South End needs school bus service now

I am writing regarding the Dec. 20 article on school bus service (“Put the wheels in motion,” page 7). I have been concerned about the lack of a school bus to the high school from the South End for quite some time.

I lived for several years in the South End and saw high school students leaving their homes at 7 a.m. and going by foot to school in all types of weather in order to be on time. I always admired these students for doing so. Yet, sadly, they had no other option since the cost of public transportation was prohibitive for them.

Being a high school student is not an easy task and when students have to expend an exorbitant amount of energy, time and money just to get to school, the system is failing them and setting them up for failure.

Ironically, my children were eligible for the high school bus when they were that age as we live one block from the border of Bloomfield.

In contrast, a dear friend of mine lives on the border of Orange and her children did not have the same privilege when they were in high school that mine did. Two and half miles seems arbitrary as a measure of who is entitled to school busing, especially since it seems to me that my friend's location is probably at least two miles from the high school.

I understand that there are financial constraints in terms of providing a bus from the South End to the high school. However, if the Montclair Board of Education is truly committed to eliminating the achievement gap as it maintains that it is, encouraging success for all students commences with supplying equal accessibility to school-funded means of transportation so as to promote punctuality and daily attendance and provide an environment in which each and every student can thrive.




Let’s celebrate all religious holidays

After reading Ms. Avdicevic's valid complaint that her children who are Muslims feel left out at this time of year because of the emphasis on "celebrations like Christmas" I remembered when my family moved here there were school celebrations only for Christmas. Then followed Kwanzaa, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah.

It's time to celebrate all religions so no child is left out so I suggest that there should be one or two school days set aside to celebrate all religions.




Responding to a previous letter

I am writing in reference to Stephanie Wood’s Dec. 13 Letter to the Editor, titled “Montclair is unsustainable, overdeveloped and not progressive.”

I do not know Stephanie, but I was offended by its content. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but being prejudiced, rude and unkind is not acceptable to me.

Her tastes may differ, her tolerance limited, her ears sensitive, but don't criticize “too many young couples with too many children.” She mentions “mobs of churchgoers,” and it appears she is offended by homeless people?

After all Montclair is America, she is free to move somewhere where she can have a stagnant life without progress and its problems; but better she spend her energies in trying to correct or prevent our growing pains.




Once upon a time…

...There was a undersized All-County center on the Montclair High School football team, No. 4: my cousin Ken Miscia.

Kenny graduated in 1952 and continued to play football at Montclair State College, where he became a team captain and was later inducted into the Montclair State Hall of Fame.

At MHS, Ken played under legendary coach Clary Anderson. Clary played football and graduated from MHS in 1930 before becoming the Mounties’ coach in 1940.

During Clary’s first 10 seasons at Montclair While Clary was at the helm, the Mounties won loss record through Ken’s senior season was 79-9-2 — a powerhouse for sure and verified throughout Clary’s MHS coaching career.

Now, to the great story Ken told me a couple of years ago while we were both in the waiting room at my doctor’s office where the wife of Kenny’s son, retired Montclair police captain Ken Jr., is a nurse.

Ken said, “We really believed it was an intimidation tactic from a dominant football team when the Mounties always walked over to the bench prior to the coin toss, but Clary told us, ‘Walk to the bench, save your energy for the game.’ Most thought Clary said that to keep the players from becoming dangerously over confident.

Jumping ahead to Montclair State when Ken was a team captain. The team was losing a game at the end of the first half. At halftime Ken’s co-captain, who had played against the Mounties, told Ken that his high school team was always intimidated when they saw the mighty Mounties stroll over to the bench — in the manner of, “Let’s put those guys away and go home.”

He suggested to Ken that they ask the coach if they could have the team walk to the bench for the start of the second half.

The coach said, “Sure, the team can walk on, but I want you two guys to come see me after the game.”

Well, they still lost and remembered they now had to go face the coach. I don’t know exactly the way the coach worded it but the message was basically that foes will not always fear a team without that team having a reputation for being a powerhouse.

Mountie football certainly had that reputation under the coaching prowess of Anderson and Butch Fortunato, who coached together from 1940 to 1968.

Butch was an All-State player at MHS, graduating in 1936. As acting head coach in 1943 while Clary was in the service, Montclair celebrated its first of many undefeated seasons. Many call the years from 1940 through 1968 the “years of glory.”

Kenny, thank you for sharing that great Montclair State story with me. I hope this letter was a fun surprise for you and that I reported our conversation accurately.

Be well Ken, you’re a hero to us longtime Mountie football supporters.