Photo credit: Erin Heaning
On Wednesday November 23rd, ALJ once again celebrated their Annual Homecoming Event. A celebration of Fall Athletes began the event, with fans cheering on all the fall sports. This was followed by the Homecoming Ceremony where the Homecoming King and Queen were announced. The court consisted of Casey Dohn, Deserae Sequiera, Gianna Randazza, Gina Ferdinandi, Gina Pace, Jennifer Casalino, Julia Melao, Julia Sapia, Natalie Carnovale and Payton Wiese represented the girls. The boys’ court consisted of Alexander Hampp, Bret Roessle, Cameron Hund, Jon Duffy, Matt Gallo, Michael Brennen, Michael Cepparulo, Nick Fischetti, Ty Schaeffer and Vin Campbell. After much anticipation, Mike Brennan was crowned Homecoming King, and Julia Melao was crowned Homecoming Queen.
By Dana Ugarte
Last Thursday and Friday night, November 17th and 18th, Arthur L. Johnson put on the production Dracula, a story of a vampire and the people who unfortunately end up in his presence. Directed by Mr. Nevargic, Dracula was a play that came alive with noteworthy direction and memorable performances by Michael Racanelli, Madison Law, Emma Knutson, Anthony Whitman, John Gregorio, Nadia Szilgayi, Ty Dobbins, and Gabby Smith.
The play started when Emma Knutson mysteriously walked down the auditorium aisle to the piano, where she played a beautiful song to set the tone of the play.
Then, as the story commenced, the audience watched as Harker (John Gregorio) embarked on a trip to Transylvania. While his purpose was to complete a business transaction with a man by the name of Count Dracula (Michael Racanelli), Dracula did not have the same plan, and instead held Harker captive in his castle.
Meanwhile, back in England, Lucy (Madison Law) and Mina (Emma Knutson) giggled about their love lives, that is, until Jonathan went weeks without contacting Mina and Lucy began to experience peculiar "dreams."
The play continues as each actor beautifully portrays each of their roles, and fully immerses the audience into the world of Dracula.
When asked what her favorite part of being part of Dracula was, Madison Law answered, "I would probably have to say working with accents was my favorite part. it was a really different experience and hard at times, but once you got it, it was really cool and you feel like a different person."
One of the most amazing aspects of the play was the spinning apparatus in center stage, with Lucy's bedroom on one side, and a holding cell for Renfield (played by Anthony Whitman) on the other. Mr. Terhune and the stage crew did an incredible job of bringing the stage to life. To say it was ingenious would be an understatement.
Dracula was a great success. From the acting, to the stage design, to the accents, the audience became enthralled with the tale of Dracula.
"My favorite part was the ending when they killed Dracula and he came back to life. The acting was really good and everyone was really into their characters, especially Anthony Whitman," says Grace Duffy, a junior.
Thanks to the cast and Mr. Nevargic, Arthur L. Johnson's Dracula, a story of death, was anything but dead.
On Tuesday, November 15, 2016, various staff members and administrators at Arthur L. Johnson High School participated in a signing day ceremony to honor Gianna Randazza’s and Vincent Campbell’s years of service to Crusader Athletics and commemorate their signing of Nation Letters of Intent to play NCAA Collegiate Athletics.
Arthur L. Johnson’s senior student athlete Gianna Randazza signed her letter of intent to continue her athletic and academic career at the collegiate level, where she will continue playing softball at Boston College for the Eagles. The senior pitcher had an outstanding season for the Crusaders as she led her team to a Divisional, County, and State Championship in softball. Gianna also was named first team all state in the sport of softball. As one can see, Gianna has had a wonderful athletic career as a Crusader.
Arthur L. Johnson’s senior student athlete Vincent Campbell signed his letter of intent to continue his athletic and academic career at the collegiate level, where he will continue playing lacrosse at Mercy College for the Mavericks. The senior defenseman had an outstanding season for the Crusaders as he led his team to a Divisional Championship in lacrosse.
Gus Kalikas, Athletic Director at Arthur L. Johnson High School, had this to say about the event. “Gianna and Vin have been integral parts of the success of our athletic programs while attending Arthur L. Johnson High School. More importantly, they have been model student athletes that did things the right way both on the fields, in the classroom, and throughout our community. Although it will be sad to see them leave, the Crusader’s loss is Boston College’s and Mercy College’s gain, and we look forward to following their successful collegiate athletic careers over the next four years.”
Crusader Athletics would like to wish the best of luck to Gianna and Vincent as they culminate wonderful careers for the Crusaders and continues their academic and athletic successes as collegiate student athletes.
ALJ Crusader of the Month for November 2016 is senior, Gina Ferdinandi. Gina is a four-year varsity letter gymnast and two time Cougar and County champion. She is also a member of the Spanish Honors society.
In her free time, Gina likes to go down the shore where she enjoys hanging out at the beach with family and friends.
Gina aspires to attend college to continue gymnastics at a collegiate level. She wants to become a physical therapist and one day open her own physical therapy business.
ALJ Student of the Month for November 2016 is senior, Janelle Pyar. Janelle is the treasurer for the National Honor Society and Spanish Honors Society secretary. She is also a member of the Science National Honors Society; all while keeping up high honor roll status. She has played on the varsity volleyball team for three years, and has been captain for two. Other clubs that Janelle belongs to include heroes and cool kids, Crusader athletic leadership council, and peer leadership.
In her free time Janelle plays volleyball for a club team and is part of a youth group. She also likes hanging out with her friends, watching movies, and spending time with her family. Her favorite thing about ALJ is gym class. She loves participating in different sports and the friendly competition. She also enjoys her math classes.
Janelle wants to go to college and major in business. Janelle is a huge hockey fan so she hopes to work for the National Hockey League either in business or statistics.
On November 10th and 11th, the Future Educators of America exhibited a booth at the NJEA convention in Atlantic City. ALJ's own Julia Melao, is the vice-president of the NJFEA and is completing an internship with Mrs. O'Neill at Kumpf Middle School.
NJFEA presented literature encouraging other schools to begin the program. Mr. Stebbins and Mr. Kenyon run the program at ALJ. "We currently have seven students in the program. Four of them are interning at Kumpf, two are at Hehnly, and one is at Valley Road," said Mr. Stebbins. The program gives students a real life experience of what it is really like to be a teacher. Mr. Reyes, who bumped into Miss Melao at the convention, said, "Julia was very informed and excited about pursuing a career in teaching. We should have more programs like this."
The ALJ History Club has announced their international trips for 2018. In June, immediately after school ends, travelers will head for Dublin, Ireland, and London, England. The trip is open to any ALJ student in good academic and disciplinary standing, subject to review.
This trip will begin with an exploration of Dublin’s greatest treasures including the General Post Office, seized during the 1916 Easter Rising, the Dail (Irish Parliament), Phoenix Park, O'Connell Street, and Trinity College. Travelers will admire the richly illustrated Book of Kells in the Old Library of Trinity College, one of Ireland’s greatest treasures. They will also participate in a number of cultural events including learning Irish dances.
After Dublin and a short flight to London, travelers will visit Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Buckingham Palace. Individuals will also have the ability to visit some of London's best museums including the British Museum, where they can view many treasures including the Rosetta Stone. This will be followed by two full day excursions. The first will be to Stratford Upon Avon and the birthplace of Shakespeare. The second, which takes place on the last day of the trip, will visit Stongehenge and the region around it. Travelers will also have an option to take in a “Broadway” play while in London.
Mr. Reyes, the leader of the international trips, explained why he uses Worldstrides, the company that organizes the trips. “They provide us with excellent hotels, meals and activities. I have never waited in line for anything with them.” The video link in this story provides a glimpse of how Worldstrides cares for its travelers.
Students and parents wishing to learn more about this trip should attend an informational meeting on Decem ber 1st at 7 pm in Room #30 at Brewer School.
The ALJ History Club has announced their international trips for 2018. During Spring break, the trip will be a high adventure trip to Costa Rica. The trip is open to any ALJ student in good academic and disciplinary standing, subject to review.
The Costa Rica trip will feature whitewater rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining over the rainforest, hikes to active volcanos, mud baths, tubing and many other adventurous activities. Mr. Reyes, the organizer of the international trips polled students. "Students wanted something different. They liked the idea of a high adventure trip. This is definitely high adventure."
One of the hotels is an eco-friendly facility built on the edge of an inactive volcano. All meals are included on this adventure. Students and parents wishing to learn more about this trip should attend an informational meeting on December 1st at 7 pm in Room #30 at Brewer School. The video below gives a glimpse of the adventures that await.