Amphitheater again? An MHS graduation fail

I am writing on behalf of myself and several other Montclair High School parents with graduating seniors.

It is beyond comprehension that the graduation ceremony is again being held in the school’s amphitheater this year.

One would think that after last year when some parents were relegated to the school cafeteria to watch their son or daughter graduate via closed-circuit TV due to overcrowding, a lesson would have been learned.

Where is the common sense in the planning? Families are permitted only three tickets (sorry families with more than one sibling and grandparents) and two tickets if it rains (sorry all siblings and grandparents). Kids graduating from high school is a family event and a big deal. MHS ought to take a page out of The Buzz Aldrin/Jill Sack playbook and change venues to accommodate families. There’s the Wellmont Theatre, Woodman Field or Montclair State University to name a few.

Currently the chatter among parents is about how early we will need to start lining up in order to guarantee a seat in the amphitheater, and the consensus is 3 p.m. for the 6 p.m. ceremony. No one wants to do this. Moreover, no one wants to miss out on watching their child walk across the stage in their cap and gown. It’s a big deal.

Audrey Wilson



Buy bows to support MHS Project Graduation

Each year parents raise money to send graduating seniors to a graduation party at a surprise location. In addition to the party, tradition has the class members ride in buses all throughout our town. It is a fun event and a great opportunity for the town to cheer and congratulate the graduates.

Events are held throughout the year to raise money, but the most visible sign are the blue and white bows and lawn signs displayed on homes. Usually, it is the parents of the seniors that tie a bow on their post. Wouldn’t it be nice to see blue and white MHS bows on all the homes along the bus route?

MHS bows can be purchased at several local stores located throughout town:

• South End: South End Paint & Hardware

• Watchung Plaza: American Royal Hardware and Watchung Booksellers

• Upper Montclair: Saunders Hardware and Little Daisy Bake Shop

Parents of graduating seniors, there is still time to get your bows and lawn sign.

For those of you in town who don’t have graduates this year, it would be a great way to show support by displaying a blue and white MHS bow. Many people move to Montclair because of the great school system. This is a way you can join in the celebration. And when you hear the sirens on the night of graduation as the buses parade through town, go outside and cheer. Go Mounties!

Susan Benner


The author is a parent of 2018 MHS graduate and is a member of the MHS Project Graduation Bow/Sign Committee.


Hidden costs of using lawn chemicals

I really don’t understand the compulsive need so many people have with creating a perfect, green, weed-free lawn. It is unnatural to say the least. A notion passed down from the  beautiful gardens in Europe.

But the cost, not only the money, but our health. Our neighbor’s health. Our children’s health. Our pet’s health. My dog recently had a large lump removed from her neck, and I’m sure she was affected by walking on neighbors grass and sidewalks that had hazardous chemicals scattered on them.

Plus, the chemicals leech down to the well water and pollute that. Arggghhhh!

Please think before you use lawn products. Read the labels.

Laurie Waite-Fellner



A lesson from Mom

It’s 9:05 p.m. Friday, May 11, thinking about Mother’s Day which will be here this coming Sunday.

During the actual holiday season I always think of my family and dead friends that have passed on.

Mother’s and Father’s Days are different, for me that could be more intense. When I think of my mom, along with so many other memories, I often think of one thing she taught me that I try to put into practice whenever the opportunity arises.

I’ll try to explain. When I was in grammar school my mom and I were crossing the street at a crosswalk with cars waiting. I was taking my time when my mom said, “Come on Vinnie these people need to get going.”

One time on a bus or on the trolley car that ran up and down Bloomfield Avenue an elderly man got onto the crowded car. I remember he looked like he had put in a hard day at work. Mom said gently, “Vin, please give that man your seat.” Both times it made me feel kind of good.

Then I grew up, got married and divorced and moved away. While I was living in California, my mom, who we all thought would live forever came down with terminal cancer. I flew out to spend time with her while she was in the hospital. I went into her room one day and she said something like, .”Vin, there’s a lady in the next room. Nobody ever comes to see her. Would you please go talk to her?”

I felt a little funny about it, but I did. The woman seemed perplexed at first then she came alive and we had a spirited conversation. It was really nice.

Mom died soon after, she was only 67. Now I’m 73. My health isn’t the greatest, but I realize that mom have me a precious gift.

Living here in the First Montclair House we see new people moving in all the time. Along with some long time residents. Some newcomers seem alone and uncomfortable. Then, while looking at them, I hear mom saying, “Vin, go talk to him or her.” And I do. I’ve never been disappointed.

Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, mom, and thank you for everything.

Vincent Tango



Organic vegetable garden tour this Saturday

This Saturday, May 19, the Cornucopia Network of New Jersey will host an organic vegetable garden tour.

The Pulaski Park Community Garden at the corner of Mt. Vernon Avenue and Howard Street, east of Broughton Avenue, north of Bay Street in Bloomfield will be open from 9:30 to 11 a.m.. A parking lot at 24 Mt. Vernon Ave. is accessible from Chapel Street, a one-way street. Our 27, 4’x8’ plots are fully rented for the season. We have a wait-list for any openings. Regular get togethers and workshops bring together the community in the garden. Located on Facebook as BloomfieldCG.

73 See Gallery at 73 Pine St. in Montclair is happy to open its urban container community demonstration garden. The garden is 100 percent organic and illustrates an alternative garden habitat. It is open noon until 6 p.m.

Ray Hoffman at 174 Valley Road, Montclair, (across from Chestnut Street) will open his garden from 2 to 4:30 p.m. He has a front yard with beds of sun-loving flowers, and a back yard with tiered vegetable beds, herbs, and shade-loving perennials.

Alan Smith at 148 Forest St., Montclair, offers a self-guided tour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. of his front yard garden. It is made up of a variety of leafy greens that he gets from seeds harvested the previous year and also Fedco seeds that he buys annually. He also has prolific raspberries and strawberries. He buys tomato plants from the annual Van Vleck House plant sale. Garlic is very visible in May. The rest of the garden includes a variety of volunteers that pop up every year.

I will open my garden at 56 Gordonhurst Ave., Montclair, from 9 to 11 a.m. I raise most of my family’s vegetables year round with no poisons, power machinery or commercial fertilizers. Over a dozen vegetables’ plants will be visible this Saturday, along with small strawberries and a few raspberry flowers.

Pat Kenschaft