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We changed this school

Rex Cottone, President, HMHS Class of 2023

Just over a year ago, I stepped into Mrs. McHale’s office on a Friday afternoon, and Mr Romea shook my hand and said “Congratulations on your election, Mr. President.” I turned to Mrs. McHale, and her first words were, “Better start planning your graduation speech!” So, I have spent the last 11 months and three weeks doing exactly that.

I was so overwhelmed – there have been so many great graduation speeches in the history of Haddonfield to draw inspiration from, yet I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how I could show the world how outstanding my classmates have been. After hours and hours of researching and working, I realized that nobody should ever again have to go through the stress of what to include in their graduation speech. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Rex Cottone’s Semi-Official Guide to the Graduation Speech.

Step 1: The introduction. Often done by way of expressing thanks, the introduction is meant to acknowledge everything and everyone that made this happen, that got us here. For example: thank you to all the staff and custodians who helped set up this event and are taking care of the 50,000 people here tonight. Your great work never goes unnoticed, and we are all incredibly grateful for you keeping our home looking flawless for the last four years. Next, to the parents, guardians, family members, and friends, thank you very much for coming and supporting not just your child but all of us. I know you’re excited about the pictures later, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. Last, thank you to all the teachers and administrators who organized this and did everything they could to get us walking across this stage tonight. Thank you to Mrs. McHale for showing me how to navigate being a leader. Thank you to Coach Q and Mr. Dortone for being my mentors in my one and only year of student council this year. And of course, on the topic of mentors, thank you to the teachers who taught me just as much about becoming an adult as they did about the curriculum. I wouldn’t be here without the ones who taught me not just the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus but also how to live a life that truly is beautiful.

Step 2: Accomplishments. Sometimes read as a list, the accomplishments are meant to highlight how our class has contributed to the history of our high school. But what is history? According to Ryan Gosling’s character in the movie Half Nelson, history is change. It is two opposing forces struggling back and forth until one comes out on top, thereby causing a turning point. Somebody better check on Mr. Scors and make sure his socks are still on. In the last four years, the class of 2023 has faced many opposing forces, but we have continued to be resilient. We never run from the grind – when we want something, we take a good look around the room and say “Let’s ride.” And we get it done. We wanted to win spirit week. We came closer to sweeping the entire week than any class in history. We wanted sectional championships.  We got 10 of them. We wanted to be on this stage. (dramatic pause). Here we are. We face opponents, we come out on top, and we cause turning points. Turning points in our lives. Turning points in the lives of our peers. Turning points in the history of our school. This school did not just change us, we changed this school. That’s the only accomplishment I need to list.

Step 3: The future. Used to conclude the speech, often with some sort of quote or popular media reference, the future section is meant to bring forth confidence in all of the graduates and show them that they are ready for whatever they may face. Since Jack O’Donnell used Baby Keem lyrics in his speech last year, I had to find a new artist and a new quote. After weeks of searching, I landed on Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, Founder of Young Money Entertainment, who once said, and I quote, “Real G’s move in silence, like lasagna.” Most of you probably know him as Lil Wayne, but Dwayne Michael Carter Jr sounded way cooler. What does it mean to move in silence? Some may think that to move in silence is to avoid all attention, to live a life of stealth, and eventually to be forgotten. However, moving in silence is more about why you move than how you move. Real G’s like ourselves do what we do not for the approval or satisfaction of others. We do not move to change the world in return for attention or praise or money. We move because we love it, and because we want it. The class of 2023 is proud to have over 200 students going to the colleges that we want to attend, not the ones others think we should. We’ll study what we want to study, not what others think we should. We do what we do because we love it. We have a passion for changing the world like no one else you’ll ever meet, and we are proud of it. We are the realest G’s, and among all the noise we have faced and will face, we move in silence. Like lasagna.

Over the last four years, the class of 2023 has had every reason to give up. We faced great stress, great loss, and great change. Our school culture lost so much heart and spirit. Our teachers and administrators told me in September that they were looking to our senior class to return the soul of Haddonfield Memorial High School that they felt was missing. They said the school might never be the same if we couldn’t bring back its vibrancy and spirit. Everyone wondered what would happen if we couldn’t live up to these standards. Everybody wanted to know what would happen if the class of 2023 couldn’t be one of the most outstanding classes in the history of Haddonfield.

I guess we’ll never know.

Life is like a parking lot

Charlie Webb, HMHS Class of 2023

Welcome to the graduation of the class of 2023. On behalf of the class, I would like to thank all the people who have made today possible.

Thank you to all the incredible teachers who have done an amazing job guiding and educating the class of 2023.

Thank you to the administrators who have allowed every student to thrive – even during the pandemic that shall not be named. Especially Mrs. McHale; I’m sure our parents would agree how difficult it is to deal with 219 seniors every day, and you do an excellent job. Thank you to my friends who always keep things interesting.

Thank you to all parents and guardians for your unwavering support from day one, we wouldn’t be here without you.

And finally, I personally want to thank my constant companion in the Haddonfield school system, number 2300239. Since elementary school, my student ID has logged me into my email, the lunch line, the library, the big dusty computers in the Tatem computer lab, and many other places in the district. Now here at graduation I will depart from it. It’s also my lifelong social media password, so I should probably change some of those passwords too. I remember the first time I learned that the 23 at the start of that code represented my graduation year. At the time, I couldn’t even count that many years away on my fingers, and now, today, along with all my other fellow 23-ID-number friends we will graduate.

Thank you to the class of twenty twenty three for the most memorable four years of high school. These are years that I will never forget for, well, mostly good reasons.

Now, as I reflect on our high school experience, I immediately think of the Bancroft parking lot, the big gravel lot, which has recently been infested by a dangerous species, high school drivers. One of the most prominent features of the Bancroft lot is the iconic gravel, which you might not know is more than a little bumpy. Well, the class of 2023 has also had to get over its fair share of humps. But throughout all the bumps, this class has proved that we are able to battle adversity and support one another to make every situation a positive one. Just like when you’re on a delayed JetBlue flight to Disney and your friends encourage you to use the bathroom when the flight attendants told you not to. Sometimes we hit bumps at 7:55 on those crazy mornings where the spots in the Bancroft lot are highly contested, but every morning we make room for one another to create ridiculous parking spots. Our class is always willing to make adjustments to help each other out, and we also owe Mrs. Abbate, Mrs. Wilson, Mrs. Murphy, and Mrs. Russell, for always having our backs by buzzing us into school and giving us late passes.

Sometimes, whether you’re in a ridiculous parking spot or not, accidents happen in the Bancroft lot. Accidents as we know, come in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes all it takes is a piece of band chocolate from a friend or a pretzel on pretzel Thursday to cheer you up, and other times, accidents are a little bigger, like passing out at the blood drive or hitting multiple cars in the parking lot at once. Despite having had a few accidents throughout these four years, we have been able to learn and grow from them to accomplish incredible things. Like, the wrestling team and the boy’s lacrosse team winning their first sectional championship in both their programs histories, both boys and girls swimming who earned the state title every year, the very talented girls lacrosse team who also brought home multiple state championships, and the list goes on for this very athletic group. This grade has also thrived on stage with, drama awards for Cinderella and Head Over Heels, vocal performance awards for Madrigal singers, and instrumental awards for talented musicians. Maybe in the future we’ll learn to watch out for each other’s cars a little bit better, but hey, they’re called accidents for a reason.

The Bancroft parking lot is filled with many different cars, each unique in their own way. As I look around at all my classmates tonight, it is clear that we are a collection of unique individuals. Some cars like to rev their engines a lot, others like to stay a little quieter, some cars are decked out in bumper stickers proudly representing their beliefs, others prefer to keep their beliefs to themselves, some cars are a bright color that stand out in a crowd, others like to blend in; however, the beauty of the lot is that throughout the past year and a half a community has been built in that beautiful, dusty location.

And that’s the best part of our grade, no matter where we are; in every class, during sports, on the stage, or anywhere outside of school, the sense of community built by this class can be seen. This class has not defined itself by their plans for after graduation, but by our character and bonds created throughout our four years at HMHS. And also of course our ability to make a great parking lot. This grade has become a family that is able to support one another to prosper in all areas, while also having fun. And yes, we can have fun without breaking any bathrooms. Like Mr. Tarrant once said, “once a dawg, always a dawg,” and I couldn’t be prouder to call myself a part of the HMHS class of 2023 for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to see the incredible things you all accomplish. It has been a pleasure spending these past years with all of you, there aren’t many other grades I would be willing to run for class president four times and lose Every. Single. Time. I can’t express how much I’ll miss saying hello to all of you in the halls or honking my horn in the parking lot.

So for now, 2300239 out.

Intangibles also define us

Ian Talty, HMHS Class of 2023

I would like to start off by thanking our previous speakers: Charlie and Rex, and echoing their sentiments in thanking all of you for being here to honor the class of 2023, along with thanking the people that made this ceremony possible: the administration, the teachers, the janitorial staff, the families, and of course, the students themselves. 

That being said, I would like to pose a question to all of you: What is the greatest movie of all time? How do we decide what makes one movie greater than another? Well we can go by what the “experts” say. According to IMDb it’s The Shawshank Redemption. According to Variety it’s Psycho. According to Business Insider it’s The Godfather. And if you would have asked my grandfather he might have said it was Animal House. Likely, everybody here would choose a different film for a different reason. Me, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I’m certainly no cinephile, so I guess I might start by asking myself what makes a great movie? There’s the plot, the music, the cast, the cinematography, all of the tangible things that go into the creation of a movie. All of the things that result in awards and critical acclaim. But when asked to come up with the greatest movie of all time, we think of more than the tangible elements. We judge a film by how it makes us feel. By the thousands of little moments that occur off camera and create an experience that resonates. And so in this way, while judging a movie may involve judging its tangible quality, it also inherently involves evaluating the intangibles as well.

When I started writing this speech, I was confronted by the question of what to talk about. After all, as you heard from Rex, this class has accomplished so much in the last four years. But that’s when I realized that maybe I shouldn’t be focusing on the last four years. Instead, maybe I should focus on the next four and beyond. The future can be a scary thing, and rightfully so. I want to evaluate our time in high school like the great movie that it was and highlight the intangibles that will guide us and just might make the future a little less scary. 

The intangibles of our class are everything that happens behind the scenes, unnoticed by comparison to our tangible accomplishments. Just like the numerous, almost unnoticeable things that connect a movie with its audience, the small, intangible details about our class, unknown to anybody not sitting in these seats with me, are what really makes this class so special. 

It’s all the hard work that goes into making every accomplishment possible. While that work ethic and perseverance may not necessarily be tangible and observable, it is an invaluable part of our class’s character. The countless practices, sometimes battling the elements of weather and physical fatigue. The hours spent in the band room or the theater preparing for a performance. The time dedicated to completing a work of art or to planning a school event. The accomplishments of our class will not be carried into the future with us, but the work ethic and perseverance responsible for these accomplishments will. 

What also goes unseen is the support we give to each other. Whether it’s helping a classmate with homework or giving someone a ride to school. The constant support from those around us, those dealing with the same issues and the same stress as us is of the utmost importance. Being able to communicate with your peers and form a strong support system is a vital skill, and while the support system that we, the class of 2023, formed together may not always literally be with us in the future, we all have gained the ability to support those around us and find people to support us wherever we go. 

Failure and mistakes also often go without notice. When we look at our tangible accomplishments as a class, the casual observer will not see the failures and missteps that served as the building blocks to our success. Every member of the class of 2023 has failed at some point during their high school career. But while failure may be inevitable, in a class like this one, so is bouncing back. As we move into the future, we will all continue to fail and to make mistakes along the way. But dealing with failure and pushing forward, not in spite of our mistakes but because of them, is something we all have learned how to do together as a class. 

Failure may be one of those intangible things that goes without notice, but so is celebration. Whether we’re celebrating each other, or the teachers who give so much time and effort to helping us grow and develop, what goes on behind the scenes is nothing short of amazing. Celebration may seem like an odd intangible quality to carry into the future. But wherever we end up, it’s necessary that we remember to stop every once in a while and take a minute to be appreciative, and yes even celebratory, of ourselves and what we have accomplished in addition to those around us. 

Andy Rooney once said, “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain. But all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it”. While the tangible accomplishments may be what this class is remembered most for, I believe the intangibles also define us. And while our goals will always be there, calling down to us from the top of the mountain, the intangibles define our journey up the mountain, and in reality, the process of climbing is more important than reaching the top. So as the HMHS Class of 2023 sits here today, finally atop the mountain that is high school, we are now all facing the much larger and more ominous peak that is our future. What’s different now is that sadly we won’t always be climbing together. But while we may not be together per se, we will have all the intangible qualities that define us as a class. Our work ethic and our perseverance will push us up the mountain. We’ll meet people along the way and find support for ourselves to make the climb easier. We’ll fail, time and time again, and make countless mistakes, but just as often, we’ll pick ourselves back up, keep pushing, and continuously celebrate and appreciate the progress we’re making. The future is daunting, and what lies ahead certainly will not be easy. But the one thing I know is that if I had to pick one group of people to climb this mountain, one group who I was confident could conquer the challenges ahead, I would choose the greatest class to ever walk through those halls, the HMHS Class of 2023.

Thank you.  

Boys’ Basketball: Dawgs get payback against an old nemesis

By Lauree Padgett / Exclusive to Haddonfield[dot]Today

It was another four-game week for the Haddonfield boys basketball team. And you know what that meant: another four wins! The Dawgs beat three Conference opponents and a local team that’s been a fly in their ointment for a while to extend their winning streak to 15 and give them an overall record of 21–3 as they head into the final week of conference play.

Alas, I did not see the big game Saturday, 2/4, when the Dawgs went up against the Moorestown Quakers in the Holy Cross Academy Showcase. (I was attending my grand-nieces’ first birthday party, which was a pretty big deal too.) But I will share some details gleaned from an article by Kevin Minnick for and some comments from those who were able to attend. But first, here’s a look at how this past week unfolded …

Game 1: Haddonfield at Haddon Township, 1/31/23

In the second meeting of these two Liberty division contenders, the Hawks tied the game on two foul shots at the 4:20 mark after Teddy Bond had gotten two from the line for the Dawgs a few plays earlier. After a jumper by Daire Roddy made it 4–2, Haddonfield, Haddon Township answered with a field goal of its own to again bring the match even at 4 with 3:15 left in the quarter. That would be the last tie of the game. Patrick Ryan’s determination gave him three chances to score, and the third time was the charm, putting the Dawgs up 6–4 with 2:49 on the clock. Sam Narducci hit two straight 3’s to push the Dawgs’ lead up to 12–4 with 1:11 to go. The Hawks broke their mini drought with a basket ahead of the buzzer, making it 12–6 in favor of the visitors going into the second quarter.

Foul shots by Nate Rohlfing (2) and Roddy (1) and another field goal by Ryan upped the Dawgs’ lead to 16­–6 in the first 90 seconds of the next 8 minutes of play. The Hawks got a bucket before Narducci hit another trey and Rohlfing got 2 at one time on a nice feed from Bond, and with about 4 minutes left in the quarter, Haddonfield was up by 16, 24­–8. The Hawks got back-to-back baskets, a 3 and a 2, but the Dawgs were still up by double digits, 24-13 with 2:50 until the half. A pretty overhand drive by Matt Morris was followed by another 3 by Haddon Township, and with the score Haddonfield 26, Haddon Township, 16, a timeout was called with 2:20 on the clock.

A bit of messy play followed on both sides. The Dawgs lost the ball on a bad pass. Under the Hawk basket, the Dawgs blocked two shots, sending the ball out of bounds both times. A pickoff by Roddy led to a foul called against Haddon Township that sent Narducci to the line. He hit 1–2. After the Hawks lost the ball out of bounds, Narducci went into the paint for 2 off a pass from Bond. The Hawks, who had some nice looks from behind the arc, hit a 3 for the final basket of the half. Heading into the locker room, the Dawgs were ahead by 10, 29–19.

The Dawgs’ offense really kicked in during the third quarter. While the defense held the Hawks to 8 points, the Dawgs put 25 on the board. Ryan, Narducci, Roddy, and Rohlfing had two buckets each, with Narducci’s coming off a foul shot and a 3. Morris hit a 3 as well, and Zack Langan put up 6 points on a pair of field goals and a pair of foul shots. When the period ended, the Dawgs were up by 27, 54–27.

Even with the starters and regular subs out for a good part of the fourth quarter, the Dawgs still added 20 points to their score and held the Hawks to 7 points. Bond hit 2 treys, sophomore Lear Fuller made a bucket and a foul shot, and freshman Chris Beane (I believe in past articles I misidentified his year) added 5 with two field goals and a foul shot. Joe Tedeschi sank a pair of foul shots, and Morris and Rohlfing each had one more field goal. When the horn sounded, the Dawgs had beat up the Hawks by 40, 74–34. Narducci led the Dawgs with 14, and Ryan and Rohlfing both had 10.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 12, Haddon Township, 6

2nd: Haddonfield, 29, Haddon Township, 19

3rd: Haddonfield, 54, Haddon Township, 27

4th: Haddonfield, 74, Haddon Township, 34

Player Scores:

Sam Narducci: 14

Patrick Ryan: 10

Nate Rohlfing: 10

Daire Roddy: 9

Teddy Bond: 8

Matt Morris: 7

Zack Langan: 6

Chris Beane: 5

Lear Fuller: 3

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Game 2: West Deptford at Haddonfield, 2/2/23

This was Senior Night. Several of the “cheer squad” (formerly known as the cheerleaders) members are seniors and were recognized with their parents or guardians, but only one current Dawg will be moving on come June: Teddy Bond. Especially after his 10-trey performance the week before, I thought Teddy was deserving of some extra ink, so make sure you find the sidebar, “Ties That Bond” for the responses he gave me about what it’s been like being the sole senior on the team this year and what has made the Dawgs so tough against the competition.

Appropriately, Bond knocked down three 3’s in the first 8 minutes of the game. Narducci added a trey and a 2, Ryan had a trio of 2’s and Langan had a bucket as well. This was why the Dawgs were up by 8, 22–14, after 1. In the second quarter, the Dawgs put up another 22 on the board, but their defense held the Eagles to 7 points. The first 2 came off their initial possession of the game, which cut the Dawgs’ lead to 6, 22-16. However, the Dawgs then went on a 15–0 run that went like this:

Morris hit a 3. West Deptford didn’t score. Narducci hit a 3. West Deptford, deterred by nice “D” by Rohlfing, did not score. Ryan drove into the paint and scored off a feed by Roddy. Before West Deptford had a chance to not score again, Narducci picked off the ball, and after some solid Dawg passing, he hit a jumper. Narducci got the defensive board after West Deptford did not score, the Eagles were charged with their second foul of the half, and Rohlfing had a pretty drop-in.  He then blocked a shot at the other end, which is why West Deptford did not score on that possession. And as he did to start the run, Morris hit a 3. At the 3:36 mark, the Dawgs were up by 21, 37–16.

The Eagles finally did score on an offensive rebound off another Rohlfing blocked shot, and after Haddonfield finally did not score, the Eagles did again. With 2:31 remaining in the half, however, the Dawgs were still in command, 38–20. A few plays later, a real scramble on the floor ensued that ended with Morris on the bottom of the heap with the ball. Bond was on the other end of the line to inbound the ball. He made a cross-court pass to Rohlfing, who made an uncontested basket, making it 40–20 with about 2 minutes left. Rohlfing would score the last 2 baskets of the half, with a 1–2 from the foul line by the Eagles sandwiched in between. When the teams walked off the court, the Dawgs were up by more than twice the Eagles’ score, 44–21.

In the third quarter, the Eagles outscored the Dawgs by 2, 14–12, but even so, going into the final 8 minutes of play, the Dawgs were still on top by 21, 56–35. That 2-point differential flipped back to the Dawgs in quarter 4, as they scored 13 points to the Eagles’ 11. When it was all said and done, the Dawgs had won their 13th straight game (which is not so coincidentally Teddy Bond’s number) by 25, 69–44. Ryan and Rohlfing (doesn’t that sound like a great name for a law firm?) each had 13. Number 13 himself, however, finished with 14.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 22, West Deptford, 14

2nd: Haddonfield, 44, West Deptford, 21

3rd: Haddonfield, 56, West Deptford, 35

4th: Haddonfield, 69, West Deptford, 44

Player Scores:

Teddy Bond: 14

Patrick Ryan: 13

Nate Rohlfing: 13

Sam Narducci: 11

Matt Morris: 8

Zach Langan: 6

Joe Tedeschi: 2

Phil McFillin: 2


Ties That Bond

My first recollections of Teddy Bond are from seeing him at games with his parents Rich and Susie watching his oldest brother Richie (2016) play for the Dawgs. One of Richie’s biggest games was against Haddon Heights his senior year. The Garnets had been ahead the whole game, which was at Haddonfield, but Richie hit a basket with 6 seconds left to put the Dawgs on top by 1, 71–70, and secured a come-from-behind victory. Brother Will, who graduated 2 years later in 2018, was on the first of the Dawgs’ 2018 and 2019 back-to-back state championship teams. Will broke his wrist early in the season, but came back to contribute important minutes in the Dawgs’ run to the Group 2 state title.

So when I asked Teddy if seeing his brothers on the court contributed to him having his own basketball career for the Dawgs, I wasn’t surprised by his response. “Growing up watching Richie and Will definitely influenced me to play basketball. Going to all their games growing up and watching how much fun they had always seemed like a good deal to me. I knew Coach Wiedeman and the system coming into it so it was perfect.”

I also wanted to know what it’s been like for Teddy being the only senior on a team that is made up primarily of juniors (11) along with a sophomore and two freshmen. He told me, “It’s definitely been weird being the only senior, but it works out though.” Because the juniors had been playing so long together, he knew it wasn’t going to be an issue coming into the season.

I’ve been noticing a lot lately that when the team comes back out onto the court after a timeout, especially when it’s later in the game, Teddy is talking to his teammates. I asked if that has been self-directed or if the coaches have been encouraging him. It sounds like it’s been a little bit of both: “After timeouts, I usually try to get the guys together to talk about what I see or how we can attack the other team better. I try to make sure they all have level heads and are calm coming back onto the court because I know for a lot of them, it’s their first year playing on the varsity level. It’s a small thing I try to do to keep everyone together.” He added that coaches Paul Wiedeman and Anthony Parenti are always pushing him to be the best leader he can be. “I credit the small things like that to them.”

Next, I was curious as to what he thinks helped turn the team around after the two losses early in January to Sterling and Hammonton. He said he’s not sure if there’s just one thing that’s contributing to the year the Dawgs are having. “Our team is just a brotherhood. No one plays for themselves; we all play for each other. From playing together in the summer to now, our bonds have really grown, and now we are just having fun with it. It’s a true family with our team and we all trust one another to have our backs in war. I have never been a part of something like this before and it’s truly special.”

Speaking of fun, how fun is it, I wanted to know, playing pressure defense, especially going up against teams like Mainland, who clearly didn’t know what hit them? Teddy confirmed that they are having really good time defensively. “We are running around creating havoc for the other team and winning games because of it. Our tight-knit defense is credited toward Coach [Brian] Stafford and it’s awesome. It took a little bit to get used to early in the season, but once we figured it out, everything has just come easy.” I found out that Teddy and Daire Roddy have come up with a catchy name for their defense: “Havoc at Haddonfield.” This, he explains, is because the players know the other team won’t know what to run against them. “We take away the three balls, the drive, the post up, really everything.”

Of course I wanted to find out what was going through Teddy’s mind during the Camden Tech game, which was the first game in the Camden County Tournament, when he was on fire with the 3’s and tied Andrew Gostovich for 10 in one game. “Monday’s game [1/23] was for sure one I will remember forever.” He admits that he was nervous toward the end when he started to get close, but credits his teammates with helping him to tie it. “It was a surreal feeling being able to do something special with that group of guys. If it wasn’t for my teammates, coaches, parents, and everyone involved, I don’t think I would have been able to do it. It’s not my record, it’s our record.”

Whenever it happens (and let’s hope for later rather than sooner) and Teddy walks off the court for the last time as a Dawg, it will be an end of a Bond era at Haddonfield. I know I’m speaking for all Dawgs fans when I wish Teddy the best as he goes onto the University of Mississippi (aka Ole Miss) to study economics. Maybe during his winter breaks, he’ll come back and sit in the stands again to cheer on the Dawgs like he did when he was little. (Sniff.)


Game 3: Haddonfield vs. Moorestown at Holy Cross Academy Prep Showcase, 2/4/23

This is the game I missed due to my little nieces’ first birthday party. I did not know that going into the game on Saturday, the Quakers were ranked 20th in the state, with a record of 15–4. That doesn’t sound that impressive, but according to my astute travel buddy, this was based more on the toughness of their schedule than the number of wins versus losses. I also had forgotten (blocked out, more than likely) the tough Tournament of Champions game in 2019 that Haddonfield lost by 1 point, 59–60, to the Quakers, as well as another close but no-win game against Moorestown in a previous Holy Cross Prep Showcase …

My travel buddy kept me posted during the game. The first few texts did not sound too encouraging. “12–7 them  [end of] 1st.” Then, “Whoops. 20-12 them start of 3rd.” However, the next communique was much more promising: “25–22 us [end of] 3rd.” It was nerve-wracking waiting for news, so I finally texted, “Update?” “35–31 us 12 seconds [to go] our ball” came the reply. And then came the best text: “37–31 we win.” “Whoop!” I responded.

It wasn’t until another friend texted and told me this was a “huge win,” especially because of Moorestown’s ranking, that I realized the Dawgs really had pulled off an upset and had not just had an impressive, come-from-behind victory.

I was hoping this game would be available as a stream on (or off) YouTube but that wasn’t the case. While as a non-subscriber I couldn’t access it the day of the game, I was able to read the full article by’s Kevin Minnick the next day, titled “Haddonfield Turns Up the Heat, Upends No. 20 Moorestown in Holy Cross Prep Showcase.”

One of his first sentences captures what I think a lot of Dawg fans have been saying the last several weeks: “Allowing just 36 points per game, it’s the defensive intensity that has fueled the offense and allowed Haddonfield to enjoy significant success this winter.” That’s how, in the second half, the Dawgs were able to turn an 8-point deficit at the start of the third into a 3-point edge at the end of it. My travel buddy told me at Sunday’s game how the Dawgs just came out in the second half and kicked up the defense, which is how they held the Quakers to 2 third quarter points. I found out from Minnick’s article that the Dawgs not only shut down the Quakers offensively, it enabled them to go on a 10–0 run to start the quarter, thanks in part to two straight 3’s by Teddy Bond and Zach Langan

The fourth quarter must have been intense, as Moorestown tried to mount a comeback but came up short. The Dawgs outscored them by 3, giving them a 6-point, 37–31, victory. Minnick noted that only Patrick Ryan reached double digits for either team, with 10 for Haddonfield. But all those other points sure mattered. And it meant Haddonfield was now riding a 14-game winning streak.

Game 4: Gloucester City at Haddonfield, Camden County Tournament, Round 2, 2/5/23

The game against Moorestown was over a little after 5 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday at 10 a.m., the boys were back on their (home) court, going up against a Colonial Patriot opponent, the Gloucester City Lions, whom the Dawgs had beaten on 1/11, also at home, rather handily, 62–36. Two key questions would be addressed in this game: Would the Dawgs be still savoring their upset of the Quakers? And would they have the stamina to play another game 15 hours after the previous one ended?

The first question was answered pretty quickly. The boys did not seem to be focused on anything but the game at hand, which was good to see. As for fatigue, that the game started on a steal and a 2-point basket by the Lions was an indication that it was going to be a factor. Just how much of one remained to be seen.

Patrick Ryan tied the game at 2 on a pair of foul shots, and after pulling down an offensive board a possession later, he set up a basket by Daire Roddy, which put the Dawgs up 4–2 with 6:08 on the clock. After a combined steal by Sam Narducci and Roddy, Teddy Bond got his own offensive rebound and scored, making it 6–2, Haddonfield about 25 seconds later.

The Lions got a point back from the foul line, and after the Dawgs turned over the ball on a 3-second call, the Lions shot off an air ball. The Dawgs missed their next shot and did not make a good effort for an offensive rebound. At the other end, Gloucester City did get a second-chance shot, which dropped, bringing them to within 1, 6–5, with 3:45 left in the quarter.

The Dawgs missed both shots from the foul line, but the Lions lost the ball out of bounds. Zach Langan, who has been quietly hitting big shots when the Dawgs need one, nailed a 3, and at the other end, Bond clamped down on the rebound. Narducci missed a shot but fought hard to get the board and was rewarded with a basket. That put the Dawgs up by 6, 11–5, at the 2:30 mark and Gloucester City called a timeout.

They followed their timeout with a basket, but Ryan answered with one under the Dawg basket, keeping it a 6-point, 13–7, Haddonfield advantage with 1:53 left. The Dawgs missed two shots, Langan stole the ball, but the Dawgs missed another shot, which was a sign of “tired legs syndrome.” The Lions were going for the last shot of the quarter, but Langan stole the ball again, but without time for anything but a heave toward the other end of the court, so the quarter ended with the Dawgs still up 13–7.

The second quarter started with Gloucester City inbounding and failing to score. Nate Rohlfing, just in the game, got his first basket off an offensive rebound and pass from Roddy, making it 15–7, Dawgs with about 30 seconds gone in the quarter. Bond got a blocked shot, Matt Morris, also making his first appearance in the game, pulled down a board, but the Dawgs were called for an offensive foul. Bond got a rebound and Morris, in traffic under the basket, hesitated before going up and in, throwing off his defenders and resulting in 2 points for Haddonfield. This gave the Dawgs their first double-digit lead, 17–7. With 5:56 on the clock, Gloucester City took a timeout. Again the timeout did not lead to a basket. Morris got another board, and Langan was fouled driving to the basket. He stepped to the line and with his high-arching shots, found nothing but net, making it 19–7, Dawgs.

The Lions’ first basket of the second was a 3, but it was quickly followed by a Roddy-to-Rohlfing play that gave Rohlfing his second field goal of the quarter. Roddy then got a steal and Bond made a nifty bounce pass to Langan, who got 2 this time from the floor. With 3:47 remaining in the half, the Dawgs might have been a bit tired, but were still ahead by 13, 23–10. The Lions got another basket, and then so did Rohlfing, keeping a 13-point game, 25–12, with 2:32 on the clock.

The Lions then started closing in a bit on the Dawgs. After a field goal, and a missed Haddonfield shot, a foul sent the Lions to the line, where both shots were good. The Dawgs missed another shot while the Lions made another one. With 1:16 left in the game, the Lions were back to within 6, 25–19. Neither team scored their next possession. Bond secured the defensive board for Haddonfield and got an assist on the 2-pointer from Morris with about 29 seconds left in the half. The Lions were waiting for a final shot, but it did not go in so when the buzzer sounded, the Dawgs had an 8-point, 27–19 halftime edge.

I don’t think anyone in the stands (and there weren’t as many, understandably, on a Sunday morning than there usually are for an evening game) was too worried, even though it was fairly clear that the boys weren’t playing at full tilt this game. But when the third quarter started and the Lions were keeping pace with the Dawgs, it didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that the Dawgs might be in for another fight.

With 6:49 on the clock and the Dawgs still unable to get beyond a 6-point lead, up 29–23, Langan hit another one of his 3’s. Gloucester City said, “Hey, nice shot. Look at our 3,” and it remained a 6-point, 32–26, game. The next trip down the court, Langan handed the ball off to Bond, who hit a 3, pushing the Dawgs’ lead to 9, 35–26, with 5:30 to go in the third. Neither team scored for a few possessions, then the Lions got a field goal with 4:04 on the clock, cutting the Dawg lead back to 7, 35–28. Narducci stole the ball, but his shot did not drop. Bond recovered the ball and put it up and in, giving the Dawgs a 9-point advantage again. That didn’t last long, as the Lions hit a 3, and the lead slipped back down to 6, 37–31, with 3 and change left in the quarter.

The Dawgs, in the person of Ryan, got the next 6 points of the game. The first came off a feed from Roddy in which Ryan made a nice pivot to put the ball in the net. The next 2 points came off foul shots, and put the Dawgs up by 10, 41–31, with 2:01 to go. After Langan was called for a foul on what looked like an all-ball move, there were several boos from the crowd (we might have been small, but we were loud). The Lions called a timeout and after inbounding, the teams played hot potato with the ball. Haddonfield wound up with it, and Ryan scored once more on a pass from Roddy, making it a 12-point, 43–31, Dawg advantage.

The Lions lost the ball out of bounds, and Langan forced a foul going in for a basket. He made 1–2 from the line. Bond got the offensive board, Gloucester picked it off, but Bond blocked the shot at the other end of the court, and it went out of bounds off the Lions with about 26 seconds left. Langan set Ryan up this time, and he was fouled while in the act of scoring. His foul shot swoosh in, and with 4.8 seconds on the clock, the Dawgs had shaken off their tired legs syndrome and were up by 16, 47–31.

After putting 20 points on the board in the third and holding Gloucester City to 12, the Dawgs got 19 more points in the last 8 minutes, holding the Lions again to a dozen. Out of those 19, Rohlfing got 9, and Jack Walters and Mike Feinstein each hit a 3. Morris got one more field goal and Narducci made 2 from the foul line. The final score was Haddonfield 66, Gloucester City 43. That the Dawgs were able to pull away in the second half and win by 23 was a statement in and of itself about the determination of its players, even when they are not playing at 100% strength.

Ryan and Rohlfing each scored 15 points. Langan followed with 11. This win advances the Dawgs to the next round of the Camden County tournament, which is scheduled to be played at Sterling on Saturday, 2/11, at 4 p.m. As of Sunday night, the Dawgs’ online schedule was not indicating who the Dawgs will be going up against.

Quarter Scores:

1st: Haddonfield, 13, Gloucester City, 7

2nd: Haddonfield, 27, Gloucester City, 19

3rd: Haddonfield, 47, Gloucester City, 31

4th: Haddonfield, 66, Gloucester City, 43

Player Scores:

Patrick Ryan: 15

Nate Rohlfing: 15

Zach Langan: 11

Teddy Bond: 7

Matt Morris: 6

Sam Narducci: 4

Jack Walters: 3

Mike Feinstein: 3

The Dawgs go into the final week of the regular season 21–3 overall and 12–1 in Colonial Conference play; within the Liberty division, they are 6–1 and tied with Sterling, who suffered a 46–55 defeat at the hands of Haddon Heights (yay Garnets!) on 1/31. Haddonfield plays away (game time 7 p.m.) on Tuesday versus the Red Raiders of Paulsboro, who are in the Patriot division. On Thursday, Sterling, who gave Haddonfield its only Liberty loss, comes to town. If Sterling can handle Haddon Township on Tuesday, this second meeting Thursday between the Dawgs and the Silver Knights will determine who wins the Liberty crown. So, Dawgs fans, come to the gym on Thursday (game time 7 p.m., but come early!), wear red and black, and cheer hard. I know our Dawgs will play hard!

Alumni Society Awards 2022

During its annual meeting on Saturday, November 26, the  Haddonfield Alumni Society will present four former students and two teachers with Lifetime Achievement Awards. 

The recipients are:

  • Joanne Connor ’88, educator
  • Joel Cooperman ’71, accountant
  • Megan Mascena Gaspar ’85, film and television producer
  • Sharon Hilgen Willis ’84, biochemist
  • Mary Hall, Tatem teacher
  • Debra Licorish, former Tatem and Middle School teacher

Biographies of the recipients follow:

Joanne Connor ‘88 graduated from Saint Joseph’s University majoring in Spanish and studying abroad at La Universidad Iberoamericano. She earned her M.A. and her Ph. D. in Education from Rowan University.

Joanne began her professional career as a k-12 educator at the Y.A.L.E. School serving as a teacher and school principal. In 2010, she became the Coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Education at Rowan where she assumed myriad responsibilities including budget management, recruitment, advising, program evaluation, staffing and curriculum review and development.   

Over the next year Joanne served as the Assistant Dean of the College of Education overseeing the Office of Field Experience, a critical role in which she ensured the placement of hundreds of pre-service teachers in school districts so they could gain professional expertise before graduation. 

In 2012, Joanne was appointed Executive Assistant to the President. She managed the day-to-day functions of the Office of the President, Board of Trustees relations, oversaw Board of Trustees meetings, served on search committees for key University hires, and worked across divisions to solve urgent matters involving students, parents, community and other external constituents. 

In 2015, she was named the President’s Chief of Staff and Board of Trustees Liasion.  Her new responsibilities included serving as a confidential advisor to the President, representing the President at meetings and other functions, overseeing Presidential projects and committees, working closely with legislators, business partners and other external constituents, managing personnel matters of the President’s direct reports, and overseeing Human Resources, Audit and Compliance, Government Affairs, Public Safety and University Events.

In addition to the extensive responsibilities cited above, Dr. Connor has provided extraordinary service to the University.  She taught four different courses at the Master and Doctoral levels and also served on more than 22 different university committees.  She has been an Emissary to Select Greater Philadelphia, a Steering Committee member of that organization, and the Chair and Institutional Representative to Rowan University’s ACE Women’s Network

Among her awards and recognition are the following:  SJ Biz’s Women to Watch (2018), Gloucester County Woman of Achievement (2018), Keynote Speaker at NAWBO Annual Meeting (2018), Judge Miss America Competition Scholarship Awards (2018, 2021), Gloucester County Boy Scouts Council Woman of Achievement Award (2021).

* * * * * 

Joel Cooperman ‘71 attended Fairleigh Dickinson University earning his BS in accounting.  He joined the Certified Public Accounting Firm, Richard A. Eisner, in 1975.   In 1979, Joel and his colleague, Niles Citrin, decided to strike out on their own.  He and his partner worked out of an apartment in New York City before getting an office.  While economically this was less than the best time to be setting out on his own, Joel’s upbeat attitude, mindset and vision would take the organization far beyond his wildest dreams.

Niles Citrin, Joel’s partner for 43 years, shared these insights.  “Joel is a natural born leader with an excellent sense of business, and a head for negotiating deals.  In our early years, Joel’s ability to connect with people and gain their trust was invaluable. To branch out on our own we obviously needed clients.  Joel was working with some high-profile rock and roll bands at our prior firm.  Those bands had come to rely on Joel’s expertise and decided to give us a chance.”

The rock bands, “The Who” and “Yes” helped the fledging firm get off the ground.

Today, Citrin Cooperman has over 1500 partners and staff, in some 16 offices in the USA and 1 in India. They are the 20th largest CPA firm in the USA out of approximately 45,000. Their 2021 revenue exceeded $350 million.    Joel has been a leader and industry icon in the accounting profession for over 4 decades. So impressive have his accomplishments in the 45,000 CPA firm accounting industry been that Citrin Cooperman remains the fastest growing, first-generation firm in the entire country!

Allen Kotlin, Joel’s colleague for over twenty years writes, “Among the most admired leaders in our profession by his peers, Joel “sets the bar” when it comes to innovation, thought leadership, exceptional client service, growing talent into partners and future leaders, and support for the communities he serves. As amazing as that might sound, even more impressive are his personal traits and values. I have never met a leader who is referred to by many of his partners as “dad” – he cares about every person in his firm whether they work there or are 

a family member of someone at the firm. The stories about him are legendary in terms of his love and passion for his people and their families.”

Joel is devoted to his family.  He is married to Christine and together they have three children, David, Jeff and Marisa and four grandchildren, Wyatt, Chase, Archer and Olivia.

* * * * *

Megan Mascena Gaspar ‘85 attended Emerson College earning a BS degree in television production in 1989.  After college, Megan headed to LA intent on working in television or film. She found her niche working in post-production on the popular series, JAG. Megan lauded the experience at JAG, “It was like doing a mini movie every week – these episodes were big for the time. We were one of the first shows to shoot in high definition and use extensive stock footage. There were a lot of visual effects and stunts. JAG was one of the last shows to use a full orchestra for its score. It was an amazing and supportive learning ground.”

Megan spent thirteen years serving in various production roles with JAG. She began as an Assistant Production Coordinator in 1995 and moved through the ranks of Post-Production Coordinator, Associate Producer and Co-Producer. Her work entailed all elements from pre- through post-production: Breaking down scripts, budgeting, scheduling, hiring, supervising, editorial, sound work, picture work, visual effects, final color and the final mix

After her success with JAG, Megan moved on to produce twenty-four more pilots and series including “New Girl”, Speechless, Single Parents, Bless this Mess, and The Wonder Years. She also produced the independent film, 2 Minutes Later and the short film, Will You. This past year, she was one of the producers of the highly acclaimed series, The Dropout, which was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Television Critics Award as the Outstanding Drama Limited Series. 

Megan has left her mark on the television and film community in other ways as well. She is deeply involved with the Producers Guild of America having served six years on the AP Council Board of Delegates including three years as Chairperson. She has also served six years on the National Board of Directors of the Producer’s Guild and two more years as Chair of the Education Committee. In 2022, she was presented with the prestigious Charles FitzSimmon Award, which recognizes her outstanding work and commitment to the guild. 

Megan and her family love spending time together, whether on their front porch greeting neighbors or on their back deck enjoying the outdoors. Disappointingly, due to recent tree growth, they’ve lost their birds-eye view of the famous Hollywood sign. Suffice it to say they make do enjoying guacamole and margaritas made with avocados, lemons and limes picked from the trees in their yard. 

* * * * *

Sharon Hilgen Willis ’84 earned her undergraduate degree at Gettysburg College and her Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  She returned home to be a post-doctoral scientist with Dr. Roselyn Eisenberg. Dr. Eisenberg was a microbiologist who served on the faculty at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.   Working in Dr. Eisenberg’s lab, Sharon furthered the understanding of the herpes complex virus by discovering the virus’s cellular receptor structure. 

With Dr. Benjamin Doranz, Ph. D., MBA, Sharon co-founded Integral Molecular, a research-driven biotechnology company. Starting in 2001, they grew from a two-person team, renting a chemistry bench, to a company with over 110 employees. Integral Molecular is considered “the industry leader in membrane protein solutions,” contributing to the advancement of viral science, including screening, immunizations, and antibody production. Integral Molecular played a vital role during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing foundational standardized products to viral testing and drug development companies.

Integral Molecular has Sharon’s DNA built into its foundation. From working to raise some of the initial funds to start the company, helping to build a lab from scratch, developing new products and processes, leading the sales and marketing teams, and providing leadership and direction to the entire company, Sharon has done it all. 

Sharon’s role has shifted from lead scientist to her current role as VP of Sales and Customer Relations, where she functions “as a science ambassador and mentor.” She is committed to helping train the next generation of scientists: as an adjunct professor at Drexel University, and by organizing company participation in student and community outreach engagements, including the Wistar Biomedical Technical Training Program, the West Philadelphia Workforce Development Initiative, and FirstHand STEM learning initiatives.  Her commitment to workforce development in Philadelphia is enabling individuals from underserved communities to find a path to working in biotech.

Sharon resides in Strafford, Pennsylvania with her husband, Dave and their dog, Belle.  Their two adult children, Claudia and Natalie, both live and work in Philadelphia. Sharon enjoys time with family and friends, traveling, and reading Danielle Steele books on vacations, which, as we all know, “Everyone in America reads!”  

* * * * *

Mary Hall is a 1996, magna cum laude graduate of Immaculata University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and certification in early childhood and elementary education.  She received a Masters in Education from Wilmington University in 2015.

Mary began her educational career in 1996 at Fairview Elementary School in Fairfax County, Virginia where she taught second and third grades.  In 2000, she came to Tatem School.  Over her 22 years at Tatem, Mary was like a most valuable player. She took on every assignment and taught every elementary grade except kindergarten. Mary taught summer school for seven years, supervised Safety Patrol and led the district-wide summer enrichment program. 

Ms. Karen Schulz, retired Principal at Tatem school noted that, “When Mary arrived in the district, she quickly became known as a teacher leader, someone to look to for progressive practices. She piloted new programs, worked on curriculum committees and proved herself as an innovative and hard-working professional.”  Mary’s leadership of professional development activities at the school, district and state level have been exceptional including co-leading and developing an inquiry- based group on differentiated instruction, leading staff development on discovery education, student-led conferences, gifted and talented education, co-teaching, math centers, presenting various NJEA workshops and mentoring and supervising student teachers from four different universities. 

Mary’s service to the school and district has included work on multiple committees including district writing, district math, Supervisor and team leader of the science audit committee, principal advisory, technology advisory, report card, principal selection and teacher interview committees.  Dr. Colleen Murray, former Director of Curriculum commented on her service in these teacher-leadership roles, “She understands the complex nature of teaching and learning, takes responsibility for shared goal-setting and implementation and has a confident assertiveness that commands respect from everyone…her sheer drive and organizational mindset make her a true asset to the district.”

Very deservingly, Mary has been recognized in the recent past with the Sallie Mae Teacher of the Year nomination and was nominated for the Governor’s Teacher of the Year award in 2021-22.   

Mary resides in Chesterfield, NJ with her husband Kris and her children, Ethan and Audrey who are students at Northern Burlington High School.  When her schedule allows, Mary loves to read, travel and especially spend time at the beach with her family.  

* * * * *

Debra Licorish was a 1997, Summa Cum Laude graduate of Rowan University majoring in psychology and elementary education.  That fall she began teaching at Tatem Elementary where for 14 years she created a rich learning environment for fifth graders and served as the After School Mathematics ISP teacher and the Extended School Year Teacher. 

Debra, a highly talented teacher, understood that the best way to be great was to keep improving at your craft every day.   She was always willing to take on new challenges and work at growing professionally.  Only two years into the profession, she served as a mentor to a new teacher.  For four years she served as the district chairperson for the Elementary Math Curriculum project.  She was responsible for leading the selection, pilot study, and implementation of a new math curriculum across all three elementary schools.  Deb also served Tatem and the district as a science curriculum pilot teacher, a pilot teacher for Student Led Conferencing and as a cooperating teacher for student teachers.  She served on several interview committees for new faculty and administrators and on the HEA negotiating team. 

In addition to availing herself of these professional growth opportunities, she served the Tatem community as the Fifth Grade Garden Club Facilitator, co-director of the school play and the Family Arts and Creativity Project Developer.   

In 2011, Debra moved to the middle school to serve as the Technology teacher. She wrote and implemented an Advanced Technology class for HMS students.  She moderated the student Tech Club, introduced 3D printing to HMS, served on the district technology committee, mentored a beginning teacher, and led professional development in classroom technology skills for her district colleagues. 

She has been recognized for her excellence in the past.  She was nominated for a Disney Teacher Award in 2005 and received the BSD Education Care Award in 2021.  Debra was recognized for her resilience by the CARE awards who “describe candidates in the category as always willing to start again and learn from challenges…they show a hunger to continue to improve.” 

Deb recently retired and now resides in West Virginia fulfilling a lifelong dream “ to grow and be a farmer”.  She is spending her days learning how to operate a tractor, tending her gardens and enjoying the beauty of her West Virginia homestead. 

A new school year: 2022-23

Chuck Klaus, Superintendent of Schools


The first and most exciting aspect of the summer of 2022 was how different it has been from the last two! In the summers of ’20 and ’21, there was a singular focus; almost all of our energy went into planning and developing schedules and systems to deal with COVID. We continued to push forward with our work as educators, but that overwhelming cloud drove decision-making and consumed much time and effort.

This summer has been very different.

The administrative team developed a new format for summer leadership work. The core team attended the AASA conference in Washington, D.C., followed by a more expansive two-day retreat. The conference was excellent! The most significant advantage of the model for this retreat was gaining access to nationally renowned experts in different areas.

One afternoon was spent with Dr. Shelley Berman, who helped us to re-examine our approach to social-emotional learning. We also spent time with Dr. Anthony (A.J.) Nottingham, who helped us to focus on leadership styles and growth. These discussions helped us to stop and think about who we are, what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.

Upon our return, we met every Wednesday afternoon throughout the summer to address specific topics and to collaborate. Breaking up our work sessions into several shorter meetings has been more productive and has made better use of our time.

There’s been a significant amount of curriculum work done over the summer. Teachers have been writing and revising curricula that will eventually be submitted for Board approval.

The three areas that have stood out with greater focus are math, ELA, and PE/Health.

  • Math: For K to 5, the team is starting the research and planning for a pilot that will be put in place next year. The 6-12 training has been arranged with Desmos and Dr. Eric Milou from Rowan University. The training will focus on instructional methods (rather than simply on the programs) and will benefit students immensely.
  • English Language Arts (ELA) work is in an organizational phase. We will be soliciting community input during the school year.
  • Health and PE teachers have been working diligently on an updated curriculum. Parents may review the state standards, current curricular maps, and DRAFTS of updates on the Health and PE Curriculum Development website.

Another significant summer project has been preparing for the upcoming bond referendum. Board Secretary Michael Catalano and I have met with LAN Associates and have closed out the survey that was sent to all members of the school district family and to the community at large. Once the survey data is fully analyzed, we will start to plan charrettes to discuss specific needs, suggestions and concerns. Some of the questions raised in the survey are:

  • Hopkins parcel: How to use this land and how to deal with the historic building?
  • Elementary schools: Can we separate eating and physical education spaces?
  • High School: How to create a new secure vestibule?
  • General: How can we improve our learning spaces?
  • Athletics: How to increase/improve our athletic fields?

Here is a link to survey data.

Here is a link to the LRFP (Long-Range Facilities Plan) website.

Our Buildings and Grounds crew has been busy as well. In addition to cleaning and servicing of all of the mechanical equipment in the entire district, our in-house staff replaced aging carpeting with VCT flooring in several locations. Their biggest summer project involved the student/staff paint crew. Two teachers and six students painted all of the hallways in HMHS and Lizzy Haddon! They also painted several classrooms, kitchens and offices throughout the district.

Most recently, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gino Priolo and World Language teacher Chris Gwin redesigned our new teacher orientation, making it more interactive and adding more time for building-based work with administration and mentors. We enjoyed getting to know these newest members of our school district community August 29, 30 and 31!

Friends, I look forward to seeing many of you during the first week of school, September 6-9. Let’s make it a great school year!

Celebrating the journey

Chuck Klaus, Superintendent of Schools

It certainly gives me great pleasure to welcome graduates, family, friends, staff, and Board of Education members to the commencement ceremonies of the Haddonfield Memorial High School Class of 2022.

Commencement is a unique event for many reasons. One of the more intriguing aspects of tonight is that the 229 individuals behind me are experiencing an unusual moment when the past, present, and future intersect in a significantly poignant meeting. Tonight is the culmination of a 13-year journey through education. Tonight, students and families will be thinking about the first day of kindergarten, the first day of high school, all the joys and some of the sorrow that happened over the journey.

This leads to the present: the journey is what we are here to celebrate. Celebrating the present is essential. It is the celebration of the moment. The students, families, friends, and teachers deserve this time of joy.

Yet, this is a Commencement ceremony because it is about the beginning. Tonight is about the future. It is about where these students will go, and more importantly, where they will take us. So as we experience tonight’s ceremony, we should remember that this is about the past, present, and future; one of the few times in life when all three are equally significant. Each class has faced unique circumstances and challenges as they move through their educational careers. Indeed, this class can make that claim as well as any.

The class of 2022 started high school in a pre-COVID world filled with promise, joy, and excitement for the high school experience. They were then met with the most bizarre and unexpected shift as schools were shut down, followed by partial openings and masks. Finally, this class ended their career much as they started school. They are the only class to make that full circle; it is important to note that they did it well.

Throughout their careers, the Class of 2022 displayed perseverance, character, and optimism. The class is proud of their commitment to being who they are as well as the commitment to push forward in trying times. This is the past we celebrate tonight. These characteristics both strengthen these students as they move forward and give us all a reason to hope.

Knowing the students’ attitudes, dreams, and visions, we all have good reasons for hope. The Class of 2022 is dedicated to doing what is right and to making a better world. They have demonstrated over the past four years that they are more than willing and able to make it happen. They use persistence and drive to overcome despair and embed their world with hope.

The Class of 2022 represents scholarship and success in the classroom that would rival any. Here is a snapshot of their ACADEMIC achievement:

  • 104 members in the National Honor Society
  • 98 Neumuller Scholars who achieved an A+ weighted GPA over four years
  • 12 Commended National Merit Scholars
  • 1 National Merit Semi-Finalist
  • 1 National Merit Finalist
  • 1 National Merit Scholarship Recipient
  • 45 Seniors earned the distinguished New Jersey Seal of Bi-Literacy
  • Seniors participated in 527 AP Exams
  • 96.9% are going to four-year schools in the fall
  • 1.8% will attend two-year schools.
  • On June 2, at the Senior Awards Ceremony, the class was awarded $330,000 in scholarships. After four years of renewable awards, the total will be over $600,000. In addition, the Class of 2022 earned $1,500,000 in outside scholarship funds for a total of over $2.1 million.
  • HMHS school rankings
    • State ranked #31
    • Nationally ranked #708
    • #249 STEM School

There is no doubt a class as focused, dedicated, and driven as this one will venture off into the world and become leaders in academia, medicine, environmental sciences, law, and social reform.

Academics alone are not enough. Growth and change result from combining knowledge with creativity to rethink issues and find solutions. The Class of 2022 is teeming with creative minds. As a result, over the past four years, the ARTS at HMHS have thrived.

We have all seen the magnificent Drama Club productions. I can say that because the auditorium is always packed. This year, the Drama Club performed the first full-length, live fall play since 2019, “The Book of Everything,” which saw our highest fall play attendance ever. And that was just the beginning. The spring musical “Cinderella” also claimed the highest attendance for a musical ever, including multiple sold-out shows. It was honored by Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards with seven nominations, four honorable mentions, and one win. We also enjoyed “Bulldawgs on Broadway” back for the first time since 2019.

The Marching Band impressed as we exited a world of restriction and limiting factors. You may have heard the band leading our community’s favorite Halloween characters during the Halloween parade, not to mention the town’s tree-lighting ceremony, where the band led Santa to one of his favorite posts – Kings Court. They also marched in the Haddon Township Pride Parade and Cherry Hill’s Juneteenth celebration. The 2021-22 Marching Band placed fourth in our region and in the state of New Jersey. Also noteworthy, the Battery Percussion won high percussion at the N.J. state competition for the first time in HMHS history.

The Madrigals continued their standard for excellent performances throughout the school year in various settings. They were awarded the prizes at multiple faires for their stellar arrangements of selected pieces.

The National Art Honor Society continues to make an impact. Beyond hundreds of hours of community service, seniors displayed remarkable painting ability this school year which is evident in a new mural representing those who have given their lives fighting for diversity and justice titled “Memorial.”

We know this class is talented in the classroom and has proven themselves to be creative thinkers. A third attribute they have demonstrated is DRIVE. If there is any doubt about the nature of their drive to succeed and their competitive spirit, all one must do is review their successes in the areas of ATHLETICS.

Haddonfield Memorial High School had tremendous athletic accomplishments during the past four years despite many lost post-seasons due to the pandemic. In four years, our teams compiled:

  • a record of 1,005 wins and 307 losses: a 77% winning percentage
  • 43 conference titles
  • 33 sectional titles
  • 18 New Jersey State Group championships

This is among the best, if not THE best, record of championships of any other high school in the state of New Jersey.

During the 2021-2022 school year, our teams won:

  • 9 conference titles
  • 11 sectional titles
  • 5 varsity teams finished their season as State Group champions. For the 40th year in a row, HMHS will receive the Colonial Conference All-Sports Award.
  • For the 17th straight year, HMHS will be declared the winner of the NJSIAA Shop Rite Cup for Group II, an award given to the school with the most sectional and state championships for each of the six groups in the state. HMHS is the only school in New Jersey that has won this award every year since the award’s inception!

HMHS Class of 2022, I want to congratulate and thank you for your dedication and your numerous and varied contributions. Please understand that my words are offered in earnest as I speak about you and what you have accomplished. As I think about all you have done, the circumstances you faced, and the grace with which you achieved your goals, I can not help but be moved. I genuinely believe that you bring hope. Your demonstration of promise, perseverance, and character assures me that, as we go forward, the Class of 2022 will touch all areas of our world. I thank you for that as a superintendent, educator, and person.

Since you are kind enough to give me hope, I want to share what I hope for you.

I borrow words from F. Scott Fitzgerald:

“It’s never too late, or in your case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. You can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

Haddonfield Memorial High School Class of 2022, congratulations!

It’s farewell and not good-bye

Jack O’Donnell, HMHS Class of 2022 Salutatorian

Good evening, administrators, faculty, family, friends, and my fellow classmates. It is my honor to speak to all of you as the salutatorian of the class of 2022.

My first reaction upon finding out last Friday that I would be giving a speech at graduation was, “I’m glad I took Public Speaking last fall!” My next thought was, “How should I go about writing my last assignment of high school?” I decided to use a couple of problem-solving techniques: 1 – Break it up into smaller parts, so I’ll address the different groups here tonight. 2 – Seek advice from experts. I love listening to music, so I’ve taken inspiration from several famous songwriters.

Then I started to think about teacher songs … Teach Me How to Dougie? Not the right type of teaching. That Van Halen teacher song? Definitely not. Then I remembered that Jimmy Fallon wrote the perfect teacher song during the pandemic. Teachers shouldn’t have to pay their taxes/ They should get cheered around the clock / At the bank they should throw money at them / And at Chipotle they should always get free guac. To our teachers, all of them, from preschool through high school, thank you for not just all of the knowledge you’ve taught us, but also for connecting with us, understanding us, and believing in us. You deserve way more than just free guac for all that you’ve given us.

Next, our families – brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends who are family. Josh Groban sang it perfectly: You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains/ You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas/ I am strong, when I am on your shoulders/ You raise me up to more than I can be. You’ve made us who we are. Thank you for the support, motivation, encouragement and love.

To our parents – the previous song certainly applies to you. I couldn’t actually find another song good enough for your unconditional love and support these last 18 years, at every game, every show, and every day. So my own simple words will have to do. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Now finally, to the Class of 2022! We’re pretty special so I chose two songs for us. As the world-renowned and Grammy winning artist, Baby Keem, eloquently rapped: First order of business, dawg, I gotta thank my mama. It’s important for all of us to be grateful for not only our mamas, but our entire families! We wouldn’t be sitting here today without them. Let’s always remember where we came from.

Second order of business, share the blessings, no more trauma. We’ve all had hardships that we’ve had to face: a broken foot, COVID, other serious challenges. We got through those to be here. Let’s stay strong and positive to deal with whatever comes in the future.

Third order of business, do good deeds and get good karma. As Baby Keem said, I think it’s important to leave the world a better place than how we found it, and I believe that the Class of 2022 has that capability.

I’ll leave you with my other song for us, Until the Next Time by the American Celtic punk band out of Boston, Dropkick Murphys. We’ll meet again/ Don’t know where, don’t know when I We all had a good time I And we’re sad to see it end/ Good luck be with you I You go your way, I’ll go mine/ So until the next time/ It’s farewell and not good-bye.

On that note, let’s finish strong. Welcome, all, to the graduation of the great HMHS Class of 2022. Have a fantastic evening. Thank you.

Think of your own way of saying goodbye

Cleo Hamilton, HMHS Class of 2022 Valedictorian

Good evening everyone.

Choosing what to talk about today was a rocky process. Luckily, I got suggestions from my classmates! I want to talk about some of those suggestions and what they reveal about the HMHS Class of 2022.

First up, we’ve got the suggestion that I sing it. I like the challenge, but I think we’re all better off if I leave it to the music department to serenade us today. I’m no Madrigal after all. Singing this speech is a daring idea, and representative of our class’s creativity, talent, and readiness to take risks. Our class is made up of people willing to walk onto the stage to perform in Cinderella, or stand in front of the class to give a Dawg talk, or endeavor to set athletic records. We show our boldness with the causes we support and when we work for change.

This next suggestion probably wouldn’t have made it through Ms. McHale’s plagiarism radar. One classmate joked that I should deliver the entire High School Musical graduation speech, word for word. Lighthearted suggestions like this one show that we have grace and humor as we set out to take on society’s serious problems.

I think this throwback to High School Musical also reminds us of our shared K through 12 cultural history. We may not have everything in common, but a lot of us watched High School Musical, Stranger Things, or Avatar the Last Airbender. We played flappy bird, clash of clans, and Minecraft. We listened to Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, Pitbull, and what seemed like the exact same DJ playlists at dances from rec hall to prom. Are there any party rockers in the house tonight? I SAID, are there any party rockers in the house tonight?

Love to hear it!

My physics class didn’t exactly give suggestions, but they did want a shoutout. I think the dynamics of my physics class represents what a class at HMHS can be. Each year we nervously entered class – wondering who we’d be with, whether we could keep up, and whether we’d make embarrassing mistakes. But by the end of the year, each class had its own camaraderie and inside jokes, with everyone working together to learn, and watching those mistakes we were afraid to make turn into some of the best and funniest academic experiences. So thank you Period 6 Physics for being a great class and showing what HMHS classes are all about!

A few classmates suggested that I talk about how our class made it through COVID, and how it brought us together. We learned to be more grateful for each other and for in-person learning. I don’t think I was ever as excited for the first day of school as I was last fall, even though it meant waking up early and changing out of my pajamas. How our class made it through COVID also demonstrated our serious side. We faced challenges and did our best to keep going together.

The speech suggestion that would have gotten us all out of here at record speed was to just yell “Go Class of 2022!” and then walk off stage. I like the brevity here, but I love the sentiment. It says, “I’m rooting for you! Your friends, family, and teachers are supporting and cheering for you! We can be optimistic about our future!”

I learned from all my classmates’ suggestions that the Class of 2022 is daring, lighthearted, helpful, generous, goofy, thoughtful, supportive, collaborative, and grateful.

Having received all these ideas demonstrates that no project or challenge is completed alone. We need to assemble our all-star team and work together. Through spirit week, with our extracurriculars, in our classrooms, or even just on Facetime working together, we have learned to collaborate.

Because a valedictory speech is about both who we are AND saying goodbye, I want to reflect on saying goodbye. We’ve said goodbye to a lot of things already: musically, middle school fashion, and braces. Some of these things we’ve been glad to say goodbye to. Other goodbyes have been harder: recess, Halloween parades, and talent shows.

Saying goodbye to HMHS marks a big moment in our lives so far, and as someone who cried at the end of soccer season, I know our goodbyes will be hard. But we don’t have to leave it all behind. Whatever was your favorite part of high school, whatever was the best part of who you were at HMHS, that’s something to hold on to. Hold on to your memories, your passions, your favorite things, your friends and your families.

As we say goodbye, we’re also saying hello to exciting new things: new jobs, new problems to solve, new opportunities, new schools and studies, new places to see around the world, or even just new freedom.

I want this speech to end with everyone’s participation – my graduating classmates AND all our friends and families in the stands who have helped us get here. I want you all to think of your own way of saying goodbye – any way you want – in the language you studied, with a wave or a peace sign – any words or gestures you choose. I’m going to count to three, then everybody shout it out. 

1, 2, 3 … Go class of 2022!

Despite the craziness, we stuck together

Lily Cheatham, HMHS Class of 2022 President

Good evening everyone! My name is Lily Cheatham, the senior class president for the graduation class of 2022 and it is my honor to be delivering this speech to you all tonight. 

I have been thinking about what I was going to say in this speech for the past few months. Reflecting back and recalling all of the wonderful memories we have created together as a class. We’ve truly been through so much together, we’ve laughed together, cried together, rejoiced together and even sung together (if any of you can recall our interesting rendition of the short musical Band Stand in middle school with Mrs. Murray). 

Through all of the craziness we have experienced in these past four years at HMHS, we’ve stuck together. Powering through two pandemics: COVID-19, and of course, the outbreak of senioritis that began its pervasive spread throughout our class as early as sophomore year. We have remained resilient to whatever challenges have come our way, and despite the numerous quarantines and school shut downs we’ve still dealt with these hardships together, or sometimes just maybe 5 or 6 feet apart.

It should be acknowledged, however, that our togetherness as a class began far earlier than freshman year. In fact I would argue our togetherness was apparent as early as 6th grade; the first year we attended school with one another having graduated from our respective elementary schools (which might I add, many of us still use as identifying factors for the different friend groups that have been created over the years today). Anyways, it’s true that I can remember quite clearly in the early days of 6th grade when we would all walk out to the left side of the train tracks each day, without fail, and we would make a circle in which Will Cody would run into the center of and do a back flip. It was honestly incredible. We would go crazy, running inwards and collapsing the circle so it was now one big mosh pit of 6th graders cheering and celebrating this great feat. 

However, our moments of togetherness weren’t always this positive. It was in 7th grade Mrs. Walters homeroom that together we mourned the death of our cherished class pet, George the frog. In memory of George the frog, my classmates and I in Walter’s homeroom decided to be named the “RIP George’s” for the middle school volleyball tournament. And so, even though the RIP George’s were the complete underdogs of the tournament that year, we powered through only to lose in the championship against Rider’s homeroom. Though honestly, the fact that we won any games at all that day was considered celebratory for the RIP George’s.

Flash forward a couple years and I witnessed our togetherness only strengthen as I assumed my role as class president during our sophomore year at HMHS. Let me tell you, that sophomore year Spirit Week was probably one of the best yet most stressful weeks of my entire life. A quick thank you to many parents, especially my own, who willingly dropped everything to make spontaneous runs to Michaels and Home Depot for things like “35 large unfolded cardboard boxes” and “15 packs of fake cobwebs.” Without your help I don’t think we would have been able to put together the masterpiece that was our Stranger things themed hallway. And another big thank you to Jack and the Rippers for performing themed music in every single Spirit Week hallway from freshman year to now. I would never have thought that Kiss Me More by Doja Cat rewritten into a 1920s-themed beat would work, but you guys definitely proved me wrong and I couldn’t thank you enough for putting that together this year. 

The willingness of so many people in our class to sit freezing in that unheated garage for two months every day after school and unintentionally inhale copious amounts of spray paint was not only shocking but extremely admirable. I feel so grateful to be surrounded by people who demonstrate such great reliability and adaptability to change.

In fact, I would definitely argue that adaptability has to be the most prominent trait of this graduating class. Whether it be dealing with the school schedule which seemed to change on a daily basis, or having our junior prom at an airport, our class was constantly confronted with change and I truthfully feel that we managed these confrontations with grace. It is my greatest hope for everyone here that you maintain that adaptability and flexibility moving forward in your lives, because people always say “you never know what could happen in a year’s time” and honestly if you had said that to me that before entering high school I’d probably be like, “yeah okay sure but how much can really change in 365 days?” 

And well, the answer to that question really came to me as I sat in my room, April of 2020, drinking my terrible cloud coffee, watching Tiger King during “chemistry class.” A lot. A lot can change in 365 days, so all I can say about that is be prepared. Be prepared for the worst, and the best, and everything in between because you really never know what could happen during such “unprecedented times.” And sometimes two weeks is not just two weeks, so I guess try and be prepared for that too. 

I am so proud of everyone in this graduating class and I only wish the best for everyone moving forward. I am humbled to have grown up alongside you all, and I can’t wait to hear about all the incredible things you all accomplish going into this next chapter of our lives, so with that, HMHS Class of 2022: Congratulations, we did it!