Coach Coleman Strives for Strong Season

by Alyssa Mata

Coach Coleman gathers his team in a huddle after taking a timeout. The Barron's played Carteret for their homecoming game on October 14th. (Credit: Alyssa Mata)

Coach Coleman gathers his team in a huddle after taking a timeout. The Barron’s played Carteret for their homecoming game on October 14th. (Credit: Alyssa Mata)

On February 18, 2016, Coach Coleman was announced as the new head coach of Woodbridge High School’s football team. After playing football throughout high school and college, Coach Coleman still wanted to be a part of the game. He played nine years as an inside linebacker through high school and at Kean University, and has been coaching football for 14 years; five at Snyder High School, four at Plainfield High School, one at Bishop Ahr, and four at WHS. The Barron Perspective sat down with Coach Coleman earlier this season to discuss his approach to the season.

BP: Who’s the most influential person in your life?
CC: My father.

BP: Who inspired you to become a football coach?
CC: Honestly speaking, no one really inspired me to be a football coach. I inspired myself because I love the game and I love being around the game. I think the closest thing to playing the game is coaching the game. I don’t think when I was playing I was saying, “Man, I’m going to coach one day.”  Playing ran out and coaching was the closest thing I can get to playing. After that, goes to who inspired me which was my father who told me to work hard at anything I do. So I started going to clinic and working hard and doing the things I needed to do to become a good head coach, [and] a good coach period.

BP: Did you try other sports when you were a kid?
CC: I played basketball in high school, we won the state championship in high school; I played for three years.

BP: Did you try coaching other sports?
CC: I coached my brothers little league baseball, but no I don’t coach any other sports. I don’t love other sports, I love this sport.

BP: Our school saying is “Be Great Everyday” do you have a motivational quote that you say before each game?
CC: I don’t have a motivational quote but my quote is to strive for excellence.

BP: As a new coach, how have you built a connection with the boys?
CC: I think it’s still me kind of feeling out the in-betweens on having a connection and being their head coach. So I think I just try to be myself and coach the way I normally coach, and hopefully they will understand that I have their best interest at heart and that would be the connection.

BP: What is your key to a successful season?
CC: Focus, attention to detail, working hard, striving for perfection, settle for excellence.

BP: What qualities do you look for in a captain?
CC: I think it depends on the player for that team so the qualities you want to look for is consistency, hard work, and being able to relate to the team.

BP: Why do you have so many captains?
CC: I think each captain that I have brings a certain type of tool towards the team. Marquan is more of a vocal leader; Nick is a leader that works hard, a man of few words but works really hard; Leone is a leader on the line, he’s a three-year starter from the center position, he can control the line; Da’Avian is a vocal leader that has a lot of emotion. The last two, Keshaun and Quaasim, have been here for three years, their play speaks for itself and they lead to making great plays.

BP: What are your goals for this season?
CC: First thing is to beat Colonia, which we have done already; win the division, but the division is up in the air now that we lost one division game; and to make the play-offs.

Teachers on College: Mr. Nowicki

by Brandon Bhajan

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Mr. Nowicki makes a “point” while teaching his business class. Mr. Nowicki graduated from Pace University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. (Credit: Brandon Bhajan)

In a new series, entitled “Teachers on College,” The Barron Perspective sits down with Woodbridge High School teachers to discuss their college experiences. The series will look at the unique aspects of their experience, such as transferring, attending an out-of-state school, or switching majors.  

Recently, The Barron Perspective sat down with Mr. Nowicki to talk about his college experiences. Mr. Nowicki has been a member of Woodbridge High School’s Business Department for two years. He teaches principles of business/marketing and google apps/digital presentation. Mr. Nowicki graduated from John F. Kennedy Memorial High School, attended Middlesex County College for two years and then graduated from Pace University in 2009. Mr. Nowicki runs a vlog channel and does various other video related things for the school.

Barron Perspective: How did you decide college was for you?
Mr. Nowicki: I didn’t really decide, it was kind of something my family said I had to do otherwise I wouldn’t be successful, and it was also a totally different time. Now I think there’s absolutely alternatives for students besides college, like learning a trade or joining the military. I was always under the impression I had to go to college or my mom would kick me out of the house.

BP: Was there anything specific you looked for when looking for a college?
MN: At the time I looked for the best party school, but that is the worst thing you can possibly look for in a college.

BP: What type of degree did you attain?
MN: I got a bachelor’s in business administration and in specifically marketing, advertising, and promotion.

BP: How was going to school out of state in terms of seeing family/friends?
MN: That’s one of the things I loved about going to Pace, I think a lot of people don’t realize going to New York City is an hour train ride from Woodbridge Township. It’s amazing the financial capitol of the world is an hour from us. It was great to go there cause if I wanted to go home for some good mom home cooking or for somebody to do my laundry, I could. If I wanted to stay and immerse myself in school culture and New York City I could absolutely do that too.

BP: What was the decision process like when choosing your major?
MN:Well I changed majors three times during my college career. I originally wanted to be a doctor, I always liked helping people and I liked the idea of being a doctor, because obviously you make a lot of money and you help people. I liked the idea of being a doctor more than being a doctor. So when I took my first biology class I realized this wasn’t for me so I decided to pursue another passion of mine, which was designing and creating content with business in mind. So I became a graphic design major after my first semester at Middlesex. Pace did not have a graphic design major so I went into marketing because that allowed me to focus more. I got my creative aspect from my two years at Middlesex, and then I transferred into Pace to get that business aspect of it, which has paid off. It was a great decision looking back on it.

BP: What were the classes you enjoyed throughout college and which ones helped you with your major?
MN: I loved photography, I took that at Middlesex. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed and had an interest in, and I was around people who had the same interests as me who wanted to learn new techniques in photography and developing your film. It’s just cool to be around like-minded individuals and that was my favorite class then. At Pace I gotta go with two classes here because the professors were awesome. One was finance and I had Professor Maury. One of the great things about the professors at Pace was that they all worked within their industry before. He was a very insightful individual and his classes were always exciting. My marketing professor always talked about the auto industry and tequila industry which was interesting for a college student.

BP: Do you do anything related to those classes now?
MN: Photography helped with the vlogs I make here in school. Vlogs and video are a bit different but there’s still a lot of the same thing: framing a photo, getting what you want inside the picture frame. In my marketing classes [we learned] understanding your audience; I would create and edit a vlog completely different if I was making a vlog for everybody’s grandparents versus making one for the students.

BP: What are some tips you would give students who don’t really know what they wanna do in college or major in?
MN: I think the one thing a lot of students don’t realize is the potential of college. It’s not just a time for you to go and get a degree. In college they specifically put time in your schedule to explore different topics, and if I could tell any advice to a student it would be to take that time and take the class that you’re most interested in or that you’re curious about. If you’re interested in majoring in finance but you also have an interest in art, you can still declare a major in finance but take that art class and maybe that leads to something totally different, which is great because in college you’re also surrounded by people who share the same interests as you do, or you can at least find those people. Explore as much as you can, take as many classes and workshops as you possibly can, I think that’s what college is about.

BP: How big was the workload of college compared to high school?
MN: I’d say it was bigger but it was a lot different. It was at least at Pace, it was more exploring than, you know, here are the questions you have to answer. In college I feel like they give you an objective that you have to reach and how you wanna finish that is up to you. Whereas in high school, I’m not saying they do this all, but especially for the lowerclassmen and women there’s a lot more direction in it for better or worse. Some students need that and some students need to have that creative freedom.

BP: Was college an overall good experience for you?
MN: It was amazing. If, I mean off the record stay in there as long as you can, if you can afford it stay in there as long as you can. I’m saying it cause it’s such a great time to explore and just for that. Sometimes I’m sitting in mundane meetings and I’m like, “I’d rather be sitting at Pace University Advertising Club.” I’m sitting on social media and their Instagram page like, “Man, I miss that,” because there’s so much great creativity and ideas flowing.

BP: Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
MN: College is just an amazing time to feed your mind with amazing things that you’ve mostly been craving, you just didn’t know where to find it, and then when you get to college, one moment it kind of hits you in the head and you’re like, “Wow, there’s so much more out there.” That’s when your life starts to get fun, you realize what you can do and you realize that you live in a world that you have the ability to make a change and man, once you do that, you start to find your purpose.

Woodbridge Welcomes Vice Principal Mr. Chiera

by Cassidy Ronk

New Vice Principal Mr. Chiera completes his work at his desk. Previously a coach and a teacher at Colonia High School, he was appointed as V.P. over the summer. (Credit: Cassidy Ronk)

New Vice Principal Mr. Chiera completes his work at his desk. Previously a coach and a teacher at Colonia High School, he was appointed as V.P. over the summer. (Credit: Cassidy Ronk)

This September, Woodbridge High School welcomed Mr. Chiera as Vice Principal. Mr. Chiera is a graduate of Colonia High School, where he worked as a special education, math, and business teacher. This is Mr. Chiera’s first year as a V.P., after 15 years at CHS. The Barron Perspective sat down with Mr. Chiera to introduce him to the school.

Barron Perspective: Where did you go to college? What did you major in?
Mr. Chiera: I went to Monmouth University and graduated from Felician College with a business degree. I received my masters in administration at the University of Scranton.

BP: If you could go back to college or high school, is there anything you would change about your experience?
MC: No, I enjoyed my time in high school and college. I don’t really have any regrets, but there are definitely a few things I may have liked to tweak but, for the most part, I was pretty happy with both my high school and college career.

BP: Have you always wanted to become an administrator?
MC: Yes, although upon graduating college, I went into the business workplace.

BP: What made you want to become an administrator?
MC: The teachers and coaches I had in high school were an inspiration to me, and I liked how they affected students in a positive way.

BP: What do you love about being an administrator?
MC: [I love] the people I work with and the students here at Woodbridge.

BP: What do you think about the students and faculty here at WHS?
MC: I’m beyond excited to be a part of WHS and I’m just as excited to work with the students. The faculty was more than welcoming to me, too.

BP: As a V.P., what are your responsibilities?
MC: I supervise lunches and buses, and I also have to observe teachers.

BP: What have you learned so far in becoming an administrator?
MC: [Being an administrator] is a very busy job that acquires much attention. However, it is a very rewarding job.

BP: Do you have any personal goals you would like to achieve this year?
MC: My goals, aligned with Mr. Lottmann and Mr. Connelly’s goals, are the safety and well-being of the students here at Woodbridge High School and to make this the best possible experience for all of the students in the school.

BP: What do you like to do in your free time?
MC: I love being with my family; I have three young children who are involved in a lot of activities. I enjoy watching sports and sporting events at the high school as well.

BP: What advice would you give to students who would like to pursue a career in education and/or coaching?
MC: I think both [education and coaching] are great platforms to work with for the future of America. Working with students, whether it’s in the classroom or on the field or court, is a way that you could give back but also be a positive influence and role model to students. I think education is a great field to get into and I hope that more students that we have here at Woodbridge High School consider that field.

BP: Is there anything else you would like to add?
MC: I’m very thankful and happy to be here.

Barrons Boys’ Soccer Plays for a Cause

by Brittany Sa

The Varsity Boys' Soccer team, along with Coaches Kaelber, Clarke, and Jago, pose with Ben Lepisto (middle, in hat) after the team's annual Cancer Awareness game. The team tied JFK, 1-1. (Credit: Brittany Sa)

The Varsity Boys’ Soccer team, along with Coaches Kaelber, Clarke, and Jago, pose with Ben Lepisto (middle, in hat) after the team’s annual Cancer Awareness game. The team tied JFK, 1-1. (Credit: Brittany Sa)

On October 1st, the Varsity Boys’ Soccer Team played John F. Kennedy Memorial High School at home in an effort to avenge their loss at the beginning of the season.

But the game wasn’t only about redemption: it was their annual Cancer Awareness game, and the beneficiary was sophomore Ben Lepisto, who was diagnosed last year with medulloblastoma, a common type of pediatric brain tumor.

Upon his diagnosis, Ben, was no longer able to participate in Woodbridge High School athletics, where he played soccer and baseball, and ran track. Although he watched from the sidelines, Coach Clarke named Ben honorary team captain for the event.

Coach Clarke said the game was important because, “Everyone in our program realizes how fortunate they are to be able to play not just soccer, but any sport. Knowing that Ben has been unable to participate in sports recently, we wanted to show him that we are with him in his battle, albeit, on the field.”

The game, which ended in a tie, was successful in raising cancer awareness: the soccer program raised $500 for Barrons for Ben, as well as an additional $480 in Barrons for Ben t-shirts worn during the game.

“To me, [this Cancer Awareness game] showed how committed Woodbridge High School is to its students, and how important the school is to the community,” Coach Clarke said. “Everyone is helping Ben with his battle.”

For their part, JFK also donated to Barrons for Ben, and when the game was over, it didn’t matter that it ended in a tie. What mattered was how the players came together on the pitch for a worthy cause.

Boys,” Coach Clarke said, “remember, we are not playing to play. We are here to play for Ben.”

Girls Tennis Looks to the Future

by Andrew Rodriguez

Following the Varsity Girls’ Tennis team’s appearance in the midseason GMC championships, The Barron Perspective spoke with Ms. Cuevas to see how she thought the season was going with two weeks left. Now in her second year as head coach, Ms. Cuevas is looking to establish the Barrons as a perennial threat in the GMCs for years to come. The team is led by senior captains Joyce Loda and Lisbeth Perez, as well as junior captain Nicole Pangiochi. (Editor’s note: the season ended on October 25th, with the team’s record at 8-12.)

Barron Perspective: In your opinion, how is the season going thus far?
Coach Cuevas: So far we’ve made it the furthest we have in the GMC tournament in years. Our freshman, Brianna Davis, made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament at third singles.

BP: Are you satisfied with the team record?
CC: I don’t think the team record reflects how well we have played against other teams and how competitive we are as a whole.

BP: How far through is the team with the season?
CC: Our last match is October 25.  We only have about two weeks left.

BP:  How do you think you are doing as a coach?
CC: I try to do the best I can for the team.

BP: What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
CC: I expect the team to go out and play hard every match and to work hard during practices.

BP: How is the team different from last year?
CC: This year, we have some people in different positions and have gotten some new members of the team, along with some seniors that left from last year.

BP: How do you motivate your team?
CC: I motivate them by talking to them as a team, and then individually, pointing out their strengths as players.

BP: What are some of your favorite things about coaching?
CC: I like being able to see all of the hard work by the girls pay off.  I also like the competitiveness of the game and playing other schools.

Air Conditioning Installed in Third Floor Classrooms

by Jose Gomez

Air conditioners came to the third floor of Woodbridge High School in late August, saving students and teachers from the heat of September and June. After decades of extremely high temperatures during the summer months, the problem is finally resolved. The improvement came from months of planning and installation. The Barron Perspective sat down with Principal Lottmann to get the full story.

Barron Perspective: Where did the decision to put air conditioning on the third floor come from?
Principal Lottmann: Well, when I was teaching, years ago, at Woodbridge High, I had great friends who were English teachers and I always remember how, in September, late May, and all of June, they would just say how it’s basically torture to go upstairs… When I became principal a few years ago, I realized how hot it really does get up there. I don’t know if you remember the beginning of last year, how hot it was for those first two weeks… with no circulation, you could almost cook an egg on the [third] floor. So that’s when I vowed I got to do whatever has to be done in order to get air conditioning. So, through proper budgeting and just talking to who needed to be addressed, we were able to upgrade the electric on the third floor and we bought all the air conditioning units needed. Now, hopefully English teachers, as well as students, can enjoy a less hot atmosphere.

BP: How long did that take?
PL: All summer, and they did a great job in that they started right after graduation. We bought some air conditioners so they were already sitting in storage, but I think I was short four. So four came in late August, and I felt bad for the four teachers who wouldn’t have air conditioning on the first day of school, but the electricians and carpenters in our district must have worked over labor day weekend because, on the first day of school, they were in.

BP: How did the teachers react?
PL: Oh, the English teachers actually threw a party. I want to say [September 28th], where it was a welcoming the air conditioning party. So it was very nice, I went up there and they said, “Thank you, Mr. Lottmann, Mr. Connelly, and Mr. Chiera,” because it wasn’t just me who made the decision, it was a lot of people who realized this has to get done.

BP: So what happened at the party? What kind of party was it?
PL: Actually, I think the English Department has a party every month, and I think they really just want to find a theme. They were just happy. All the teachers brought in food and we were invited up. It was just their way of showing gratitude and thanks for giving what, I think, all teachers deserve. Eventually, my goal is to get 100% of our rooms with air conditioning.

BP: So is there anything else you would like to add?
PL: I hope the English Department, as well as every student, since every student takes English in this school, is able to enjoy the better temperature and that it makes for a more meaningful experience when they’re in English class.

Interact Club Restarts for New Year

by Eamonn Gonzalez

The Barron Perspective is committed to providing students with news and information on all of Woodbridge High School’s extracurricular activities. This section is dedicated to the school’s clubs and activities that are not sports-related. In this installment, The Barron Perspective discusses the Interact Club with one of its new advisors.

The Interact Club has been an extracurricular activity at Woodbridge High School for more than ten years and, up until this year, was advised by Ms. Clarke and Ms. Sacco. This year’s advisors are Ms. Montes and Ms. Moody. The club is designed to help students gain volunteer hours and get involved in their community by engaging in opportunities around town. Meetings are held every other week on Wednesdays in room 102.

Barron Perspective: What charities and events does the Interact Club get involved with?
Ms. Moody: We engage in quite a few volunteer opportunities around town, but some of our main events include David’s Touch, Paul’s Peace, Paint the Town Purple, and Relay for Life.

BP: Any particular reason you picked these events?
MM: Well, David’s Touch involves students from our school and, obviously, we want to do as much as we can to support fellow students and their families, so that really is near and dear to us. As for Paul’s Peace, it is near and dear to me because that is my brother’s organization. Relay for Life has been a part of Interact Club for as long as I can remember. Interact and tradition go hand in hand for the events.

BP: How many students are active members?
MM: Gosh, wow. I think we had at our first meeting of the year, which was last week, I would say about 15-20 students. There was an Ecology meeting that day, but we are pretty flexible with the day of the week.

BP: How do students benefit from joining the club?
MM: Students gain beneficial traits from learning to lend a helping hand, to just being more generous. Interact Club helps students mold themselves into good citizens of Woodbridge.

BP: Is there anything else you would like to add?
MM: Nothing much other than offering to join our club! Come to the next meeting and bring as many friends as you want. I believe together, between me and Mrs. Montes, and you guys as members, we have the potential to make a difference with a helping hand.