In my senior year of high school, I ran for ASB President. I don’t recall why I ran. I do recall that I was not elected. It didn’t feel good at the time.
In my sophomore and junior years in high school, I tried out for the high school basketball team. I did it because my dad liked basketball and all of my friends played. I did not make the team either year. I was asked to join the basketball team in my junior year after 3 people quit.
As a freshman in high school, I joined NJROTC. I loved it. My social group didn’t like NJROTC and they teased me every time I wore the uniform. My dad was in the military and it made him proud. He taught me how to shine shoes with a rag, spit, some water and a little bit of black shoe cream. It’s something I do to this day in remembrance of him. He left this life on July 11, 2011, seven days after his birthday. He made it around the sun 70 times.
I didn’t really date in high school - even though I tried. I was super shy, a nice guy, and some would say very book smart when I put in the effort. I was a small, skinny kid whose facial features and physical characteristics were somewhat large for my size in high school. And for that I was teased also.
I had several teachers from the district and school leaders whom I connected with; Carol Feige, Susan Bigelow, Henry Robinson, Laura Foegal, Steve Cain, Jeff Lamb, Carol Insell, Beverly James, Susan Cadd, Mr. Hammer, Jack Weinstein, Don Close, Bob Kellogg, Mr Hand, Frank Gory, Bob Denton, Jim Ferguson, Steve Cain, and Chuck Perotti. I believe they saw my potential and did all they could to support me as a learner and a person.
Mrs. Marie Longero was the MHS office administrator and my neighbor. She always gave me a pass to class when I was late to school because she knew my mom and dad were going through a divorce. She saw the optimism in my eyes diminish and always gave me a hug when she could. Her husband Big John was one of the neighborhood dads and he looked out for me too.
The weekend and night custodians were also like dads to me. They would give me snacks, let me work with them and teach me how to repair things with my hands. They open the gym to let me practice basketball by myself. They would tell me stories of their families, friends and hopes for their children. They encouraged me to never quit or give up on myself.
Send me your story. I’d love to hear it.
MUSD Board President
2020 CSBA State Board Member of the Year