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Table of Contents

What’s Inside? 6

At Paramus Catholic HS Private Schooling Their Option

10 Christian Duffy CHS Junior ROTC a Great Fit

14 CHS Class Prez Beata Dul Learning & Leading with Options

18 Brittany Guzman Back to School... On top left, that’s CHS Principal Tony Orlando with Senior Class President Beata Dul. To their right during training camp are seniors on the 2013 Fighting Mustangs. A new twist to the CHS Cheerleaders is a co-ed routine with juniors Katherine Morales, Logan Peri, Brandon Nuñez and Breanna Calderon. Middle left, 2007 CHS grad Jessica Torres is an agrisciemnce ambassador in Delaware. Right center is 2009 CHS grad Emily Buginski, a chemistry teaching assistant at Rutgers, New Brunswick. Bottom, from left, CHS junior Christian Duffy, Paramus Catholic seniors Lana Scibona and Erin Albrigh, CHS freshman Paul Michalak and CHS junior Brittany Guzman.

Making Her Own Tracks at CHS

22 Emily Buginski Teaching Chemistry at Rutgers U

24 Jessica Torres Teaching Agriscience in Delaware

30 Remembering Johnny Ten Years Since End of Watch 16,000 Magazines

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Editor & Publisher Tom Hawrylko Business Manager Cheryl Hawrylko Graphic Designer Ken Peterson Contributing Writers Robert Lisowsky, Richard Szathmary, Carol Leonard, Philip Read, Jack DeVries, Rich DeLotto, Don Lotz


44 In Their Words...

30

Johnny’s Friends & Family

50 Mustang Sports CHS Fall Season Preview

64 Marching Mustangs Led by Drum Major Rebecca Brand

66 CHS Drum Major, US Coxswain Jenny Sichel, Lady on the Lake

72 Hot Dog Nation Tour Sept. 21 Stops at Rutt’s & Hot Grill

Advertise in our October Edition Call Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.

74 True Colors Born in Botany Two Units in Training & Competition

80 The Fallen of 9/11 Nine from Clifton Perished in WTC

82 Back to School 7...? Bill Sala’s Classmates from 1952

Clifton Merchant • September 2013

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By Richard Szathmary It’s sometimes easy to forget in a town so, well, locally self-focused as this one, but not everyone of high schoolagefromCliftonnecessarilygoestohighschool in Clifton. Some 4.7 percent of Clifton’s 4,500 high schoolstudents(asopposedto9.3percentofitsgrade schoolers) attend private secondary schools, according tothebusinessintelligencesiteusa.com. That includes close friends ErinAlbright and Lana Scibona, who attend Paramus Catholic together. Neither,however,isterriblyeasytoforget.Bothmuch lookforwardtogoingbacktoschoolforsenioryear. Growth Via “Retreat” Lana and Erin alike, interestingly, who both attend services at St. Philip theApostle onValley Road, cite theirreligiousfaithasamajorreasontheirhighschool experiencesaresorewarding.“AtParamusCatholic,I found a place where I belonged,” Lana Scibona, (the blonde one) who says she had a hard time making 6 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

friendsingradeschool,toldus.“Andamoreopenenvironmentandanewapproachtomyfaith.” Erin,darker-haired,putitanotherway,that“Going toCatholicschoolmeansyougetamorepersonalexperienceandlearnmoreabouthowtogetalongwithand loveeachothergenuinely.” Both young women came to this realization via the curiouspathofParamusCatholic’sstructuredsystemof religiousretreatsforitsstudents. “MyfirstweekendretreatexperienceinMarchofmy sophomoreyearhadamassiveeffectonmylife,”Lana noted.“Onthisretreat,inthemidstofawoodedcampsite,theretreatleaderswowedmewiththeiropenness anddedicationtomakingsurealltheretreatantsfeltthe transformativeloveofGod.” ThisevenledLanatojoinParamusCatholic’sretreat team for her junior year. “I have formed new friendships, learned how to truly balance my time, think on myfeet,placetheneedsofothersbeforemyown.”


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Similarly,Erinaddedthatinitiallyshe“wasn’teven aware”thatherhighschoolhadaretreatteam,orany sortofcampusministry,“becauseitwasn’tsomething that interested me.” But after discussing it with her freshmanyearreligionteacher,shewentontheCircleof Liferetreat,oneoftheweekend-longretreatsPCruns, “togetawayfrommystrugglesathome.” AndErin,itturnedout,facedmajor,majorissuesat home. Her motherAnn was diagnosed with a form of braincancerinMarchof2006,whenshewastenandin fourthgrade.Annpassedawayafterafour-yearstruggle duringErin’sfreshmanyearatParamusCatholic “EverydayI’dgohometotherealitythatmymom wasfightingcancer.Itwasastrainonallofus,andin no way fair to her. So I’ve been through things most adultsdon’tevenhavetodealwithandIdiditwhenI wasinmiddleschool.” Going on retreats during such a dark period in her ownlifeinfactchangeditgreatly.“Itintroducedmeto a family of kids who love God and care about others...Talkingwiththesekidsandteachers,andopeningmyselfuptotheideaofGod,helpedmethroughso much.”

SCHOOL As a result,  Erin is today a Lector and Eucharistic MinisteratherparishchurchonValleyRoadinClifton. Why Neither Ever has the “Summertime Blues” During the school year, Lana Scibona is an active memberofParamusCatholic’sDramaClub.Thispast summer, she was also involved with the Bloomfieldbased Charles Seller Foundation, whose “Talent Time Players”haveputonaprofessional-qualityshowevery summer since 1950 to benefit a local youth with high medicalbills.Thispastsummer’sshowwasarevivalof “Urinetown.” ErinAlbrightisalsoinvolvedwith“matterstheatrical”andhasstagemanagedParamusCatholic’sannual student talent show, “Paladin Palooza” as well as the school’sDramaClubproductions.She’salsopartofher high school’s Cancer Awareness Club, which runs an annualRelayForLife,andwascaptainlastyearofher herownteamfortheevent,“Ann’sAngels,”inremembranceofandtributetohermom. Both young women are also much interested in the tongueandcultureofthecountrywhichgaveusdramatist Moliere, actress Catherine Deneuve, director

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Francois Truffaut, tyrant-conqueror Napoleon and saint Jeanne  (a/k/a Joan of) D’Arc (and, bewilderingly, makes claims for the cinematic genius of Jerry Lewis which completely escapemostsaneAmericans)... Meaning France and meaning ErinandLanaaredevoted,active members of the school’s French Club. Lana’s even signed up for herschool’stripnextFebruaryto France,BelgiumandHolland, Erin spent “a huge part” of her summer “researching and visiting a numberofcollegesinthearea.”She’s also been prepping to take the SAT’s againinOctober. “Otherwise,” said the practical-minded miss, “I’ve been ordering textbooks reading my assignedsummerbooksandcompletingtheirprojects.” ParamusCatholichasaratherambitiousprogramof suggestedprojectsthatareaddedontoitssummerreading list books, sort of a bonus to actually reading the

SCHOOL bookitself,whichrunfrommerelyexploring thelifeofanauthorinsomedepthtoeither rewritingtheactualendofthebook,creatingavideoaboutitoreventhefirst chapterofagraphicnovelversion. Itsoundslikeanawfullottotack ontowhatmostofushavetraditionallyfoundachoremostcommonly handled even by the most devoted studentsonlyassummerisrunning awayfromus,butsuchisParamus Catholic’sinimitableway. Bothyoungwomen,however,cite the assigned novel “Things Fall Apart,” a somewhat difficult book by theAfricanwriterChinuaAchebe,asone they quite enjoyed. Lana Scibona added that“it’sverydifferentfromthefictionInormallyreachfor.” Fave School Subjects For Lana, it’s simple. “I absolutely adore English. There’s something about reading and analyzing litera-

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turethatIfindfascinating,asnerdyasthatsounds.” Erin,inturn,hasalwayslovedmath.“WhichIknow isn’t very common. I’m a problem solver and always looked at math problems as a puzzle. I enjoy figuring outhowto‘findthevalueofx.’” Still,intheend,whatdifferentiatesParamusCatholic (or,indeed,mostotherout-of-townhighschoolsClifton students attend) and its student body is the matter of religiousfaith.Therearesurelymanyvery“religious” studentsatCHS;it’sjustthattheydon’tattendaschool like,say,ParamusCatholic,toanotabledegreepermeatedbyfaithandbeliefinaDeity.Whichinturnisquite abitdifferentfrommerelylearninginAmericanHistory classthatmanyoftheFoundingFatherswereDeistsor thatonesigneroftheDeclarationofIndependencewas infactthatrarityforhistimes,aRomanCatholic. So you have to sit up and take notice when Erin Albrightsays,altogetherstraightfacedly,that“Lastyear, religion was the one subject I looked forward to the mostinmyschoolday.Myfaithhassinceinspiredme todothingsIneverthoughtIwould,likejoiningcampusministry,beingmoreactiveinmychurchandjoiningserviceprojects.”

SCHOOL TowhichLanacanonlyadd,“Wheneveranyofus needsupport,guidanceorprayers,wealwayshaveeach other.” “Normalcy” ErinAlbrightsaysthat“goingtoCatholicschoolnot only teaches you how to be better Catholics, but also howjusttobebetterpeople,alessonanyonecanbenefitfrom.” These are two lovely, poised and intelligent young ladies.Theyplaysports.Theyattenddances(including, as per the picture accompanying this article, their school’s Junior Prom).They shop.They wear makeup asbefitstheoccasion. Butthey’realsonotatallafraidtotakeastepback fromthebustletoattendaretreatasnecessary.It’dbe goingtoofartosay(asfolksoftendoofassortedreligiousfigures)that“theirgoalisbeyond.” But it’s not going too far to observe that they, via their Catholic secondary school educations, display a heightenedsenseofhowmuchdoesinfactawaitthem “beyond.”ThatsuchstudentscanbefoundinCliftonis yetanothertributetoourcity’samazingdiversity.

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Christian Duffy Reporting For Duty, Sir! By Richard Szathmary

As the phrase goes, “There’ s something about a soldier.” Something admirable and immediately noticeable. There’s even a particular something about an aspiring high school soldier. Something of a fresh-facedbutgenuinematurity,ofawillingness toshoulderburdens,actresponsibly,dotheright andpatrioticthingasnecessary. Itremindsthattherereallyismoreto“life”than cruisingforburgers,playingonsocialmediawebsitesorwatchingMTV. WhichiswhereChristianDuffy,arisingjunior at Clifton High and a member of the school’s Marine Corps Junior ROTC (for “Reserve OfficersTrainingCorps”)programcomesin. “It teaches you dedication,” Duffy said, often adding a sir before or after a statement or response.  “It teaches you to work as a team. It teachesyoutobealeader,andwhatrealleadershipreallyis.Anditdefinitelyteachesyouhow importantservicetoyourcountryis.” 10 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

On a high school level, that translates into a fivedayaweekactivity,too:twodaysofwearing uniformstoschool,twoofPTorphysicaltraining (for you civilians out there) and one day of drilling.It’saconsiderablecommitment. Christian Duffy is in honors classes, plays lacrosseandisanextremely“squaredaway”looking young man. (And he is very much a “young man.”).Ifnear-legendaryMarineCorpsGeneral “Chesty” Puller were alive today and doing personalinspections,he’dsurelycomplimenthim. He’s someone who truly looks forward to going “back to school,” because, as he said, “School means being back in Junior ROTC, whichIlove.” Heisasergeantintheprogramandservesasa supplychief.“InthispositionIaccountforallthe uniformsanddistributingthem,”hesaid.“I


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alsohavetohavealltherifles(don’tworrytheydonot useammo)accountedforatthebeginningandendafter everyclassdayanddrillpractice.” The purpose of Junior ROTC, according to the UnitedStatesCode,is“toinstillinstudentsinsecondaryinstitutionsthevaluesofcitizenship,servicetothe UnitedStates,andpersonalresponsibilityandasense ofaccomplishment.” Which is entirely commendable and automatically makesitalotmorepositivethanhangingwiththelocal gangbangers. There are approximately 60 such programs in Garden State high schools today and some 3,400 nationwide, enrolling in total something like 500,000students. Not all subsequently go into the Armed Forces, it should be stressed (though that would conceivably solvethemilitary’smanpowerneeds). Yet according to a former Commandant of the MarineCorps,“Fullyone-thirdofouryoungmenand women who join a Junior ROTC program wind up wearingtheuniformofaMarine.”Clifton’sownprogramdatesto2002,whenitwasfirstcharteredbythe Corps;it’scommandedtodaybyChiefWarrantOfficer AlexNavarro(ret.)andSgt.Maj.JamesDavis(ret.). AsforhowChristianDuffyspenthissummer,firstit helpstorememberthatthebeachestheCorpsusually finds itself on and moving off of are more likely godawfulplaceslikeTarawaandPeleliuthanMalibuor PointPleasant. Thatnoted,ChristianDuffyactuallyspentpartofhis summerawayfromthebeaches,attheNationalYoung LeadersConferenceinWashington,D.C.“Iwasableto spend time with over 200 of America’s leaders, our

SCHOOL congressmenandsenators,”hesaid.“ThedaysIspent onCapitolHill,itwasalljustgreat.” As to what’s ahead for him after high school, he wants to attend the State University of New York’s Maritime College at the Throgs Neck site of historic FortSchuylerintheBronx)becauseofitsN(forNavy) ROTCunit,andpursuetheMarineCorpsoptionwhich leads directly to a commission as an officer in the Corpsaswellasabachelor’sdegree. “They’re more up in there,” Christian Duffy said about the USMC. “More directly involved in everything.Ithinkit’dbethebestwaytoservemycountry.” At CHS, Duffy said ROTC is easily his favorite class.ButhealsoenjoysEnglishandSocialStudies. “It’stheteacherswhoreallymadeitinteresting,”he said, citing Freshman year with Mrs. Holland, the teacherwhodevelopedhisloveforreading. Duffy’sfavebookofthesummer,interestingly,from hisassignedlist,wasTimO’Brien’s“TheThingsThey Carried,”asemi-autobiographicalcollectionofstories about the toll war takes on young men whatever the war,andhowtheylearn,often“thehardway,”whatit meansandtakestosurviveinarmedconflictandconditionsafarcryfromJuniorROTC-typedrilling. AndasforgettinginvolvedinwhatMarinesreputedly do best (though the Army in particular of service branchesmightvehementlydisagree),hesaid“I’mlookingforwardtobeingin,astheycallit,‘thesuck.’(slang fortheU.S.MarineCorpsbyMarines)Ireallyam.” First,however,hehastopassthroughthe“ordeal” otherwiseknownasCHSfortwomoreyears.Andalso the formidable challenge known as the SAT’s. We wouldn’tbetagainsthim.

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S eni or Clas s Pres ident Clifton High’s Beata Dul looks forward

to a year of change and challenges. By Robert Lisowsky She’s bilingual and multi-talented. MeetCHSSenior Class President for 2014, Beata Alexandra Dul. You might call Beata Dul your typical Mustang—except she’snot. Alittlebackground:BeataattendedClifton’sschools 13,12and1beforeheadingtoChristopherColumbus MiddleSchool. AndthenitwasontoCliftonHigh.“WhenIwasa freshman,Iattendedtheannex,whichwasalsomyfirst year on the student council, holding the position of treasurer.Asafreshmanintheannex,Ididn’tfeelso involvedconsideringhighschoolwassonewtome.” “TowardstheendofmyfreshmanyearIdecidedto runforsophomoreclasspresidentandwiththesupport ofmyclassmates,Iwontheposition.” Dul’ssuccessdidn’tendthere. “Ibecamejunioryearclasspresidentaswell.”Oneof the projects she helped lead was the production of “Jersey Strong” t-shirts to sell in hopes of helping the victimsofHurricaneSandy. And now Dul is about to enter her senior year at

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Clifton High as class president, yet again. “I hope to makethissenioryearonetorememberfortheClassof 2014andreallytheentireschool.” “Whetherit’svolunteeringmytimetothetalentshow or helping out with the dodgeball tournament, senior class day and prom, I am excited to see what the last yearinhighschoolholdsforusall.” Dul wasn’t raised in Clifton or even in the United Statesforthatmatter,shegrewupinhernativePoland. “MychildhoodinPolandwasbasedonbeing


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BACK very close knit with my family.  I grew up around my brothers and sister,onafarmmyparentsowned. Helping my parents raise the cows andpigsisalwaysonethingIwill miss.BeingfromaEuropeanfamily, I was raised to attend church everySunday,atraditionIstillfollowtothisday.” “ThePolishlanguagehashelped

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me in more ways than I thought possible.  Since kindergarten, I attendedSaturdayPolishclassesat School 13, improving my reading, writingandspeakingskills.” AlthoughDulhasnotsettledona career choice yet, she says she hopes to volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic to get experienceinthemedicalfield.

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“I am also taking a journalism class at CHS to get a taste for a career in writing, and keeping my options open.  I have not made up mymindoncollegeyet.” Dulhasthekindofscheduleany adultmighthaveareallyhardtime keeping up with. Besides going to schoolwithaheavycourseloadand dedicatingtimetothestudentcouncil, Dul has been working as a waitresssinceshewas16. She’s worked at the Royal ManorinGarfield,TheVictorian in Elmwood Park and at Houlihan’s in Fairfield.  “My parents have always taught me howimportantworkis,andthey inspire me everyday to work hardforeverythingthatIwant.” “Myfamilyhasalwaystaught metohearpeopleoutandseethe best in everyone. My friends have taught me that every momentinlifeischerished,and every single memory we are making now will forever be in ourhearts.Theyhavetaughtme loyaltyandhonesty,somethingI neverwanttolosesightof.” Dulhopesthatasthestudent head of the Class of 2014, she will help forge the next ten monthsasunforgettable. “I am grateful for having the honortosayIamclasspresident andIcannotaskforbetterclassmatestosharethisyearwith.” She continued:  “As a leader in the CHS community, with everyone's best intentions in mind, I am ready to accept the challenges that lie ahead, and I look forward to making every moment count with the familiar faceswhohaveslowlybecomea family.”

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

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BRITTANY GUZMAN’S SHOES Mustang Brittany Guzman enjoys

keeping a Family Tradition at CHS By Richard Szathmary Generally, when you think of volleyball inthewarmer months,it’sthetwovarietiesofthe“beach”kind. First, there’s the kind which features impeccably tanned and toned bodies, endorsement contracts for swimwearandprizemoney. Second, there’s the “lazy” kind, where folks halfheartedlypushaballacrossanet.Thecommoncharacteristicforbothissand,sandandthenforachangeof pace,somemoresand. BrittanyGuzman,however,spentmuchofhersummervacation“offbeach,”playingvolleyballnowhere inproximitytoaglisteningoceanorsandthecolorof seedpearls. Instead, the CHSJunior’s regimen was training camp, training camp and then for a total change of pace,moretrainingcamp. ItbeganwiththreeweeksatRamapoCollege’ssummer volleyball camp then one week at the World VolleyballTrainingCenterupinHuguenot,NY(upin OrangeCountynearPortJervis);andstillanotherweek atNJBVC’svolleyballcamp. Nosand,butlotsofsweat,sweatand,yep,sweat. 18 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Butthen,Brittany, goingintoherthirdyearat CHSasPresidentofthe StudentCouncilforthe9th and10thgrades,comesfrom avolleyballingsortoffamily. HersisterEmily,aJunegrad whowasrecruitedtoplayat RamapoCollege,wascaptainofthegirls’volleyballteamfortwoyears. Andalsomanagerofthe boys’hockeyandvolleyballteams.Shealsomanaged tobeVPoflastyear’sCliftonHighseniorclass. “Followinginherfootstepsisdifficultasshesetthe bar pretty high,” Brittany Guzman told us. And then withabitofsiblingrivalryadded:“IlookuptomysisterbutIwouldliketoexceedhersuccessesatCHS. “Volleyball is our ‘family sport,’ she continued. “I was captain of the freshman volleyball team at CHS lastyearandIjustmadethevarsityteamforthis


I am proud to announce the arrival of Dr. Andrew Boxer to our Clifton practice. After completing his fellowship at NYU and a residency at Mt. Sinai, Dr. Boxer will take over the care of Dr. Beduya’s current practice, including the North Hudson Community Clinic in Passaic, ensuring uninterrupted continuity of care to the patients. He will be available at our office in Clifton for consultation. In addition, he will see inpatients at both St Mary’s Hospital and Hackensack University Medical Center. Andy’s special interests include obesity, endoscopy as it relates to pre and post bariatric surgery, as well as Liver Disease. I would also like to wish Dr. Dino Beduya a heartfelt farewell on his departure from our team. Dino has provided a valuable service to the community over the past three years. We wish him luck in his pursuit of an Advanced Fellowship position in New Mexico and then on to North Carolina for his new practice. They are lucky to have him. Best Wishes, Steven D. Gronowitz, MD, FACG

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year.AndI’mreallylookingforwardtotheupcoming clubteamyear,alleightmonthsofit.”Saidyear,bythe way, includes upcoming tournaments in Washington D.C., Baltimore, PA, CT, MS and prosaic old Long Island.Thisisclearlya“travelteam”whichreallytravels, in other words. Not satisfied with all this caloric expenditure, however, Brittany Guzman  does not intendstintingonacademicmattersthisyear.

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SCHOOL As she explained, academics also sounds as if it is part of the family tradition. “Living with two sisters (note: her sister Ashley graduated from Caldwell CollegethispastMaywithaBAinEnglishLit)while they prepared academically for college, I certainly do understand how important it is to focus on my GPA, andtohaveachallengingcurriculum.Ialsointendto take a fewACT and SAT preps; my scores for those examsarevery,veryimportanttome.” Thebookshefoundmostinterestingthispastsummer,bytheway,wasJackLondon’s“TheCallOfThe Wild,” “because it’s a story of survival, and of how importantitistobeabletoadjusttochangeinyourlife, to overcome challenges and obstacles.” (Funny, we thoughtitwasjustastoryaboutadogofuncertainbirth adjustingtoahardlifeinAlaska.) WhateverhappenstoBrittanyGuzmanthiscoming fall-winter volleyball season, however, it seems clear thatthere’llbenosandaccumulatinginhershoes. Givenherdemandingschedule,it’slikelyshe’llbe spending an awful lot of time on volleyball courts up and down the state and the eastern seaboard playing volleyball. Justnoteither“beach”variety.


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Clifton Merchant • September 2013

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Emily Buginski Finds a Talent for Teaching Emily Buginski looks too young to teach college. Indeed, the Clifton native is just 22. But over the last year, she has shepherded dozens of Rutgers University undergraduates through the rigors of chemistry lab. That’s because Buginsky – who received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rutgers last spring – spent her senior year in an experimental new program that trains high achieving chemistry students to serve as teaching assistants. Buginsky knew her stint as a teaching assistant would look good on her resume. But what she didn’t realize was how much the experience would shape her decisions about the future. She had long figured she’d get a Ph.D. in chemistry and pursue a career in research. She has decided, however, to become a teacher. And, this fall, Buginsky, who is the first in her family to graduate from college, starts a new chapter in her life at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, where she will study chemistry and science education. She wants to be a high school science teacher or a college professor. “I realized I loved teaching,” she said. “When I come home, I’m always teaching my mom things in chemistry,” she said. “I love explaining things to people and I love it when they finally get it.” A 2009 graduate of Clifton High School, Buginsky cited her Honors American History II teacher Nicholas Vancheri as a major influence. “He is exactly the type of teacher I want to become,” she said. “His class was not easy and required more work than some of us were ready for. But he was always fair, honest, and generally just a nice person to talk to.” A gifted student, Buginsky was approached by her Rutgers professors during her junior year about becom22 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

ing a teaching assistant. She was initially hesitant, citing a heavy course load and two jobs. But she agreed to give it a try. Buginsky and her fellow undergraduate teaching assistants helped staff the Introduction to Chemistry Experimentation course at Rutgers – a lab class that’s in high demand and required for students pursuing science and technology fields - everything from engineering to pharmacy to biology to nutritional sciences. The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the university’s School of Arts and Sciences started the teaching assistant program several years ago, seeking to offer its highest-achieving students more responsibility, and provide an extra layer of instructional support for the mostly first and second year students taking the lab. “It’s great for the kids taking the lab, and it’s great for the kids teaching the lab,” said John Brennan, a chemistry professor, and vice chair overseeing the department’s undergraduate program. “Who could ask for anything more?” Once she started last fall, Buginsky realized that teaching comes naturally to her. Standing before students during one of the final sessions last spring, Buginsky spoke in upbeat, reassuring tones as she went over the instructions for the day’s experiment, which involved adding hydrochloric acid to separate out different components in a mixture. “In the lab, I might explain the same thing 10 times, but someone may not get it, so you have to explain it in another way,” she said afterward. “Then the light bulb goes off and they understand it.”


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Jessica Torres, an agriscience teacher at Central Middle School in Dover, Delaware, attended Du Pont's National Agriscience Teachers Ambassador Academy, where she learned innovative teaching techniques. But of course, she got her start here in Clifton.

By Richard Szathmary “She walked through the corn leading down to the river, Her hair shone like gold in the morning sun... Anyway, that’s how the old song by the Manfred Mann band goes. Here in Clifton, of course, very few walk through cornfields. (Unless,maybe you work at Ploch’s.) Which anyway don’t lead down to the Passaic River and the setting in general is anyway less than sylvan. But twenty-four-year-old Jessica Torres, a 2007 CHS grad, does in fact walk through cornfields. Regularly. And she’s dark-haired, to boot. She teaches agriscience to seventh and eighth graders at Central Middle School in Dover, Delaware. And just this summer, she attended the Du Pont National Agriscience Teachers Ambassador Academy at Du Pont’s Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, Md. The program is designed to provide agriscience teachers with innovative teaching techniques. Teachers learn how to apply those techniques by engaging in hands-on activities on Chesapeake Farms. Upon completing the program, Torres was named as (hence the title above) an “agriscience ambassador.” And it’s all pretty much because of Jessica Torres’ beloved and now-retired environmental science teacher at CHS, Ms. Marietta Steransak. 24 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Now, in consideration of the formidable and beloved Ms. Steransak, it helps to first go to that web site renowned for its snarkiness, sarcasm and overall skepticism about the educational process called ratemyteachers.com. Where, amazingly, Marietta Steransak has a whopping 98 percent five-star approval rating from posters. “Born to teach” and “a great person” are actually two of the milder praises about her to be found there. That, in fact, about says it all about Ms. Steransak’s influence on her students during her Clifton teaching career. “I just loved her and her course,” Jessica Torres said. “She made it all come alive and she taught clearly and with such obvious devotion to her subject matter and her students.” And she,” Torres said of Steransak, “definitely made me want to continue studying about the environment and how to preserve it.” From Mustang to Blue Hen... When it came time to attend college, Jessica Torres wanted to go out of state. “But not too far, even though none of the schools I was interested in were in Jersey.” So she shipped herself and her considerable athletic talents—two year All-Passaic County for cross-


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BACK country while at CHS, 2006 AllConference and All-Passaic in winter track, as captain led the outdoor track team to two undefeated seasons—off to the University of Delaware, a big (approximately 20,000 students, including 17,000 undergrads) school in a relatively small state. She found it a thoroughly rewarding experience. “Everyone was pretty welcoming,” she said. “And even

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though it’s a pretty big school, it’s not a real urban environment. So it’s not at all like Clifton. In fact, the further and further you go into the state, the more agricultural it gets. Not too many people realize it, but farming is very important in Delaware.” Jessica majored in both wildlife conservation (though in truth Delaware’s “wildlife” is no more exotic than that found here in Jersey

with “just probably a lot more crabs because of all the marshlands,” according to Jessica) and agricultural education, with the specific intention of being a teacher. Yet she also found time to compete for the Blue Hens in both indoor and outdoor track, and to notch some pretty impressive times in the 500 and 1000 meters in indoor track and the 800 and 1500 in outdoor. She also, on “even pole vaulted a little for the team.” ...To “Agricultural Ambassador” Post-graduation turned out to be something of a whirlwind for Jessica. She finished her student teaching assignment in Delaware two Decembers ago and was hired right away as a long-term substitute agricultural education teacher at Smyrna Middle School in central Delaware. “So I really had no time to go back home to Clifton and look for something else.” After that, she made the move after one semester there to teaching agriscience at Central Middle School in Dover, a smallish

26 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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town (about 35,000) better known for its air base (to which the military dead from Afghanistan are shipped) and its NASCAR track than as Delaware’s capital. Which in turn led directly to her becoming an “agricultural ambassador” as described above. As part of an elite national, Du Pont-sponsored program (Du Pont is sometimes said to “own ”Delaware in more ways than one) that chooses only about 10 percent of its 200 or so applicants yearly. “I love it,” she said with palpable enthusiasm. “The kids in Dover don’t generally come from agricultural backgrounds themselves. A lot of them even have parental issues, family issues. But they’re willing to listen and learn, which is all you really need.” Jessica has even helped launched an FFA (“Future Farmers of America” chapter at her school and serves as its faculty advisor. “My seventh grade does natural resources and wildlife...My eighth grade goes into plant science and animal science. Middle school students have this sponge of a mind and they like to absorb everything,” she added.

SCHOOL “I had a great time with what was coming out of their mouths. Sometimes they don’t have a filter and sometimes they are absolutely clueless. I love teaching middle school because you never know what the day is going to bring.... “When they come into my class, many of them think it’s just about farming, but then we start learning about different things and I tell them, ‘When you walk away from my class, if nothing else gets in your head, just know that agriculture is not just farming.” And she also coaches track, “something I hope always to do.” Life, however, still isn’t quite perfect in Delaware for Jessica. “There isn’t any good pizza. Or hot dogs, let alone Texas wieners.” So her mom brings her a dozen bagels from Clifton (though she doesn’t specify where from) when she comes to visit; Jessica usually eats one and saves the rest in the freezer. But there certainly are cornfields out Jessica’s way, and, as the song goes, she walks through them with uncommon grace.

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Remembering Johnny

Ten Years Gone, But Never Forgotten By Robert Lisowsky

Left, Johnny Samra at age 2 (he was born on Jan. 8, 1962). Above, in the second grade at St. Brendan RC School, at his 1980 CHS graduation, and in his Air Force uniform. Below, Johnny and his Clifton Police Department motorcycle.

It’s been nearly a decade now since a young public servant sworn to protect us, was so violently taken away on a quiet corner in a calm Clifton neighborhood. It was Nov. 21, 2003. Maple Place was the first street our moms and dads actually allowed us to cross when we were kids. We could ride our bikes there because, compared to busy Third St. just a block away, there was no heavy traffic on Maple Place, and we would play right in the middle of the street. That was way back in the 1960s when Johnny Samra was a kid growing up in another neighborhood of Clifton, on East Third St. About four decades later, on an unusually warm November morning in 2003, police officer John Samra was on patrol when one of Clifton’s quiet neighborhoods turned into a chaotic crime scene. 30 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


“Johnny Samra was the highlight of my day when he showed up for work. He is what every police officer should aspire to be.”

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LES GOLDSTEIN, FORMER CLIFTON POLICE DEPARTMENT SUPERVISING LIEUTENANT It was there, right at the intersection of Washington and Maple, where 41 year old Johnny Samra was killed, the first Clifton police officer ever to die on the job. Samra was on routine motorcycle patrol in Downtown Clifton when he stopped a van. But the van’s driver, recently released from prison and on parole, took off. Samra got back on his bike and pursued. He was struck and killed by the driver behind the wheel of that van. Ever since, Samra’s family, friends, fellow police officers and citizens have kept his memory alive. This isn’t so much a story about how Samra died, it’s about how he lived and how his young life, cut shockingly short, touched so many people in this city that he loved. We remember Johnny today as if he never left us. He’s still with us, really, in the hearts, minds and memories of so many people whose lives he touched, those who knew him and those who knew of him. This is Johnny’s story, it is Clifton’s story, it is our story.

i t d i J

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Johnny ‘arresting’ Jennifer Charette during the photo shoot which also produced his classic image on the facing page.

Clifton Police Officer John Samra • End of Watch November 21, 2003

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I am honored to once again pay tribute to my close friend, colleague and an inspiration for each of us. John Samra’s contribution to society while on this earth is commendable and will never be forgotten. A day does not go by, when I do not think about Johnny’s tragic and senseless death. As a life long Clifton resident, PBA member and now Sheriff, let me promise you that we will never forget Johnny and his family. God Bless!!

L O “ M j M w t w h v “

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Remembering Johnny “The Samra family was fortunate to meet many wonderful people after Johnny died.” said Johnny’s sister Michele Em. “John loved to ride his Harley on the weekends with his friends and fellow police officers to raise money for charity.” “Each year on the anniversary of John’s death, those who were close to him ride their motorcycles to the cemetery to pay their respects,” she continued. Samra was laid to rest at Laurel Grove Memorial Park in Totowa. Among them is Les Goldstein, who was Samra’s supervising lieutenant. “That weekend, Johnny and I were going to go to Connecticut together. We belonged to an off-duty law enforcement motorcycle club called The Renegade Pigs.” said Goldstein. “The Connecticut chapter did charity events just before Thanksgiving every year. We were supposed to escort a tractor trailer full of food to orphanages in the Meriden area. Of course, after Johnny’s death in November, we never made it.” Goldstein fondly recalled his fallen friend. “His nickname was ‘Chippendale’ because off-duty at the motorcycle club, he would take off his shirt, and put his leather vest on without a shirt. Typical John. But while onduty, he was always meticulously dressed in uniform.”

At their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary in Nov. 2000, rom left, siblings Michael, Mary Ellen, Michele, and Elaine, Johnny, mom Mary and dad Michael.

“Our club had a Christmas party every year,” Goldstein added. “I think it was 2002 and Johnny had two dates, but he couldn’t decide which girl to bring to the party. So he showed up with two of them, two girls. He was quite the lady’s man.”

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Remembering Johnny Samra’s sister Michele said Goldstein “helped us through that long first year which was filled with numerous dedication ceremonies and dinners. Though overwhelming for the family at times, with Les’s guidance, we were able to attend most of the events. This was important to us because all these people were honoring John’s memory.” Father S.T. Sutton is the police chaplain who the Samra family met on the day Johnny was killed. Father Sutton is with Our Lady of the Valley RC parish in Wayne. Besides Clifton, he serves as police chaplain for Bloomfield, East Rutherford, Nutley and Union City. “He was a tremendous comfort to us, especially to my dad,” recalled Michele, noting the priest had a way to reach their dad. “Father Sutton spoke to dad in Arabic, reaching out to him at a time when few of us could.”

Brought together by tragedy, Father Sutton and Les Goldstein.

“Father Sutton made such an impression on the family that we asked if he would deliver the eulogy at John’s funeral. Before writing about him, he gathered the family and some of John's friends and proceeded to learn all he could about John’s life. When he spoke that day, Appetizers • Soups • Salads Heros • Pasta • Baked Pasta Entrees • Platters & Sides Specialty Pies & Pizza Calzones & Rolls • Deserts

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it was hard to believe he had never met my brother. Father Sutton had everyone in the church crying and laughing at the same time, as only he could do.” John Samra attended St. Brendan RC School and graduated CHS in 1980. About a year later, Samra joined the Air Force for six years and served as a member of the 416th Strategic Air Command (SAC) Security Police Squadron. He was a Security Specialist, responsible for aircraft, weapons and communications and was stationed in Turkey and Germany. He joined the Clifton Police in 1988 and married longtime sweetheart Laurie Ortega in 1991. They divorced after seven years. Laurie still participates in the annual Samra Scholarship Memorial 5K run and remains in close contact with the Samra family.


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Remembering Johnny Samra’s extended family reaches beyond Clifton, down the East Coast to Virginia Beach, where a young woman was inspired by Johnny’s story when she joined the Police Unity Tour in 2004. Soulmate in Spirit The Unity Tour is a four-day 300 mile bike ride in which thousands of people participate on behalf of police officers killed in the line of duty. It’s a yearly event that begins in May, in small towns and bigger cities like Clifton, and ends at the National Law Enforcement Lisi Tanya Parsons holding the Medal of Valor with John Samra’s Officers Memorial and Museum in family in Washington, DC (from left) brother-in-law Chuck Em, sister Washington, DC. Michele Em, Lisi, sister Mary Ellen Mikola and her husband Steve. Lisi Tanya Parsons, the young woman from Tanya laughed and said “it was a very emotional Virginia Beach, was Johnny Samra’s soulmate in spirit. moment, like finding a needle in a haystack. They literShe never met him, yet she grew to love him. ally grabbed me from my bike and hugged me while my “We were each given a bracelet, and I happened to feet were still strapped in. It’s a moment I’ll never forget one with Johnny’s name on it. We had an officer who get. I still don’t know how I found them or how they had been killed in 2003 as well, from our department in found me. Johnny’s family wanted me to walk up with Virginia Beach.” them to receive the Medal of Valor.” “Before the Unity Ride, I contacted the Clifton Police Others who knew Samra also had nothing but kind Department and they put me in touch with Les words, like Joe Salerno, CHS 1973. Salerno never knew Goldstein. I told him that I wanted to come to Clifton Samra when they were growing up in Clifton. and meet fellow officers and Johnny’s family. From the But just by chance, he got to know Johnny quite well minute I walked into the Samra home, I was welcomed miles away from Clifton in Morris County. “I knew as family.” Johnny’s sister, Michele. She is my next-door neighbor “That Unity Ride from Virginia Beach to DC was the in Roxbury Township.” hardest thing I had ever done in my life. I had pictures of “I met Johnny for the first time at my cousin’s wedJohnny and his family all over my bike, so whenever I ding. My wife and I hit the dance floor and there he was thought I couldn’t make it to the finish line, they were in all his glory, dancing like I've never seen a man dance there for me, inspiring me to go all the way.” before, big smile, body moving in every direction and “It’s unfortunate that we’ve come into each other’s making his own beat. He truly was the life of the party lives this way, but it is what it is.” and we all wanted to be near him and his friends. When We asked Tanya whether she felt like she knew I related this story to Johnny’s sister, Michele, she kept Johnny. “I did. His sister Michele said it’s uncanny that saying ‘yep, that's Johnny!’ After the wedding, Johnny we’re so similar, the things we said, the things we did.” would always come by and visit us.” That 300-mile ride turned into a lifelong friendship “My wife and I came home from shopping one day between Tanya Parsons and the Samra family. and saw Johnny and a very pretty girl (why are we not Her story about meeting up with the Samras in the surprised?) sitting on the front steps of Michele’s house. nation’s capital back in 2004 took an ironic, happy and tearful turn. “The remarkable thing about the Unity Tour, It was just about nightfall in the summer, a beauty of a it had thousands of riders and we all gathered in the capnight, and they were at the house for dinner.” ital, at the Law Enforcement Memorial. It seemed like “Johnny explained that Michele had cut herself and hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets.” And had to go to the ER to have it looked at. We were very somehow Tanya Parsons spotted Johnny’s family. concerned that Michele was alright, Johnny 36 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Remembering Johnny Bill Bais and Johnny Samra attendassured us she would be ok and asked ed the Union County Police Academy us if we would like a drink and sit outtogether back in 1988. That’s where side until Michele and her husband, they met and later became a team Chuck, got home from the hospital. working the midnight shift together Well a glass of wine turned into a few for the Clifton PD from about 11:45 bottles and we had a great conversapm to 7:45 am. tion and really became fast friends.” On that overnight shift, Patrolman “He was like that, easy to talk to and Bais said when the two were called full of laughs, always a good story or for an assignment to a scene or some two or three, and so much fun. When disturbance, they learned to deal with Chuck and Michele did get home from each situation on a professional level, the hospital, of course the comments “you have to be detached from people started. ‘I go to the hospital and you personally. Johnny was well-discihave a party, Nice!’ Michele said with a plined, very polished, a great guy to laugh. The party lasted well into the work with. I never had to worry about night with Chuck and Michele on board MaryEllen and Vito Collucci, Sr. him.” and that was what life was like with considered Johnny family. Johnny Samra, he was one of the best On the Job Humor people I ever knew.” Johnny’s way of dealing with tense situations was Leona Pietras was a very dear friend of Johnny through humor. “If it was some sort of domestic vioSamra’s and a member of his close circle of riding budlence,” Bais said, “and we had to make an arrest, we’d dies. She recalled a motorcycle trip she took with Samra make the arrest.” to Laconia, New Hampshire. “It was my first real road But in one instance, things got a little out of hand. trip on my new Harley. John rode by my side in the pour“We had to arrest this guy, and wound up rolling ing rain. He kept giving me the thumbs up to let me around on his living room floor trying to cuff the guy know I was doing just fine. He was a funny, caring and when I felt the handcuff going around my own wrist. It considerate man.” was our first arrest together and Johnny handcuffed me instead of the suspect. We laughed and joked about it for Breaking Johnny In a long time.” Another time, Bais got a call of an “officer MaryEllen Collucci said her husband, Vito Collucci, down at the corner of Clifton and Paulison Aves. Sr., a retired Clifton police officer, “taught John every“It was Johnny, he had crashed and wrecked his bike. thing he had to know and John was a very enthusiastic My heart was beating a mile a minute. When I got to the learner” when a young Samra started on the Clifton scene, there was Johnny standing by his bike and laughpolice force back in 1988. ing it off.” “One evening, when my husband was off, we heard a That was about a month before Nov. 21, 2003, the day knock on the front door, I opened the door and was greeted with ‘Hi Mom what’s for dinner?’ It was John. I said Johnny Samra lost his life at the corner of Maple and Mr. Collucci isn’t working tonight and he said ‘I know Washington Aves. but I am and this is where I always eat dinner.’ He was “The day he was killed, I heard the location invited in with open arms and from that day on even (Washington and Maple) and remember getting into my when my husband was off he would be at our house for car and rushing to the scene.” dinner while taking a break from work. We loved him Patrolman Bais was among the first responders who with all our hearts and a lot of times when we sit down performed first aid on his fellow police officer. to eat we think of him and how he loved being around “We did all that we could,” said Bais. “I find myself our family so much.” Yes, Johnny Samra had friends, from time to time going back to the scene” for a few mentors and partners which leads us to this special partmoments of silence and reflection, to remember his partnership forged back in the 1980s and 1990s. ner and friend. 38 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


Clifton Merchant • September 2013

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Remembering Johnny Retired Clifton police offideath and his call number ‘3cer Bob Luciano was a patrol8.’ “When I showed the tattoo man when Samra joined the to Johnny’s mom and dad, force. they were in tears.” “John was a guy who loved Always the joker, on his to entertain, a natural born 40th birthday, Johnny Samra entertainer. He loved to make sent his parents a bouquet of sure that other people had a flowers. He included an “It’s a great time.” Luciano laughed Boy!” card and signed it, and said “he used to take his “thanks for having me!” shirt off and dance, once he Mary and Micheal Samra took a whole jar of mustard passed away years after their and ate it... whatever struck Clifton Police Officers John Kavakich and son’s death, Michael in 2009 Randy Colondres taking an etching of John’s him at the moment.” and Mary in 2011. name on the wall of honor in Washington, DC. But Luciano also said Like many officers on the Samra “was a good cop, he took his job very seriously, job, Luciano remembered the date of Johnny Samra’s he took pride in his uniform, he served in the Air Force death like it was yesterday. “I was a resource officer at and had a military bearing about him, kept his boots Christopher Columbus Middle School. I had the police radio on and I heard Johnny’s call number ‘3-8 come in, polished and his bike clean, a great example of a police 3-8 come in.’ There was no response. I knew it was a hot officer. “ Luciano added “he got his first ride on a situation, that something had gone wrong.” Harley and it was my bike, a 1982 Sportster. He seemed Current Clifton Police Chief Gary Giardina was a to be having the time of his life when we were riding.” captain in charge of field operations that day in 2003. “I To remember his old friend, Luciano got a tattoo on was in a meeting at police headquarters when I heard his right forearm bearing Samra’s initials, the date of his

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Remembering Johnny the watch commander screaming in the hallway, ‘we have an officer down.’ I responded right to the scene. It was chaos, we were trying to manage chaos. It was surreal. He was out doing his job that day that he lost his life,” said Chief, “doing what he loved to do.” That smile, those memories, ten years gone but never forgotten. Over the coming months there will be various tributes to honor the memory of Johnny Samra. While the Clifton Optimist scheduled a Sept. 19 dinner to posthumously award John Samra the Judge Joseph J. Salerno Respect for Law Award, that dinner has been cancelled due to a schedule conflict. Clifton PBA 36 and the Clifton Roadrunners host the 6th annual John Samra Scholarship Memorial 5K Run and Walk on Oct. 13 at the City Hall grounds. For more details, contact John Kavakich at 973-885-5238 or write him at sgt-at-arms@cliftonpba36.com. On Nov. 17, the Renegade Pigs motorcycle club will host the John “Chippendale” Samra Memorial Beefsteak Dinner. That’s from 3 to 8 pm at the Wayne P.A.L. The donation is $50. Proceeds will benefit the Clifton P.B.A. 36 - John Samra Memorial Scholarship Fund. Go to www.rpmcnorthjersey.com for info. Finally, Clifton Officers are paying for a flag pole and memorial at the entrance to their Department to be dedicated on November 21. Samra’s name will be the first on the memorial. “Hopefully this stops with John but there will be room for other names,” said Officer Randy Collandres. “That’s just the reality of police work.” 42 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Keeping Johnny’s Legacy

The May following Johnny Samra’s End of Watch, Clifton Police Officers Joe Hillyer and Randy Colondres began a tradition which will grow to 26 participants in 2014. They pedaled bicycles from Clifton to Washington as a way to honor the legacy of John Samra. “We knew we wanted to do something and the Police Unity Tour was pretty new then,” said Colondres, an officer in the Street Crimes unit. “We were proud to represent our Department and to honor Johnny.” Since May 2004, the Clifton Police Department and PBA 36 has supported a team of bicyclists to ride the 300 mile Police Unity Tour. Others from Clifton volunteer as motorcycle escorts or provide support in vehicles and at rest stops to the riders along the route. The goal of the ride is to create awareness of fallen officers like John Samra and to help raises funds to expand and maintain the Police Memorial in Washington. There, the names of officers killed in the line of duty are memorialized and sadly, more names are added every year. In May 2014, to mark the 10th anniversary of John Samra’s End of Watch, the ride has grown bigger than ever. But to get there, each participant has to raise $1,750. That means the Clifton group has to raise $45,500. The Clifton Police Unity Tour is hosting its first fundraiser with a Tricky Tray/Dinner on Nov. 14 at the Valley Regency. The group seeks donations which can be used in the Tricky Tray. They are also selling admission tickets. To find out more about the 2014 Police Unity Tour and the Nov. 14 event, call Clifton Merchant Magazine editor (and bicyclist) Tom Hawrylko at 973-253-4400.


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Clifton Merchant • September 2013

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Remembering Johnny Here are some memorable comments about Johnny Samra from people who grew to love the officer and the gentleman.

Michele Samra Em, one of Johnny’s Sisters reflecting on her dad’s relationship with John.

“Johnny was a big-hearted flirt, just like dad. They both loved to party and were excellent dancers, outgoing, fun-loving individuals who made friends wherever they went. Both John and dad dressed meticulously. Dad would go to ShopRite in a shirt and tie and complete strangers would compliment him. They both loved to clean and were excellent cooks.”

Samra and his dad Michael dancing at John’s wedding in 1991.

I think my Dad influenced Johnny to join the military police and then the Clifton Police Department. “I think my Dad influenced Johnny to join the military police and then the Clifton Police Dept. Johnny really looked up to my Dad. As you probably know, Johnny was the youngest of his family of five kids. Our family lived a few houses down on East Third St. He and my brother became close friends at a young age and Johnny was just always a part of my family. We were all broken hearted when Johnny was killed. When my mother told me, all I could say was ‘Are you sure?’ It was just too unbelievable to be true. As a teenager, Johnny became part of our Christmas mornings at our house. He would come through the back door that my father would conveniently forget to lock and one of my favorite Christmas memories is Johnny Samra asleep on our couch with his sack filled with wacky gifts waiting for us to wake up and open presents!” Lori J. (Snack) Walden, pictured at right also launched and manages the John Samra Memorial Page on Facebook. 44 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Lori J. (Snack) Walden, who grew up near the Samra family, remembering Johnny and her dad, the late Clifton Police Det. Ed Snack.


“My dad, John Brayya, who is currently a Clifton Crossing Guard, was personally trained by John in September, 2003. My father had retired from his longtime job as a machinist and my mother-in-law, Loretta Hochmuth, also of Clifton, had suggested that he apply for a job as a Clifton Crossing Guard. He did and was hired. My father showed up to his assigned post the very first day at Lisa Hochmuth, Main and Delawanna Avenues. John Brayya’s daughter. He was nervous for his first day on the job. Waiting there to train him was none other than Clifton Police Officer John Samra. John “The day of the accident was just odd. Typically officers don’t quickly put my dad at ease. My ride their motorcycles in November, but it was warm and a couple father was so very happy to see of guys asked to take the bikes out. If I remember correctly, our him and had the great honor to ‘click it or ticket’ campaign was in November. Johnny was always be trained by John. Not only did one of my best motorcycle cops. Before the incihe receive top-notch training but dent occurred, he stopped Les Goldstein, it was filled with fun! My father former Clifton Police Dept. that van for a possible Supervising Lieutenant is still at that post today.” seat belt violation.”

Clifton Merchant • September 2013

45


Remembering Johnny “Several years after we graduated CHS in 1980 my best friend and I threw a backyard ‘luau’ at my home. Inviting many of our high school friends, we were thrilled when John was able to make the party. Even though it was a LUAU, John showed up in a TOGA! My dad told us all later that he happened to be looking out the front windows of the house when John pulled up. He couldn’t imagine what this guy was doing as he was watching him putting on several pairs of shorts and then putting on his toga but he didn't interrupt and allowed John to continue. Later in the day as many guests were getting ready to hop into the pool, Johnny began to remove his toga.

We were all relieved that he was even wearing shorts; but then slowly he began to remove his shorts, eliciting screams and riotous laughter from the crowd as we realized that he had a second pair on underneath...then once again, screams and laughter as he began to remove that pair too!! This continued through at least five pairs of shorts - ending in a bathing suit and Johnny being tossed into the pool! This is a story that even my 81 year old father still enjoys telling to this day.� Sally Stabile Smethy, Friend from Clifton High

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r o H p W t J In Nov. 2004, John Samra's father, Michael (third from right) was the Grand Marshal of the Clifton Veterans Day parade. He is seen with family and friends including Ed Marchese (wearing a United States Air Force hat and shirt.) That’s Marchese’s restored Air Force truck in the back. “It was quite an honor and pleasure to have Mr. Samra on board that day with me. When he saw the tribute to his son on the side of the truck, it was a very touching moment for Johnny’s dad.”

Ross LaCorte, retired Clifton Officer who in 2011 coordinated the renaming of the PBA gym in Johnny’s name.

“He was like the Felix Unger of the gym. He used to work out everyday and then he’d clean up after everybody. He was always there to help somebody, in the gym or on the job. He’s a cop’s cop. That’s the highest honor any cop could receive.” “The youngest of five, Johnny was still the ‘baby’ at 41 years old, a fact not lost on the rest of us. He played the part well and could do no wrong in mom’s eyes. Mom was very quiet, but Johnny could make her laugh at the drop of a hat. He always had mom wrapped around his little finger, and she loved it.!”

“My husband, retired police officer Vito Collucci Sr., knew John when he was a young kid. My husband was on patrol in the Lakeview section of Clifton and would see John and talk to him all the time. Little did he know John would grow up to be a police officer and my husband would train that same little kid on his first days on the job.” MaryEllen Collucci, whose husband Vito broke John in on the Clifton PD.

Michele Samra Em, John’s sister.

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47


Remembering Johnny “Johnny would love to tell you, 'its good to be the king' as he raced down the highway with Radar Love by Golden Earring playing. The song with the words got a black magic women by Carlos Santana...? He use to sing as got a black magic marker... I can't listen to that song without singing it like he did! Johnny was just high on life. John Samra is an amazing person and it was such an honor to be a part of his life.” Jennifer Charette, who married John’s best friend Tom Charette

Jeremy Mihola, Johnny’s Nephew

“As the youngest of my adult relatives, John played the part of cool uncle to a T. Although I have no memory of it, the earliest example is a photo of me wearing a diaper in the driver seat of his Triumph coupe. When I was a bit older, my younger brother and I would spend a weekend or two each year at his home in Sparta. I have the fondest memories of these miniature vacations, which included visits to the beach at Mohawk Lake. And if he was taking us out for pizza, you could always bet that he had a pocket of quarters ready for the arcade machines.” 48 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Jennifer Charette and her sister Cindy with Johnny at their brother's Tom’s wedding.

“My parents, John and Barbara Brayya, had their best friends, Eric and Nancy, over every New Year’s Eve. Eric and Nancy were originally Clifton residents but had moved to Lake Hopatcong. New Year’s was one of those annual visits full of much laughter and fun. John was a very good high school buddy to my then boyfriend, and now husband, Eugene Hochmuth. Eugene came over that New Year’s Eve also and brought John. My parents and Eric and Nancy would always play a game Pokeno. They would use pennies, nickels and dimes to bet with during the game. For those of you that don’t know Pokeno, it can best be explained as a bingo-type board game of Poker. John was quick to join in the festivities and the game. While Nancy was a bundle of hysteria all in her own she certainly met her match with John! We laughed and laughed into the wee hours of the morning. Eric and Nancy would often bring up how much fun we had that New Year’s Eve. John ended up wiping out my parents and Nancy and Eric’s stash of coins! He was the big winner of the night – both in the game and having a permanent spot in all of our hearts!” Lisa Hochmuth, John Brayya’s daughter.


f

Clifton Merchant • September 2013

49


MUSTANG SPORTS

Fighting Mustangs Seniors from left front: Tyler Nasr, Jared Solorzano, Eridon Hoda, Jorman Marte, Ishmal Wynn, Tyler Kennedy. Middle: Brian Espinoza, John Voit, James Sonzogni, Jahleet Mouzone, Orlando Aponte, Brendan Schreiber. Back: Saead Assaf, Antonio De Chellis, Malik Mouzone, Milton Cordero, Alex Mazur, Steven Naideck, Mahmoud Allan.

All Fall Sports Previews by Tom Szieber

I

t really is not necessary to tell Clifton football coach Steve Covello how unacceptable a 2-8 season from his 2012 team was. He knows. He agrees. He also takes the responsibility head on, and is intent on getting his 2013 group to bounce back from Clifton’s worst season since 1999. “No matter what pressures come from the outside, the pressure I put on myself is 100 times greater,” Covello said. “I have expectations and standards of myself. We had a lot of games that, despite our record, we were in during the first half. This season, we’ve got to finish. We’ve got to play all four quarters.”

50 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


MUSTANG SPORTS Football The focal point of Clifton’s offense will be senior Naideck and sophomore Chris Bonaparte will be the running back James Sonzogni, who will also start at linebackers, while the secondary will see Cordero at strong safety. Despite playing behind a poor offensive free safety, Sonzogni at strong safety, and Voit and line and in a largely inefficient offense, Sonzogni still Mouzone playing the corners. rushed for 516 yards and seven touchdowns last year. “We’ve had some good defenses in the past, and we The passing game will be engineered by senior quarhave to get back to playing the way we used to,” said terback Malik Mouzone, who has become more of a Covello, who will re-assume defensive playcalling leader and developed a much greater understanding of duties after delegating them to an assistant last year. Covello’s offense in his second year as the starter. “The intensity of practice has been a lot more enthusiSeniors Milton Cordero and John Voit will be the go-to astic and emotional, and I am not going to settle for wide receivers, while the rebuilt and guys jogging and loafing. We have to seemingly improved offensive line get to the football.” Mustangs will consist of senior left tackle Alex If all goes as planned, the Mazur, junior left guard Steve Mustangs should have a shot to find Lazorchak, senior center Antonio themselves back in the North 1, Sept 12 @ Pascack Valley 7 pm DeChellis, senior right guard Group 5 playoffs. Covello underSept 21 @ Fair Lawn 1 pm Mahmoud Allen and junior right stands the importance of getting this Sept 27 PCTI 7 pm tackle Ervin Sokoli. team back to the postseason, as it has “Obviously, we have to be a betfailed to qualify in each of the last Oct 4 @ JFK 7 pm ter offensive team,” said Covello. four seasons, despite going 7-3 in Oct 11 @ Bloomfield 7 pm “Now, we are doing a little more 2010 and 6-4 in 2011. As far as he’s Oct 18 Hackensack 7 pm complex stuff. Our playmakers just concerned, he is up to the task. Oct 25 @ Eastside Paterson 7 pm have to make plays. We have to start “When you are as competitive and Nov 1 Ridgewood 7 pm a game strong, finish a game strong, as driven as I am, or as we are as a Nov 8 NJSIAA Playoff TBD and deal with any adversity that may staff, you look to not only improve Nov 28 Passaic 10:30 am come at us.” these young men as players as good Defensively, the Mustangs will students, but you look to improve have an athletic line consisting of ends Mazur, Sokoli them and instill quality morals and values and characand sophomore Mo Green. Allen and Orlando Aponte ter,” he said. “I really hope that this season, like most will be the defensive tackles. Lazorchak, senior Steve Clifton teams, we never give up, no matter the situation.”

Football

Clifton Merchant • September 2013

51


MUSTANG SPORTS Cheerleadering

During an early summer camp drill at the CHS Annex, on steps from left, Dominique DeoGuercio, Marisa Rossi, Samantha Segda, Emily Sconzo, Zion Hall, Jessica D’Anna. Front: Kelly Falcon, Emily Afonso, Gabriela Daniele, Danasia Stroble. Missing from photo are Jessica Peralta and Shannon Christie.

Cheerleaders have perhaps the longest season of any scholastic sport. While technically separated into football, basketball and competition seasons, these athletes are working their craft virtually all year long, and this edition of Mustangs is no exception. The Clifton cheerleaders have been extremely active since last fall, competing nearly every weekend in March (winning the prestigious Just Cheer competition on their home floor at Clifton High School), and recently putting on several impressive performances at the UCA Pine Forest camp in Greely, Pa. Veteran head coach Christy Greco has been pleased with the progression of the squad, and lauds their consistent dedication and commitment to improving their craft. The Mustang varsity squad won both the Sideline and Gameday Competitons at Pine Forest in the co-ed division, results that are confirmation that they’ll be exciting to watch on the sidelines each weekend this fall. And fans will be treated to a reprise of co-ed cheerleaders when the juniors pictured at right take to the field and floor with their acrobatic moves. 52 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Katherine Morales, Logan Peri, Brandon Nuñez and Breanna Calderon add a new twist to the cheer program.


Clifton Merchant • September 2013

53


MUSTANG SPORTS Boys Soccer

Mustangs

Boys Soccer Kneeling from left: Justin Olaya, Nick Glodava, Adam Kopitar, Maciej Glugosz, Miroslav Cirica, Karl Catpo. Top from left: Coach Fred Bido, Daniel Natale, Nick Bartko, Kevin Arce, Assistant Coach Orges Bido, Maurice Marsilla, Luis Chapal, and Assistant Coach Erald (Aldo) Bido.

For all that the Clifton boys soccer team accomplished last season, it is the disappointing way the year ended that sticks in the minds of head coach Fred Bido and his players. After winning Big North Liberty and Passaic County titles, the Mustangs had high expectations in the North 1, Group 4 playoffs, but they were quickly extinguished thanks to a 2-1 first round upset loss at the hands of Passaic County Tech. It is that loss that is pushing this year’s set of Mustangs to get back to the dance, and this time, finish the job. “[The players and I] have recalled that game in many conversations,” Bido said. “Of course, it is going to be our ultimate goal. Our primary focus this season is the state tournament. We are planning and projecting and dreaming. Emotionally, we have positive feelings about that, and we are going to try very hard [to go all the way].” 54 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Sept 7

@ Fair Lawn

12 pm

Sept 12

@ PCTI

Sept 17

JFK

Sept 18

@ Eastside Paterson 4:15 pm

Sept 21

Passaic

Sept 24

@ Bergen Tech

Sept 26

DePaul Catholic

4 pm

Oct 3

Wayne Valley

4 pm

Oct 8

PCTI

4 pm

Oct 10

@ JFK

Oct 14

Eastside Paterson 4:15 pm

Oct 18

Bergen Tech

4 pm

Oct 22

@ Passaic

4 pm

Oct 24

West Milford

4 pm

Oct 26

@ Lakeland

10 am

Oct 29

Passaic Valley

4 pm

Oct 31

@ Don Bosco

7 pm

Nov 4

@ Wayne Hills

4 pm

4 pm 4:15 pm

11 am 4:15 pm

4:15 pm


MUSTANG SPORTS Boys Soccer Last year the Mustangs were 16-4 and were heavy favorites against a Bulldogs squad they had beaten three times (by scores of 4-1, 3-2 and 5-0) already. But the perfect storm of circumstances ruined their championship hopes; Hurricane Sandy postponed the playoff game several times, killing their momentum and shaking up their practice routine. In addition, Clifton was visibly off on gameday. This year, the Mustangs will look to turn their misfortune into a valuable motivational tool. Starting in the goal will likely be junior Mark Glodava, though senior Adam Kopitar will also see time. “Mark can execute all the necessary technical skills, like diving, extension, punching the ball, kicking and receiving and positioning himself properly,” said Bido. “Adam is very energetic and has great leadership qualities. Good teams start from a good goalkeeper.” Defensively, the Mustangs will rely on an experienced lineup of four players that all started for Clifton last season. Junior Lucas Lech and sophomore Bruno Frascolla are both strong, aggressive presences that each bring a wide array of skills to the table.

Meanwhile, junior Brian Pariona will move from the midfield to the defense to utilize his combination of grittiness, balance and coordination. Senior Daniel Natale will also return after starting last year. Skilled sophomore Romario DePalmer will join the unit this season, as well. The midfield will be manned by a senior contingent, starting with Luis Chapal, who scored the game-winning goal in last season’s Passaic County final. Joining him will be Maciej Glugosz, who is strong, athletic and what Bido calls “a fighter.” Maurice Marsilla and Nich Glodava will also man the midfield. Offensively, Clifton’s primary weapons will be senior forwards Kevin Arce and Justin Olaya. Arce was a first-team All-County player last season, and Olaya led the Mustangs with 16 goals. Bido has confidence in both players, and has praised them both for great shooting ability. On paper, it appears that Clifton has the parts to contend a 20th county title and make a run in the state tournament. The Mustangs will have to avoid another letdown, but it looks as if the 2013 squad is adequately equipped to take aim at a state title.

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Clifton Merchant • September 2013

55


MUSTANG SPORTS Girls Soccer

Mustangs

Girls Soccer Sept 7

with its only losses coming to Let the hype begin for the 2013 Livingston in the playoffs and Clifton girls soccer team. To put it perennial power IHA—both by a mildly, the Mustangs are loaded, single goal. and with head coach Stan Lembryk The 2012 Mustangs won the Big back at the helm, the sky appears to North Liberty Division crown, as be the limit for the Mustangs. well as the Passaic County title, and Senior goalkeeper and Marylandreturn Egyed, Celestine, Sekanics, commit Rachel Egyed is back to senior Gabriella Scancarella and stymie opposing offenses, somesenior Lizzy DeMuro to a defensive thing she did perfectly—that is, shut unit that will look to do all that and them out—14 times last season. more this year. Thanks largely to Egyed and a “Winning a state championship is defense that also included Danielle our goal all the time,” Lembryk Celestine and Meghan Sekanics said. “You always want to bring tro(now a senior and junior, respectivephies home each year, for the City. ly), Clifton went 16-2 last season, 56 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Fair Lawn

1 pm

Sept 10 Millburn

4 pm

Sept 12 PCTI

4 pm

Sept 19 Eastside Paterson Sept 20 Belleville Sept 24 Bergen Tech

4:30 pm 4 pm 4:15 pm

Sept 26 @ DePaul Catholic

7 pm

Oct 3

@ Wayne Valley

4 pm

Oct 8

@ PCTI

4 pm

Oct 14

@ Eastside Paterson 4:30 pm

Oct 17

@ Bergen Tech

Oct 22

Immaculate Heart

Oct 24

@ West Milford

Oct 26

Lakeland

Oct 29

@ Passaic Valley

4 pm

Nov 4

Wayne Hills

4 pm

4:15 pm 4 pm 4 pm 10 am


MUSTANG SPORTS Girls Soccer This is more than a soccer program—it’s a big family. You are talking about a heck of a soccer program.” Offensively, Clifton will be led by four-year starter Karen Tuesta, who comes from a big soccer family and whose speed and gritty style of play are attractive to Lembryk. “Karen’s speed and tenaciousness are outstanding,” he said. “She gives us great service, and she is a relentless worker on the sideline.” The Mustangs will look for some offensive explosiveness from junior Mariana Jaramillo and sophomore Brittany Morales, each of whom will be counted on to replace some of the goals that will be missed thanks to the graduation of Jennie Hornstra (the top scorer in Clifton history). Jaramillo’s return is a huge bonus for Clifton, after the talented three-year varsity player missed all of last year to a torn ACL. Morales may be Clifton’s most versatile offensive player, with the ability to shoot from long distance, as well as take on a defender one-on-one. Athletic senior midfielder Sidnee Maldonado is another player that figures to contribute all over the field. Maldonado is especially skilled at winning on head balls

and tackles, and according to Lembryk, never gets rattled. Junior Nikki Rzekiec, in her third year on the varsity level, will look to continue to establish herself as a big-play threat, something she started to do when she scored the game-winning goal in last season’s Passaic County final. Rounding out the Mustangs’ starting lineup will be senior Victoria Lemanski, who spent last season as Hornstra’s understudy. “Victoria is ready to step in, and being around Jennie has given her the ability to learn a lot of those qualities it takes to be a great player,” said Lembryk. “She is a sniper in the box, She has to get chances and make the most of them, and we think she can.” Expect contributions from juniors Nicole Roncancio and Marissa Ale (both three year starters), sophomores Sharon Garcia and Kelly Aguilar-Almazo and freshman Mollie Slanina. “Personally, I feel this may be, from top to bottom, the best group I’ve ever had,” said Lembryk. “We have to be healthy and we have to click, and that takes time, but what we have so far is one of the fittest, most athletic programs we’ve had.”

Clifton Merchant • September 2013

57


MUSTANG SPORTS Volleyball

Mustangs

From left standing: Jessica Schama, Brianna Batres, Eleanor Espejo, Nialah Smith, Avani Sojitra, Nicole Montague, Christie Louer, Katherine Fraczeck, Brittany Guzman. Kneeling: Natalie Sroka, April DiAngelo, Jennifer Koppers, Kelly Douglass, Sara Douglass.

With a healthy balance of youth and experience, Clifton head girls volleyball coach Nick Romanak is optimistic that his 2013 team can exceed the accomplishments of his first squad a year ago. If he’s right, it could be a very exciting fall for the Mustang girls, as last year’s group not only won a share of the Big North Liberty Division title, but also advanced to the second round of the Passaic County Tournament and qualified for the state playoffs. “I’d like to be as successful as we were last year, and I hope we can go further,” Romanak said. “Having some key girls back, they know what it’s like to be in big-game situations. They have got a lot of potential to do well this year, too.” In her third year at the varsity level, junior setter/opposite hitter April DiAngelo would figure to be one of the players leading the charge. Her athletic ability is quickly evident on the court, and Romanak believes the benefits of her tireless offseason work will show this fall. Offensively, juniors Kelly Douglass and Nialah Smith will be two of the Mustangs’ biggest weapons, and have demonstrated more aggressive swings this preseason. Senior outside hitter Briana Batres gives Clifton a threat from the left side of the floor. Libero Avani Sojitra and setter Sara Douglass are both gritty players and effective passers. Senior outside hitter/opposite hitter Jennifer Koppers, 58 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Volleyball Sept 10 Fair Lawn

4 pm

Sept 12 PCTI

4 pm

Sept 16 @ JFK

TBD

Sept 18 Eastside Paterson

TBD

Sept 20 @ Passaic

TBD

Sept 21 @ Wayne Hills(Tourny) 9 am Sept 24 Bergen Tech

TBD

Sept 26 @ DePaul Catholic

4 pm

Oct 3

@ Wayne Valley

4 pm

Oct 4

Wayne Hills

4 pm

Oct 8

@ PCTI

4 pm

Oct 10

JFK

4 pm

Oct 11

@ Eastside Paterson

4 pm

Oct 15

@ Immaculate Heart

4 pm

Oct 17

@ Bergen Tech

4 pm

Oct 18

Passaic

4 pm

Oct 24

Lakeland

4 pm

Oct 25

@ Passaic Valley

4 pm

who possesses a diverse arsenal of skills and can play both sides, will round out the Clifton starting lineup.


f

MUSTANG SPORTS Tennis

CHS Seniors, from left, Jill Desai, Ruchi Desai, Eman Alfawair, Maggie Kurnyta, Elena Mikhaylova, Natasha Mendoza, Devashri Parikh.

Mustangs

Tennis Sept 5 @ Hackensack

It’s still early, but longtime Coach Chad Cole likes what he sees in his 2013 girls tennis squad. The Mustangs, who finished in a tie with Passaic County Tech last season for second place in the Big North Liberty Division, return several key players from last year’s 9-7 squad, and Cole believes they should be good enough to compete in the division once again. First singles starter Natasha Mendoza will lead the Mustangs, and she is poised for a big senior year following a first team All-Liberty Division season in 2012. “Natasha has great ground strokes, can pound the ball from the baseline, and makes few errors,” Cole said. “She is a real player.” Seniors Maggie Kurnyta and Kiara Casado will likely be the other singles players, while senior Jill Desai, juniors Devashri Parikh, Malika Radjapova and Archi Shah will all likely factor into the doubles lineup. Also with potential to play doubles is athletic sophomore Kamila Ivashka. Ivashka has caught Cole’s eye with her exceptional eye-hand coordination and lean, 5-foot-10 build, which lends itself to tennis. “Kamila has a lot of potential,” he said. “I can see her becoming a real good player with some fine-tuning. She hits the ball very well.”

10 am

Sept 10 Fair Lawn

4 pm

Sept 12 PCTI

4 pm

Sept 16 @ JFK

4 pm

Sept 18 Eastside Paterson

4 pm

Sept 20 @ Passaic

4 pm

Sept 24 Bergen Tech

4 pm

Sept 26 @ DePaul Catholic

4 pm

Oct 3 @ Wayne Valley

4 pm

Oct 4 Wayne Hills

4 pm

Oct 7 @ Passaic(Cnty Meet)

4 pm

Oct 8 @ PCTI

4 pm

Oct 10 JFK

4 pm

Oct 11 @ Eastside Paterson

4 pm

Oct 15 @ Immaculate Heart

4 pm

Oct 17 @ Bergen Tech

4 pm

Oct 18 Passaic

4 pm

Oct 22 @ West Milford

4 pm

Oct 24 Lakeland

4 pm

Oct 25 @ Passaic Valley

4 pm

Clifton Merchant • September 2013

59


MUSTANG SPORTS Cross Country

Mustangs

From left kneeling, Jeremy Castro, Justin Tanayan, Diana Mckenna, Cassidy Cardone, Giancarlo Motta, Antonio Cartella. Back left, Jeremy Hernandez, Octavio Sanchez, Jonathan Canas, Justin Mascardo, Ravi Patel, Jay Rana.

John Pontes is entering his 30th season as the head coach of Clifton’s boys and girls cross country teams, yet little has changed in the way he approaches preparing his runners for the grind of distance running. His consistency and dedication to his role as both a teacher and coach has allowed the Mustang program to become perhaps the most successful in Passaic County, and that standard provides reason to believe that this season’s squad will be as successful as its predecessors. We have a lot of kids that have never been distance runners before, and they don’t quite understand running distance,” Pontes said. “Their older teammates help them get engrained in the sport and become contributors. They work hard, buy into it, and believing you can go the distance allows you to do that. Many of our kids are better than average to exceptional students, as well. It’s no coincidence; the same work ethic that is required to accomplish mastering a tough subject applies to running cross-country.” Last season, both the boys and girls went undefeated, and both won the Big North Liberty Division championship. In addition, the boys won the Passaic County title. Both are returning important pieces from a year ago, and each are hopeful that they can equal and exceed those previous achievements. 60 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Cross Country Sept 7

Passaic/PCTI

11:40 am

Sept 9

Eastside Paterson 4:30 pm

Sept 12

@ TBA

Sept 16

JFK

5:35 pm

Sept 20

TBA

3:30 pm

Sept 28

TBA

9 am

Sept 30

Bergen Tech

4:30 pm

Oct 4

@ TBA

3:30 pm

Oct 12

@ TBA

9 am

Oct 17

Divisional Champ.

Oct 25

Passaic

Oct 26

@ TBA(Cnty Groups)

Oct 31

West Milford/Manchester/ Pompton Lakes 4 pm

Nov 10

State Sectional

Nov 16

State Group Champ 11 am

Nov 23

State Meet Champs 11 am

3:30 pm

TBD 4 pm TBD

10:30 am


MUSTANG SPORTS Cross Country On the boys end, seniors Jeremy Hernandez, Justin Tanayan and Octavio Sanchez will lead the way, with juniors Jay Pathak and Carlos Skerrett rounding out an impressive top five. The girls are a bit younger, but no less impressive. Senior Cassidy Cardone, juniors Sofiya Nedelcheva, Samantha Abdlesalame and Hailey Fusaro, and sophomore Hannah Anolik will be among the team’s key contributors. “Everything you do in running is just a matter of time,” said Pontes. “We want to practice for months to get our runners to run less time in a race. This group has put up some impressive times so far.” As a program, the Clifton boys have won more county championships than any other team in Passaic County, and have won league titles in nine of the last 10 years. The girls have had similar league success, winning nine straight division crowns. “We hope to contend for everything we were able to do last year,” Pontes said. “We have a great group of hard workers, and a fantastic assistant for both sports (Mike Rodgers, the head coach for boys and girls indoor track, as well as girls outdoor track). We should have a good shot to do so.”

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MUSTANG SPORTS Gymnastics For second-year head coach Amy Glenn and the Clifton gymnasts, 2012 was not so much about the 2-6 record the team finished with, but the way the Mustangs kept improving throughout the course of the season. When all was said and done, Clifton took third in North Jersey Gymnastics League Division B, and fourth in the Passaic County Tournament, and Glenn believes her squad will continue to rise in 2013. “Looking back on your previous season, you always want to try to improve on it,” she said. “I expect [our improvement] to continue. It’s a matter of how much you From left, Samantha Wong, Valentina Rincon, Brittany Meneghin, Kristen Wong, Shayna put yourself into it, and Mercedes, Francine Choy, Jasmine Luciano. Not pictured, Natalia Dymora and Tatyana Genoves. how much you want to accomplish.” compete in vault, bar and floor. arounders for the Mustangs, comSophomores Samantha and According to Glenn, Meneghin’s peting in vault, bar, beam and floor. Kristen Wong are both allbackground as a hockey player has Samantha placed third all-around been a great asset to her assimilain the county tournament a year Mustangs tion to gymnastics, as she is agile ago, and also won the individual and knows how to use her body. title in the NJGL Division B Sept 16 Butler 5 pm Shayna Mercedes, also a senior, Tournament. Kristen is especially has competed on vault and bars adept on vault, because her power Sept 18 @ Montclair 4:30 pm since her freshman year, and will and speed. Sept 25 West Milford 4:30 pm see more time on the beam this “I just knew with how she’s Oct 1 @ Ridgewood 4:30 pm year. expressed herself after routines, Oct 3 @ Ramapo 4:30 pm Three sophomore Mustangs will Sam knew that she was capable of Oct 7 @ Randolph 5:30 pm all compete in one or two events, as doing even better,” said Glenn. Oct 14 @ Wayne Hills 4:30 pm well. “She can be a force to be reckoned Oct 16 @ Passaic Valley 4:30 pm Francine Choy will work on with in the county. And I call Oct 22 Wayne Valley 4:30 pm floor and possibly beam, Valentina Kristen a ‘little powerhouse.’ The Oct 24 @ West Milford 5 pm way she maneuvers herself, she Rincon on vault and beam and Oct 29 @ West Milford 5 pm makes the routine look easy.” Jasmine Luciano—a newcomer Nov 9 State Sectional TBD Senior Brittany Meneghin will this year—on bars.

Gymnastics

62 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Clifton Merchant • September 2013

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Marching Mustangs

64 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


s

CHS Marching Mustangs will be led by Drum Major Rebecca Brand pictured above in the arms of bandmates. Other seniors on these pages are: Heather Atamian, Sarah Fusco, Jillian Hagberg, Susan Liberti, Robert Lupo, Anupa Mehta, Kanisha Parikh, Mohin Patel, Ronak Patel, Yulissa Pereira, April Rastaetter, Jacqueline Shackil, Emily Sinski, Katie Tecza, Jessica Testa, Matteo Varano, Joseph Verrico, Haley Zecchino. The band consists of 94 instrumentalists, 15 majorettes and 5 color guard.

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Representing America

THE CLIFTON LADY ON THE LAKE

The 2006 Marching Mustang Drum Major is now Coxswain on the 2013 USA Para-Rowing Team. By Richard Szathmary Just like Jimmy Buffett sings, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. It’s also always specifically 5 am somewhere, on some still and otherwise empty body of water where the early morning steam hasn’t yet collected itself and risen, where even the birds are grudgingly at best chirping this early, where the breeze is demurely reticent to venture forth. And yet, for competitive rowers, this is “it.” Absolute prime time. Time they love and need. Time during the genuine “gut sport” of rowing when they HAVE to be out on the water committing themselves and every muscle sinew they can summon up against the resistance of the water, measuring themselves not by the beating of their hearts but via the 66 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

terse thwop-thwop-thwop of oars dropping their blades into the water as a decidedly primitive, utterly muscledriven means of propulsion. Jenny Sichel, the 2006 CHS Marching Mustang Drum Major, is that sort of person. She’s gone from Clifton High to the rowing team at hyper-prestigious Bryn Mawr college. Then to her current gig as coxswain for a four-oared “boat” (shell, scull) which is going to compete in the world ParaRowing World Championships in Korea in late August. Jenny thinks it’s all of a piece, that it’s just been a logical progression. (Which is why she’s out there herself day after bloody day at 5 am daring the birds to join her.) When you read her story, you may well agree.


Oared Order “You’re kind of half-awake when you get to the boathouse,” Jenny Sichel says of her daily rowing routine. “But then, when you get out on the water, the world suddenly becomes full alive. And so quickly.” The first thing you have to realize is that the sport (a/k/a ordeal) of rowing takes a certain sort of person. Someone you might even guess was a galley slave in a previous lifetime. (Though Jenny Sichel is much too pretty to have ever served in the Roman Empire’s navy.) You’re in this narrow little thingie with your knees crunching up every other second into your face. Your breath spews out in pained bursts. You develop aches and pains where you didn’t even realize you have nerve endings. Marching band, which plays itself out on a much larger “playing field” and allows for movement and

patterns and has a grace all its mysterious own, this decidedly ain’t. “Mr. Morgan marched us up and down the field,” Jenny Sichel recalls today. “There was also a lot of getting yelled at. But it all had a purpose: to be the best possible unit we could.” That’s very similar to crew. She also found time at CHS to play softball and soccer. Jenny Sichel first got involved in intercollegiate rowing because the Bryn Mawr Owls don’t have a softball team. But she’s a fast learner, and within about two weeks of first sitting in an ”we were rowing up and down on the Schulykill River during my novice season.” “They more or less made me the ‘secret weapon,’” Jenny Sichel says today of her four years rowing on the Division III level. “I was young and inexperienced, but I rowed pretty well right from the start.

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Representing America “I loved rowing so much in college because it physically exhausted me daily. My rowing coach, Carol Bower, who’s just terrific, totally challenged me every stroke to get a better stroke. Just like Mr. Morgan challenged us daily mentally and physically in marching band. And in both rowing and marching band you have to find a way to mesh exactly, stroke or step after stroke or step,” she adds. Post-grad “Downsizing” Eventually, as her collegiate eligibility wound down, Jenny Sichel found herself applying to join the crew program at Philly’s justly famed Vesper Boat Cub. Now, Vesper is definitely one of rowing’s “big boys,” an organization which turns out Olympics-level rowers as regularly as, say, an outlaw motorcycle gang turns out felons. But Jenny Sichel, after rowing several seat positions for Bryn Mawr, knew that as a post-grad rower her chances for success were better as a coxswain. The position of coxswain is all-impor-

the majority of coxswains all across rowing seem to be young women today. Eventually, because of her dedication, experience and general “boat smarts,” and after advanced training stints at such rowing meccas as Princeton and New Zealand, Jenny Sichel was invited to train as a cox out in Oklahoma City at the National High Performance Center which is run by US Rowing, the overall governing body for rowing in America. She subsequently became skilled enough to be selected as cox for the US for one of the fouroared shells of the U.S. Paralympics team which competed between Aug. 25 and Sept. 1 in South Korea in the World Rowing Championships. So as you’re reading this, Clifton may thus already have a bona fide world champion athlete. And in a somewhat “under-the known” sport which could use all the attention it can get. One which is not yet common barroom discussion fodder at, say, The Clif or Rutt’s Hutt.

My rowing coach, Carol Bower, who’s just terrific, totally challenged me every stroke to get a better stroke. Just like Mr. Morgan challenged us daily mentally and physically in marching band. tant. The “cox” steers the shell on the water, directs and inspires the crew and, as Jenny notes, “provides the brains behind the brawn.” It also calls for someone not much heavier than 110 lbs, because what the cox weighs from the seat in the stern only adds in both crew’s lightweight (160 lbs. or less for male rowers, 130 for women) and heavyweight classifications to the total weight that the shell is pulling. So unless you’re on a campus with a ready supply of somewhat willowy young men or guys resembling actor James Cagney when in his early 20’s... this is why 68 August 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Look out, Chungju! Paralympics events, as you might guess from the name, are strictly for people with physical disabilities. (So no, it doesn’t include those athletes with “just” learning disabilities). And the shell that Jenny Sichel is coxing for competes in the “Legs, Trunk and Arms Mixed Division.” This means that all four rowers have full use of their upper bodies; Jenny’s crew includes two blind rowers, another with partial paralysis on his entire right side and a woman with but two fingers on her left hand.


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Representing America “We’ve been training daily as a crew in the Boston area for months now,” Jenny Sichel explains. “We’re usually out on the water from about 6 am and we stay there six days a week until 10:30 or so. Just trying to come together as a unit, to be in complete sync as a crew. We’re heading out to Chungju to win, and we’re all committed to giving the Paralympics Rowing Championships our absolute, total best.” As to what’s next for Jenny Sichel after South Korea, she momentarily turns wistful. “Well, coming up in 2016 is the ‘big one’ down in Rio.” By which she means the Paralympics Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro coincident with the Olympics games. “That’s a distinct possibility, and I’m certainly working and training with an eye to that. I’d love to be on the team for that event. That would be the ultimate rowing honor.” Jenny also, however, has to make some non-rowing career decisions, and soon. The former undergraduate math major (and at a school with first-rank academics like Bryn Mawr) was once pointed towards a career as a veterinarian, but now has decided that work as a physical therapist will be more emotionally rewarding.

“Helping people get through life rather than animals...” she continues, “via the Paralympics, I’ve come to appreciate just how really important PT can be and what a big need there is for dedicated practitioners.” To that end, she’s been taking classes “wherever I live and whenever I can fit them in. But whatever happens,” she stresses, “I can see myself involved with coaching rowing and coxing for the rest of my life. “It only seems as if it’s a long, long way from the Marching Mustang Band,” Jenny Sichel adds. “When I was in high school, it seemed as if the marching band was the ultimate in coordination, 100 plus people scrambling around the field, trying to become perfectly coordinated into one unit, one which would make Mr. Morgan proud. Now I’m out on the water trying to make my coaches proud. And it’s been much easier directly because of the lessons I learned as a Marching Mustang Drum Major, believe me.” We can only wish Jenny Sichel well. Both with the results coming out of Chungju this summer and for the expectation of having her as an Olympics coxswain in Rio in 2016. It’s be very nice indeed here in Clifton to be able to boast of having our very own first Olympic athlete, after all.

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To T o Register or for info call the Aquatics Department @ 973.773.2697 ext 31 o orr v visit isit w www.bgcclifton.org ww.bgcclifton.org Clifton Merchant • August 2013

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As we said last month, Clifton is the hot dog capital of America. And to prove it (again!), Hot Dog Nation, a 400-member organization of discriminating wiener buffs in all shapes, ages and sizes (we mean the membership here, not the dogs) is bringing two busloads of devotees of the deep-fried into Clifton on Sept. 21 to make the final two stops on its annual Hot Dog Tour. The group will be visiting both the Hot Grill and Rutt’s. (Presumably, cardiologists and endocrinologists will also be on hand to gladly greet “the doggers.”) A Taste of Clifton Food & Wine Festival is on Sept. 30 from 6 to 8:30 pm at the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton on Colfax Ave. A growing number of restaurants, alongside wine and spirits sellers, will be offering samples of their wares and culinary creations. Tickets are $35—or round up 10 hungry friends and it’s only $300. Proceeds help fund the services the B&GC offers its 5,300 youthful members. To purchase tickets or to become a vendor, contact the Club’s John DeGraaf at 973-773-0966, ext.11 or email jdegraaf@bgccclifton.org. Vendor slots are also still available, at no charge, as of when this issue went to press.

Alberto Molina, owner of Mario’s on Van Houten Ave. since Aug. 20, 2010, has completed a major renovation of the landmark dining establishment.

Mario’s, often cited as Clifton’s first pizzeria, has experienced some major changes. From the new entrance and waiting area to redesigned dining sections, owner Alberto Molina has invested handsomely in this Athenia eatery. Adding five large windows, improved lighting, new ceilings and painted in great soothing colors, the dining area and the bar look contemporary, comfortable and casual. New wooden tables and chairs have been added. Gone are the old bathrooms, relocated to the center of the structure. “We’ve really changed the whole layout,” he commented. “The flow of the room is better, making it easier for patrons and staff to get around.” As far as the menu, Molina said innovations have been added but many of the classic recipes created by Mario’s founders Mario and Emma Barilari in 1945—including the classic thin crust ‘Emma style’ pie—remain.

72 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

In last month's dining directory, we did not list the Bagel Station, 1223 Van Houten Ave. (973-249-7999). From left, Peter Agualema, owner Marc Mauriber, Jose Guaman, Ryan Mauriber and Kevin Lebron.


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Sights & Sounds True Colors Winter Guard, sponsored by Clifton Rec, is hard at work prepping for its 2014 competitive season which begins in January, according to founder and director Joe Nikischer. True Colors began in 2005 with just five members ranging in age from 4 to 7 and competed in its first competition in January 2006. For the 2014 season, the team will have two units out on the hustings in competition, a more experienced and competition-hardened “A” group and a “B” group called the “True Colors Kidz.” Both teams compete on a circuit throughout NJ and PA. In 2013 both units came back to Clifton with gold medals, each having won the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Network Championships in their respective divisions. Nikischer explained that Winter Guard is “a combination of spinning flags, high tossing rifles and the sparkle of flying sabers, combined with recorded music and a choreographed routine that uses body and dance moves to create

spectacular effects and uses a gym or arena as a stage. “We teach life skills of discipline, coordination, sportsmanship, a strong work ethic, commitment and an appreciation for all types of music while making friendships that last a lifetime,” he added. True Colors “A” group members range from 12 to 17 years of age,

while “B” group members are as young as 5. Membership per year is $35, which includes all equipment and uniforms. Members also participate in fund-raising activities throughout the year. Contact Joe Nikischer on his cell at 609-731-5454, the Rec Dept. at 973-470- 5956 or visit the team’s web site at truecolors.webs.com.

WANT TO BE IN OUR ISSUE? Send your Halloween Photos with your name and phone to tomhawrylko@optonline.net before Friday, September 13. 74 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Community Outreach Parish Nursing Interfaith Training & Outreach, headed by Rev. Peter Carey, CHS 1957, received a $15,000 grant from St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation to continue its good work in Clifton, Passaic and South Bergen. Based at the Wallington Presbyterian Church, the program has served the community for 19 years caring for people dealing with chronic illnesses or in crisis. Home visitation is the core of the service where a nursing assessment is done and a plan for the mind, spirit, and body is developed. “We care for people across the life-span and create a plan of care utilizing community resources and with other agencies,” Rev. Carey explained. “This grant will allow us to continue this vital program by planning care based on individual need. There has never been a charge for services so grants and donations are a critical link to continuing the services. The goals and services of Parish Nursing blend perfectly with the evolving mission of the Foundation to directly support communitybased healthcare initiatives.” In an age when healthcare is a complex fragmented labyrinth, Carey explained that Parish Nursing meets people where they are and creates a plan of care that is safe and flexible for the long-term. Along with care for those who have a chronic illness, another area of need that has emerged is senior care. Quality of life issues are addressed and support and guidance through the labyrinth are offered to the family. This integrated approach offers an opportunity for healing even when there is not a cure for the body. Hire a Name You Know

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Offering home visits for Clifton’s infirmed and aged, the Parish Nursing Interfaith Training & Outreach program is ministered by R.N. Marion Spranger, director Rev. Peter Carey (and at left in CHS 1957) and his wife and coordinator Peg Carey.

Rev. Carey is hosting a luncheon to provide support and raise funds for Parish Nursing. The event is on Sept. 29 at noon at the Civic Center in Wallington. Tickets ($25, children under 12 are free) can be purchased at the door or in advance. Contributions are always welcomed. Call 973-779-2640 for info.


Port Authority Police Officer John Skala, brothers Tim and John Grazioso and six other Cliftonites were among those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

As Tim and John Grazioso’s day at their office in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 became a nightmare, fellow Cliftonite and Port Authority Police Officer John Skala was called to do what he did best, help others. Usually stationed at the Lincoln Tunnel, Skala was ordered to report to the World Trade Center shortly after the first plane hit the north tower. As he was known to do, Skala ran to the place where lives were in danger. The 31-year-old had the chance to escape harm but entered the Twin Towers in an attempt to help the injured. One of his co-workers reported that Skala emerged from the Trade Center, grabbed a first aid kit and re-entered the burning building. He was the only one of his unit not to escape the wreckage. His friends and family say Skala’s life ended the way he lived: taking care of other people. In fact, when he wasn’t on duty as a Port Authority cop, Skala, a parishioner of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Passaic, was also a paramedic with the Passaic/Clifton Mobile Intensive Care Unit. In addition to the three mentioned here, Clifton lost six other residents on Sept. 11, 2001. They included Edward C. Murphy, Kyung Cho, Ehtesam U. Raja, Edgar H. Emery, Zuhtu Ibis and Francis Joseph Trombino.

1,562 American Flags will billow around City Hall on Patriot’s Day, 9/11. The display along the Avenue of Flags goes up with the help of volunteers. To help out, be there at 6:30 am on Sept. 11. The idea is to honor veterans and their service—there is still room for more flags. Citizens can honor a veteran by sponsoring a flag, pole, sleeve, name plate and ground socket. The cost is $100. Details at www.cliftonnnj.org, click on links and then click on Avenue of Flags. To volunteer for set up or break down at 6 pm email cliftonrec@cliftonnj.org or call John Biegel at 973-519-0858.

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Community Events Dr. Jack Houston and Rich DeLotto present a series of talks on American Military and Naval battles during World War I and II. The free discussions will take place at the Hamilton House Museum, 744 Valley Rd., from 7 to 9 pm on Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 21. The Ladies of the Hamilton House will serve refreshments after the presentation. Houston is an associate dean of Undergraduate Studies at Fordham University. DeLotto, a retired Clifton Firefighter, is an aficionado of military history and a writer focused on military history as it relates to Clifton. “Discussion and sharing is a big part of the evening,” said Dr. Houston. “We want people to share stories from their parents, grandparents as soldiers and sailors and civilians.” For more details or to attend, call 973-478-0522 or 973-472-5326. Enjoy free pizza as the Clifton Democratic Club honors Sheriff Richard Berdnik on Sept. 9 from 6 to 8 pm at Mario’s Restaurant, 710 Van Houten Ave. Call Club President John D. Pogorelec, Jr. at 973-778-1604 with any questions.

$

At the Paulison Avenue ShopRite planning for the Partners in Caring event: Felix Morales, Joe Russa, Emily Pi, Jerry Trester, Stephanie Pose, Rafael Cuellar, Kristine Dehais and Guillermo Garcia. Get involved: 973-471-0868.

The Paulison Avenue ShopRite hosts Partners in Caring to raise funds to fight hunger and benefit local food pantries. Cuellar Family Markets owner, store managers and employees are ramping up activities to bring awareness to the cause. Patrons can participate by purchasing goods bearing the Partners in Caring shelf tag and a portion is donated to the fund. Kristine Dehais and others at the store are organizing charity events, including a PassaicClifton Police Dept. softball game, cooking classes, beefsteak and more.

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The Clifton Veterans Day Parade steps off at 2 pm on Nov. 10. The parade begins at Huron and Van Houten Aves. and continue through Athenia to Clifton City Hall and the Avenue of Flags. This year’s parade theme is the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War. “Clifton is one of only a few cities that may have a parade,” said Chair Keith Oakley. “Join us as a veteran or have your group march in the parade. We want scout troops and social organizations as part of the event. Our goal is to honor those who have served and by participating we do that as a community.” To participate, donate or for details, call 201-774-6666. Van Houten Ave. Street Fair is Sept. 15 from 11 am to 5 pm. Stroll the avenue, enjoy food, entertainment, kiddie and pony rides and a petting zoo. Rain date Sept. 22. Call 973-473-0986.

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78 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

The St. John Kanty Parish Picnic is Sept. 8, from 1 to 10 pm at 49 Speer Ave. Admission is $2; kids under 12 free. Music by Polonus. Call 973-779-4102.


The 29th St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church Parish Festival is Sept. 22 from noon to 8 pm at 217 President St., Passaic. There will be homemade foods, drinks, children’s games and Ukrainian music. This year’s festival will be expanded to offer more activities and events. Tickets are $3. Call 973-471-9727 or visit www.stnicholasucc.org. The Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Church, 635 Broad St., will host its picnic on Sept. 15 with dance ensembles, crafts, food, games, raffles and more. Admission is $3. For info, call 973-473-8665. St. Andrew’s RC Church Carnival is Sept. 4 to 8 at 410 Mt. Prospect Ave. Hours are 5 to 10 pm Wednesday and Thursday, to 11 pm Friday, Saturday 5 to 11 pm and Sunday from 3 to 8 pm. Free admission. Call 973-777-7582. Downtown Clifton Street Fair: Stroll Main Ave. on Oct. 19, rain or shine from 10 am to 5 pm. Downtown merchants, neighborhood charities and vendors from the region will line the Avenue. Brookwood will perform noon to 4 pm; a DJ will spin in front of the Midtown Grill. Vendors are welcomed; 201-998-1144. Call Angela Montague at 973-557-3886 for sponsorship opportunities. The CHS Class of 1963 will hold its 50th class reunion on Nov. 29 at the Mountainside Inn on Hazel St. Cost is $60 per person. Organizers Ellen Grexa and Helen Kubik need to make reservations and asked classmates to send in checks now. For details, call 973-742-4466.

The Botany Blues Pub Crawl is on Sept. 28 featuring five bands in five neighborhood taverns starting at 7 pm. Past Crawls have produced great crisp evenings of music, food and fun. The $10 ticket allows you to tour the historic district and its taverns to see performers such as Victoria Warne (above) and Jimbeau and his Retrocasters. For tickets, call Joe Nikischer at 609-731-5454.

The Theater League of Clifton is holding auditions for a new children’s theater piece, Aladdin Visits the 21st Century, written and directed by Kirk Woodward. This show will be presented as Theater in the Round at the Clifton Arts Center, and tells a whimsical story of the mythical character Aladdin and his adventures in modern day. Auditions are Sept. 7 and 8, 1 to 4 pm at the CAC, 900 Clifton Ave. Excerpts from the play will be provided at auditions. There are six open roles with an age range from teen to adult, including Aladdin, the Princess, the Ruler of the Land, his Henchman, Aladdin’s mean Aunt and a Genie. Performances are Oct. 5 and 6 at 1 and 3:30 pm. For more info, call 973-928-7668.

The Partnership of Tapestry is an exhibit and sale by Susan Martin Maffei and Archie Brennan, the 100th art show at the Clifton Arts Center since the year 2000. Exhibited Sept. 18 through Oct. 19, there is a reception open to the public on Sept. 28 from 1 to 4 pm. Admission is $3 for non-members. The CAC is behind city hall near Van Houten and Clifton Aves. Details at www.cliftonnj.org.

Clifton’s Garden State Opera (GSO) will present Santelli’s Tamar da Timna (from Misery to Glory), a premiere commissioned by the Assisi Music Festival, and Donizetti’s Il Campanello di notte on Oct. 27 at 4 pm at the Caldwell College Student Center Auditorium, 120 Bloomfield Ave., Caldwell. Tickets are $20, $15 for students and seniors. The performance is staged, with orchestra and English supertitles. The GSO is under the baton of Clifton resident Francesco Santelli. For more details and info call 973-685-9972 or go to www.gardenstateopera.org. Clifton Merchant • September 2013 79


Birthdays & Celebrations - September 2013

Mnohaya lita! God grant you many years Frances Stek who will turn 90 on Sept. 22. Dorothy Knapp has a birthday on Sept.12. She shares a birthday with Nick Hawrylko who will be 18 and mom Cheryl who will be 55. Margot and Gino Villanova celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary on Sept. 18.

Birthdays & Celebrations

Send dates & names...tomhawrylko@optonline.net Michael Capwell ...............9/1 Allison Di Angelo ..............9/2 Liam Robert Martin ............9/2 Bill Federowic ...................9/3 Dave Gabel ......................9/3 Jennifer Martin ..................9/3 Sharon Holster ..................9/4 Joseph Shackil...................9/4 Eric Wahad ......................9/4 Linda Ayers.......................9/5 Christy Gordon .................9/5 Mohammed Othman ..........9/5

Ana Stojanovski ................9/6 Darren Kester ....................9/7 Greg Martin .....................9/7 Helen Albano....................9/8 Eddie Bivaletz ...................9/8 Shannon Carroll ................9/8 Liz Tresca .........................9/8 Geoff Goodell...................9/9 Annamarie Priolo...............9/9 George Andrikanich ........9/10 Nicole Moore .................9/10 Dolores Wyka .................9/10

80 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant

Ronnie Courtney..............9/11 Andrew Orr ....................9/11 Andrew Shackil ...............9/11 Lee Ann Doremus ............9/12 Wayne Funke..................9/12 Naoma Martin ................9/12 Thomas Wayne ...............9/13 Sarah Bielen ...................9/14 Anthony Dorski................9/14 Jayde Gouveia-Hernandez..9/14 Emily Duchnowski ............9/15 Manny Monzo ................9/15 Stacey Corbo..................9/16 Nancy Ann Eadie............9/16 Joe Genchi .....................9/16 Jaclyn Scotto ...................9/16 Cindy Murcko .................9/17 Kathleen Gorman ............9/18 Amanda Meneghin..........9/18 Dawn Smolt ....................9/18 Daniel Smith ...................9/18 Gloria Turba ...................9/18 Mickey Garrigan .............9/19 James Graham ................9/19 Rickie Ojeda...................9/19 Louis DeLeon ...................9/20 Sara Gretina...................9/21 Lynne Lonison..................9/21 Annamaria Menconi ........9/21 Peter Skoutelakis..............9/21


Rory MacDonald CHS 2004 & Brigita Harajda will marry on Nov. 28, 2014. Valerie Carestia...............9/22 Beverly Duffy...................9/22 Ryan Gorny ....................9/22 Timothy St. Clair..............9/22 Keith Myers ....................9/23 Brian Salonga .................9/23 Brian Engel....... ..............9/23 Pam Bielen......................9/25 Deanna Cristantiello ........9/25 Donato Murolo................9/25 Corey Genardi................9/26 Saverio Greco.................9/26 Richard Van Blarcom........9/26 Kenneth Chipura .............9/28 Barbara Mascola.............9/29 Thomas E. Moore ............9/29 Mary Perzely ..................9/29 Lauren Hrina ...................9/30 Ryan Lill..........................9/30 Happy 13th anniversary to Greg & Margaret Nysk on Sept. 17. Arlene & Villeroy Hard will be married 55 years on Sept. 14. Walter & Claire Pruiksma are married 67 years on Sept. 18. Clifton Merchant • September 2013

81


School 7 - 1952

Clifton attorney Bill Sala provided this photo of his beloved and long gone School 7, which was once in Botany Village. He could not identify all from the 8th grade class, but counting in numeric order from the front row from left are: 2-Vita Corona, 4-Connie D’Arco, 6-Principal Charles Robinson, 7-Doris Pojednic, 8-Joan Kaplinski, 9-Carol Vuoncino, 10Loretta Vassleri, 11-Elvira Borelli. Second row: 1-Leona Hyman, 3-Rosemary Maccan, 8-Nina Netto, 9-Cecelia Portelli, 13-Paul Dittrich. Third row: 3-Roy Egatz, 7-Audrey Mareioni, 8-Beverly Belli, 9-Freddie Schofield, 12-Barry Sherman. Fourth row: 2-Ron Mazzarizzi, 7-Billy Sala, 14-Richie De Ghetto. Fifth row: 2-Pete Zocchi, 6-Murray Kashtan, 7-Mike Garcia, 10-Tommy Cupo. “Leona Hyman and Paul Dittrich were fabulous teachers,” Sala said of the staff, “and Charles Robinson was a great principal.”

82 September 2013 • Clifton Merchant


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Profile for Clifton Merchant Magazine

Clifton Merchant Magazine - September 2013  

Clifton Merchant Magazine - September 2013