Disney Presents…Banner Night!


fullsizerenderHHS students worked days upon days to complete a grade-specific, favored Disney themed banner for Banner Night at the September 30 football game. All four grades were vying for first place from the five different judges.

            Preparing for Banner Night, students worked on a wooden board approximately 4’ by 8’ that would soon turn into their artistic canvas. The seniors depicted the Pixar movie Up, in competition with the juniors who presented Aladdin. The sophomores created Inside Out, and the freshmen featured Toy Story.  With only class advisors helping each grade, the banners turned out exceptionally well.

            According to English teacher, Ms. Lisa Kenny, Banner Night was awesome.   “More outstanding than anything was the freshman banner,” she said. “Ordinarily, the freshman banner does not capture the magnificence that this year did,” she added.

Ms. Kenny pointed out that the winner is chosen after each judge voices his/her opinion. “Our first choice and the overriding factor with the seniors was that maybe the seniors were a tad better in some of the judges’ eyes,” she said.

According to Ms. Kenny, the judges were also wowed in the press box by the manner in which students dressed in theme to present the banner. “This was the best year ever,” Ms. Kenny said.

Students also commented on the banner’s success. According to senior class-president, Miranda Kuhrt, Up was chosen for its cute idea. “We thought of how we could incorporate the balloons for the 3-D effect. From the beginning, we always said we’d lose to the juniors, and we were surprised that we got first place,” said Miranda.

            Junior class president, Anthony Christiana said, “We were conflicted. We wanted a board that would be easily recognizable to contrast the seniors’ relatively obscure theme.” Anthony continued to say that for the most part, they stuck to what they imagined. “Our art was probably technically better than any other grade, but our subject and colors made it less striking than other classes’ boards. The other grades rightfully outperformed us,” he said

            Sophomore class-president, Kelly Nee said, “We basically started going through Pixar movies and when Inside Out came up, we all sort of had a vision of what we could do with it.” She continued to state that they followed what they pictured in their heads originally. “The other grades banners were honestly really cool; we were definitely impressed,” said Kelly.

            Freshman class-president, Fernando Leva said, “The student council had a vote and, beforehand, I took a poll on the themes and Toy Story was liked by many. I thought the idea was great since many of us grew up with Toy Story. Also, in Toy Story, the toys are united in every movie, just like I see our year is united through every grade level.” Fernando continued to say that he thought the banner “looked spectacular with all of the hard work put into it.”

            Needless to say, the seniors won, with freshman being a close second, juniors in third, and the sophomores taking fourth. All in all, fun was had. Next year, grades will be vying for first place once more.


Frelinghuysen Speaks with Students


Principal Lewis Benfatti, U.S Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, Superintendent Cynthia Randina , and Mr. James Marino

U.S Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen spoke in Mr. James Marino’s History I Honors class on April 11th, fielding questions on current and important issues. Frelinghuysen has been serving in congress since 1995; he is the chairmen of the subcommittee on defense, as well as on the board for the subcommittee for energy & water development and homeland security. Frelinghuysen’s main purpose for attending the class was to have an informational period with the students.

Frelinghuysen spoke openly about his political viewpoints, as well as his life as a husband and father to his wife and daughters. He spoke about his relationship with his family and discussed their effect on his political viewpoints. When asked “How do you feel about abortion in any context?” Frelinghuysen replied that he felt the right to abortion should be left up to the women carrying the child in consultation with her doctor and spouse. He continued that if his daughters were in that position, he would want the federal government to “keep its nose out of it.”

Frelinghuysen also responded in the same respectful manner when asked his opinion about the Supreme Court case decision ruling gay marriage constitutional. Frelinghuysen replied that although he had prior ideals supporting traditional marriage between a man and women, he believed the federal government should keep out of people’s private relationships. He later commented that he had voted to pass the defense of marriage act which states that marriage is only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, but has since then “changed” and now sees same sex marriage as a state issue that the federal government should stay out of.

For most of Frelinghuysen’s life he has been surrounded by the military. He was drafted into the United States Army in his early 20’s and served in the Vietnam War where he earned the rank of Specialist 5. As a veteran, Frelinghuysen is on subcommittees dealing with a wide range of military-related topics such as budget spending, ISIS, and homeland security.

When asked about Apple not complying with the FBI to unblock the San Bernardino shooter’s cell phone, the congressman had a well-educated response, portraying his views on protecting the welfare and public safety of US citizens. However, he also criticized both parties on their approaches to the subject. Continuing on about terrorism and ISIS, Frelinghuysen feels we have a leader who is detached from what is really happening throughout the world with the increasing threat of terror. The military was a topic he was very passionate about, giving his audience a feeling of reassurance that our government is here to protect us.

Frelinghuysen’s voting record shows him to be a moderate conservative. Like most republicans the congressman showed an interest in protecting the second amendment when asked a question about conceal and carry.

Another conservative standpoint Frelinghuysen conveyed was his views on protecting the border. He feels we aren’t doing enough to secure our border and that we should eventually implement some sort of wall or structure. However, Frelinghuysen also pointed out that Americans should be aware that Mexico isn’t our only problem with illegal immigration. Frelinghuysen wanted the classroom to be aware that there was no implication of an endorsement for republican candidate Donald Trump on his beliefs of border security.

However, unlike the majority of his party, Frelinghuysen feels Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland is a respectable journalist and disagrees with the criticism Obama received for making the nomination since it is his right as President to make that decision. Contrary to that maverick opinion, he does believe Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was inappropriately handled and his family wasn’t properly allowed to mourn his passing.

Lastly, the congressman expressed his views on the 2016 election. Earlier in the election he supported his close friend and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, but ever since the suspension of Christie’s campaign, he has yet to make an endorsement for any of the remaining candidates. Frelinghuysen is going to remain loyal to the Republican Party but feels some of the candidates have acted “embarrassing” and “immature” throughout their campaigns. The congressman thinks the American people deserve better.

Frelinghuysen’s visit to the high school was a unique experience that was greatly appreciated by the students and staff alike.

We would like to extend an overwhelming thank you to the congressman for making time to attend the school and answering our questions. The less than one hour long period with the senator was insightful and enlightening. His diversity and respectful demeanor on political topics is one that helped to shed light on many important issues.

Spring Musical: One of Our Best!


Photo by Tatiana Karram


The HHS Drama Club met with the success with the feature of their spring musical, ‘Carnival!’ April 7th-10th in the HHS Auditorium.

A well-chosen cast, spot-on special effects, and a lot of hard work turned this production into what director Joe Ross called “our best show yet.” Every character, from lead roles, such as Lili portrayed by sophomore Abigail McDonough and Paul portrayed by senior Devon O’Donnell, to the roustabouts and extras such as seniors Anthony Lipuma and Jessie Brown gave it their all every night. The department also featured their newest little star, Tibetian Spaniel puppy Chlöe Grillo, accompanied by her owner senior Angelo Lipuma.

Every carnival need some magic. That’s where senior Sean Higgins, playing magician Marco the Magnificent, came into play. His magic tricks and special effects kept the crowd in amazement and made the audience feel that they had been transported to a real-life European circus. And who could forget his lovely and sassy assistant, junior Cameron Dinulos, as the incomparable Rosalie?

The real kicker, however, was this production’s plot. With a storyline that was a bit more risqué than usual, the crowd was definitely interested as such dark topics were played out in a happy-go-lucky style.

Some audience members responded differently from others. One person was laughing at every joke, while another couldn’t help but cry from all the emotion.  Either way, it’s safe to say that almost everyone had an interesting experience at this show.

The attendance this year, on the other hand, was slightly smaller than usual. If you’re one of those people who couldn’t make it to this show, you certainly missed out!

Spring Musical: Sure to Be a Hit!

Carnival!The HHS Drama Club will feature this year’s spring musical, Carnival! on April 7th- April 10th in the HHS auditorium.

This spectacular musical follows the story of Lili (sophomore Abigail McDonough), an orphan who finds herself a job in a once-successful, but currently failing, traveling carnival owned by B.F. Schlegel (senior Ryan Taesler). Lili becomes caught in a love triangle between the charming Marco the Magnificent (senior Sean Higgins), a smooth-talking magician, and Paul Berthalet (senior Devon O’Donnell), a crippled puppeteer with a failing children’s act.

This musical, based on the classic film ‘Lili’, is a favorite of HHS director Mr. Joe Ross. “I’m very enthusiastic about this production; I think it might be the best thing we’ve done at Hopatcong. The singing, the acting, the orchestra, everything is terrific!” said Ross.

Special effects play a large role in this production; one can’t have a carnival without some magic. From optical illusions, to sword-swallowing sorcery, to disappearing ladies (yes, seriously!), one is guaranteed to be left in amazement by the end of the night.

 “One thing, though: CARNIVAL does have a few intense emotional scenes, and parents should be advised that this is not a show for the very young,” added Ross.

Admission is $8.00, while students and seniors pay $5.00. Snacks and refreshments are served throughout the show, along with the usual raffle tickets.

Shows begin at 7pm Thursday-Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.


Sophomore Wrestler Shines for Hopatcong

wrestlingHere at Hopatcong High School athletes come near and far but it’s not every day we come across the next Joe Martinek, Zach Rey, or Dylan Capwell. When it comes to Soph. Anthony Mastroeni, he is a diamond in the rough for Hopatcong’s 1-22 wrestling squad.

Ever since Mastroeni was young, he has been putting work onto the mat. He was always one to stand out among the rest as a gifted athlete who has the skill and mindset of a true champion. Overcoming many hurdles, such as a serious injury like an ACL tear and problems with his nose this year, he has made a name for himself as a young athlete with genuine potential. He consistently pushes himself when it comes to conditioning. There is never a moment when he doesn’t give it his 100%, even when that conditioning comes moments before a match.

On February 27th, Anthony competed in the NJSIAA Region 1 tournament. He battled his way to the 132lbs final, facing off against Brandon Paetzell of Phillipsburg. Unfortunately, he was unable to take home the championship for our school. Anthony suffered a loss to Paetzell in a 15-2 major decision. It was the third Region 1 title for Paetzell, who is ranked No. 5 in the state for his weight on NJ.com. It was also Paetzell’s 100th victory.

This loss only goes to show Anthony’s potential as an elite wrestler. Doing what he does as a sophomore is a phenomenal feat. Imagine him as a senior with more learning experience and training! One day Anthony even hopes to take his skills beyond high school onto the collegiate level with possibly a scholarship.

Keep that dream alive and fresh Anthony because it seems you are well on the right track to making that happen.

Hopatcong Bows to Lenape in Intense Game

Hopatcong vs. LenapeIn an intense game, the Hopatcong Boys Varsity Basketball Team lost to Lenape Valley forty-four to fifty-three on Thursday, February 11th at Hopatcong High School. There were a lot of fans and enthusiasm for both teams.

The first quarter began and Lenape scored first, making the score zero to three.  By the end of the first quarter, Hopatcong remained down with the score being nine to thirteen, but both teams were playing hard.

Hopatcong started the second quarter by scoring twice, tying the game at thirteen to thirteen.  Both teams continued to play well throughout the second quarter; by halftime, the score was eighteen to nineteen, with Lenape in the lead.

During the second half, the Chiefs gained the lead with a shot from senior guard John McCloskey.  The game was close halfway through the third quarter with Lenape leading twenty-two to twenty-three; however, Hopatcong made some mistakes that Lenape ended up benefitting from as the quarter ended.  The Patriots were in the lead with a score of twenty-five to thirty-two.

The fourth quarter started and both teams continued scoring, but the Chiefs couldn’t catch up as Lenape still had an eight-point lead halfway into the fourth quarter, making the score thirty-four to forty-two.  Things started looking up for the Chiefs as they made a couple of great baskets including a three-pointer by senior guard Andrew Nee.

With a minute left in the game, the Patriots still had the lead, the score being forty-four to forty-eight, but the Chiefs were catching up. The Patriots ended up maintaining their lead and won the game with an outcome of forty-four to fifty-three.

Senior center Anton Pezzano was the lead scorer with fifteen points.  Senior McCloskey also scored high with fourteen points.

“It was a really intense game and we would have loved to pull out the victory,” said senior forward PJ Rodick. “The effort was there, our team left it all on the court, but unfortunately we just had a few things go their way instead of ours down the stretch.  It would have been great to win, but overall it was a great game by both teams.”

“The atmosphere that night was so special. I’ll remember that night for a very long time.  The game was tough from start to finish, and both teams wanted to win very badly.  I would have wanted to win more than anything, but it didn’t end in our favor,” said Nee.

It was a tough loss for Hopatcong, but both teams played a good game. The Chiefs played the entire game with an immense amount of effort and passion.