By: Bailey Rosenmeier
On Friday, September 22nd, the ALJ graduating class of 1967 had the opportunity to revisit the halls in which they once travelled as students eager to begin their lives in the real world. They were celebrating their 50th high school reunion.
As the group of alumni grew, so did the smiles, laughter, and exchanges of memories between classmates from years past. Some alumni even reported being more excited for the tour of their old high school than the actual reunion itself.
Janice Lutes Gross, one of the organizers said, “It took a total of nine months to plan and organize the reunion, which amounted to 92 attendees in total. The tour of Arthur L. Johnson high school was just the first of many activities planned to kick off the reunion.”
During the classes walk through of ALJ, Mrs. Feeley and Mr. Bucior showed them around. They were thrilled when the football team lined the hallways and applauded them as they passed. The festivities continued that evening as they were recognizes at the Johnson Crusader football game, who won over the Roselle Rams with a score of 23-13.
On Saturday, September 23rd, the alumni gathered at the Hilton in Springfield for the opportunity to reminisce with old friends they hadn’t seen for 50 years, “There were 350 seniors in our graduating class, and 1,500 students in the school,” Mr. William Duffy, an ALJ graduate and current community contributor, “Our class- we were baby boomers,” meaning they were born post World War II.
Mrs. Feeley, ALJ principal said, “It was a pleasure to host the 1967 class tour. It shows the pride and joy in being a Johnson Crusader for life.”
The ALJ Crusader of the Month for September 2017 is Jessica Lopez. The four year varsity field hockey player is also student council president and secretary of the National Honor Society. She is the voice the students hear over the loudspeaker every morning for announcements, and a mentor in the heroes and cool kids club.
When Jessica is not on the field or studying she can be found socializing with friends or watching Netflix shows. Her favorite things about ALJ are her AP English Language class with Ms. Colosimo, playing field hockey for Coach Poskay, and activity period in Mr. VanBergen’s room with her friends.
Jessica plans on attending university to become a physician's assistant. She would like to take the opportunity to study abroad in a South American Country.
ALJ Student of the Month for September 2017 is senior, George Visconti. This basketball captain, multi-club member is the Vice President of the class of 2018, Vice President of the National Honors Society, and the Vice President of DECA. George also received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Leadership Award which is presented to a student who exhibits exceptional performance in areas of academics, athletics, community service, good citizenship, and leadership.
Not only is George an exceptional student and member of over five clubs at ALJ, he is also the all-time leading basketball scorer at Arthur L. Johnson. His sophomore year he hit his 1000th point basket, has been named MVP three times, and was part three conference champion teams.
George’s favorite thing about ALJ is all of the opportunities provided for students such as AP courses, clubs, sports teams, and the fantastic faculty at ALJ. In his free time George likes to hang out with his friends, play basketball, and get involved in community service.
George plans to attend college and continue his athletic career at one of his top schools. His ultimate goal is to receive his MBA in finance.
The Crusader Today (CT below) recently caught up with Edward J. Bucior Jr., who is ALJ’s freshly minted VP. Mr. Bucior is originally from Old Bridge, but currently lives in Monroe Township (Middlesex County). He received his Bachelors from Kean University in history education, and his masters from Ohio University. The blog was finally able to get Mr. Bucior to sit down for ten minutes for a Q & A about who he is and his vision for ALJ.
CT: What is your past professional experience?
Mr. B: After graduating from Kean University, I obtained my first teaching position back at Old Bridge High School where I had graduated just four years earlier. While at Old Bridge, I taught Social Studies, including U.S. I, U.S. II, and AP Government. I also coached multiple sports such as football, bowling, lacrosse, and volleyball. On the side of my teaching and coaching, I served on the Intervention and Referral Services, Cooperative Teaching, and Athletic Leadership Committees.
CT: What does your typical day look like?
Mr. B: This is my first year at ALJ, so my daily schedule can very easily change. Typical routine, however, has been, roll out of bed around 4:45-5:00am, hit the road by 5:45. I arrive usually around 6:15-6:30. From there I am checking my daily tasks, answering emails, doing a tour of the building, and just making sure we have everything in place for a smooth opening. Once the day officially starts, I am greeting the seniors as they walk into the cafeteria. So far, I don’t think I have spent more than 30 minutes in my office throughout the opening of school. I am always on the move and it is a goal of mine to make sure that I am a visible presence in the building. Usually there are some meetings throughout the day. After school, I try to go check out some of the practices or games. I want the kids to know that I support them and to show them that I understand the amount of time they are putting in.
CT: What is your favorite part of your job?
Mr. B: My favorite part is interacting with the students. In-between periods, I am always in the hallways, forcing kids to smile or give me a high-five. When it comes to the school culture, the students are the engine that drives us. If they are positive and support each other, our culture will only continue to grow in a more positive direction.
CT: What are your expectations in this role?
Mr. B: I expect the students to support each other and I really want the school spirit to get better. I really believe it’s the small things that add up to make a school a special place. When the students support each other by going to different events, joining clubs, and just are friendly in general, the school will naturally thrive.
CT: Do you recall any special stories from when you were a teacher?
Mr. B: I had a student that was very big into the ROTC, but when I asked the class on the first day of school what their goals were, she didn’t mention applying to any of the military academies. When I asked why, she simply said that, “She didn’t think that she was good enough”. The next day, I decided to teach my class a formula that they could use. It comes from Urban Meyer. “E + R = O” Events + Response = Outcome. I taught them that events are going to happen to them and that they are out of their control. Response, however, is completely under their control. And how they choose to respond to their events will ultimately change the outcome. I showed the student what was needed to apply to the Air Force Academy and asked, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Long story short- She applied and was accepted, full scholarship to the Air Force Academy. So for our students here- Don’t sell yourself short. E + R = O!
CT: When CT asked a student recently if she had an opinion about you. She said "You mean the new defense against the dark arts teacher?" If you know Harry Potter, they had a new one every year, just like ALJ has had three VPs in three years. What do you think about that?
Mr. B: That's funny, but they are all villains! lol. I'm a good guy! I also plan on being around much longer.
What are your hobbies/things you do for fun/while not at work?
Mr. B: I am a very big family guy. My wife and I try to plan out events and mini-adventures with our two young boys. I also have four nieces and nephews and they are constantly at my house playing. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Story and Photos by Danielle Hartzler
The boys soccer team has kicked off their 2017 season with a winning record of 4-1. Amongst these games, they have pulled out some close wins, such as beating Linden, Governor Livingston, and Hillside by just a single goal. In their most recent game against Roselle Catholic, they truly defended their home turf and senior goalie Ross Wildes recorded a shutout, as the Crusaders won 4-0. This game not only contributed to their winning streak, but it also happened to be senior night.
This season, there are 15 seniors on the team: Joe Bill, Logan Guarino (C), Zachary Thornton (C), Matt Vigliotti, Ross Wildes, Sam Burkhard, Chris Cundari, Greg Zukowski (C), Matt Tavares, Brandon Domingues, Matt Diaz, Niko Nordstrom, Anthony Caldiero, Bernardo Alfonso, and finally Joe Benevento who made his first appearance in a Crusader uniform this year after playing academy soccer the past 3 years. The ceremony commenced with each player being walked to center field accompanied by their family. Coach House said, “It was an amazing night to recognize the boys’ commitment and accomplishments as a senior class, and as a team.”
The seniors had no trouble finding the back of the net in the second half, as Matt Tavares, Zachary Thornton, Sam Burkhard, and Logan Guarino all scored within the second 40 minute period.
15 seniors are enough to field a team and then some, but with such a big group comes even bigger expectations. Senior Joe Bill elaborated on their goals for this season, “Win states and conference, and obviously counties would be great too.” The seniors seem to be leading their team in the right direction so far, their record being a clear reflection of that. Not only is the team being led properly, but Bill also attributes their success thus far to the team chemistry on the field, “We’re working better together this season and moving the ball around better.”
Joe Benevento is another powerful senior on the team, and he has seemed to make an exceptional transition from his academy team to the high school team, “The transition has been smooth especially because I knew the guys prior. Obviously, there comes difficulty with the process, but it’s all about getting over them and looking into the future.” The optimism shared between each senior has already allowed for outstanding success.
The coaches are Mr. House, Mr. Marcin, and Mr. Zimbardo. Daniel Zatko is senior manager for the team as well. Their next game is this Saturday (9/23) in Rahway, where they will take on the Indians of Rahway High School.
Article courtesy of Tapintoclark.com
CLARK, NJ - The Arthur L. Johnson Marching Band performed two of the four movements of the 2017 field show titled, Noble Hearts at the Crusader’s home opening football game against New Providence.
The band is on track to perform all four movements of this year’s field show in time for Veterans Night on September 22 sponsored by the Music Parents’ Association.
On that night the theme of the music show is designed to honor current military and veterans who served the United States. According to Rachel Bollaro, the Director of the ALJ Crusader Marching Band, it will be a great opportunity and honor to perform for them.
Sign Up for E-News
Free tickets are available to the game for Veterans at the Clark American Legion. The game starts at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 22 at Arthur L. Johnson High School.
“I can’t believe how much the band has grown over the years. The band’s performance in the stands and on the field adds to the excitement of the football game. It is so nice to see the students support each others’ teams,” said a recent game attendee.
The ALJ Crusader Marching Band will participate in their first Tournament of Bands Competition on Saturday, September 23rd, at Matawan High School, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
This August did you hear the sound of trumpets and drums coming from the fields at Arthur L. Johnson High School? Or maybe you saw spinning flags in the distance? What you were hearing and seeing were the members of the ALJ Crusader Marching Band practicing at band camp which ran from August 21st to the 25th.
Mrs. Rachel Bollaro, director of bands at ALJ, is very excited that the marching band grew to over 50 members and commented, "The band members, both musicians and color guard, have been working very hard during band camp and have made excellent progress in such a short time. We all are looking forward to another successful season."
When Matt, a new member to the Crusader Marching Band was asked how was his experience so far, he said, "I'm having a great time and am happy to be a part of the marching band.”
Norberto Diaz, who holds the position of Drum Major, commented, "I am excited to start my last season of marching band because over the last four years, marching band has been a second home. My experiences have made me the person I am today. One of my goals this season, is to pass on our traditions to our new members."
The Crusader Marching Band competes in the Tournament of Bands throughout the Fall months, concluding with the Atlantic Coast Championships held in Hershey, PA. This year’s show is titled, “Noble Hearts” and is a tribute to the men and women who serve and have served in the Armed Forces.
In addition to state and regional competitions, which are open to the public, the Crusader Marching Band will perform during all home football games.
The first official day of school for the Clark Public School District was Thursday September 7th. Everyone from the Senior Class of 2018 to the incoming Freshman Class of 2021 was excited to get started. Getting the year off with great school spirit the Fall Pep Rally charged up students at the end of the day on September 8th.
Mr. David Fosco once again was called upon to serve as MC for the event. "I've been doing this a really long time, but it's still one of my favorite events, especially when the weather is nice like today," said Mr. Fosco.
Students and teachers crowded the bleachers to cheer on their hometown high school teams. The event began with and was peppered throughout with musical cheers from ALJs award winning marching band. The cheerleaders then took the field to show off this year's half time show. They also performed several times throughout the event.
Throughout the afternoon Crusaders from the Field Hockey, Girls' and Boys' Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Cross Country, and, of course Football took the field as the student body cheered on their teams.
That night Crusader football opened the season with a tremendous win of 41 to 3 against New Providence. On Friday September 15th, they will go up against Bernards at 7:00 pm in Bernards.
Free schedules for all teams are available in the main office.