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Opportunities for all Clifton High School Graduates

Opportunities for all Clifton High School Graduates 

Graduation around the bend 

As the 2020-2021 school year approaches the finish line, Clifton High School seniors are gearing up for what lies ahead. For many, that means deciding which college to attend in the fall. Others may be entering into the workforce, while many of their peers may be off to a trade school.

Clifton's valedictorian, Camille Yambao, will become a Seton Hall Pirate. Meanwhile, salutatorian, Ashley Hernandez, is Harvard-bound. Clifton's top ten students will attend Harvard, Cornell, Fordham, Seton Hall, Temple, Rutgers New Brunswick, and Montclair State.

And with end-of-the-year activities about to commence, Scholarship night is among one of the upcoming events. There is, however, a frequent misconception that educational or career options, including financial assistance, only exist for college-bound students. 

In addition to scholarships awarded to seniors attending four-year colleges, students who intend to enter a trade school or community college also have opportunities for careers that do not require a four-year degree as well as scholarship assistance. 

Giving Back

Danny Listmeier graduated from CHS in 2002 and entered the Laborer's Union and Carpenter's Union before returning to Clifton Public Schools as the head custodian at the Annex Building on Brighton Road. There, Mr. Listmeier developed a positive rapport with at-risk students in the ASPIRE program and became one of the students' most influential mentors.  

When Mr. Listmeier tragically passed away in an automobile accident in 2017, his parents, Lani and Jerry Pollastro created the Daniel Listmeier Scholarship Fund awarded to two qualifying students in the ASPIRE program every year.

"Danny's heart and soul were always with the ASPIRE students," said Listmeier's mother, Lani Pollastro. "He would come home from work and brainstorm ways that he could help the kids. After he passed, we found out that he quietly helped to pay the bids for several kids who couldn't afford to attend the prom. He never wanted anyone to know. The teacher said that he was always helping the kids but never wanted any recognition. This scholarship is a way of continuing our son's legacy of kindness by providing assistance for kids who might otherwise not have help."

 

Returning to Clifton in Times of Need

 

In addition to the continuing generosity of Mr. Listmeier and his parents, Clifton High School graduates often return to help. Justin Maria and Henry Inoa came back to Clifton High School during COVID to lend a hand to the alma mater that, in their eyes, helped them so much while they were students.  

As students, Justin and Henry were both interested in theater, albeit behind the scenes. Under the tutelage of Mr. Jeff Horn, District Network Coordinator, the two learned the ins and outs of stage sound and lighting as members of the AV Club. Along with the help of CHS teacher Bill Colligan, Justin and Henry graduated CHS, entered apprenticeships with the Stage Employees' Union, and have been working with sound and lighting ever since, even scoring gigs on Broadway. 

As with so many, COVID-19 shutdowns left Justin and Henry without employment. However, challenging times did not stop the two from working. When Mr. Horn mentioned that he needed assistance setting up the sound and lighting system in the newly renovated Clifton High School auditorium, Justin and Henry jumped in to help. 

"It doesn't surprise me at all that Henry would volunteer his time to help the community. He has always been a guy who kept his feet on the ground," said Bill Colligan. "When we presented him with the opportunity to work with the Stage Employees' Union, Henry accepted with a smile and ran with it."

In addition to their help with troubleshooting and assembling the sound and lighting equipment, Justin and Henry provide Mr. Horn's AV club members with valuable real-world information from their experiences working in the industry when invited as guest speakers via Zoom.  

"Clifton Public Schools prides itself on providing multiple options for all students, whether they are heading to a university, community college, into a career, or trade school," commented Dr. Danny Robertozzi, Superintendent of Clifton Public Schools. "Education is not a 'one-size-fits-all' institution. Our teachers and counselors do their best to guide every student toward a career path that best suits each individual for future success. The fact that so many students return to help out years after they graduate is a testament to dedication of the entire Clifton Public Schools community."