Emerson High School’s Last Year

With the opening of the 2007-08 school year this September will begin a special year for the historic Emerson High School. The new high school that will melt the century-long rivalry between Union Hill High School and Emerson, which will come to an end with the multimillion dollar building with the most advanced technology, will open its doors to all Union City residents.

This site will commemorate EHS and its history with a special page. Union Hill Alumni are also welcome to send pictures, articles, and any kind of memorabilia that relates to UHHS.

As a member of the Emerson class of ‘78, I invite all my classmates and all the alumni members of EHS to join us in this effort to celebrate the history and the legacy of EHS, one of the most significant in our country due to both Americans and the flow of immigrants from all corners of the world who have benefitted from its experience, especially from its dedicated and unforgettable teachers.

Many of us were taught how to speak and write English by them-the great Mr. Ardito is still teaching English at Emerson and the motherly Ms. Agnes Colinari still helps kids even after retirement-and she hasn’t changed much. Mr. Frezzo is a Vice-Principal. Ms. Vazquez and Ms. Villegas (Now Ms. Mayo) still teach algebra, advanced math and all that mumbo jumbo. Mr. Caputo, the tough shop teacher, is now an Assistant Superintendent of Schools- he hasn’t changed much: fair, but tough as nails. Who can forget the warm Louis DeCongelio and his patience and dedication with us in the 70’s coming from another planet: Castro’s Cuba, or the inalterable Mr. John Coccioli- another tough but kind man who had the patience to deal with us when we didn’t speak a word of English? He is now an Assistant Principal at Washington School. Mr. Paoloni, who still teaches at Emerson, looks like my son; there must be a Dorian Gray mystery in this. Sandy Sanger, now the Superintendent of Schools now, was pretty tough when you were late from 1974 to 1978. Mr. Perino, I believe, is retired now, but the echo of his voice still resonates in the hallways; he was the soul of the school in the late 70s. The thunderous voice of Mr. Paul Suriano is still in my ears, who taught us not to fall into debt using credit cards as well as American history- the man was really ahead of his time. He, like many of his contemporaries, has also retired. Mr. Falto, the Spanish teacher that introduced many of us to Federico García Lorca and The Hispanic Society of New York is now retired, after serving the EHS and the UCBE as a Counselor and Principal. He has been involved in local politics the last few years. No matter what side he’s on-Democrat or Libertarian-for those of you who asked about him and myself-Mr. Falto will always be our Spanish teacher. Teacher once teacher always. Ms. Mary Gaughran departed from the school last year, leaving behind an army of English-speaking students from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

God Bless these people.

These wonderful people and others who shaped personalities and helped so many of us to succeed in this country will be featured on this site next year. They were instrumental in teaching us the values of America. They are TEACHERS.

This web site also invites the Class of 2008 to collaborate on a special issue dedicated to them.

Personally, I am inviting members of the classes of ‘74-’82 to get together one day and take a picture in front of the building on 18th Street. We already have about 25 graduates that will get together on a day to be determined in the course of the next few months.

The Mayor of Union City, Brian Stack, who is also a New Jersey State Senator is an alumnus of Emerson. If you’re interested in joining us in this commemorative occasion, please send your messages and pictures to this site.

Here is an image of what Emerson looks like in August of 2007.


3 Responses to “Emerson High School’s Last Year”

  1. Speaking of “Emerson High School’s LAST Year”… why don’t we talk about something that people in Union City are REALLY going to miss, the Turkey Game. With the unification of the 2 high schools… this will also be the LAST year for this event.
    Tomorrow (11.22.07) will be the LAST Turkey game… I hope to see you there.
    As always Mr. Martel… many blessings.
    By the way… my previous reply never got posted Sir

  2. Hi Rafael,
    My name is Mannie Rodriguez, class of 1972. I too remember many of the names you just mentioned in this article. I can’t believe Sanger is Superintendent of Schools! The stories I could tell. Anyway, I currently live in Florida, have 2 children, wife, 1 grandchild and a dog. Vice President of a Bank and very happy. I alway’s felt that Union City and the friends from Emerson High put me on the “right track.” I would like to be part of the Grand Opening of the new High School, if possible. I also Fazio from the old days, when played Basketball and I was on the Football team. Anything, you can do would be helpful.
    Thank you,
    Mannie Rodriguez-Cherrier (as I am known now)
    Scarletknights1@msn.com (please e-mail me)
    Go Bulldogs!

  3. Mr. Martel,

    Greetings! I graduated from Emerson High School in 2009. My name is Victor Espinoza. I was the president for the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica. If we could go back and reminisce about the events that the club use to take part in. There were some dance shows that we organized for the Multi- Arts Festival and also for a special dinner in the school gym all clubs. It was a memorable experience. Thanks to Ms. Dominguez, Mr. Fazio, and you for making this happen. I would like to know if you might have some videos, pictures, air any of that sort so that I can put up an album for all those who participated in the show. It would be be really nice for everyone to see the pictures. If you think you might have any please respond to me. Otherwise Happy New Year to all !

    Best regards,
    Victor Antonio Espinoza

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