Coffee House was Moosestrong

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Danielle Fox ('13)/ Eastside Editor-in-Chief

The East Thespian Society and East Singers hosted Cherry Hill East’s eighth annual Coffee House in honor of East’s very own Mr. Charlie Musumeci from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, January 19. All proceeds from the evening went towards the Millie Schembechler Fund, which raises money for the awareness and cure for adrenal cancer, the type of cancer Musumeci is currently fighting.

Throughout the evening, many of the song lyrics performed were tailored to honor the man of the night. Michal Kortsarts (’13) and Gaby Chapman (’13) sang a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Baby You and I” entitled “Baby Moose and I,” and an assortment of teachers, librarians, athletes, drama students and singers came together to sing a rendition of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” honoring the many ways Musumeci has touched the community at East.

Alek Kosinski (’13), president of the East Film Club, and Mr. Pete Gambino worked to organize a series of trailers that played after every few acts. These trailers were spoofs of some of Musumeci’s favorite films, including Indiana Jones, The Shawshank Redemption and The Godfather, among others.

After several acts had performed, Musumeci stood up from his couch in front of the stage to express his regards for the evening and for the role the East community has played in his life. He started by saying, “I still consider myself lucky because people who go through many diseases don’t have anywhere near the love and support that I have had and still have with you.”

He continued, “I might not be as Moose strong as I was, but I will always be cougar strong in my heart. It’s all because of you and the love and support you have given me and my family and it’s why I’m really not ready to go yet. You keep me alive.”

Musumeci thanked the students first for making his career at East so meaningful.

“There are so many people to thank…foremost the kids. You’ve always been so dear to me ever since I started here with Tom Weaver in the 70s,” he said.

While Musumeci gave his five-minute speech, many students, staff members and community members became emotional, as it was a miracle that he was able to pull through and make it to Coffee House after a tough beginning of the week.

He said, “I thank you and I will remember this night for the rest of my life and for the rest of my spiritual life. I don’t know how long I have left in this life, but trust me when I tell you, kids, my spirit’s strong. I will be here forever in spirit.”

The crowd erupted in a roar of “Moose,” Musumeci’s nickname.

Musumeci concluded his speech with a few imparting words of wisdom: “We will continue to fight the fight. If there’s any lesson to be learned, kids, it’s to live each day as if it is your last and to embrace the day and embrace the people in your lives each day as I embrace you and embrace my family. I love you all. Thank you.”

As Moose moved to sit back down on the couch, everyone in the auditorium stood up on their feet, applauding while simultaneously shouting “Moose” to show their incredible love and respect for Musumeci.

After some more acts performed, an informational video about the Millie Schembechler Fund played.

To wrap up the evening, Mr. Tom Weaver and Mrs. Laurie Lausi said a few words.

Weaver said, “Thank you, Charlie and your beautiful, beautiful family for all of your courage…all of your willpower. Thank you to everyone out here tonight who have made this very special night possible. You have made our corner of the world, Cherry Hill High School East, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, a better place.”

Lausi added, “Just as Charlie brings East together on a regular basis, it has always been the intent of coffee house to do just that.”

At the same time the performances were going on in the cafeteria, art students were selling jewelry and artwork that they designed outside, a bake sale and a moon bounce were running in the cafeteria and Moosestrong shirts were being sold right outside of the auditorium.

After the stage cleared, many audience members made their way over to Musumeci to express their well-wishes and regards.

 

For any student, staff member or community member who wanted, but did not have, an opportunity to share his or her thoughts with Musumeci, please consider contributing to Eastside’s ongoing post of fond memories of Moose. Submissions can be sent to [email protected].