Mrs. Jacobi’s Hamster Epidemic
By Rachel von Hollen
On April 20th, eleven baby hamsters were born at ALJ. The proud mother and father are Mrs. Jacobi’s own class hamsters, Flynn (the Papa) and Elliot (the Momma). It was a fairly unexpected event. Although the male and female hamster were living together no one expected babies, the two hamsters had been raised together since birth. There was no indication that they would ever mate. But, nature took its course and roughly 23 days later, during the Activity Block on April 20th, Mrs. Jacobi left the room momentarily and returned to an explosion of miniscule fuzz balls.
The students who were studying in her room were awestruck, as was Mrs. Jacobi. It was unanimously agreed to leave the mother (Elliot) alone, and to remove the father (Flynn) from the communal cage. It’s often an issue that father hamsters try to attack their young, so in an effort to avoid this behavior Flynn was removed from the situation all together. He’s living happily in his own cage now, right next door to his family.
A few weeks later, as the babies were beginning to open their eyes they were recounted. Sadly, the number of babies has decreased from eleven, to nine as two of the babies didn’t survive. Thankfully, however, the remaining nine babies are happy and healthy. Three of the babies have their mother’s dark fur, and five of them look like their father. Strangely, there is one unique baby who has a creamy tan fur that neither of her parents possesses, as well as different colored eyes (one is red, one is black). Still, each baby hamster is 100% adorable Mrs. Jacobi held a lottery in May to find homes for the adorable critters. She is in search of loving families for all of them. She wants to be sure that the hamsters, “will be taken care of with the same love and affection as they were brought up with in the classroom, because it is all they know.” The seven sisters and two brothers found their forever homes through a lottery system instituted by Mrs. Jacobi.
By Erin Heaning (Photo credits: Erin Heaning, Susan Dougherty)
Friday night may 17th from 6 pm to 9 pm, Arthur L Johnson's Key Club held its second annual Senior Citizen Prom. Following the success of last years prom, Key Club once again put together a committee that met once a week in order to come up with a theme, buy decorations, create invitations, and ask for donations.
This year the theme was a decade dance and decorations corresponded with pop culture from the 50's and 60's. Although admittance was free, attendees were asked to bring a canned food item in order to contribute to Key Club's ongoing annual project of Feeding the Hungry. Dinner for the event was provided by Applebee’s, with dessert provided by Vaccaro’s Bakery, the senior citizens enjoyed a night dining and dancing.
Special guest and pageant winner Miss Coastal Shore came to visit and sang her talent song “Gold” for all the guests. Later, when the King and Queen of the prom were announced, Miss Coastal Shore crowned them. Overall the night was a great success as attendance was over 100. Key Club hopes to continue this tradition into the future.
ALJ Art Show Impresses All
2017 Art Show Great Success
By Jillian Pencinger
This May’s art show really seemed to express ALJ’s student talent and showed a many excellent examples of the creativity of students that are artistically inclined. The art show included students’ best work from projects from art classes, and open studios, photography and art pieces on display. Everyone in open studio presented their work on boards in the IMC. Most artists did expression pieces; making their walls really personal and showing a great display of character.
Marcella Valenzuela did a photography wall with pictures that some of her friends modeled in and. In addition she included many nature scenes, which really seemed to grab the attention of viewers. Natalie Carnovale said that “it really seemed to catch my eyes.”
Amanda Marconi, a senior at ALJ high school stated “It was intriguing to see all the smiling faces at the show, everyone really seemed to enjoy the art.” Amanda had two pieces in the art show, one being an assignment in which students were told to create a 3D version of an inspiring painting. Amanda did a version of the famous "Still Life with Pitcher, Candle and Enamel Pot." Her art was featured along with a couple others, their pieces being ones from other famous artists.
“It is important to see students expressing themselves because it really shows the talent at ALJ in which its walls behold,” said Mr. Terhune. The art show started Monday May 22, 2017 at 5 pm in the IMC, all the art teachers, Mr. Marcin, Mr. Terhune, Mrs. Gossman, and Mr. Klimchak organized the event, and Mr. Marcin said “The show highlighted the artistic talents of the open studio advanced class”. The advanced open studio class is run by Mr. Marcin, but the show also included all of the art classes students best work. There is an art show every year and there is hope that this will continue to trend so students may get recognition for their talent and accomplishments.
IBM visits ALJ
By: Nicole Buczynski
Recently Arthur L. Johnson High School was fortunate enough to meet a new kind of visitor from the well-known International Business Machine company, also known as IBM. Philip Guido, a Clark native and Arthur L. Johnson alum, is the General Manager for IBM Global Technology Services for North America. His responsibilities include strategy, execution, business results and client satisfaction for the full range of IBM's Global Technology Services business.
Mr. Guido brought a duplicate of one of IBM’s most prestigious creations, Watson, and state of the art robot named “Pepper.” Pepper, like Watson, is a supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence and analytical software for performance as a “question answering” machine.
Mr. Guido began his presentation with the story of his life and his experiences, both personally and at IBM. He then introduced Pepper. Pepper was rolled out onto stage and the crowd woke it up by clapping and cheering. Phillip Guido then had volunteers from the student- filled crowd ask Pepper some questions he had prepared, such as, “Who is Arthur L. Johnson named after?” and “Who’s the smartest person in the room?” Of course Pepper was correct, answering Mr. Delmonaco. Mr. Guido then called out Pepper’s little brother who performed Tai Chi for the audience alongside ALJ’s own Mr. Silber. Phillip Guido concluded his presentation with some wise words he had for ALJ’s students, saying, “Life is quite a ride, enjoy it.”
According to Mr. Guido, artificial intelligence machines like Pepper and Watson are extremely helpful in today’s society, helping in the medical, business and technology fields. Watson can understand all forms of data, interact naturally with people, and learn and reason, at scale. In 2011, in order to prove its abilities, Watson challenged two top-ranked players on Jeopardy! and beat champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Like the other contestants, Watson had no Internet access. Currently, Watson is working alongside people in 45 countries and 20 industries to help businesses work faster and smarter. In the near future, Watson will help people with health and well-being in labs and hospitals, working towards things such as a cure for cancer. Watson can also read eight million pages per second and understand multiple languages. Mr. Guido and others at IBM predict that there will be an artificial intelligence machine like Watson and Pepper in every home within a short time.
According to IBM, "The goal is to have computers start to interact in natural human terms across a range of applications and processes, understanding the questions that humans ask and providing answers that humans can understand and justify." The company also intends to use Watson in other information-intensive fields, such as telecommunications, financial services, and government. Machines like Watson and Pepper are things we humans have seen as only a mere imagination in our minds, and now it is beginning to come true. With the help of artificial intelligence machines we humans can truly improve and positively change the world for good.
AP Testing Challenges ALJ Scholars
By: Brittany Doerflein
AP testing took place the first two weeks of May. As students crack open the books to get cramming the night before the exam, Fosco has cracked open on his experiences with AP exams. Mr. Fosco has been kind enough to answer the burning questions that all have about AP courses. Mr. Fosco teaches the AP European History course here at Arthur L. Johnson and has for many years. He feels that this class is 100% worth the pain that comes with AP. He himself took AP World and AP US when he was in high school. “The courses were much different then,” he states, but his position on AP remains the same. He completely recommends taking these courses in high school as a good challenge and a ‘dress rehearsal’ for college.
Some students don’t take the courses out of fear, but Mr. Fosco offers the wisdom that “if it were impossible, we wouldn’t have it.” He believes that all that is necessary to take an AP course is a willingness to work.
AP testing does not just revolve around the memorization of information. The point of the exams is to be able to synthesize original ideas from previously learned information, and for the college credit. A senior source has often complained about the burdens of these classes asking, “Why did I do this to myself?” However, the end result is very well worth the initial struggles. There is nothing more satisfying than having walked out of the AP exam to feel freedom for the first time and one of the greatest senses of accomplishment.
Summer Days; Summer Daze
By Sammy Burkhard
The end of the school year is coming up, and many people are in absolute, high spirits for the upcoming summer break. Some students may be readying themselves for college, while others may be spending their three months oversleeping, and enjoying the vibe of no schoolwork, and the scorching hot, but beautiful weather outside.
Kristen Purcell, a graduating senior from the Class of 2017 mentioned working a 3rd year as a camp counselor at the Clark Recreational Center in which she takes great pride in.
Purcell said, “I enjoy watching all the kids grow up, and develop through the six weeks that I work at the camp. I love how the kindergartners that I counsel, start off as nervous children, then end up as outgoing, and joyful individuals. The bond that I create with these kids is the best aspect of my job.” Purcell also mentioned spending one week vacationing in Puerto Rico with her family. In Puerto Rico, she plans to visit San Juan, and enjoying the beach. Purcell is also going to Florida to book her sister’s wedding.
Like Purcell, Alexa Lugo, an ALJ Freshmen is planning to get a job as a camp counselor, or work as a Staff Member at the Clark Pool as another option. Lugo also included vacationing to a resort in the Dominican Republic, and spending time in a shore house down by Point Pleasant.
Other students like ALJ Freshmen, Kyle Briscese is looking forward to committing his time to baseball which he mentioned to be one of his favorite sports. He also plans on going down to Brick, NJ to a shore house where he will be spending time with his closest friends, and family members.
Another student-athlete, ALJ Sophomore, Nicole Buczynski is eager to start her season as a Junior Soccer Player as a second year starter for ALJ. She particularly enjoys her pre-season because she loves the bond that her, and her friends develop before the real season begins.
Buczynski said, “I really enjoy the friendships I have with my teammates who later I was lucky to call my friends by the end of last year’s season. Even through all the brutal, and vigorous fitness that my teammates, and I had to face during pre-season, and season practices, I still managed to maintain a positive, and hopeful attitude, knowing that my team was there with me, and my friends were going through the exact same thing.”
She also looks forward to taking advantage of the weather, and spending some time at the beach with her friends.
Many students spend many different ways of taking advantage, and making the best of their time during the three short months of summer break.
May 17th, 2017
Over the next few days Crusader Today will be featuring a number of alumni who are graduating from college. If you know of someone, please contact Mr. Reyes in Room 215 so they can be featured on the blog.
Justin Lakkis, Class of 2014
Justin is graduating, summa cum laude (GPA>3.85) from Rutgers University New Brunswick with a Masters Degree in Statistics/Mathematics. Justin was able to complete a five year program in three years by taking maximum course work each semester and taking summer classes.
In the short term, he plans to work as a program management intern with a telecom company called Iconectiv in Piscataway. Long term plan is to pursue a PhD in Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania (Administered by Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Perelman School of Medicine). Justin plans on starting my PhD program in the fall after my internship.
When asked what advice he would give to a graduating senior, Justin said, “First, study hard freshman year. Too often, I've seen people let their GPAs sink quite low freshman year. While transitioning to college, you are exposed to so many new things. As a result, freshman often get distracted and get poor grades in otherwise easy classes. They often regret it later on as they have to play "catch up" to bring their GPAs up while taking the harder classes in their majors. Secondly and even more important, keep an open mind and be active in the community. College is your opportunity to establish a professional network that spans beyond just your town or county. This doesn't mean you have to make everything a networking event. Go to clubs, check out events on campus, chat with professors, and talk to your fellow students. It's also your chance to be exposed to new things. Keep an open mind as you meet new people and progress through your college career.
Justin continued, “People often describe college as a "formative experience" because you are exposed to new people and ideas that heavily influence your perspectives for the rest of your life, but it can only be formative if you are receptive and let the experience be formative. Speaking from personal experience, Rutgers taught me a lot, and "formative" is an understatement of how much it has shaped me as a person.
GL Upset ALJ for County Champs
Courtesy of TapIntoClark by Daniel Collins LINDEN, NJ - A base running decision secured the Union County Tournament championship for the Governor Livingston High School varsity softball team Friday night, as the Highlanders beat the Arthur L Johnson High School Crusaders 1-0 in what became a pitchers’ duel.
It came in the bottom of the second inning, when GL senior Nicole Trezza got on base. She went to second on a wild pitch and stole third base. In a split-second decision, she broke for home plate and came in safely to give her team the lead.
“I’m always aggressive on the bases and I knew it was going to be a close game,” Trezza said. “I knew that I was going to have to do something to score a run and I knew for my team, we needed a run. As soon as I saw that ball bounce off the catcher’s glove, I just bolted for third and I just saw the ball and ran home and it was the greatest feeling ever.”
The pitchers were in complete control, with Johnson senior Gianna Randazza and GL senior Alanna Namit both throwing complete games. There were 15 strikeouts and not too much action following hits.
“This game was a carbon copy of the last time we played at their place when we went to extra innings,” Governor Livingston head coach Mike Roof said, speaking of the May 2 game. GL won that battle 2-1 in nine innings. “A good old pitchers’ duel and obviously you saw not a lot of hits. Both of them [Randazza and Namit] pitched their hearts out and were very effective.”
“We took advantage of an opportunity with our speed on the base-paths and that was the difference today, basically,” Roof added.
Trailing in the top of the fourth inning, the Crusaders put two runners on base, but couldn’t come across with a run. Johnson junior Lauren Donah broke for third base following a double off the bat of senior Gianna Randazza. In a close play, Donah was called out.
The Highlanders and Crusaders each left three runners on base, but Governor Livingston finished off Johnson for the win, giving them the title they had hoped to capture last year.
“It’s the fact that we’re all seniors and we wanted this to be a really big win for us,” Namit said. “We wanted it last year, but it didn’t happen, but Gianna [Randazza]’s an amazing pitcher and we just finally went out there and we got it this year.”
In the top of the sixth inning, Governor Livingston senior Christine Pacheco came up with a huge play on defense. As Donah hit a high fly-ball to shallow right-field, Pacheco dove for the catch, taking away a hit.
“I’ve been working at diving a lot at practice and know I’ve had opportunities in a game where I haven’t, so in my head, I said, ‘I’m going for this hard and I’m going to get it,’” Pacheco said. “I’m glad it worked out.”
In the loss, Randazza threw a no-hitter, but the Crusaders are looking ahead to the state tournament and their remaining games.
“I told the girls they have to stick together,” Johnson head coach Chris Di Nucci said. “They worked their tails off and they played really, really hard today. There were a few opportunities where we could’ve snuck a run across.”
“We had the one inning where we strung some hits together,” Di Nucci said, of the fourth. “We had an unfortunate call at third where she was called out. That was a close call. Even with that, there were still opportunities in the game. [GL’s] a good softball team. They had our number this year, but a 1-0 game can go either way. I’m proud of our girls and we’re looking forward to the state tournament.”
The Johnson Crusaders (15-8) will take on Bernards HS in a regular season game Monday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The Governor Livingston Highlanders (19-2) will head back on the road to play at Brearley HS Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m.
From April 25th to the 28th, the History Club ran the First Annual Kahoot Challenge in the auditorium. On the 25th and 26th, dozens of students competed in the preliminaries, with 30 students moving on to the semi-finals. From there 17 moved on to the finals on Friday.
The competition was tight and the top five were within a few hundred points of each other. In the end Ivy Lin was unstoppable earning her first place and the coveted tickets to see Shawn Mendes provided by Moxie. Ty Dobbins took second place and a $25 Chili's gift certificate, and Luke Giltner bringing in third and receiving a gift card to Dunkin Donuts. All semifinalists received Blaze pizzas.
Kahoot is an online review game that has become popular in education in the recent past. Students compete against each other on a laptop or over their phone, with questions showing on the master screen. Mr. Reyes and Ms. Russo, advisers to the History Club wanted to bring some fun to the activity periods by hosting this contest.