ALJ Alumni Football Dinner Well Attended By Past, Present Players & Coaches

Ken Drake, founder and facilitator of the Arthur L. Johnson Alumni Football Dinner, poses for a photograph with the four head football coaches present at the alumni dinner. Pictured from left to right are: current football Coach Mike Mancino, Ken Drake, and former coaches Bob Nadasky, Bob Taylor, and Gus Kalikas. (Photo courtesy of Clark Public Schools)

CLARK — In what has become a rite of passage for the past 15 years on Thanksgiving Eve; the very well attended Arthur L. Johnson High School intergenerational Alumni Football Dinner was held in the school cafeteria.

As he has for the past 15 years, Ken Drake served as the master of ceremonies and facilitator for the evening. Drake commenced the evening by introducing the various guests in the form of current and former administrators, athletic directors, and coaches in attendance. After this, returning alumni dating back to the school’s inception in 1956 stood up and introduced themselves, stating their name, position played, and coach played under. Each of the four head football coaches in attendance were recognized as well: Bob Nadasky, Bob Taylor, Gus Kalikas, and current coach Mike Mancino.

After a break for a delicious buffet dinner, the program continued with a short address by Superintendent Kenneth Knops, an overview of the season by Mancino, and an introduction of the current players. The seniors were called up to the front of the room and each received an eloquent introduction by Mancino, at which point the three senior captains were recognized and their leadership extolled.

The evening concluded with the viewing of a highlight film of the 2011 Crusader season. Current and former players, coaches, and administrators lingered on in the cafeteria long after the official end of the dinner, catching up with each other and sharing memories.


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