Live From Hopatcong!

Faculty Night Live has done it again; teachers and staff members entertained the students with their deranged acts and maniacal performances. The April show was, once again, a night many won’t forget.

Two hours before the show was scheduled to begin,  students were already lining up the hallways, beginning from the auditorium entrance, down the hall, and out past the library doors into another area of the school.

“I was so surprised this year,” exclaimed English teacher Sandra DeRose. “An hour and a half before the show, I went down the hall to the dressing room, and there were already people in line!”

That Thursday night on April 24th at the Hopatcong High School auditorium, excitement was building; the tension of the show caused anxiety among most teachers. They only had a single night to perform this show, and they knew they only had a single instance to showcase what they had to offer.

Nearly all of the HHS staff participated in the production of this show, whether it was giving up their free periods to help record videos for the # (Hashtag) skit, or bringing the script home on a daily basis to mend the changes to ultimately perfect the script According to science teacher Mr. Michael Batche, “Everyone is involved, whether it’s a big way or small way.”

According to Batche, the FNL staff started production before Christmas when FNL members put their heads together to come up with ideas of this annual show. The idea of the FNL show itself originated with history teacher Kathy LaRosa, about 7 years ago. After FNL’s first year, more teachers joined the production which then evolved over the years.

The writing crew consisted of many teachers and staff members: Mrs. Sandra DeRose as the head of the crew, followed by Mr. Jim Marino, Mrs. Stephanie Martinez, Mrs. Roberta Boatman, and Mrs. Megan Nardone-Cutter.  Science teacher Mr. Jim MacDonald was, as in past years, the show’s MC. With his witty antics, he is the man who brings the show along, the teacher that keeps the ball moving.

“I don’t even know how the kart-wheels started. It’s just something I did. And with my shoes, they were made by my children a couple years ago,” said McDonald.

Each member of the FNL group got together for several afternoons to discuss their ideas for this night of laughter, increasing the number of ideas with each meeting they had. Despite the countless hours of arduous work and all the scheduling complications, tin the back of their mind, these teachers know that it was worth it, hearing the enthusiasm in the crowds.

The skits brought loud bursts of laughter throughout the night, and continued to engage the audience. New skits such as the # (Hashtag), Flappy Bird, and the puppet skits kept the crowds rolling with laughter. According to Mr. Marino, the writing crew’s objective was to include all of the “exciting” things that happened the past year, and put all of those ideas into this show and give the kids a good laugh.

During the superhero skit, science teacher Mr. Dominic Schiavone came out with his annual “girl” costume which made the audience fire up with laughs and chants. Year after year, the chemist enters the stage with an outfit more fit for a woman in college, not your average chemistry teacher. Despite all the comments he receives, he really does enjoy doing this for the kids.

“I think it’s awesome that the town comes out and supports the student body,” Schiavone stated.
“I don’t mind because everybody gets a laugh of it, and that’s what the nights all about; you just can’t take yourself too seriously.”

The music performances in this year’s FNL consisted of different members than previous years. Mendez, replaced last year’s bass member, Matthew Testa, and Batche’s son played the guitar in the band. Band director, Mr. Kurt Zimmerman, was a new addition to the music production, , and history teacher, Mrs. Heather DelBagno, again astonished the crowd with her amazing voice. Another astonishing performance came from  physical education teacher, Mrs. Jill Mortenson, who got up on stage and sang her heart out, and who also got the crowd going with her jaw-dropping voice.

“It felt really cool to be up there. It was very exciting especially at the end with getting a standing ovation,” Mortenson said.

Not only was this night about giving the students something to laugh about, but it was also an experience where the students were able to view their teachers from a different standpoint. Many students know Mr. Marino as an extremely strict and serious history teacher in the classroom, but outside of school, his true character emerges.

“That’s what I’m trying to do, to show the students that I’m not just a strict sergeant in the classroom, and that I do have a sense of humor. They could see a different side of me, so they don’t think I’m just a one-dimensional type person, that I’m an actual human being,” Marino said.

This night would have never been possible if it weren’t for the students working behind the scenes g.

“There are about 20 students from the Drama Department that make the show happen,” said Batche. “Without them, it’s nothing.”

As students and teachers work together for this show, the anticipation ignites throughout the course of the school year. This year’s performance was a big success, creating new memories for both the teachers and students. Due to the success of this year’s FNL, the audience can’t help but be on their toes for what next year will bring.

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