Westfield Residents Continue to Excel
A look at rowers, wrestlers, a photographer, performers and two women of excellence.
We’re close to having warm weather on a consistent basis, or so I hope. It’s getting tiring going from warm to snow overnight. Today I’ve got a lot of interesting news from great athletes to student performers dazzling the audience to the story of a local photographer and news on two local women who are excelling.
Here is what is going on About Town.
CREW TEAM COMPETES IN FIRST REGATTA
Congratulations to the Westfield Crew Team for competing in their first regatta on Sunday. The team journeyed down to Philadelphia to race on the Schuylkill in the second race of the five-race Manny Flick series.
The girl’s varsity B squad consisting of Delia Annistakis, Meredith Latimer, Ann Sexton and Charlotte Dreizen finished fifth in their race.
The girl’s variety A squad consisting of Liz Driscoll, Jenny Amador, Megan Hoerner and Amanda Adsit finished sixth in their race.
The boys JV B squad consisting of Dan Brotman, Malcolm Spurlock, Davis Adsit and Lars Keating finishing fifth.
The boys JV A squad consisting of Henry Hershey, Mike Paone, David Vercheck and Matt Huff finished fourth in their race.
The regattas are daylong events, consisting of 1500 races that take no more than eight minutes to complete. Sunday’s race consisted of 53 teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and the District of Columbia.
The Westfield Crew Team is a private rowing team for high school students from the Westfield area. The team regularly competes in races around the Mid-Atlantic region.
SCHWARZ GOES FROM ILLUSTRATING TO PHOTOGRAPHY
Joanie Schwarz has been a resident of Westfield for 17 and a half years where she has been busy raising her two sons and taking lots of pictures. Joanie's mom was a photographer and she was printing her mother's photos in a dark room at the young age of 12! Joanie always knew that she was an artist- she just wasn't sure what kind of art that she would actually create.
She graduated from the School of Visual Arts at Syracuse University in 1982. She was constantly being told to go into illustrating and decided to begin her career in that field.
During her senior year of college, she began painting on her own color photos as an experiment. Ready to go with her vast portfolio, she started working right away in New York City for Time, U.S. News and World Report, and working on book covers. Joanie ended up illustrating for over twenty years working on covers for book series for young adults and with Scholastic Books. This is where she got all her experience working with children.
Friends were always asking Joanie if she would take pictures of their kids- something she never really felt totally comfortable doing. After years of working covers of books with child models, a revelation came to Joanie, she didn't want to do work with children that weren’t natural, she wanted to work with real children in their families. She started taking workshops with people's work that she admired and after working with parents- she got more comfortable taking photos of families.
It has been four years since she started working with families and really loves what she does. She even went on to renovate the third floor of her home - creating a space full of natural light where she can photograph her subjects. One of the main subjects that Joanie photographs is families and her goal is to actually capture the relationships. She will take individual shots of the children along with shots of each child with each parent- to capture all the special relationships that occur within a family unit.
Joanie also does amazing work photographing pets- She recently won the #1 Best Pet Photographer in New Jersey by Tales Magazine. I was fortunate to have my two Maltese dogs photographed by Joanie last year -the pictures were amazing- as you will see. She is frequently asked to take pictures of people's pet when they are close to the end of their lives- having that special photograph as a memory of their beloved pet. Yoga shots are also a specialty of Joanie- she's a yoga devotee.
Joanie also does some very special pro bono work- She has been doing the photography for Race for a Cure for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the past two years. This year the event, scheduled for Sunday, May 15th, is expected to attract a larger than normal crowd, due to the fact that they are racing through South Mountain Reservation in West Orange instead of Branchburg Park in Newark.
Joanie is also a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep- it is bereavement photography for mothers and fathers who have either given birth to a stillborn infant or whose infant dies after birth. These images are extremely personal and it gives the parents a chance to recognize that they are still a parent- even after their loved one passes away. The hospitals in the area are aware of the program and social workers and nurses can inform the parents that the service is available.
You can see Joanie's work on http://joanieschwarzphotography.com/ and on Facebook : joanie schwarz portraiture
GOOD JOB GREASE CAST
One of the best things about Westfield is the amount of students who are involved in the performing arts. Edison staged their annual spring musical from March 17-19 with large crowds turning out to watch the students sing and dance. The class took a trip back to the 50s and checked out the world of Rydell High with Grease.
I wanted to take some time to recognize everyone who participated in the musical.
The cast was Colin Barry, Greg Gao, Jack Kirkland, Catherine Frey, Michael Maguire, Michael Poyntz, Shelby Estevez, Emma Ohlig, Melanie Snyder, Stephanie Wells, Jeff Felter, Eden Kettleson, Katherine Ko, Julian Mone, Lisa Sidorov, Connor Wynne, Rita Murphy, Colin Barry and Nick Tarantino. The cheerleaders were Bianca Buecklers, Ally Morganthal, Lisa Simon and Anastasia Smolenski. The Rydell Boys were Alex Cestero, Michael Gagliardi, Steven Heron, Christopher Ng and Nick Tarantino. The Rydell Girls were Sydney Barber, Julie Brownstone, Taylor Cummings, Emily Dorry, Amanda Durante, Erin Hanlon, Hasitha Kakileti, Brie Litchholt, Natalie Marcotullio, Gali Moritz, Rita Murphy, Meghan O’Dwyer, Ally Serpico and Molly Whitehead.
WHS student Peter Carmo made a special appearance as the teen angel.
The dancers were Marisa Lombardi, Noelle Rosa, Madison Albin, Madeleine Armstrong, Catherine Barry, Kayla Bleich, Emily Holtzman, Jenna Iorio, Hayley Kasko, Maddy Lysek, Rita Murphy, Emmanuelle Nadeau, Emma Stern and Emma Williams.
The stage crew was Joe Messing, Scott Messing, Katie Brown, Jack Frankola, Mike Guarnuccio, Danielle Gabuzdah, Sydney Gordner, Matthew Hopen, Christina Bubniak, Luke Altman, Kelly Bohall, Jack Newhard, Ben Albert-Halevy, Sarah Slavin, Shannon Devitt, Mary Kate Miller, Ellie Smith, Nova Qi, Stephen Bubniak, Spencer Fishman, Harru Glasser-Baker, Syklar Migot, Alan Fang, Jake Lorenzo, Sydney Stewart, Sara Webber, Julia Simpson, Julia Pikaart, Sabra Anderson, Zach Model, Erin Dugan, Alan Fang, Olivia Kuzman and Gianne Tilocca.
Madeline Sherbet, Caryn Sherbet, Lisa Sidorov, Melanie Snyder, Javier Aguilar, Jack Frankola, Margot Johnston, Bryn Johnston, Joe Messing and Scott Messing did set construction.
The pit band consisted of Amanda Samaha on keyboard, Jonathan Clancy on percussion, Matt Varhley on guitar, Jeff Marino on tenor sax and David Shapiro on bass.
Jack and Ellen Frey did the photo array, Carolyn Kirkland, Helen Armstrong, Erin Nadeau and Kelly Snyder did the costumes, Maria Barry and Kris Iorio handled publicity, David Shapiro did the program and Debbie Vezos and Lauren Pyne worked on tickets.
Parent volunteers were Karna Cestero, Sharon Dorry, Dali Gao, Kerry Hanlon, Chris Heron, Angela Ko, Mary Marcotullio, Nicole Muphy, Karen Simon and Stacey Wells.
GOOD JOB WRESTLERS
Congratulations to the Westfield youth wrestlers who made it to the USA New Jersey Youth Wrestling Tournament this year. Jefferson student C.J. Composto made it to the fifth place in the 55 pound category. Other Westfielders competing were Jake Bencivenga, Luke Hoerle, Luke Engelke, Timmy Miller, Vincent DeFilippo and Stevie Bonsall.
The coaches are Ethan Powell, Colin McKay and Darren Composto. Powell and McKay are both former WHS wrestlers.
GOOD JOB WOMEN OF EXCELLENCE
Congratulations to two Westfield residents, Marlyse Benson and Diana Taylor for being honored as Union County Women of Excellence on Friday. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders gives the awards annually.
Benson was honored for her work in the field of mental health and Taylor won for lifetime achievement. Taylor, who is active in the Westfield Community Band, served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps