylifethroughoutmiddle and high schools. She is the mostamazinggirlontheplanetand she has stood by my side through everything. Agnes Blachut: My friend Jessica Testa because she has been there with me through everything and I trulywouldnotmakeitthroughhigh schoolwithouther. Caitlyn Salensky: BrendenScriber. Rachel Egyed: Brendan Schreiber has overcome unimaginable things andIcan’tgivehimenoughcredit. Ruchi Desai: The unsung hero of mygraduatingclassisShivaniShah. Sheisintelligent,determinedanda hardworker.Sheneverfailstohave asmileonherface.Sheisaleader but maintains a humble personality andneverchoosestoboastabouther achievements inside the classroom andasavolunteer. Daniel Natale: Robert Lupo, because he is a stellar student. He managestoworkdifferentjobsand is class president and seems to alwaysbeontopofeverything.He isalsoaniceguyontopofallthat. Clifton Merchant • June 2014




Jessica Peralta: I’m an intern for Mr. McCunney and everyday after 5th period I come and spend the next period or two in the CAST room. Through the course of the year I’ve helped produce and edit several projects. I also participated in four film festival projects this year. I am an anchor for the morning news as well and edit the news to prepare it to air the next day. I’ve been a CAST student for three years now and it is definitely my favorite class and Mr. McCunney is my favorite teacher. My favorite film festival video from this year was the morning news bloopers video. It was a video that I was working on since September and put a lot of effort into. In CAST everyday we have our own job while doing our news program which has taught me responsibility. But I’m not going to miss waking up so early. 24 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Jessica Peralta


What will you miss the most? The least?

Julie Baez: I will miss the teachers who told me to never give up and that you could do anything you set your mind to. These teachers made a huge impact on my life.

David Fernandez: I will miss being so young and so ignorant.

Hailey Meyer: Dr. Greenwald, Mr. Henry, and Ms. Sauchelli who all taught me to love the subjects they taught and my great friends...not the crowded hallways...

Ayano Kaeko: I will miss Mrs. Cinque’s French class. I will not miss English... too much work.

Asma Baker: I will miss my track meets the most. I will miss walking through the mosh pits the least. Emily Afonso: I will miss seeing my friends everyday and waking up every morning to come to school. Beata Dul: I’ll miss the easy routine. I won’t miss waking up early and still getting stuck in minutes of traffic on Van Houten Ave.

Enis Sochertg: I will miss being together with my classmates but not the smell of the hallways.

David Kotwica: I will miss not having to worry about much. I will not miss waking up early. Victor Sierrei: Just how thoughtful some teachers were. Joseph Espinal: My friends the most, dealing with bullies the least. Devon Edwards: I will miss CAST and some of the nice teachers. Roberto Ortiz: Nobody. Sorry, but I’m very uncaring on that matter.

Nick Flaherty: The morning news and being the sports anchor, and miss all of the students the least. Kira Abrams: I will miss my adolescent safety net. The thing I will miss the least is the lack of respect from authority figures and their arbitrary rules.

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What will you miss the most? The least?

Dominick Perino: I will miss my friends the most and waking up to catch the bus to PCTI the least. Kimberly Rodriguez: I will miss my teachers and all the nice people that work at PCTI because everyone is so caring. Everyone wants the best for you and encourages you. I’ll definitely not miss the lunch here. Raed Ali: Friends and teachers, but I will not miss having to wake up early. Jillian Hagberg: I will miss Clifton High as a whole, but most of all, I’ll miss the bond! They are my second family and they really helped me. Olga Lizana: I will not miss coming to school early in the morning. Alberto Rodriguez: I will miss seeing my friends everyday, but I will not miss waking up so early. Alaa Abdallah: I will not miss the mosh pits and the smelly halls. Patrick Szablowski: I will miss my friends but I won’t miss the mosh pits. Yousef Aly: I look forward to graduation but will not miss the school work. Vanessa Quezada: I’ll miss dance class but not any homework. Fanny Cancino: Teachers I like. I won’t miss gym and the dress code.

Miss Most

Having my parents tell me what to do and having to do chores.

My family friends, Jersey pizza and bagels, and easy access to NYC.

Rachel Egyed I will miss being part of the Cross Country and Track teams. I’m going to miss the time I spent working hard and bonding with my teammates. Cassidy Cardone Close friendships I have made throughout the years at CHS, as well as good old Jersey bagels and pizza. I will especially miss my little sister Olivia. Elizabeth DeMuro I will miss seeing the people I have spent four years with and all the things we did together.

I will not miss the traffic going along Colfax Ave. to the high school in the morning.

Like most kids at CHS, I will miss the crowded hallways the least.

PCTI was a great experience and I am going to miss the friends I made there.

One thing I am looking forward to is not sticking to the same schedule everyday.

Luis Lopez: Being able to see all my friends during school. Brittany Meneghin: Miss my friends the most, waking up the least. 26 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

I will definitely not miss trying to push my way through crowded hallway intersections or non-air conditioned classrooms in spring.

Matthew Biondi

Nathalie Martinez: I will miss my friends the most and gym the least. Joice Solis: I will miss the teachers who inspired me, but I will not miss the homework and also the hallways that were extremely crowded.

Miss Least

Christopher Laky

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What will you miss the most? The least?

Adam Kopitar: Being class clown. Jazmin Cena: I will miss my friends, however, I will not miss the other people who are not my friends. Fatima Maldonado: Friends. Eridon Hoda: Football. Xavier Grant: Seeing everybody when we get back in September like we did after every summer.

James Alvardo: Seeing the different faces and meeting different people. I won’t miss all the work that I had to do for all the classes. Samantha Segda: I’ll miss getting to see my friends everyday. I won’t miss the hallways. Caitlyn Salensky: Most? Seeing everyone, everyday and the comfort of knowing everyone was there. Least? Immaturity.

Aulla Hamdeh: I will miss the great friends I made and the memories we shared together, the most. It’s hard to move on to the next chapter in life without the people you shared those amazing memories with. I will miss the crowded hallways and non-air conditioned rooms the least. Bailey Snyder: I will miss CAST class. I will not miss going to class every day of the week. Ryan Downes: I will miss sports. Phanor V.: I will miss seeing everybody in the halls. Waking up early will not be missed one bit. Milton Cordero: Sports the most. Roberto Lupo: I will miss Mrs. Cinque and Ms. Anderson. Caitlin Sawicki: Although I will miss high school, I look forward to what college has to offer. Emily Choque: I will miss friends, teachers and lunch cookies. Waking up early and the mosh pits? No! Justina Soltys: My friends and memories we’ve had together. Frankie Fragapane: Sadly, I found my real friends late but they will always be in my heart.

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What will you miss the most? The least?

Karen Friedman: Playing sports and the comfort of my surroundings. I will not miss having the same schedule every day. Cristina German: I will miss my theatre teacher, theatre class, and the musical the most. I will miss my academic classes the least. Tyler Gamba: Watching the school get covered on the news annoyed me at first. Now that I’m leaving, I kind of wish that I could stick around for one last scandal. George Balkjy: Without a doubt, I will miss playing lacrosse. Pratik Patel: I will miss my friends but remember the memories we created. Daniela Santacruz: Track and Cross Country. Taking the school bus I’ll miss the least. Susan Liberti: Marching band but I won’t miss waking up early. Joseph Ambrose: Friends I made

30 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

during Cross Country and track the most. School lunch? Not so much. Zion Hall: I will miss being able to compete in cheer every weekend. I will not miss the moshpits. Ruchi Desai: I will miss the familiarity of this town, which includes my parents, friends, and family. I will not miss the traffic on the way to school every morning. Richie Bandurski: I won’t miss being treated like a kid. Daniel Natale: Playing soccer with my whole team but not sleepless nights and studying. Janae Quinanes: Being with the people I love the most through the good times and the bad. What I won’t miss is all work of school. Ruhi Bunglaniala: The most will be seeing my friends, the least will be all the school related stress. Stephany Estrada: The teachers the most. School stress the least.

April Rastaetter: As most people would say, I will miss my friends. Although, not only my friends but the staff, and the environment. CHS is a big place, but the world only gets bigger. We all played our own role in our gigantic high school, and it’s going to be hard to adjust to a new place, no matter where you go to college. Mariam Boutaib: The teachers the most. Taking the bus the least. Isabel Estrada: Afternoons with my friends and the days we spent studying with them the most.

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Year Round Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum 6 Weeks to 6 Years Clifton Merchant • June 2014


The Mazur Tag TeaM By Domenick Reda You always hear about one twin being born a few seconds before the other, but not with the Mazur boys. It was a virtual tie for the twins, born Jan. 27, 1995. “The doctor pulled us out at the same time,” Eddie laughed, recounting the story as it was told to him. “Probably one of my legs appeared first,” his brother Alex quipped. And as close as they were in birth, Eddie and Alex have remained that way throughout their 19 years, even through some of their tougher struggles, which started when they came into this world 10 1/2 weeks premature. “Every day was a battle,” said Marlo Mazur, mother of the twins. Twelve weeks later the duo came home from Passaic General Hospital’s NICU with what seemed like enough electrodes to jump start a car. “They came home hooked up to machines so we could monitor their hearts,” she recalled. “Luckily, they were not as small as the doctor thought.” Still, when they arrived at their Ridgefield Village home, Eddie was only 3 lbs 15 oz and Alex was just 3 lbs 12 oz; something you would never know when looking at the two young men today. Even as babies, the twins were resilient, but they were about to face another challenge and that resiliency was about to be put to the test again. “Around the time they were two, we realized they were not talking; not to us anyway,” Mazur said. Then something happened that really surprised the boy’s parents, Marlo and Steve. “The boys realized they had a problem before we did and to compensate, they formed their own language,” she recalled. The twins were diagnosed with verbal apraxia; a speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. “After some research I found Kean University offered 32 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

affordable speech therapy,” she said. After several months, according to Mazur, the boys received full-time speech therapy, 4-5 times a week, as preschoolers and eventually additional help at School 14. “My mom helped me a lot,” Eddie said. “She took us to classes and me and Alex worked on it together. It seemed different, but we tried our best not to let it get in the way.” The boys don’t remember much from those early days, but they do recall working together to get better. “We were going to speech classes a lot,” Alex said. “It was always me and Eddie. Going through what we went through, it brought us together; not being alone through it all.” And little by little, eventually the boys began to speak and their speech improved–greatly. “With years of therapy and the great teachers at School 14, Woodrow Wilson and then the high school, they boys overcame,” she said. “Sports also played a big part in their therapy. My husband Steve started teaching them soccer at three years old.”

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


June Edition Mr. Mazur, who was a soccer coach at the time, also eventually got the boys interested in football, wrestling and lacrosse. “This was our way of putting them out there and showing them they could do anything,” she said. “They had no choice but to communicate with other kids, besides each other. But the boys continued their strong bond as they grew up together and breaking their own language was not an easy task for the parents. “When they were younger, it was clear that Alex was the boss and he was very protective of Eddie,” she said. “We couldn’t understand what they were saying, but Alex was calling the shots.” But as the boys got older, their roles changed. “Eddie became very social and Alex was kind of quiet and took sports very seriously,” she recalled. “I started playing soccer, then baseball, then I dropped them and started playing football and wrestling,” Alex recalled. “I focused more on football throughout high school.” But the boys, by their own admission, were rough around the edges when they first entered sports, but they were naturals for sports and that ability transferred to the athletic field. “We had a good team in ‘09,” Alex said, speaking of the football team. “We went to the division championship but we lost to Orange.” The Mustangs were solid again in ‘10, but three concussions took their toll on the hard nosed athlete who was forced to take a year off from football. “I wanted to keep playing but the doctors preferred I didn’t,” Alex recalled. “I played lacrosse that year and did very well.”

But Alex returned to play football for his senior year. “Injuries cost us,” he remembered. “The season didn’t turn out as we planned.” And injuries affected Alex personally when during a game he suddenly collapsed on the field. “They still don’t know what it was,” he said. “They did tests on my heart and head, but they couldn’t find out what it was.” The incident, effectively ended his playing career. “It’s sad, I really wanted to play against Passaic,” he said. “I wanted to step on the field one last time. All the success we had; I am going to miss it. But there will always be good memories.” But the Mazur twins are not only tough, they are resourceful as well, and now as they prepare to graduate, they look to new challenges. Alex plans on attending Passaic County Community College and then transferring to either Montclair State University, to study physical education. He is also considering attending the police academy. “I am leaning more toward physical education,” he said. “I have been close to sports my whole life.” Eddie was also a great athlete; something he too discovered at an early age. “We found out we were pretty athletic and we tried different sports,” he said. “When you really open your eyes, you find out what you really like and you stick with it.” Eddie, like his brother, gravitated toward football and wrestling as well. “I stopped wrestling for two years and focused on football,” Eddie recalled. With his heart still in the wrestling game, the joined some area wrestling schools.

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“I missed it so much,” he said. “It motivated me more and I started wrestling again in the 11th grade.” But in September of 2013 while sparring at Apex Wrestling School in Mahwah, Eddie suffered a separated shoulder. The injury sidelined him for weeks, but he soon came back as strong as ever. Then in January, while wrestling for CHS, he tore his ACL. Miraculously, the injury hardly slowed him down, as he went on to help catapult his team to the state sectional finals against Hackensack, wrestling at 195 lbs, when he pinned his opponent in the North 1 Group 4 championship. “We beat Hackensack,” he recalled. “I didn’t win my match but we won as a team.” And that was good enough for Eddie. “All I wanted was the state sectional championship,” he said. “We’re a family.” Eddie lists his father, former teachers Laurie Friedberg, Christopher Keesan and Shaina Peattie as well as CHS wrestling coach Dan Galeta and trainer Tom Cutalo. “He is the happiest person,” Eddie said of Cutalo. “He is a cool guy. He helped me rehab my knee.” Eddie plans on attending Bergen County Community

College for a year and then transferring to the University of Southern Maine. He hopes to continue wrestling at both schools. Eddie said he also wants to train in Jujitsu and hopes to remain in the athletic field. Now as the boys look back on their high school years, they vow Clifton will always be a part of them; forever. “I will probably be at every wrestling practice,” Eddie said. “I will return the favor to coach Galeta. That team was like my family.” Alex feels the same. “Clifton will always be my home,” he said. “No matter where I end up in life.”


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What was your greatest achievement in the last 12 years?

On May 8, at the reception at the Clifton Arts Center for CHS Arts Honors students, from left Isha Sanchez, Roberto Ortiz, Yamilex Leal, Unnati Patel, Jonathan Chaparro, Jashuana Zambrana, Priya Parthasarathy.

Moises Junchaya: Being able to study hard and get into Montclair State University. I chose it because it is close to the city, has a big campus, it is close to home. I love the dorms and the city of Montclair in general. Emily Choque: Learning English in two years, graduating high school and making great friends. Heather Atamian: Maintaining Distinguished Honor Roll throughout high school and being Marching Mustang majorette sergeant for two years. Asma Baker: Gaining the experience that helped to make me a better person. Justina Soltys: Being named to the Distinguished Honor Roll for four years. Karen Friedman: I was accepted by my dream school, the University of Connecticut. Robert Lupo: Being named to the Distinguished Honor Roll all four years, becoming SCA president, rank sergeant in the marching band, editor-in-chief of the Clifton Hub, playing Lord Farquaad in Shrek, The Musical. Richard Liza: Named to Honor Roll for two years. 36 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Jillian Hagberg: I became majorette sergeant for the Mustang Marching Band in senior year. Zion Hall: Being captain of the cheerleading team. Kira Abrams: I think promoting social justice and respect throughout the school from a club I was in. And helping raise over $1,000 for suicide prevention. But mainly I suppose it would be gaining a large following on Matthew Biondi: Receiving Distinguished Academic Awards all four years of high school. Sarah Bielen: Making Distinguished Honor Roll and being inducted into the National Honor Society. Joseph Espinal: Winning third place in the spelling bee in Paterson, being star student of empathy in Christopher Columbus Middle School and being a member of the Key Club. Caitlin Sawicki: Achieving Distinguished Honor Roll for four years and getting into my top choice, William Paterson University. Patrick Szablowki: Driving a motorcycle.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your greatest achievement in the last 12 years? Kimberly Rodriguez: Getting into PCTI because it’s a great school, and now getting into William Paterson University. I’ve always dreamed of going there.

Elizabeth DeMuro: Attending my dream school, the University of Vermont. George Balkjy: Becoming a well rounded young adult, thanks to my parents.

Ronak Patel: Junior year when I was selected to be a delegate at Boy’s State. I met friends I still speak to today and have great memories from that experience.

James Piros: Being the No. 1 DJ, playing our songs. Olga Lizana: Passing all of my classes and never scoring below 70.

Jazmin Cena: I learned to draw.

Frankie Fragapane: Becoming a mature person who is ready for the real world.

Adam Kopitar: Winning Counties in soccer during my junior year.

Milton Cordero: Playing four more years of football at the next level.

Luis Lopez: Debuting in my first Varsity Lacrosse game during a county final my sophomore year.

Beata Dul: I’m happy about all the changes that occurred from all my schooling. I did not lose myself to the wrong crowd and my ambitions and dreams only grew.

Fatima Maldonado: Achieving Distinguished Honors for three years.

Phanor V.: Making the Honor Roll my sophomore year.

Brittany Meneghin: Being able to play on the Mustang Boy’s Varsity Ice Hockey team.




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Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your greatest achievement in the last 12 years? Sidnee Maldonado: Being chosen to represent Clifton High School at the National Girls And Women In Sports Day was a surprise to me. From all the female athletes at my school, I’m still surprised I was chosen to attend this event on behalf of the school. Being chosen reminded me that even when I don’t think anyone notices me, I am being recognized. I am glad that I represented my hometown in a positive manner. It was an honor. Being in a room full of women that share the same love for the sports that they play as I do was very inspirational. That day made a bigger impact on me than I thought it would. I wish I could relive that day all over again.

Mohammad Abdelkarim: Being a member of the Mustang track and field team and being one of the people to hold a school record.

Nicholas Glodava: Being ranked number 15 in my graduating class and receiving the Distinguished Honors Award for all four years of high school, also being inducted into the National Honor Society. Making 1st Team All County, 2nd team All League and 3rd in the State for Midfield in Soccer was a great honor as well. James Alvarado: Being how I am now. Making it this far in school with good grades despite some problems with my personal life. Isabel Estrada: Volunteering in ROTC for four years and getting the Herman Devry Scholarship. Susan Liberti: Achieving goals I once thought were impossible.

Kenneth Bucsko: Having the courage to join the PCTI cross country team my freshman year. Running became my source of hope and has taught me things that helped me grow as a person. 40 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Aulla Hamdeh: Becoming captain of the CHS Mechanical Mustangs Robotics team. It took a lot of hard work but in the end it was all worth it because I learned great lessons and met amazing people. Ayano Kaeko: Honor Roll.

Hailey Meyer: Attaining a class rank of 14, while attending both AP classes at the high school and courses at Montclair State University. Emily Alfonso: Making the Varsity cheerleading team for four years. Rachel Egyed: Being able to continue playing soccer at a Division 1 level at my dream school. Roberto Ortiz: I made over 20 art projects in one year. Bailey Snyder: Montclair State.



Katie Scorziello: Getting accepted to the Rutgers Business School. Amanda Cifelli: Being able to impact other people. A lot of people don’t have the ability to make a mark on people’s lives and I feel like I do. This is my greatest achievement because I know that people will always remember me after high school. Jessica Peralta: Varsity cheerleading all four years.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your greatest achievement in the last 12 years?

Tyler Kennedy: I was in the talent show. I performed on stage a lot. Tiadorn Rue: Getting accepted into college. Naveira Paulino: Graduating and being accepted to attend college. Gabrielle Scancarella: Becoming captain of the soccer team in my senior year. Raven Thomas: Gaining an education in Jamaica and

experiencing the culture there for seven years. Francine Selvakumar: I did not personally have a great achievement, however, this year my robotic won two imagery awards, which I personally worked hard for, and was a finalist at a competition. Also, attending world championships in St. Louis was huge. Diana McKenna: Getting an amazing scholarship to UConn. Maurice Marsilla: Winning county championships for soccer and state sectionals for wrestling. Jennifer Koppers: Being accepted into college. Sarah Fusco: Getting accepted into Penn State and maintaining good grades. Kathy Kwiecien: Getting into Madrigals. Joseph Verrico: My class rank of 27 out of 714. Kristina Azevedo: Conquering my fears by performing a lead role in the Paramus Catholic musical “Smile”. Brittany Griffin: Getting the courage to perform in my 8th grade talent show. I sang and played guitar for the first time ever in front of an audience. Omar Ali: Getting accepted into Rutgers University. Mohammed Musa: I became an EMT. Jenelee Santos: Making it to where I am right now. Ashley Humphreys: Winning the Memorial Alumni 2014 Scholarship for the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton. Anthony Casale: Being able to be good at sports and getting better over the years. Yelena Yanina: Being invited to the Academic Awards Dinner. Eman Alfawair: Getting accepted to the colleges I applied to. Annerys Matos: My greatest achievement in the last 12 years was passing all my classes from middle school through high school. Avani Sojitra: Being named as one of the Students of the Month for April. Dylan Amico: Being captain of the varsity softball team. Agnes Blachut: Making friends and memories that will last me a lifetime.

42 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your greatest achievement in the last 12 years?


Stephany Estrada: Getting accepted into my number one school.

Corey Peirone: Beginning martial arts freshman year.

Juliana Irizarry: Becoming the Chief of Staff in my Naval Junior ROTC unit.

Julie Baez: Language.


Nicholas Vette: Getting a scholarship and making Eagle Scout.

Kanisha Parikh: Being inducted into the National Honor Society and being on Distinguished Honor Roll for four years. Another great accomplishment was becoming a majorette in the Mustang Band.

Keith Bassford: National Honor Society status. Cassidy Cardone: When Dr. Greenwald used my essay as an example for the class. I thought that day would never come.

Dominick Perino: Being named the Lead Petty officer for my NJROTC unit. Daniela Santacruz: Joining track.

Shannon Christie: Receiving the Distinguished Academic Award four consecutive years.

Emanuel Soriano: Earning a scholarship to play football.

Daniel Natale: Winning the Passaic County Tournament in 2012 with my varsity soccer team. Joseph Ambrose: Being named the PCTI National Honor Society President and becoming a Boys State Delegate and representing our school. Devin Broughton: Being accepted into my first choice college, Philadelphia University, and being the first generation to graduate in my family.

Cristina German: Joining the school’s musical. Mariam Boutaib: Becoming a State Certified EMT.

Ruhi Bunglawala: From volunteering in the community to going to PCTI to getting into all my colleges... my greatest accomplishment must be putting a smile on my parent’s faces.

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Antonio DeChellis: Earning my Mustang varsity football letter with all county, and all league honors, as well as being selected as the 2014 Clifton Football Scholar Athlete.

April Rastaetter: Clifton Animal Shelter accepting my volunteer application and allowing me to become a member of their volunteer team. Thanks to them I volunteer about 10 hours a week and will have plenty of hands on experience with animals to help me in the future.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


rOTC aT PCTI & ChS Some Choose a Life-Changing Path in 9th Grade

Some Clifton High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC members include from left, front row: Orlando Lisboa, Alby Rodriguez, Karen Rolon; from left, back row: Richie Bandurski, Billy Algieri, Joseph Parparella.

For generations, the decision to join the military after graduating high school has been a life-changer. For certain students at Clifton High School and Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, this life changing event began four years prior. CHS senior Billy Algieri didn’t even know ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) was offered on the Colfax Ave. campus. But after a few weeks of “PT” or Physical Training and USMC-inspired discipline as a 9th grader, “I fell in love with it. I joined the drill team freshman year and immediately began to learn leadership skills and responsibility.” Algieri focused and trained hard. During his four years in high school, he made rank: private during freshman year, gunnery sergeant as a sophomore, captain of operations while a junior and finally—CO— Commanding Officer, a lieutenant colonel, as a senior. Training and discipline focused the former WWMS student: Algieri joined the Lodi Volunteer Ambulance 46 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Rescue Squad and was trained as an EMT. This fall, he’ll attend Passaic County Community College and study criminal justice for the next two years. He hopes to take the exam to become a Clifton cop. “To be a police officer has always been my dream,” he said. However, with EMT experience as a backup plan, Algieri is considering further training as a paramedic. “I definitely would not have made it this far and gotten my EMT without Sgt. Maj. James Davis teaching me leadership, honor and commitment in ROTC,” he said. “And without my parents support,” he adds. The discipline and dedication acquired through ROTC training will impact lives well beyond graduation. Over at Passaic County Tech, Barkely Ave. resident Juliana Irizarry, who became the chief of staff for her Naval Junior ROTC, appreciates the discipline. “Don’t procrastinate,” advised the PCTI senior, who added that ROTC training made her realize “you are capable of achieving so much more than you think.”

Irizarry plans to attend Rutgers University, where she has received a scholarship, and later, on to medical school. Fellow PCTI senior and ROTC member Isabel Estrada will be studying biomedical engineering at DeVry University as a recipient of the Herman DeVry scholarship and would like to work one day for a large health service corporation such as GE Health. CHS senior Sidnee Maldonado is an accomplished athlete and a proud member of the ROTC. In February she enlisted in the National Guard and in September, after she graduates the U.S. Army’s basic training, she will head to Fort Sam, TX where she will train to be an Army medic. This 28 weeks will be the longest period that she will have been away from her family and friends in Clifton. “I just have to remember that I will be serving my country, which will benefit both me and my loved ones,” said Maldonado, who will return to the area to attend college on the G.I. Bill. “I like that I am doing something that the majority of the population wouldn't even think twice about doing.” Dominick Perino earned rank as the Lead Petty Officer of the PCTI ROTC unit. The Mt. Prospect Ave. resident will attend PCCC in the fall and has plans to become a Clifton Police Officer.

Richie Bandurski is proud of having completed the U.S. Army’s “boot camp” during junior year summer. In September, the CHS senior will train at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. to be an MP or military police officer. Bandurski’s goal is to be a firefighter at home and a soldier in the National Guard. The big plus he earned? Attending Montclair State University, paid 100 percent through the GI Bill. “My mom doesn’t have to worry about it,” he said with a relieved smile. ROTC member Karen Rolon plans on attending Bergen County Community College after graduating CHS. She hopes to be an FBI agent after finishing her BA at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Senior Joseph Parparella enjoyed his time in ROTC at CHS and will begin hands-on training in welding at Eastwick College in Hohokus. Orlando Lisboa, who attended Christoper Columbus Middle School and CHS currently works as a pharmacy technician for Walgreens in Passaic and plans to continue in the field after graduation. CHS senior Alby Rodriguez is taking a different path. HE said he wants to “see my limit and go beyond it.” In a few weeks, he’s headed to Parris Island where he will be in USMC boot camp, continuing on to being a full time Marine.

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Top 10


While each class of graduates is different than the one before, each year the Top 10 CHS graduates have similar traits in common. All are smart, ambitious, hardworking and talented. Maybe too early to call it a trend, but for the second year in a row, the Top 10 include seven young women and three young men. One grad was born in Bolivia, one in Russia, and between all ten, they speak or understand an impressive number of languages besides English. The include: Gujarati, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, French and Italian. These graduates have been actively involved in the extra-curricular activities that CHS is known for: two belong to the Mustang Marching Band, five are

50 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant


members of the Key Club, and three are on the Key Club board, plus they participate in tennis, track, lacrosse, and the championship swim team. Five attended WWMS, four came from CCMS and one from St. Philip the Apostle. As they leave CHS, nine will attend schools in New Jersey: six head for Rutgers, one each to NJIT, Montclair State and Ramapo College. One heads to New York University. Math and science dominate their interests as six plan careers in medicine or allied heath fields, two in business-related fields, one in engineering and one in music education. Read on as they describe their dreams in their own words. Congratulations to the CHS Top 10, Class of 2014! Tom Hawrylko

Ruchi Desai - #1

Nisha Shastri - #2

Living in Clifton has given me an I will be continuing my education appreciation for diversity, so the cosat Rutgers University/New mopolitan nature of New York Brunswick in the School of City, plus a stellar science proBusiness and in the School of gram made New York Arts and Sciences Honors University the perfect choice Program. for me to continue my educaRutgers has an excellent tion. business school and honors Later, I hope to enter medprogram, a great record of job ical school. Choosing this placement after graduation, and a goal has been influenced by diverse student population, which the passion I developed for are some of the reasons I chose to science while attending Clifton go there. High School. Throughout my During high school, I played four years here, my favorite subtennis in the fall, and during winter ject was chemistry. and spring, ran track and field. I Every year, I participated in have been an officer of the the Science League competiStudent Council, as well as a tions and served as the vice presimember of our school’s Key dent of the Science Leaders Association. Club, Asian Cultures Club, and My goal to enter the medical field has also Spanish Club. been influenced by my volunteer work at Outside of school, I enjoy reading, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, as well as dancing, in particular Indian dance, volunteering with Key Club. and watching movies. I think my most fond memory of For now, I plan to major in finance high school will be the Distinguished and minor in economics, and while at Academic Awards Dinner this year, Rutgers, plan on participating in severwhere I was recognized as valedictorial internships and taking advantage an and honored for being named a of study abroad opportunities. National Merit Semifinalist. After graduating from Rutgers, I Number 1 Ruchi Desai with number 10 Yulissa Pereira Although I will miss the familhope to enter an MBA program and iar feeling of Clifton, I will not eventually become a successful busimiss the traffic on the way to school every morning. nesswoman on Wall Street.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


CHS Top 10 Deep Patel - #3

Manal Khalil - #4

This fall, I will attend the Albert Dorman Honors College at New Jersey Institute of Technology to pursue a career in civil engineering. My father, an electrical engineer, served as the greatest influence in this decision; he introduced me to math and science at an early age. Throughout the years, my experience with both math and science have also influenced my decision to major in civil engineering. In particular, Mr. Klenetsky, my pre-calculus teacher, taught me the real world applications and the benefits of calculus. In the future, after obtaining an advanced degree in engineering, I hope to work to improve this state’s declining infrastructure. Besides my passion for math and science, during my four years at CHS, I have participated in various activities, including tennis. For two years I have played tennis and am pleased to say that I played first doubles. Also, I took part in Number 2 Nisha Shastri with Math League where I was number 9, Matteo Varano able to showcase my strengths in mathematics.

I want a career that will have a major impact on the lives of people, such as the physical therapist who helped my brother or the one who pushed me to walk after my back surgery. So, as I head to Rutgers UniversityNewark Honors College, I plan to major in biology, then enter the field of physical therapy. I am most intrigued about the relationships physical therapists develop with patients. The patient must have full faith and trust in their therapist if they are to regain motility. However, my major life goal is simply to be happy. Many people are burdened by the stress of work, the economy, personal issues. Although important, being with people you love should make those problems disappear. I will always remember the friendships I made at CHS. My best friends have made me realize what true happiness is. As we head towards different colleges, our friendship will always make our life paths cross. Being in the top 10 is a

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the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers New Brunswick. I am excited to begin college and thrilled to see where time takes me.

true accomplishment. I am proud to end my senior year of high school with this honor.

Aekta Patel - #5 Being ranked number five out of more than 700 students is one of my greatest achievements at CHS. I am proud that I was able to maintain excellent grades in difficult AP courses and received Distinguished Academic Honors all four years. Still, I managed to live a balanced high school life. I have great friends that have made this journey one I will treasure forever. I have been actively involved with the Key Club, and this year served as the club president, and was active in the Asian Cultures Club and the Spanish Club. I have lived in Clifton all my life and owe so much to my family. I would be nowhere without the support, guidance and encouragement of my parents and my older sister Zalak. I hope to inspire my younger brother Darsh who is a freshman at CHS. I am pursuing a career as Number 7 Elena Mikhaylova with number 3, Deep Patel a pharmacist and have enrolled at

Michael Kommer #6 I always give my best effort towards anything I do. I worked hard in school and was inducted into the National Honor Society, but I also maintained a balance between academics and my social life. I swam, was captain of the CHS Varsity Swim Team and this year we were Passaic County champions, and I played lacrosse all four years of high school. However, my favorite classes were my Italian classes. They were so much fun and we learned not only the language, but the culture, as well. In my junior year, I attended the Rotary Youth Leadership Award weekend, one of five students from CHS. The leadership program taught me to work with others and leave my comfort zone. People who knew about the RYLA would not tell me exactly what would happen at the event, however, they would tell me was that it was a life

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CHS Top 10 lab. I would love to apply my love of science to finding a cure to a disease or a solution to a problem that could potentially change lives and help people.

changing experience. It definitely was! I will attend Ramapo College and plan to major in accounting and hope to have a successful career as a CPA.

Validehi Upadhyaya - #8 Elena Mikhaylova - #7 I was born in Moscow, Russia, and when I was six, I came to the United States with my mother. This fall, I will attend Rutgers University-New Brunswick and plan to major in biochemistry with a possible minor in Russian, so I can regain some of my roots. During four years of high school, I faltered, moving from one aspiration to another. I could not settle on anything that I thought would make me happy. Midway through senior year, my incredible chemistry teacher, Mr. Chilowicz, helped me discover my passion. He went off on a tangent about catalysts and enzymes and I was dazzled. I saw how this could weave into so many things, from breaking down food to creating medicine. I realized that I could have a future in something about which I loved to learn. I hope one day to work in a research

In September, I will begin college at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, one of the best programs in the country. A six-year program, upon graduation, I will receive my Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. When I was applying to colleges, I was absolutely sure that I wanted to major in pre-med. I applied to the School of Pharmacy degree program at Rutgers only because my sister wanted me to. Pharmacology, which includes toxicology and medicinal chemistry, was never something that I seriously considered until I was accepted. Only then did I realize what a great opportunity I had. For this, I must give credit to my sister. Then I hope to go back to school one day and get a doctorate in psychology. It’s a subject that has always interested me, and since I can’t double-major under the six-year pharmacy program, I will Number 4 Manal Khalil, with have to pursue that goal in the future.

number 8, Validehi Upadhyaya

Congratulations, Grads! The future lies before you, Like a field of driven snow. Be careful how you tread it, For every step will show. ~Author Unknown

Passaic County Clerk

Kristin Corrado

54 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Matteo Varano - #9 The Mustang Marching Band is the driving force behind my decision to pursue a career in music education, which will by my major at Montclair State University. For four years, the marching band has been the cornerstone that grounded me. In the future, as a musician and teacher, I will have the opportunity to continue learning in many different venues, often in situations that do not involve a classroom or a stage. My goal is to educate and to help young aspiring musicians by finding ways to breathe new life into sharing knowledge, information, experience and technique. Music will always be an essential component of my emotional, social, and intellectual makeup, pivotal to my success. At CHS, my extracurricular activities have revolved around music or the stage: historian for the Tri-M Music Honor Society, AV Club, orchestra. Before I head to MSU this fall, I plan to take a long trip along the West Coast in August. To future students of CHS, I say, “Be kind. Be respectful. Go the extra mile. People will remember you for your effort and your attitude.”

grandmother displayed symptoms of hypertension and pre-diabetes. I hope to plan meals that support a healthy lifestyle and incorporate different foods and dishes from around the world. Clifton’s diversity has allowed me to try many delicious foods. I want to investigate further the impact of food on the human body, especially regarding the problem of obesity. I also hope to study Genetically Modified Organisms to investigate the benefits and disadvantages of using such products in food. It’s a great achievement to be ranked tenth in my class at Clifton High School. I will have fond memories of CHS, one of which will be a fun four days traveling with the Mustang Band to Norfolk, where we won three awards, including gold. The band members all stood up at once and started congratulating each other. We knew that all those days of practice had paid off and were very proud of each other. Number 5 Aekta Patel, with number 6, Michael Kommer

CHS Class of 1974

Yulissa Pereira - #10 I came from Bolivia to the United States when I was three years old. Throughout the years, the struggles that my relatives faced served as my impetus to work hard. I will attend Rutgers University-New Brunswick, where I will major in Dietetics. I decided to become a dietitian after my

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Where have you worked during high school?

Corey Peirone, Eric Bartkowski, Sensei Jim Meghdir and Dan Czarnecki at Quality Martial Arts on Bloomfield Ave.

Working and volunteering while in high school is a time-honored tradition to not only make some money and gain experience for future employment, but also gives students the chance to learn about the broader world outside home and school. Working retail jobs or in service organizations is a great way to get started. Some students, however, already have enough skills that they can teach others. Three such CHS grads worked at Clifton Martial Arts Academy on Bloomfield Ave. as instructors and all three get top marks from Sensei Jim Meghdir. Dan Czarnecki worked at CMAA as part of the CHS work-study program. He has a Brown Belt in the marital arts and Czarnecki also wrestled for the Mustangs in the 182 pound class. He finished in the Region 4 quarter finals with a 17-13 record. “Dan loves working with kids,” said Meghdir, “and did a fantastic job here. I think someday he may own his own school.” Eric Bartkowski, who plans to attend Ramapo College to study Environmental Science, is Mr. AllAround. With a Black Belt, he is a cello player in the 56 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

CHS Orchestra and an Eagle Scout. Meghdir commented that he marvels how the CHS senior does it all. His Eagle Scout project with Troop 74, sponsored by First Presbyterian Church on Maplewood Ave., was to install a drainage system at the benches in Morris Canal Park. “It is obvious Mr. B. has tremendous talents. He credits the martial arts for learning the discipline necessary to succeed in all his activities,” said Meghdir. Corey Peirone is a Brown Belt and “a super talented practitioner who,” according to Meghdir, “takes his training very seriously while having tons of fun.” The Sensei, which means wise instructor in Japanese, added that Peirone has take on a leadership role and instructs the CMAA demo team that is set to perform at the NY Liberty halftime show on July 6. “These gentlemen are great examples of hard work, training, focus. Over the years, they have learned much more than punching and kicking from martial arts. They learn and teach leadership skills, develop confidence that they turn around and take into the community. Their accomplishments will be with them their entire life,” noted Meghdir.

Beata Dul: (at left) Royal Manor, Hollister Co. I now work at Houlihan’s. Come visit! Dem Edwards: At Liberty Tax and the Clifton Boys & Girls Club. Jillian Hagberg: I was an usher at the Wellmont Theater and an umpire for girls softball.

Joseph Ambrose: I am the webmaster of the PCTI school website. Also at the Little Falls Shoprite. Kimberly Rodriguez: I had a big intern opportunity with Habitat for Humanity. I also interned at Columbia Bank headquarters for six weeks.

Omar Ali: AMC Theaters.

Maurice Marsilla: I have worked with Natale’s Strength and Conditioning, Gelotti’s Ice Cream and as a ref for the Clifton Stallions.

Youssef Aly: The Venetian.

George Balkjy: At my dad’s deli.

Vanessa Quezada: Volunteered at the Clifton Public Library and the Boys & Girls Club.

Luis Lopez: Modell’s Sporting Goods and at Clifton’s Nightingale Catering.

Alberto Rodriguez: City Green.

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Where have you worked during high school?

Nicholas Glodava: I was a volunteer soccer coach for the Boys and Girls Club and also held a part time job at Champion Plastics. Currently I train youth soccer players in fitness and strength three nights a week for Natale’s Strength and Conditioning in Clifton. Dominick Perino is graduating PCTI this month and will continue to work at Mr. Cupcakes. The ROTC student said the sweetness skills he learned while at the Van Houten Ave. bakery helped him win his prom bid. When he asked fellow PCTI senior Alexis Birkner to be his date to the June 6 prom, he did so on one knee, offering a Red Velvet cupcake he made especially for the occasion. It worked! Fanny Cancino: Baci Gelato, B. Duck, NYS Collections. Brittany Meneghin: The Ice Vault in Wayne. Eridon Hoda: La Piazza, Bob’s. Liz Barattini: Liberty Tax. James Piros: My job is to travel. Music production is my passion. Emily Afonso: La Piazza. Nick Flaherty: Stop & Shop. 58 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Hailey Meyer: As a camp counselor for the Clifton Rec Department Art Camp. I worked at the Allwood Theatre, also. Rachel Egyed: I babysat for families in Montclair, and began waitress at Defeo’s Market Street Grill. Ayano Kaeko: Boys & Girls Club. David Koturca: Construction Caitlyn Salensky: It’s Greek to Me, Ameti’s Pizza and as a nanny.

Frankie Frangapane: I worked at Barilari’s Pizzeria & Restaurant. Mohammad Musa: As an EMT. Karen Friedman: Yogurt.

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Aseel Bajes: Several places including So Chic Hair Salon, Dollar Deal, Soccer Stallions and Daughters of Miriam.

Samantha Segda: Foofie Poochies.

Tyler Gamba: I was head of food prep at Hot Bagels Abroad on Clifton Ave. If you ate breakfast or lunch there in the summer of 2013, you’re welcome.

Anupa Mehta: I really enjoyed volunteering at Safety Town, St. Mary’s Hospital and Relay for Life.

Ronak Patel: In a real estate office called Value Realty during my junior and senior year.

Robert Lupo: The Venetian and Cups Frozen Yogurt.

Susan Liberti: Presbyterian Center.

Caitlin Saiwicki: I volunteered at the ISEE summer camp in 2011 teaching violin to 3rd-8th graders.

Heather Atamian: The Wellmont Theater.

Jessica Peralta: I babysat during my high school years.


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Where have you worked during high school?

Daniella Santos: Daniella Santos sharpened many customer service skills while working as a receptionist at Nicholas Real Estate Agency on Main Ave. The 17-year-old Allwood resident said these skills will serve her well at Seton Hall University where she will study beginning September. “How you communicate in person, on the phone and in emails are all taken into account when people do business with you,” she said. “It is all about the respect you have for yourself and for those you interact with.” Fluent in Spanish and Italian, Santos plans to major in Criminal Justice and hopes to complete a law degree, as well. Her ultimate career goal is to be an FBI Agent. What else did she learn on the job? “Respect and kindness are an important part of the business world.” At right, James Piros, Isabel Estrada, Jessica Peralta, Malik Mouzone, Omar Ali, Amanda Cifelli

Billy Algieri: I joined the Lodi Volunteer Rescue Squad, went for EMT training and am now a NJ EMT. I volunteer for Lodi EMS and work part-time as an EMT for Pulse Medical Transport. With the support of my parents and Sgt. Maj. Davis who taught me about leadership, honor and commitment in ROTC, I got to where I am today. My future goal is to be a police officer. I also plan on attending PCCC and getting further training as a paramedic.

Christopher Laky: Mowing lawns, and some construction.

Manal Khalil: I worked as a tutor and this made me aware of how young children soak in information differently than teens. They are easily distracted so I had to create inventive ways of teaching them math.

Mariam Boutaib: I worked at the Wayne YMCA and Regency Nursing Home.

Ruhi Bunglaniala: Chestnut Hill Nursing Home Center in the activities department.

Priya Parthasarathy: I’ve volunteered by helping children develop their reading and math skills at the Kumon Learning Center.

60 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Janae Quinanes: Abercrombie Kids in Garden State Plaza and Qdoba Mexican grill at Willowbrook Mall. Richard Lizana: Landscaping. Roed Ali: At a car dealership and at our family-owned business. April Rastaetter: I volunteered at Clifton’s Safety Town at School 2 every summer and the Clifton Animal Shelter almost daily. This year I was lucky enough to earn the position of Care Coordinator at Katz and Dogs Animal Hospital in Montclair. Stephany Estrada: Boys & Girls Club of Clifton and Goudman Pharmacy. Emanuel Soriano: Construction.

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Clifton Merchant • June 2014


A Focused Future




As a student-led organization, a highschool based Key Club offers members opportunities to provide service, build character, and develop leadership skills. Over the years, the CHS Key Club has grown to more than 250 plus members, one the school’s largest and most active organizations. The number of members shows the compassion of our city’s youth, as students serve both our community and help those in need worldwide. This year, the CHS Key Club officers who helped organize numerous volunteer and fundraising efforts included Aekta Patel as president, Bayanne Waqqad and Shivani Shah as vice presidents, Jill Desai as secretary, Nisha Shastri as treasurer and Ruchi Desai as editor. Annually, the CHS Key Club works on the NJ District ELIMINATE Project, supported by Key Club internationally in an effort to eliminate neonatal and maternal tetanus worldwide. Also, each year, the CHS Key Club collects donations for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF project. This year the CHS Key Club donated $500. To help the local community, Key Clubbers contributed $700 to establish the Builder’s Clubs at WWMS and CCMS. Builder’s Clubs are the middle school partners of high school Key Clubs. Other community efforts undertaken by the CHS Key Club included the collection of 15 boxes of supplies and $200 for Clifton Cares to benefit local soldiers serving 62 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

overseas; serving meals at, and making goody bags for, the Clifton United Reformed Church Community Meals Program; tutoring middle school children at WWMS and CCMS; collecting $2,000 worth of new games and toys for the pediatric Bingo games for St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital (SJCH). During the past year, Key Clubbers participated in more than three dozen different volunteer projects that help children, the elderly, our environment. The CHS Key Club holds meetings monthly and annual national, state and local dues are $16 which is for a full year of membership. Members are inducted at a formal ceremony where they receive a membership card and pin. Key Club, which is part of Kiwanis International, is a great organization for those who seek to help the community, have a great learning experience and make new friends! Learn more about the CHS Key Club, contact faculty advisor Jacqueline Turk at

Paramus Catholic High School rising senior Louis Gartner is the Center and D Tackle on the two-time Championship Paladin Football Team. The Clifton resident is at C2 in Styertowne Shopping Center brushing up math skills so he can be a true scholar athlete and feel more confident in his academic abilities as he enters his fourth year at PC.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your favorite class?

Ronak Patel: My favorite teacher at Clifton High School is one of the high school’s most intelligent individuals: Mr. Chilowicz. I took his class for two years, and his enthusiasm for Chemistry fed my enthusiasm for the subject. He has even inspired me to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, really helping shape my future for me. But Mr. Chil's greatness extends past his knowledge of chemistry. He cares more about his students actually learning what he is teaching and values knowledge more than a grade. He would stay late after school constantly, providing as much help and as many resources as he could provide to ensure his students understood chemistry. Mr. Chil also has a rich background and many great stories that he weaves into classroom instruction whenever we may be down in the dumps. He always tried to make us laugh or encourage us to try our best. It was really helpful to hear his life talks. What makes Mr. Chilowicz my favorite teacher is his passion for teaching and his full efforts to do whatever it takes to help his students succeed. Thank You Mr. Chil for being my greatest influence from inside the walls of Clifton High School. 64 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Mohin Patel: Mr. Morgan really influenced me throughout my years in high school. He is an incredible teacher who you can go to and probably talk about anything. He disciplined me well and I know that will help greatly in my future. I guess Mr. Henry's AP US History 2 class was my favorite because it was definitely the most memorable. The amount of work the students put into that class was incredible and you experience the finest education unlike no other at Clifton High! Nicholas Glodava: Honors Biology with Mr. Meck. He related so well to the students by making class fun and interesting. After all you know how much he loves Biology by the tattoo he has on his arm. Sara Douglass: CAST because it reassured me that this is the field I wish to pursue as a career..

Some of our Top Seniors from Clifton! Clifton graduates in the PC Class of 2014 earned over


Kristina Azevedo - GPA: 95.28, SATs: 1910 Attending George Washington University Earned $373,000 in total scholarships. Activities: Yoga Club, Choir, Drama Club, Italian Club, NHS, ILHS, Committee member Relay for Life, Aquinas Scholar.

Lana Scibona - GPA: 96.27, SATs: 1950 Attending New York University. Earned $360000 in total scholarships. Activities: French Club, Irish Club, Drama Club, Ambassador Club, NHS, ILHS, Broadway Club, Social Justice Club, Retreat Club, Aquinas Scholar.

in scholarships & grants!

Congratulations & Best Wishes to all of the

Paramus Catholic Class of 2014 graduates from Clifton!

Nerissa Delgado - GPA: 94.98 SATs: 1890 Attending Boston University. Earned $159,100 in total scholarships. Activities: Spanish Club, Environmental Club, Broadway Club, Ambassador, Yearbook Club, NHS, Volunteer at Safety Town, Aquinas Scholar.

425 Paramus Road • Paramus, NJ 07652 201-445-4466 • Follow us on Twitter @ParamusCathHS Scan the QR code for more information

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your favorite class?

Kathy Kwiecien, Nicholas Veltre, Agnes Blachut, Anthony Casale, Dylan Amico, Tyler Kennedy.

Keith Bassford: My two favorite classes were Mrs. Holland’s English class and Mr. Lesler’s history class. Julie Baez: Mrs. Lesler’s Sign Language and Mr. Ashworth’s English. Richie Bandurski: Mr. Bell, history class, junior year. Kira Abrams: Anthropology and sign language were pretty rad. Diana McKenna: AP European history with Mr. Rogers and precalculus with Ms. Buzzelli. Maurice Marsilla: My favorite class was senior year, first period, when I was working in the East Wing vice principal’s office. Kathy Kwiecien: Madrigals. Victoria Marucci: Co-op, so easy.

Tiadorh Rue: Earth science with Mr. Marucci. Tyler Kennedy: Power mechanics, English and music. Brittany Griffin: Throughout my four years of high school I can gladly say dance class was my favorite. It will remain my favorite because I felt like when I walked into that classroom, my troubles were left at the door. Joseph Verrico: My favorite class would have to be Mr. Rogers’ world history, freshman year. His inspiring lectures and crazy antics were definitely the highlights of each day. Nicholas Vette: String/orchestra.

Daniel Natale: Chemistry honors with Mr. Chil, sophomore year.

Corey Peirone: Art and science.

Shannon Christie: CAST because Mr. McCunney is a great guy and the class is very hands on. There is no better way to start the day.

Agnes Blachut: Sign language with Mrs. Lesler. We had fun and it was an amazing experience to learn a new language.

Francine Selvakumar: Sign language because you are not only visually learning you are also physically learning. Mrs. Lesler is sweet and makes the class fun.

Avani Sojitra: Freshman world history honors with Mr. Rogers.

Gabrielle Scancarella: Sociology. Naveira Paulino: Mrs. Lesler’s sign language class and Mr. Henry’s U.S. honors history class. 66 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Sidnee Maldonado: JROTC.

Annerys Matos: Computer and financial literacy, junior year. It was a challenging class but it was easy at the same time, and my teacher, Mrs. Sauter, was the best. Matthew Bodnar: Ms. Anderson’s junior English class.

Tyler Gamba: Mrs. Cinque’s AP French. She is the glue that holds Clifton High together, and her inside hints, tips, and reminders gave our period an edge over everyone else in the building. The fact that I am horrible at French and will probably pass with a D-minus is irrelevant. Jenelee Santos: Strings class with Mrs. Babiak. Eman Alfawair: CAST. Anthony Casale: Gym. Sarah Fusco: European history. Albert Ndasco: English. Raven Thomas: Biology and chemistry. I also enjoyed English and Spanish from time to time. Yelena Yanira: Mr. Lesler’s history class. Cassidy Cardone: AP Psychology with Mrs. Delorenzo. I learned so much information, much of which I still find relevant and helpful in my other classes. Caitlyn Salensky: Dance all four years. Milton Cordero: Ms. Tate in gym. Joanna DeDios: Studio Art. Richard Lizana: Auto shop. Eridon Hoda: Gym Class. Luis Lopez: Senior CAST.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your favorite class?

Ryan Downes: Miss Holland’s 9th Grade English. Ranak Patel: Mr. Henry’s AP US History class my junior year. He was so enthusiastic and energetic about history he made everyone enjoy history too. Aseel Bajes: History because I had Mr. Lesler for two years and the second year he pushed me to do great and pass. I was so interested in his class. He is a great teacher. George Balkjy: Mrs. Cinque’s French class. Everyday is something new and always a lot of fun. Alberto Rodriguez: My cartooning/animation class. Roberto Ortiz: General art let me see different styles of drawing or creating things. Creativity broadens borders and breaks barriers. Daniela Santos: American History with Mr. Lesler. Jill Desai: Chemistry. Learning the components of everyday objects and how they fit together intrigues me. It also didn’t hurt that I was in class with many good friends and an awesome teacher! Rachel Egyed: My Honors calculus class this year. Mrs. Slinger is the best math teacher I have ever had, and no teacher has been as helpful as she is. Cassidy Cardone: AP Psychology with Mrs. Delorenzo. I learned so much information, much of which I still find relevant and helpful in other classes.

Juliana Irizarry: Freshman Biology honors with Ms. Ganna Osetska at PCTI was so enjoyable that it helped me choose my college major.

Emily Afonso: Mr. Lesler’s history class.

Kimberly Rodriguez: My Physics class. It’s a love and hate relationship because it was very difficult, but it was a challenge and I loved it.

Caitlin Sawicki: Mr. Bell’s American History II. He is funny and made learning enjoyable.

Isabel Estrada: Shop class, electronics. I love the hands on experience and it was amazingly worth it.


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Clifton Merchant • June 2014



What was your favorite class?

Susan Bielen: Dance with Mrs. Manzella, all four years. Matthew Biondi: English because I liked the symbolism in literature as well as the impact writing can have on a person. Zion Hall: 4th Period English with Mr. Ashworth. Devon Edwards: CAST class with Mr. Dixon. Jillian Hagberg: Sign language with Mrs. Lester. I loved every minute of that class my junior and senior years. Robert Lupo: French class with Madame Cinque! Justina Soltys: French. There is just an abundance of memories from that class with Mrs. Cinque.

Elizabeth DeMuro: That would have to be my 5th period AP French class. I have always loved the French language and Mrs. Cinque provides us with many fun learning opportunities. Karen Friedman: French. Nouran Ibrahem: Sophomore year, Spanish II with Mrs. Rodriguez, aka Mrs. Stag. Asma Baker: My favorite class was French, because you can be yourself. Heather Atamian: Pre-calculus with Mrs. Buzzelli. Anupa Mehta: AP psychology with Mrs. Delorenzo. It was really interesting to learn so much about society and people.

Emily Choque: History class with Mr. Bell and Italian with Signora Defeo. Dominick Justice.



Joseph Ambrose: Biology, because I learned interesting things. Daniela Santacruz: French. Pratik Patel: Calculus. Ruhi Bunglaniala: Medical arts class because they are my family. Stephany Estrada: Forensics. Emanuel Soriano: History Cristina German: My theatre class which is also my shop. Christopher Laky: Physics II. Mariam Boutaib: Shop at PCTI’s Academy of Medical Art.

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson City Council candidate Bill Gibson and his wife Robin with their family. From left, son Scott and his wife Diana holding their son Dylan, daughter Lori, sons Billy Jr. who is a CHS Junior and Tyler, who is a CHS Freshman.

Best Wishes Graduates from the Gibson’s paid for by Bill Gibson for City Council

70 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


is Best for You? W h ic h C l a s s Drs. Christa and Ronald D’Amato of Atlas Chiropractic & Rehabilitation have created a single Clifton source for wellness. In addition to their unique Atlas-based approach to chiropractic care, they offer nutritional consultations, medical pain management, physical therapy and a fitness studio for small group classes. Want to get in shape? Have a health issue, new or old injury or just aren’t sure what class is best for you?

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Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Where will you be in Sept. 2014?

Agnes Blachut, Jillian Hagberg, Kylie Correa, Jacquelina Shackil, Naveria Paulino in Mrs. Lesler’s Sign Language Class.

Ruchi Desai: New York University. I plan to major in chemistry or biochemistry with the hope of entering medical school and becoming a physician. I chose NYU because of its stellar science program and its urban setting. Maurice Marsilla: Hopefully, I will be attending Kean University and playing soccer. I reached the decision about Kean from my visit there, and based on their academics and men’s soccer program.

Kristina Azevedo: George Washington University... I knew I wanted to attend college in Washington D.C.

Francine Selvakumar: Studying nursing at Caldwell University. I reached that decision because both my parents are in the profession.

Tyler Kennedy: William Paterson.

Raven Thomas: Penn State Berks. I wanted to start off at a smaller campus for an easier transition from high school to college.

Kira Abrams: Ramapo College. I am a legacy there and they really promote free thinking and different perspectives so I think I’ll do well there. Tiadorn Rue: I will be at Berkeley College, studying criminal justice. Victoria Marcucci: College. It wasn’t a decision, it was a priority.

Kathy Kwiecien: I will be going to Passaic County Community College because it is nearby and a great place to begin my college journey.

Naveira Paulino: I will be at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Brittany Griffin: I decided that I am going to attend William Paterson University.

Gabrielle Scancarella: Monmouth University because I love everything about the school.

Ashley Humphreys: I will attend LIU. My stepdad helped me make my decision to go there.

Dylan Amico: I will be in attending the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

74 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Dianna McKenna: At the University of Connecticut. I received a very good scholarship and it’s an environment I love. Sarah Fusco: Penn State at University Park has wonderful classes and the campus is beautiful. Anthony Casale: In college working hard and trying to improve myself and my grades. Devin Broughton: At Philadelphia University. I’ve visited the school and decided to study graphic design. They have an excellent program and Philly s an amazing place to be.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Where will you be in Sept. 2014?

Aulla Hamdeh: I will be studying mechanical engineering at NJIT. I knew I wanted to work in this field because you get the opportunity to create something useful and something that can change someone’s life. Jenelee Santos: Passaic County Community College. I will be studying Nursing. My guidance counselor really helped me to make this decision. Matthew Bodnar: In New York City at Marymount Manhattan College. Annerys Matos: I will be in college. I decided to study business management and I’m going for it. Corey Peirone: Teaching martial arts. Avani Sojitra: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, which will give me opportunities in the medical field. Agnes Blachut: William Paterson University with a major in business/accounting. WPU is close to home and I prefer commuting rather than dorming. Caitlin Sawicki: William Paterson University studying psychology. I loved the William Paterson campus when I visited last summer.

76 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Sidnee Maldonado: Basic Training for the United States Army National Guard, becoming a soldier. I always wanted to serve my country and I will be doing that. Katie Scorziello: I will be in Rutgers Business School. I choose it for its great reputation and because New Brunswick is just far enough away from home. Nicholas Vette: Lincoln Tech, getting certified to become a computer tech. I came to this decision because I enjoy computers and I would like to make a career repairing them. Shannon Christie: Monmouth University which I selected for its great learning opportunities and its perfect campus and location. Daniel Natale: Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. I fell in love with the campus and the view of New York City. Julie Baez: Taking basic courses at Bergen Community College in order to be able to focus on my major course study at John Jay School of Criminal Justice. Fatima Maldonado: Berkeley College.

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Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Where will you be in Sept. 2014?

Magdalena Kurnyta: Attending the College of New Jersey due to small class sizes, accomplished professors, and a beautiful campus.

Ruhi Bunglaniala: Montclair State University majoring in biology. My parents and guidance counselor helped me make my decision.

Priya Parthsarathy: Pratt Institute.

Stephany Estrada: I will be attending The College of New Jersey.

Mohin Patel: I will be in North Carolina with my family attending East Carolina University majoring in Atmospheric Sciences. Ever since I was little boy I had a passion for learning about the weather all around us and what I could do to help others! Kanisha Parikh: UConn has been my number one school for a long time, and once I got accepted, I knew that was where I wanted to go. Sara Douglass: William Paterson University. They have a very well known communications program which will be my major. Juliana Irizarry: I’ve received a scholarship to Rutgers University.

Emanuel Soriano: I’ll be at Marist College, which is the place for me. Cristina German: I will be at the University of New Haven. I researched the school, spoke with my parents, and made my decision. Christopher Laky: NJIT, since I want to be an engineer. Matthew Biondi: Montclair State University studying to become an English teacher. They have an amazing English department, as well as excellent teaching program, so they were a definite match for me.

Kenneth Bucsko: Rutgers University in New Brunswick has been my choice since entering high school. I will surely enjoy my next four years there studying what I love, Exercise Science.

Patricia Tazuk: Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.

Emily Choque: I will be going to college for nursing because I am attracted to the medical field. Anupa Mehta: Seton Hall University studying in their Dual Degree Physician Assistant program. I’ve always wanted to help people by going into the medical field and this program seems like the best way to achieve that dream.

Joseph Ambrose: Montclair State pursuing a biology degree. Daniela Santacruz: Rutgers, New Brunswick best suits me.

Pratik Patel: I will be going to Rutgers, New Brunswick because I can see myself excelling there. 78 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Kimberly Rodriguez: WPU was my first choice and a great school.

Isabel Estrada: DeVry University and I will study Biomedical Engineering. I came to this conclusion because of my little brother.

Dominick Perino: Passaic County Community College since it is close and allows me to be with my family.

Janae Quinanes: Montclair State University primarily because of its developing biology program.

Mariam Boutaib: Ramapo College. After visiting the campus, it was an easy decision.

Milton Cordero: I will attend Albright College. I will be playing football there.

Heather Atamian: At the College of New Jersey because I am interested in what their Criminology department has to offer. Joice Solis: PCCC.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Where will you be in Sept. 2014?

Caitlin Sawicki, Devon Edwards, Sarah Bielen, David Fermin, Shauntea Brown, Timothy Finan.

Mohammad Abdelkarim: William Paterson University. Justina Soltys: I will be in Rhode Island at Johnson and Wales University studying baking and pastry. I chose Johnson and Wales because I feel this school will give me the opportunities I need to succeed in life. Nouran Ibrahem: I’m going to a university. Listening to people’s opinions that didn’t go to college helped me make that decision. Karen Friedman: University of Connecticut because I can’t picture myself being anywhere else. Liz Barattini: Kean University. Elizabeth DeMuro: University of Vermont, majoring in biology. I have always loved Vermont and the Adirondacks area. I am truly grateful that I am able to study there. Robert Lupo: College of New Jersey, due to location and high ranking among other colleges. I plan to study psychology.

Richard Lizana: Lincoln Technical. David Fermin: Community College, doing the smart thing. Raed Ali: Starting college and working hard. Frankie Fragapane: Community College.


Ryan Downes: Montclair State. Out of all the colleges I was accepted to, MSU was the best for me. Jazmin Cena: Home probably. I didn’t apply to college. James Piros: William Paterson University. And traveling for music.

Aseei Bajes: Montclair State University who I will study business management. Youssef Aly: In my own business. Mousard Alkhalidi: Bergen Community College because NJIT did not accept me. Omar Ali: Rutgers University. Patrick Szablowski: I will be working or attending Lincoln Technical Institute. Juan Cardona: Lincoln Technical.


Roberto Ortiz: The School of Visual Arts in New York.

Laquaree Carpenter: Mobile Technical Training. I love customizing cars.

Stephen Garia: Passaic County Community College, then Ramapo.

Malik Mouzone: University.

Kyle Leychta: Working as a commercial driver. Brittany Meneghin: Montclair State University. Luis Lopez: Rutgers University. Nathalie Martinez: I love the campus at Kean University.

Jillian Hagberg: Rider University, majoring in special education. I always wanted to be a special needs teacher. I love to help those who need it most.

Fanny Cancino: Passaic County Community College. It’s economical and it gives me time to consider options and finalize my career.

Zion Hall: Hofstra University; staying organized.

Vanessa Quezada: Berkeley College gave me a half scholarship.

Sarah Bielen: Montclair State.

Gary Castillo: PCCC.

80 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Mohammad Musa: PCCC is a great place to start.

James Alvarado: I am going to school to study to be an electrician. Daniela Santos: Seton Hall. Caitlyn Salensky: The University of Rhode Island. It has always been my dream school. Beata Dul: I will be attending Farleigh Dickinson University in Madison and dorming because it’s close enough to home, but I still want to get the college experience. George Balkjy: At Passaic County Community College, studying criminal justice with the hopes of becoming a state trooper.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Where will you be in Sept. 2014?

Tyler Gamba: Rutgers University in New Brunswick to pursue an English degree. Writing is my chosen vocation in life and the relatively low cost and the esteemed faculty at Rutgers are the best resources available to help me write something worth reading. Olga Lizana: In college, something my parents were not able to do. Ayano Kaeko: Fundraising for a service project. Ronak Patel: Attending the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I made my decision after visiting the campus and falling in love with it. I also love their programs in athletics and education. Susan Liberti: Montclair State University because it has a great education program. David Kotwica: BCC.

82 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Cassidy Cardone: The College of New Jersey. I love the campus and the atmosphere there, and they have a strong communications program, which is what I plan to major in. Rachel Egyed: I will be at the University of Maryland, College Park studying kinesiology and continuing my soccer career. I always knew I wanted to attend a big school, and after visiting I knew that’s where I belonged. Hailey Meyer: Montclair State University due to its proximity to family and friends. It also has an excellent reputation for educating future teachers. Mohammad Abdelkarim: William Paterson University. Jessica Peralta: William Paterson because of their speech-language pathology program.

Joseph Verrico: I will be attending Rutgers University, majoring in Biology and following a premed track. I have wanted to be a doctor for as long I can remember. Samantha Segda: I will be at Caldwell University. Emily Alfonso: Felician College as a nursing major. Bailey Snyder: University.

Montclair State


Kira Abrams: Nick Hawrylko, a graduate of the 2013 class. He helped me get through my last year here and dealing with the plebians.

Who was your greatest influence?

Keith Bassford: I have a Learning Disability…. No way, Really? It’s just the different way I learn. After all these years of working hard and trying to figure it all out, I want to take this opportunity to thank those along the way that helped me with my journey. It’s amazing how you look back and realize it’s a good team of people who made sure that I received the tools necessary to be successful. I couldn’t have done it by myself—with the help of very supportive dedicated professionals, my life has changed. There is one person that I need to thank individually, that is Mr. Hunter, my resource room teacher from School 5. He save me! Despite doubts by some, I will be attending the college of my choice, Centenary College in Hackettstown. My journey is not finished, this is only my beginning. For the boy that couldn’t read, I’ve done alright... I just learn differently that’s all! Because of Mr. Hunter and his commitment to teaching, and my team of professionals throughout the years, I am a Clifton Public School success story. And I would like to be continued!

Asma Baker: Even though I just met him, Coach Peck has already influenced me for the better. Justina Soltys: There isn’t just one single person who has touched and affected my life, my greatest influences are the people around me. Karen Friedman: Mrs. Cinque because she is one of the only teachers to connect with me over the years and she really helped me get involved. Also, my little sister. Everything I do is to set a good example for her. Elizabeth DeMuro: Mrs. Cinque, my French teacher for the last three years. And my mom and dad. Nouran Ibrahem: My mom, she pushed me to be who I am today. Without her I don’t know where I would be. I love you mom. Robert Lupo: My mother and father. Jillian Hagberg: My parents. They work so hard to give me what I need and I truly appreciate it. They do their best to make sure that our family is happy. They do a great a job.

Matthew Biondi: My junior year English teacher, Ms. Chuff. She has a true passion for English and wants to teach it to the best of her ability. She is the reason why I want to teach English in the future. Sarah Bielen: My family, in particular my grandma, who has always supported and encouraged me with everything I do throughout the years. Caitlin Sawicki: My parents. They have helped and supported me, through the good and bad times. Beata Dul: My parents, most definitely, because they have given up everything for me to be the first to go to college in the family. Aseei Bajes: Some of my teachers, but mostly mom. She is the smartest and strongest person I have ever known. Tyler Gamba: Mr. Christopher Henry and Dr. Elissa Greenwald. They are the best AP history and English teachers in the world, respectively. Without their friendship and guidance, my years in high school would have been infinitely more dull. Clifton Merchant • June 2014



Who was your greatest influence?

Zion Hall: Mrs. Cinque and my mother

James Piros: My parents and my manager.

Alberto Rodriguez: Steve Cook. He believes that even at your worst you can do anything, with consistency and drive.

Frankie Fragapone: My mom. She helped me become who I am today. Without her I would be nothing.

Mohammad Abdelkarim: My parents.

Ryan Downes: My parents and my coach.

Richard Lizana: My auto shop teacher.

Jasmin Cena: My grandma.

David Fermin: My parents.

Eridon Hoda: My parents.

Joseph Espinal: Edward Levasn.

Billy Algieri: Sgt. Major Davis.

Raed Ali: My brother.

Laquare Carpenter: Mr. Ashworth.

Heather Atamian: My older sister. George Balkjy: My dad because I would like to grow and mature into the same great person he is. Shauntea Brown: My parents always supported me.

Liz Barattini: Mrs. Maack.

Malik Mouzone: Coach Covello.

Hailey Meyer: My greatest influence was my brother Robert who always pushed me to do my best. He may have been hard on me, but I always knew he just wanted me to succeed.

Adam Kopitar: Mrs Peck. Brittany Meneghin: My sister. She has gone so far, truly inspiring. Luis Lopez: Mr Ashworth and Mr. Lesler. Joice Solis: Myself.


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Roberto Ortiz: I am most influenced by nature, especially trees or anything that shows me God’s beautiful bounty. James Alvarado: Seeing my dad work so hard to bring our family forward has really inspired me to make him proud. Victoria Marcucci: My sister, who graduated last year, Class of 2013.Naveira Paulino: My parents, who have been my rock and have been there for me always throughout. Avani Sojitra: My brother Avi (right). He was the valedictorian for the class of 2013 and that pushed me to see what I can do if I work hard. Nathalie Martinez: My mom and God. Emily Choque: teachers.

My mother and

Fanny Cancino: Julie Baez.

Enis Sochertg: Mr. Ashworth. David Fernandez: My dad. Caitlyn Salensky: Mr. Gengaro for always reminding me of my full potential.

Francine Selvakumar: My chemistry teacher and robotics coach, Ms. Dituri, have influenced me the most. I’ve learned to be independent and started thinking in multiple ways. She is truly my favorite. Raven Thomas: My dad and my mom had an equal influence on me. Dianna McKenna: My mother because she always pushed me to do well and was always proud of me when I succeeded.

Vanessa Quezada: Polibia Hernandez for giving me advice.

Susan Liberti: My family.

Mohammed Musa: My parents.

Cassidy Cardone: My mom has always stressed the importance of academics and I wouldn’t be where I am now without her support.

Dylan Amico: My teacher Mrs. Fun as like a second mom to me, and helped me a lot through high school.

Rachel Egyed: My greatest influence has always been my family. They are my biggest fans and they support me with everything.

Ruchi Desai: My older brother who taught me that it is important to work hard and set goals but at the same time, have fun on my journey to achieving those girls.

Youssef Aly: My parents. Gary Castillo: Messi. Monard Alkhalidi: Mr. Ashworth. Omar Ali: Mr. Lesler. Patrick Szablowski: My cousin, Robert Szablowski, R.I.P. Phanor V.: My mother.

David Kotwica: My parents.

Milton Cordero: Steve Covello.

Nick Flaherty: My family as a whole has always been there for me.

Juan Cardona: My father.

Jessica Peralta: My mom and dad.

Olga Lizana: My parents.

Samantha Segda: Mrs. Holland.

Xavier Grant: Myself, because everyone said I couldn’t do it.

Emily Afonso: My parents are my biggest influence.

Tim Finan: Myself.

Bailey Snyder: My mom.

Daniela Santos: My mother for being my number one supporter.

Tiadorn Rue: My parents. Gabriella Scancarella: My parents.

Sarah Fusco: My sister, Kaitlin.

Richie Bandurski: Mr. Lesler and Sgt. Maj. Davis without a doubt. Maurice Marsilla: My teachers, parents, sister, guidance counselors, coaches and my friends. Jennifer Koppers: My mom because she is always encouraging me to not settle and to keep pushing myself. Clifton Merchant • June 2014 85

Q&A Kathy Kwiecien: Demi Lovato.

Who was your greatest influence? My mom and

Joseph Verrico: Mom and dad. Brittany Griffin: My whole family always supported me no matter what I wanted to do, or what I was doing. Ashley Humphreys: My greatest influence is my mother. Eman Alfawair: Beyonce.

My mom and

Jenelee Santos: My parents. Matthew Bodnar: My mom and dad, Lisa and Bob. Annerys Matos: My English teacher sophomore and junior year who helped me a lot. Agnes Blachut: My sister Kathy because she taught me that no matter how hard things get, you never give up because in the end it will all be worth it. Corey Peirone: Bruce Lee. Nicholas Vette: My scout leaders and dad. Shannon Christie: My mother because she taught me to achieve and strive for the best and never settle for anything less than that. Daniel Natale: My parents, because they showed me that I should want to succeed for myself, not only for them. April Rastaetter: My late grandmother, Annemarie Rastaetter. She taught me everything there is to know about the real world, and influenced me to never give up and chase my dreams no matter what obstacles stand in my way. Priya Parthasarathy: My private art teacher – Mr. Sung 86 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Manal Khalil: My mother. She always reminded me that education was important and you can achieve so much by having knowledge. I learned from her that knowledge does not just approach you in textbook facts, but in experience. She moved to America when she was just 16 and I admire her so much for how well she adapted to a new environment. She has instilled in me the many lessons her mother taught her and I hope to pass them down to my children. My mother is my hero and, by far, the smartest person I know. Anthony DeChellis: My grandfather showed me what true strength, determination, character and courage is while he bravely fought for his life. Though he lost his fight, I carry on his legacy and live by the values that he has instilled in me. Dominick Perino: My dad. Kenneth Bucsko: Track teammates D’Andre Fernandez and Intashan Chowdhary. Daniela Santacruz: My mom. Cristina German: My theatre teacher, Mr. Smith helped me push my bounties and love acting. Janae Quinanes: Both my parents pushed me to do better and always reminded me that I can do anything when I put my mind to it. Devin Broughton: My mother. She’s a strong, independent woman with a heart full of love. Ruhi Bunglaniala: My parents. I know it is a cliche, but they have always been there for me, made me happy, and done everything they can for me. Now it’s my turn.

Curille McKenna: “My abilities to cooperate with my peers and lead while simultaneously assuming my own responsibility, qualities essential to my aspired career as a physician, has been fostered in Keystone and the Boys & Girls Club,” wrote the PCTI grad ranked 32nd in her class. She is the Clifton Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year for 2014 and received a $2,500 scholarship. “Boys & Girls Clubs, to me, are not just mere facilities for recreation and after school care, but a facility of givers who make great impacts on young people’s lives each day and help them see their worth. I do not think there are enough words to express how grateful I am to the Club and how much it means to me, but as I prepare for university education I know my future will be great because of the foundations instilled within me from the Club.” McKenna will be attending Seton Hall University in the fall, on her path to become a cardiologist.

No matter your vehicle’s make, model or year, Fette’s new Quick Lane is the place to go for tires, brakes, batteries, oil changes and other light maintenace. Service Manager Thomas Grimont with John Fette and Quick Lane Manager Rodger Pietsch.

The Fette Family continues to make the automotive experience easier. With the addition of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center between their Ford and Infiniti Showrooms, Fette has added a new way to provide all the services your car or truck needs most. From oil changes to new tires, services are performed by factory-trained experts and on your schedule. No appointment is needed and you’ll get service while you wait.

Owner John Fette explains: “We’ll take care of any make or model, using quality parts from trusted brands like Motorcraft and name-brand tires from Goodyear, Continental, Michelin and other major brands. “We’ll inspect your vehicle’s components and systems from top to bottom, then give you a report that will help you easily monitor your car or truck’s maintenance needs,” adds Fette. “Come and give Fette Quick Lane a try.”

Open Mon-Fri 730 am - 6 pm • Sat 7 am -3:30 pm

See store for details. Offer expires 7/31/14. Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Arts & Culture

The Clifton Community Band, still under the baton of Maestro Bob Morgn, perform at Lambert Castle on June 22.

Lambert Castle, home of the Passaic County Historical Society, at 3 Valley Rd., Paterson, presents In Tune with Nature on June 15 at 5 pm. The Eco-music ensemble Englewinds will launch the 2014 Lambert Castle Concert Series. The performance will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act with classical music celebrating open space, wild animal habitat and more. Admission to the concert is $15. Seating is limited, no reservations will be taken. On June 22, at 4 pm on the north lawn at Lambert Castle, the Clifton Community Band presents Music at the Castle: A Welcome to Summer. Admission to the concert is free, donations requested. Parking at the Castle is limited, and will be first come first serve. Other off-site parking will be available. Bring your own seating. In the case of inclement weather call to confirm that the concert has not been cancelled. For a list of concerts and more details on the Society or the hours of the Castle, go to or call 973-247-0085 ext. 207. 88 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

An American Master Artist’s Retrospective: Louis Bouché is a groundbreaking exhibit at the Clifton Arts Center showcasing mural sections that once hung in the lobby of Shulton, the former Clifton cosmetic company. These mural sections were painted by Bouché between 1946-1948 and were titled Womanhood throughout the ages pays scented tribute to

Venus, Goddess of Beauty. The mural’s accurate workmanship includes the cosmetics, hair-dos and costumes of the various periods. The American artist grew up in Paris and died on Aug. 7, 1969 in Pittsfield, Mass. In conjunction to the mural sections, the Woodstock (NY) Art Association and Museum is loaning selected paintings from their permanent Bouché collection. The Art in Embassies Program from Washington, DC is also loaning the 1948 painting of Spring in Park by Bouché. The exhibit opens on June 25 and is displayed through July 26. A reception, open to the public, is on June 24 from 4 to 8 pm. Admission is $3 for non-members. The Clifton Arts Center & Sculpture Park is at 900 Clifton Ave. For details, go to The PCCHC is offering arts and history re-grants. The deadline for arts applications is July 10, and for history applications, July 17. Go to for details or contact Susan Balik at or 973-684-5444.

Top left, Kathleen Kellaigh and real-life husband and ATC Co-Founder Joel Robertson as Lady Macbeth and Macbeth in The Conservatory Players production of Shakespeare's ‘cursed’ play. Right, at the Passaic County Film Festival, from left, Lourdes Cortez, President & CEO of the North Jersey Federal Credit Union, Freeholders Hector C. Lora, Nicole Romero, Freeholder Pat Lepore and James Giffin of the credit union with top producer Nicole Romero of PCTI.

ATC Studios offers a Summer Shakespeare Conservatory June 30 to July 25, Mondays through Fridays, 10 am to 2 pm at ATC’s Downtown Clifton studios. Director Kathleen Kellaigh wrote: “The four week program is based on the premise that there is no better way to understand Shakespeare than through performance and there is no better way to master performance than by doing Shakespeare.” Those 13 to 15 years of age may audition for acceptance into the program. No audition is required for those 16 and over. Participation is limited to 20, so students, actors, directors and educators are encouraged to register early. For more details, including prices, go to, or email ATC at

The Clifton Association of Artists is presenting a Summer Show and Sale at the Lambert Castle now through July 27, with visiting hours 1 to 4 pm, Wednesday through Sunday. An awards ceremony is on June 14. Show Chair is Eugenia Gore and Tom Dzubina is CAA President. For details, call 973-546-8977. The Passaic County Senior Citizen Art Exhibition is open to those age 60 and over. Entries of various media will be displayed June 9-27 at the Passaic County Senior Services office, 930 Riverview Dr., Totowa. There is reception and awards ceremony on June 27 at 2 pm. For details on this event and other activities, call 973-569-4060.

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Arts & Culture Historic Botany Village begins its outdoor free summer music concerts at 6:30 pm on June 6 with Clifton’s Victoria Warne Band. It is the first in the series which is staged under the stars in Sullivan Square in the center of Botany Village. Other concerts in June are on the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th. In case of inclement weather, call 609-731-5454 after 5 pm to see if a concert is on. Botany also hosts Sunday outdoor flea market, the first of which is on June 15 and the last is on Dec. 7. Get details at

Amanda Stetz is an 8th grader at CCMS who is having her first solo art show through June 30 at the Main Clifton Memorial Library on Piaget Ave. She is pictured here with samples of her work. “Amanda draws 24/7 and people came up to us and said it’s time to show and get her out there,” wrote her mom Cheryl. “She is very serious and excited about her art, but still maintains an “A” average.” Her drawings are in mixed mediums: pencil, colored pencil, acrylic paints, charcoal. There are portraits and landscapes and mom reports she has over 3,000 followers on instagram. The exhibit is on view during regular library hours.

Passaic County Clerk Kristin M. Corrado will be in the Clifton Health Office on June 28 from 11 am to 2 pm to offer free Veterans Identification Cards. These cards identify Veterans who served and received an honorable discharge following their military service. The ID cards provide vets with discounts or benefits offered by stores and restaurants. To obtain a card, present their DD-214 along with proof of identity and residence in Passaic County. To schedule an outreach at a place of business or have any questions, contact Corrado’s office at 973-225-3690.

A Citywide Garage Sale is July 12 to benefit the Clifton Arts Center. Participation fee is $25 of which $10 will be used for a garage sale permit and $15 is a tax-deductible donation to Clifton Arts Center Inc. The CAC will create a list of participating home addresses by neighborhoods to make it easy for shoppers. For an application form, email Return the form with the $25 fee by noon on July 2 to be included on the listing and in the promotion.

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More than 800 Cliftonites came out to fight cancer on the grounds of Clifton High School on May 31. Families and friends walked in the 10th anniversary of Clifton’s Relay for Life because they personally, or someone they know has battled cancer . They did more than walk around a track all night. They joined a national movement with the American Cancer Society that has raised over $3 billion since

its inception for the fight against cancer. They walked to create more birthdays around the world and hope for those battling the disease. Shown below are some of the 72 cancer survivors as they celebrated their triumph over the disease by walking in the Survivors’ Lap, kicking off the Relay. Visit to make a donation or to see more photos.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Pets & Nature Dr. Lesko & John Coco

Got the Bees

One health tip that eye doctor Dr. William Lesko wants all to heed is ‘don't kill the bees.’ Bees swarm in late May and early June as they set up hives. When this happens near homes or buildings, people’s first reaction often is to destroy them. Don’t do it, says Lesko, who, besides being an eye physician is a mentor for beekeepers, both here and in Vermont where he has an apiary on his Twin Rivers farm. “In New Jersey, without bees, we would have no fruits and vegetables. In California, there would be no almonds,” said Lesko. Crops need cross-pollination by bees. Commercial beekeepers even travel across states and set up hives temporarily to help farmers. In late May, Lesko heard a ruckus outside his Clifton office. Employees pointed to a swarm of honey bees by the building. Lesko contacted fellow bee keeper John Coco (who many know as the grounds keeper at Clifton Stadium) to rescue the swarm. Honey bees especially need help because of the spread of colony collapse disease. Coco gently brushed the queen bee and her workers into an empty hive he had brought.. The bees now safely swarm at Coco’s apiary in Highland Lakes. 92 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Philip Pampinella recently lost his wife, Arlene, of 52 years. Both were pet lovers. Their former dog, Bart, was a rescue, and he went everywhere with Phil. The two were inseparable. Upon Arlene’s passing, Phil decided to have a May 3 cookout in Arlene’s honor, asking family and friends to bring only a can of dog food for the Clifton Fire Department Pet Drive. The response was overwhelming, he said, adding that guests were incredibly generous, bringing everything from food, toys and treats, to even a pet ramp, cage and carrier...a tribute to his late wife. The items filled Phil’s van. All the items were received on May 6 at Fire Station 5 on Brighton Rd, with Chief Vincent Colavitti, Jr., Deputy Chief Michael Sauer, Deputy Chief Norman Tahan, CFD Office Manager Ann-Marie Foster Animal Hospital and the Clifton Animal Shelter have teamed up to have an Open House Cat Adoption Day. The event is at Foster Animal Hospital, 1347 Broad St. on June 14, from 1 to 4 pm. The cats and kittens will all be on location for adoption. Visitors will also be offered free refreshments, facility tours, raffles, giveaways and a 50/50 with proceeds to benefit the Clifton Animal Shelter. Angels of Animals will participate in an Uno Partner Program fundraiser at the Uno Chicago Grill, River Front Center, Route 3 West, Clifton, on June 10. Friends, family and the general public must present a coupon for either dine in

Deputy Fire Chief Norm Tahan, Phil Pampinella, Chief Vincent Colavitti Jr.

Lancaster, and Firefighters Todd Healy and Frank Neuberger standing by ready to unload his vehicle. “Phil his friends and family definitely have a heart of gold,” said Ann-Marie Lancaster, who coordinated the month long fundraiser at the Clifton Fire Houses.

“This was an incredibly generous donation to a very special cause. With a tear in his eye, Phil drove off waving, and we couldn’t be prouder of such a good-hearted soul and wonderful resident of Clifton.” To make a pet food contribution, call 973-470-5802.

or take out to their server and pay the full price. After payment, 15% to 20% of the total pretax check will be donated to Angels of Animals. Coupons can be obtained

from or directly from the restaurant. For more details on Angels of Animals, and adoptions, call 973-932-0039 or go to Serving NJ / NY Area

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Community Milestones Join the Fight Against ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and join Team Najda in support of Clifton’s own Mike Najda at the Saddle River County Park in Saddle Brook. There are three ways to support the cause: t-shirt sponsor, virtual walker or get out and walk on June 8 at 9:30 am. Go to and look for Team Najda. Clifton Parents Requiring Action and Information for Special Education (P.R.A.I.S.E.) is a non-adversarial parent support group for parents and families of special needs children. Meetings are at the Allwood Library on the fourth Monday of every month, September through June. Get details at or join the Facebook page. Do you know, teach, or love a child or adult with autism? Then join the Walk-a-Thon and Free Family Carnival on June 8 at 11 am at CHS presented by Parents of Autistic Children (POAC). For more info on the group, the workshops or the walk, go to or call 732-785-1099.





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94 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

The Lembryk Soccer Academy enters its 21st year of training for all ages and abilities. Camp Director Stan Lembryk is the Head CHS Boys Coach and a former professional player. He holds a USSF A License, is a Clifton HS and Clifton Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame Inductee, and a seven time high school coach of the year. Camps are July 28 through Aug. 1 on the campus of Woodrow Wilson Middle School. Players receive a ball and t-shirt. Go to or e-mail As another year has come and gone, July is right around the corner, wrote Mike Porter. “For the past six years we have celebrated the life of my son David with a motorcycle run and family picnic and included in it was all of the things that David treasured.” “This past year has been a very challenging year for the Porter clan and it is with a heavy heart that we are not going to be holding the event this year. The terrible disease that took David's life does not take any time off as we are and the needs of these families are still there. We would like to reach out to all of our past friends and supports and ask that although we are not holding our traditional motorcycle run and family picnic, we would still appreciate if friends and families can be generous in their donations as they have in the past so we can once again help a family in need.” To contribute and continue the good work of the work the Porter Family does in the memory of David, go to

CLIFTON JEWISH CENTER Tradition, philanthropy, friendship and faith have united the congregants of the Clifton Jewish Center for 70 years. This June 22, members of the synagogue will celebrate the anniversary with a gala dinner-dance at their home on 18 Delaware St., located in Clifton’s Middle Village. In the 1920s, a group of young Jewish men from Clifton formed a social club while still in high school. Since there were nine of them, they chose to call themselves The Planets (back then, Pluto still counted). At the 1948 groundbreaking of the Clifton Jewish Center on Delaware Ave., Those high school friendships confrom left are Fred Friend, Abraham Weinstein, Milton Werksman, Max Kroll, tinued for decades and by the early Dr. Jacob Averbach, David Krugman, Abraham Feltman and Rabbi J. Harold 1940s, became an important part of Ramirowsky. Top of page, the late Rabbi Eugene Markovitz. the bigger galaxy of family and es began to be held three afternoons per week and friends that united to establish Clifton's first synagogue. fundraising began to build a permanent home. The Clifton Jewish Council was formed in the spring The original group of families expanded quickly and of 1943 and the late Maurice Karp elected president. The in 1946, J. Harold Ramirowsky became the first rabbi to next year, in 1944, under the direction of the group's seclead the congregation full time, albeit in temporary quarond president, Abraham Feldman, the name was ters. The building on Delaware St., which gave the changed to Clifton Jewish Center. Hebrew School class-

70 YEARS STRONG Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Community Milestones

Attending a 2010 dinner honoring former presidents were, from left, Arthur Friedman (2003-2005), Len Lafer (20002002), Jerry Friend (1976-1978), Shirley Kleinberg (2005-2007), Harry Feldman (1980-1982; 1987-1988; 2002-2003), Henry Poller (1993-1995), Paul Berko (1991-1993), Max Birnbaum (1995-1997), Steve Goldberg (2007-2009), Bill Frisch (2009-2011). Below, Rabbi Bob Mark currently leads the congregation.

CJC a permanent home, opened in September 1950, just in time to celebrate the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rabbi Eugene Markovitz led the congregation. The legacy of Rabbi Markovitz is vital to the history of the Clifton Jewish Center. His conviction that young people must always be given a chance to learn and his determination to practice and teach tolerance were the basis for the film “The Writing on the Wall” starring Hal Linden. The movie focused on an ugly incident on Halloween night in 1988 during which a group of four young teenage boys from Clifton sprayed anti-Semitic graffiti on the garage next to the rabbi’s home, the center’s building and the car of the rabbi’s neighbor. The judge in the case was ready to send the young men to prison, but at the suggestion of Rabbi Markovitz, they were given community service and were required to meet with the rabbi. Rabbi Markovitz took the boys under his tutelage, taught them Jewish history, about the Holocaust, about connections between Christianity and Judaism. His goal, he said at the time, was that the boys understand the importance of tolerance and respect. Rabbi Markovitz led the congregation for 52 years. Membership in the congregation reached a high of 96 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

more than 400 families at one point. At present, 115 families belong to the congregation. The current rabbi, Bob Mark, is determined to increase the CJC’s outreach and bring in more families, young and old. A Conservative Egalitarian Synagogue, the Clifton Jewish Center is dedicated to providing friendship and camaraderie for its members and is committed to helping the local community through philanthropy. The CJC has conducted clothing and food drives, provides educational seminars on crime prevention and fire safety, adult education films and lectures, craft shows, book clubs, as well as activities such as holiday celebrations and group travel. In her message to her congregants this spring, CJC President Elinor Alboum noted that among members of the synagogue are those that have been with the CJC for more than 50 years. These ‘Golden Members’ will be acknowledged at the gala. CJC Executive Director Karen Schutz added, “Mayor Anzaldi will present the CJC with a resolution from the City Council in honor of our 70th anniversary. A proclamation from the New Jersey State Legislature will also be read. We are honored to be part of the wonderful Clifton community. We are thankful for the community’s continued support and look forward to another 70 years.” For more info, call 973-772-3131.

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Party Places A Personal Touch

The Mountainside Inn By Domenick Reda

What if someone told you that one of the best days of your life is nearby, simply there for the taking? That this day is just waiting for you at a location so close you could practically touch and taste it? Making special memories for guests is a point of pride for Lou Barbato, Sr., owner of the Mountainside Inn at 509 Hazel St. in Clifton. Weddings, birthdays, awards dinners, family reunions — any type of important event can be celebrated here in a comfortable atmosphere with attentive service. Mountainside Inn’s hospitality dates back to 1964, a Barbato family tradition for 50 years. What is it that makes the Mountainside Inn stand out? Mountainside Inn owner Lou Barbato Sr. explains it best. “I think it’s because we are small and give events personal attention,” said Barbato. “On any given day when we do a wedding; we only do one wedding. The personal service is really the main thing. When someone books a party they are speaking to an owner, not a banquet manager.” Or even the deputy assistant junior banquet manager, when dealing with one of many of New Jersey’s large banquet facilities. Speaking directly to the man in charge is a great time saver and relieves stress when planning an event. At the Mountainside Inn, not only is there always an owner on the premises, but the banquet hall features top notch service and a varied menu for any kind of occasion. The Mountainside Inn offers not only wedding 98 June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

packages, but also repass menus, brunch, lunch, dinner and buffet menus, as well as outside catering, all for a very reasonable price. “Actually, we really do everything; high school swim, wrestling team and academic awards ceremonies, bridal showers, communions and graduations,” Barbato noted. “We have a lot of graduation parties coming up.” Mountainside welcomes just about any type of occasion and celebrations of various sizes. And the menu offer a reflection of items that indicate Clifton’s large ethnic heritage — Italian specialties, Polish delicacies, hearty German fare, traditional American choices. Mountainside Inn has the capacity to host parties of up to 200 people and provides ample parking. Located in close proximity to routes 3, 46, 80 and the Garden State Parkway, the inn is nestled near the base of Garrett Mountain, the inspiration for the name Mountainside. Even though the inn has the capacity to seat 200, the largest wedding partys are typically no more than 150 patrons, “in order to leave enough room for guests to let loose on the dance floor,” Barbato said. “When we have a wedding, we, and the guests, need more space.” Barbato said the restaurant prides itself on making guests feel at home and not overcrowded. “This is what makes the event memorable for them, why they keep coming back and referring us to friends.” In the hospitality business, it’s a well-known that “the main thing people like is the personal service,” he said. “That is the most important thing above anything else.” Barbato said a big part of offering the best service possible is having a professional staff of servers. “For a full wedding of 150 people we will probably have six waiters or waitresses and two bartenders,” Barbato said. “and five cooking staff.” Mountainside’s full wedding package includes not only dinner, but open bar, champagne, a cocktail hour and, of course, wedding cake. Not only can patrons feel at home, but with the reasonable prices, also not worry about being able to afford the cost of their celebration. Barbato knows the memories we make with friends and family will last a lifetime. Mountainside Inn has been family-oriented since its inception. Barbato’s parents, Mary and Alfred, opened the place with childhood friends Ida and Carl Santillo. Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Party Places Prior to going into business in 1964, the Santillos opened The Corral, also on Hazel St,. The Corral, which began as a roadside hot dog stand in the early 1950s, was since sold but is still located next to the Mountainside Inn. When his parents and the Santillos opened for business, Lou Sr., was only a teenager. He worked in the restaurant as a dishwasher and eventually as a food preparer. During the 50 years that he’s been involved with Mountainside Inn, he was away from the establishment At a recent luncheon and reunion of Givaudan workers at The Mountainside, for only two years, years during from left: Bill Van Eck, Jade Travers, Steve Kozak, Agnes Donohue, Bob which he was in the US Army. As Obser, Jo Obser and Dave Patterson. Below, a postcard circa 1965. soon as he returned, he went back to started out in the kitchen. Now he will do everything. work, this time to run the kitchen. He will fill in by working in the office. Or if I need him Lou and his late wife Isabelle, along with his brother to bartend he will do that.” James with wife Diane, as well as Lou’s sister Judy Barbato said his son’s role depends on the size of the Reinstra and her husband John, purchased the restauevent they are having on any particular day. rant from Lou’s parents in 1980. Then in 2007 Lou and Because of the personal service offered at the Isabelle bought it from the rest of the family to become Mountainside Inn, generations of guests have come the sole owners. back for their children’s weddings and their grandchilSince his wife passed away, Lou said his son, Lou Jr., dren’s as well. also helps run the place now. “We are not too small, but we are not big either,” “He is pretty much the general manager,” the elder Barbato said. “With us, you don’t get lost.” Barbato explained. “He also ran the kitchen. We all


June 2014 • Clifton Merchant







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Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Party Places

A Hidden Gem Uncovered By Irene Jarosewich

As she took his order, the waitress asked what he did for a living. Jim Robbins was sitting in Clifton’s Tick Tock Diner where he had pulled in for a quick bite. The president of the consulting firm New County Management, Robbins explained that his business was real estate – specifically the redevelopment of distressed properties. “I bring beautiful old buildings back to life,” Robbins told her. “Well,” she replied, “you can find a lot of those in Passaic.” Despite years in North Jersey, Robbins, who lives in Verona, and who once bowled with a league at Clifton’s Van Houten Lanes and had been a bank loan officer in Jersey City for a good part of his career, had never been to Passaic. With directions from the waitress, he drove out Tick Tock’s back entrance onto Allwood Road, turned left on Passaic Avenue and drove straight into the old downtown. “I remember passing some of the Dutch Colonials, the park along the way, the municipal building, driving around and realizing that there were some great structures in Passaic.” When he passed the former Elks Lodge at 29-31 Howe Ave., the boarded up windows and For Sale sign caught his eye. “The minute I saw it,” said Robbins, “I thought, I can do this.” Working with city leaders, he purchased the building in late 2004 with plans to restore it. 102

June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Good Bones Designed in the style known as Italian Renaissance Revival by architect John Kelly, the cornerstone for the sandstone colored building was laid in 1922 and the building opened in 1924. “Architecturally,” said Robbins, “the building had, what we in the business call ‘good bones’.” During the early 20th century, U.S. major cities were home to a chapter of the fraternal organization Benevolent and Protective Order or the Elks, or simply an Elks Lodge. Membership in a town’s Elks Lodge served as an opportunity for local business owners After valet parking, guests are whisked to an elegant to meet, for community leaders and politicians to network, as a hub for charitable ballroom that dates to the 1920’s ... the gracious Garden events and social activity. More than a milVista, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, lion members continue to belong to Elks is a lovely choice for celebrating grand and gala events. Lodges in the United States, including See more at Lodge 1569 in Clifton. In the mid-1920s, the building owned by industry in Paterson. As a non-denominational social the Passaic Elks Lodge, located just a block off Main club nationwide, the Elks offered a rare and important Ave., housed a bank on the first floor, hotel rooms on the opportunity for Jewish, Catholic and Protestant mertop floors, marble stairs at the entry, and on the second chants, as well as many ethnic groups to work together floor, an elegant and majestic ballroom. These were and their lodge was a central building in this city.” some of the good bones that Robbins saw. The historic preservation status granted Robbins some He moved forward with plans to restore the building tax relief and the opportunity to apply for government to its former grandeur. grants to help with the restoration. To qualify for historic status, the building had to be restored to its original A Difficult History intent – a venue for social activity. “The Great Depression forced the Elks to sell the “I couldn’t convert the building into offices, for exambuilding in the mid-1930s, and after that, the building ple, or a medical facility. Housing and a social venue was had a difficult history,”said Robbins. “In the 1950s and all I could do,” said Robbins. 1960s, the ballroom space was still used for dances, and The restoration of the top floors into hotel rooms was many older residents of Passaic have thanked me for not realistic, so Robbins chose another housing option restoring the space. However, after that the building was and converted the space into apartments for seniors. boarded up for about 20 years. When we bought it, the building was in complete disarray.” Robbins, passionate about bringing old buildings back to life, applied for the lodge to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a status that was granted in 2005. “To qualify for the National Register, several standards need to be met,” noted Robbins, “among them that the building was one of social significance for the community. Passaic was a vibrant commercial district in the 1920s, with close connections to the silk mills and textile

Elegant Venue, Reasonable Price The restoration of the magnificent ballroom captured Robbin’s heart and soul. With towering ceilings and crystal-laden chandeliers, gold gilt trim atop stately pillars and soaring windows, the ballroom was revived and opened in 2008 as the Garden Vista, a venue for beautiful weddings, family reunions, quinceañera fiestas, Mitzvah celebrations, fundraisers, anniversaries, birthdays and corporate events. Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Party Places

On the evening of your event, a doorman will greet you at the entrance to the building, as your car is whisked away with free valet parking. You will be directed to an elevator that will take you up to the renovated ballroom. The Garden Vista includes a stage, as well as a wraparound mezzanine level with a grand staircase for a grand entrance. Approximately 400 guests can be accommodated for a standing buffet or a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre event. However, Robbins and his team consider 200 people to be about tops for a sit-down dinner with a dance floor. Committed to offering an affordable venue, Robbins works hard to keep prices low with reasonable menus and a rarely found, and very popular, BYOB policy. “We don’t have a liquor license, so guests can bring their own. We provide bartenders and bar service, but with a BYOB policy, you not only get to choose and bring your preferred beverages, the cost is greatly reduced,” said Robbins. While the Garden Vista provides elegant linens and china, another way to reduce the costs is for guests to bring their own decorations and flower arrangements, as long “there is no confetti, no rice, nothing taped or tacked to the floors, ceilings and walls, in general, respect for the historic restoration maintained.” Even though the basic starting price of a wedding package is only $40 per person, Robbins insists that all guests get full service. Besides bartenders, a staff of 1012 people serve a typical event, including waiters, and chefs, doorman, valets, coat attendants. Only one event at a time is scheduled, so each event receives the staff’s full attention, a nice change of pace “from wedding factories,” noted Robbins. 104

June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

The promise of the Garden Vista, he said, is “to transport you back to a time when service and attention to detail mattered. It’s a grand ballroom, which Manhattan would love to call its own. One customer described it best to me - an elegant room in a marquis space.” Focus on Charity In keeping with another one of the purposes of the original Passaic Elks Lodge to actively support the local community through charitable work, Robbins offers local not-for-profit organization the use of the ballroom for free for two hours on Tuesday evenings. The NonProfit Tuesdays is popular “and we’ve had groups use the ballroom for large meetings, or for a fundraising event to pull in their bigger donors,” noted Robbins. Robbins also helps sponsor Passaic’s Blue Jays, a Little League team that plays in the Roberto Clemente League. “This is our second year sponsoring that,” he said. “It’s something I really enjoy.” And while hosting charity events and offering free space to not-for-profits is one way to contribute to the local community, Robbins is particularly proud of the impact that his restoration has had on the area directly surrounding his building. “Ever since we opened the restored building, I’ve noticed a definite change. Every other building on this block has made the effort to repair and improve their facade.” Robbins understands that the restoration of older building is not for the faint of heart, yet also believes that such restorations is not just good for the buildings, but for entire neighborhoods. He is proud of the dusty gem that he discovered in the heart of Passaic that once again shines and sparkles.


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Clifton Merchant • June 2014


By Domenick Reda Meet our CHS Students of the Month, selected by the VP’s of each wing. For the Love of Learning For Keilani Coy, an East Wing freshman, learning is always exciting and new. “I really enjoy discovering new words to improve my vocabulary,” she said. Dilan Samo Argenys Garcia “English comes to me easily because I love to read new books. I learn something new with each one.” the past to the present. “I love Not surprisingly, Coy’s favorite class is learning why things are the way English with Renee Holland. “She is my they are today,” she said. “At favorite teacher,” Coy said. “She makes us CHS I get a great education with believe in ourselves.” teachers who enjoy teaching.” As a freshman, Coy is happy to “meet Coy was not surprised to be and socialize with new people everyday,” chosen as one of the Students of but her best friend is Ashley Cordero the Month, having earned distinwhom she credits with teaching her to “let guished honors for the first two loose” and not be shy. “She is funny and marking periods. “I always do all caring,” Coy said. “We share common my homework and study,” she interests and she is always there for me.” said. “But I am very humbled.” Coy also balances activities with acaJennifer Koppers demics. “I joined the Key Club because I A New Appreciation for History enjoy helping people in need,” Coy said. Jennifer Koppers, a senior stuShe also joined the Italian Club because “it’s a beautident in the Central Wing, did not care much for history. ful language.” “I was never a big fan,” she said. “I always found it Coy has danced for 12 years and was eager to conkind of boring.” tinue at CHS. “I wanted to keep it going,” she said. “I Koppers changed her thinking when she took a class love to express my feelings through movement.” with John Lesler. Now, it’s her favorite subject and Becoming corresponding secretary as a class office Lesler is one of her favorite the teachers because of his member, was her greatest achievement and she believes personality and despite his penchant for giving quizzes, the experience will help her in the long run. even on the first day of school. “I have really enjoyed raising money for the Class of “I realized the class would be hard,” she said. “That 2017,” she said. “In the future I want to attend the made me work harder knowing that he wasn’t one who Institute of Culinary Education in New York to become goes easy on homework and tests.” a chef and eventually own my own restaurant.” Koppers has made many friends at CHS, but dearest Coy said studying history has allowed her to connect to her is Chelsea Kresge, a student at St. Mary’s High 106

June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

School in Rutherford. “We have A Better Understanding of Self known each other since kindergarten, Shortly after Nicole Wedel, a North but our friendship started in 5th Wing senior, took her first psychology grade,” she recalled. “We help each class, she fell in love with the subject. other out an have each other’s backs. “It had a profound effect on the She is like the sister I never had.” way I think about the world and about Koppers keeps busy with several me,” she said. “Although I learned extra-curricular activities, including mostly facts about humans and their volleyball, basketball and lacrosse. behaviors, nonetheless, I was able to “I have enjoyed each sport and the apply this knowledge to myself in friends I have made from them are order to gain a better understanding of Keilani Coy some of my closest,” said Koppers. I who I am as a person. It taught me that also lifeguard at the Boys & Girls I can improve so that I can live up to Club on weekends and after practice, but I still do my my full potential.” homework!” Wedel has met many people at CHS, but considers Koppers said in the future she would like to produce Francis Ledesma, whom she met in middle school, to a movie or work behind the scenes on television show. be her closest friend. She enjoys seeing friends at school and believes her “We became best friends last year after we had most work ethic toward academics and athletics earned her a of our classes together,” she said. “Francis is extremely spot as one of the Students of the Month. kind and caring and never fails to make me laugh.” “I work hard to maintain good grades and stay on the When she is not studying for her favorite subjects, or honor roll while playing three sports,” Koppers said. “I other classes at CHS, Wedel helps others and keeps an sometimes have to put my social life on hold, but I eye on the future, which includes working abroad as a couldn’t picture doing anything else.” volunteer in Poland.

Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Students of the Month “I spent the past three summers David Montalvo. “I can call him to volunteering at a hospital,” she said. hang out or just talk about life,” he “I am also a competitor for the said. “We both love sports and take Academic Decathlon and secretary of school seriously.” the Science League Association. This Outside of school, Garcia keeps summer I will take part in Girls State busy with physical activity and sports. and do research at Rutgers.” “I play lacrosse and football, and Wedel said her favorite part of hope to play next year as well,” he school is the way it “challenges” and said. “I’d like to go to college and “motivates me to work hard and study study technical engineering.” daily” and ultimately the sense of Being named as one of the accomplishment she feels from earnStudents of the Month caught Garcia ing good grades. off guard. “I never thought that I’d be “I think I was chosen as one of the chosen, but I’m glad I was,” he said. Nicole Wedel Students of the Month because I am “That means that I must be doing hardworking and motivated,” she something right.” said. “In the future, I hope to become a psychiatrist.” Express Yourself The Value of Discipline Dilan Samo, an Annex freshman, loves to show her South Wing Sophomore Argenys Garcia knows how true colors through her art work. important discipline is for him as a student and will be “My favorite class is art with Mrs. Carrozza,” she in upcoming endeavors. said. “because I can express myself through my art “In the future, if I forget to follow procedure, my work and she helps me do that.” boss won’t give me detention,” he said. “I’ll get fired.” Samo values all of the friends she has made at CHS, Because of his emphasis on discipline, Kevin but holds one as most special. Ashworth is Garcia’s favorite teacher. “Even though he “I have a lot of really close friends, but my best is that one teacher who hunts down students for IDs and friend is Xhovana Veli because she understands me,” dress code violations, he also teaches discipline and Samo said. “She is my second half. She always puts a respect,” Garcia said. “He doesn’t just teach the book smile on my face even when I am feeling down.” he preaches it.” Although she still has high school to complete, Garcia’s best friend, who he met in middle school, is Samo already has plans to further her education after she graduates. “My aspirations include college where I will major in English,” she said. “I want to show the world that I can be a successful woman.” Samo most enjoys the satisfaction she gets at school from “passing all my classes” and maintaining a high average. “I think I was chosen as one of the Students of the Month because I care about my future,” she said. I know if I try my hardest in school, I can make it to the top, but even if I don’t, I always try my best.” 108

June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Memorial Day

Memorial Day, 2014 On the War Monument in Main Memorial Park 300 names of Cliftonites who died serving our country are inscribed. Annamaria Menconi who, along with Bill Van Eck, the groundskeeper at the Avenue of Flags, took the photos on these pages on Memorial Day at events across town. Menconi said she marches every year in the Allwood Memorial Day Parade to honor Captain Michael Tarlavsky, US Army/Special Forces, killed in Iraq on Aug. 12, 2004. His is the last name inscribed on the monument. “Michael and I were childhood friends, classmates all the way from School 1 through CHS ... I am very proud to have called him my friend. He was a special man.” 110

June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

Vito DeRobertis Peter DeRobertis

Vito & his son Pete Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Birthdays & Celebrations - June 2014

Bob & Alice DeLiberto will be married 27 years on June 27. Kiara Guerra turns 16 on June 7. Jack De Vries will be 57 on June 25. Happy 16th birthday to Yassin Aburomi on June 14. Ashley Parsons will be 24 on June 13. Mom and dad send 16 kisses to Ava Nicole Genardi who has a birthday (but no photo!) on June 9. Happy 32nd Anniversary to Eileen & Ed Gasior on June 5.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & Vinny Dalbo ....................... Holly Kocsis........................ Timmy Spears ..................... Jonathan Borrajo................. John Dominick .................... Denise Magaster................. John Traier .........................

6/1 6/1 6/1 6/2 6/2 6/2 6/2

Karl Aponte........................ Thomas Lesch ..................... Michael Musto.................... Emma Nysk........................ Rob Cone........................... Samantha Malenchak ......... Koreana Sabo ....................

6/3 6/4 6/4 6/5 6/6 6/6 6/8

Vivian Margaret was born on May 8 to Margaret and Andre Olave. Robert Ciallella ................... 6/9 Ava Nicole Genardi............ 6/9 Larry Grasso .................... 6/10 Joey Randazzo ................. 6/10 Nicole Carreno ................ 6/11 Margaret Nysk ................. 6/11 Adam Soder..................... 6/11 Cindy Brevic Goldestein .... 6/13 Steven Hatala, Sr. ............. 6/13 Anna Jurgowski ................ 6/13 Christopher Stetz .............. 6/13 Christopher Zaccone ......... 6/13 Andrew Bandurski ............ 6/14 Danielle Dvorak ................ 6/16 Derek Dvorak ................... 6/16


June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

God Bless Dorothy & Joseph DeLiberto who celebrate their 60th anniversary on June 27. Stephanie Dvorak............ Jane Justin ...................... Kristina Marchesani......... Raymond Kuruc............... Rafelina Reyes ................ Tabitha Sosa................... Jim Schubert Sr. .............. Aileen Haight ................. Alexander Conklin .......... John Hrina...................... Mike Skurski ................... Lori Homsany.................. Brittany Martorella........... Connie Musleh................ Susan McDonald............. Walter Vladyka............... Marco Greco.................. Kristen Murcko................ Monica Szewczyk........... Robert Conklin ................ Christopher Lucas............

6/16 6/16 6/16 6/18 6/18 6/18 6/18 6/20 6/22 6/23 6/24 6/25 6/25 6/26 6/27 6/27 6/28 6/28 6/29 6/30 6/30

Alan & Carolyn Spoto celebrate 30 years of marriage on June 9th. Congratulations to Frank & Brenda (Ludvik) Calandrillo on their 30th wedding anniversary on June 2. Clifton Merchant • June 2014


Openings & Prom

Mayor James Anzaldi was on hand at Clifton Commons Spirits & Wines on May 30 to make the opening official. Located next to Staples and just a short walk from Stop & Shop, the store is open Monday through Saturday 9 am to 10 pm and on Sundays from 11 am to 8 pm. Getting there is especially easy from Kingsland Rd. as it is located at the stop light.

Students and staff from the Passaic County Elks High School off of Main Ave. in Downtown Clifton attended their annual prom at the Valley Regency on May 29. The 45 students danced to the music of DJ Joey Dee and enjoyed a Mardi Gras theme. Donations to the school made by members of the Clifton Elks and other lodges made the memorable evening possible.


June 2014 • Clifton Merchant

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Clifton Merchant Magazine - June 2014  
Clifton Merchant Magazine - June 2014