Apr 09

Graduation Day-Sports Talk With Anthony Bonelli And More

Graduation day for high school students, their families, and school faculty is supposed to be one of the most joyous days of the school year, but for the 36 graduating seniors, and all others at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City New Jersey, the day will be bittersweet. The 2017 graduating class will be the school’s last as school officials announced Wednesday that it will be closing on June 30. The Jersey City school has been dealing with the risk of closing for years due to rising costs and declining attendance, but now the school’s nightmare has become an unfortunate reality.

Kids that live in an inner city such as Jersey City often need a safe haven, that is a place that they can feel safe while being impacted positively by other kids their age and adults, and St. Anthony High School is that safe haven for so many students. Take a minute to think about who had an impact on you during your high school years, or if you are in high school which staff member at your school seems to always believe in your abilities no matter what? Imagine tomorrow you found out that your school or place of business was closing how would you feel, what would you miss about that place? The hypothetical situation written above is a reality for the Jersey City school’s students and staff. The place where they all come together as one to help make the world a better place will soon no longer exist.

Hall of Fame Coach, motivator, father figure, those are some of the words used to describe St. Anthony High School Boys’ Basketball Coach Bob Hurley. Any high school basketball fan has heard or read the name Bob Hurley. They may have heard or read about the legendary coach, but do they know what an impact he had on many of the now young men that he coached. Hurley demands a lot from his players, some might say perfection, but because of those demands Hurley has turned sometimes immature boys into men. Earlier I asked my readers to think about a person who impacted or impacts them during their high school years Hurley is certainly an example of someone who had or has an impact on someone during their high school years.

As the son of a Jersey City native, and the nephew of one of the Hurley family’s former neighbors I feel I have a connection with St. Anthony High School, I have never been to the school, I have never even seen Coach Hurley preside over a practice, but I know what it feels like to be motivated and inspired by someone every day. If you notice I waited until the later paragraphs of this article to write about the impact the decision to close St Anthony High School will have on high school basketball, in particular New Jersey high school basketball. Sure, I can write at length about Coach Hurley’s coaching career, the more than 1100 wins, the 28 state championships, or the 150 former Friars that went on to play Division 1 basketball, but even if you were to ask Coach Hurley I think he would tell you that this decision goes far beyond basketball. My heart goes out to all the people impacted by this decision, especially the students. I can only imagine the emotions that everyone at the school is feeling right now. As I wrote the hypothetical situation in the earlier paragraph I got emotional because my heart sank.

During every graduation as Pomp and Circumstance plays tears are shed by many in attendance, this June as the iconic graduation song is playing at the St. Anthony High School graduation many additional tears I am sure will be shed. I am going to conclude this article with a message for all the Friars of St. Anthony High School. This saying is simple, and something I do my best to do every day. Enjoy the moment! Enjoy every last minute with your teachers, your students and your friends. Don’t be afraid to shed a tear, because that only means you care!

1 comment

  1. Bob Magnuson

    Nice reflection on St. Anthony’s. Keep up the good work!

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