Past and present students recall fond memories of Mr. Musumeci

Past and present students recall fond memories of Mr. Musumeci

The East community, past and present, wants to express its support for Mr. Charlie Musumeci (’72), who has been a constant figure at East for over 30 years as a teacher, coach, advisor, friend and mentor. We will continue to update this page with your memories and thoughts of “Moose” as he fights adrenal cancer. Submissions can be sent to [email protected].

Melanie Dombro (’08):

As I write this, I think about all of the good times I had with Moose.  It makes me happy to have been a part of the Cherry Hill East Community because he was such an important part of my life.  Moose gave me great wisdom during my time in high school, and I will never forget that.  When I think about “Mornings with Moose,” I smile because I knew he truly cared about not only me, but all of the students of that school.  Moose you are one of kind and I will never forget you.

David Friedman (’12):

There is not a day that I don’t look down at my right wrist and see my “Moosestrong” bracelet and think of you. There is no doubt in my mind that you are one of few people I have met in my life that is a purely happy and joyful person. Just seeing your name on my bracelet puts a smile on my face right away because it reminds me of that beaming smile you carry with you around the halls of Cherry Hill East. I’ve shared so many unforgettable experiences with you. I can’t thank you enough for the support you showed for the school and especially the football team during my years as a player. You made the Countrymen an all-around better experience for me and my classmates. I know I’ll see you roaming the CHE halls soon enough, and I can’t wait for it. Love ya Moose!

Ricky Barnum (’09):

I will never forget what Moose did for me–during my Calculus AP exam I carelessly sealed two of the sections together which could have voided my entire exam.  Moose left the room, steam pressed the sections apart, and fixed the problem for me.

Certain selfless acts like that go a long way and are never forgotten.  They reveal an individual’s true character.  Stand strong, Moose, we are all here for you.

Danielle Dombro (’08):

I have numerous memories with “The Moose”. Each morning during my senior year we would have our morning chats and called them “Mornings with Moose.” I still think about them from time to time and they always make me smile even when I am having a bad day. I will continue to cherish these moments as I grow older and continue to use the advice that was given to me by this wise man. He always supported me and helped to make high school a nice place to be! Stay strong, you will always have a place in my heart.

Gabriel Whiteley (’12):

MOOSE! Where to begin? First of all, you’re a wonderful teacher, coach and friend and I’m so glad that I met you my freshman year because you have been a huge part of my life. All throughout my softball high school career, you always had faith in the team, even when we had no hope of winning sometimes. You gave the softball team 110% every single game and motivated, encouraged, and supported us to win. You were always on the bench supporting me pitch even if I wasn’t doing too well. But then bad news hit my senior year – It was the worst feeling in the world that the coach that we all loved was hurting, and yet your biggest concern was still showing up to our softball games! I’m glad we started MOOSEstrong and were able to support and show you how much we love you! It was a rough year, but you showed everyone what a strong person you are. You’re one of the bravest people I know, and you’re a role model to all. You’re a fighter, and no matter how tough the outcome, it looked like you never gave up. I admire your strength and I know that you can beat this. Thank you so much for being such an amazing person and influencing every person that you have run into. Love and support you so much! Stay strong!

Rachel Viggiano (’12):

Oh, Where do I even begin with you “Chaaalay”.  You’ve been so much more than a coach, but a director, a mentor, an inspiration, and even my neighbor.  Hearing about your struggle, and being so far from home at Syracuse makes me feel guilty for not being able to assist you and your family by dropping off home-made Italian meals to you every week!

I’ll never forget the first time I saw you cry.  The world became suffocating as we sat in right field after a hard game that day.  Yet even in the midst of your diagnosis you made it to every game you could to cheer on your beloved team, and that’s what makes you the most remarkable and strongest man I know.  Even when I attempted to give up on the team, you didn’t, and you refused to let me either.  I thank God every day that you were such an encouragement and motivation for our team and even myself.

Continue to be strong, Moose (It’s in our Italiano blood), and keep fighting! So much love.
#MOOSEstrong

Justin Sisholtz (’06):

Moose has been and continues to be one of the most positive influences on my life. I first interacted with him during my time announcing football and basketball games for EastCast. He even let me have my own “show”  called “Locker Room Talk” on Channel 19 where I interviewed athletes in the school. During my time at East, he was always around to chat about absolutely anything and brought positive energy everywhere. Since graduation, I have kept in touch with Moose and he continues to offer advice/support like the friend and educator that he is. I was lucky enough to be at the Ritz for the premiere of his movie. It was an awesome experience and the standing ovation he received at the end was very appropriate and sums up how respected and liked he is. Hopefully he will overcome this obstacle and will continue to positively impact the lives of so many people in the CHE community.

Shari Rosen (’10):

I worked with Moose on a number of theater projects over the course of my junior and senior years at East. At the time, I was an aspiring actress, with frizzy hair and a dream. Moose encouraged me to perform to my utmost potential. He helped me to learn that the sky is the limit for people who work hard and give what they love their all. He also made me understand the importance of taking risks both on stage and in the classroom. My fondest memory of Moose was from one of our ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ rehearsals my senior year. Moose was directing one of the actors on stage to perform a certain piece of blocking which he couldn’t seem to get right. Moose corrected him politely five or six times. Finally, the cast member grew annoyed and yelled something at Moose to which Moose responded, I remember clearly because I wrote it down in my notebook, “You have the IQ of an ice cube.” Immediately, the entire cast broke down into hysterics and the previous tension was forgotten. That is just one of the many examples I remember of Moose bringing his fun and light-hearted nature to the East Theater Department.

Moose always knew how to make you feel included in the East community, even when you felt like you were just a nerdy theater kid. He greeted me in the hallway every time I passed him and always struck up conversation. He was genuinely interested in what I was passionate about. He gave me opportunities to experiment on stage and made me feel comfortable, even if my attempts resulted in utter awkwardness and failure. I believe the most important lesson I learned from Moose was to not take myself too seriously and to take everything with a grain of salt. This lesson has become extremely important in the stresses of a college environment. I could go on forever listing positive memories of Moose, but what I always think about when I hear the word “Moose ” is the Moose call, when all of the students would turn their hands into antlers and scream Moose whenever he walked into the auditorium. The first time I heard the call, I thought everyone was saying boo, because of the long O sound in the word, but then I turned around and saw Moose bouncing into the auditorium and knew I could not possibly be right. No one would ever boo Moose; he was and is just too wonderful.

Rebecca Mulberg (’12):

Moose is a loud guy, but you don’t need to hear him speak to agree with me. His passion, presence, and his genuine care for others are clearly audible. He has an inner voice that people listen to; one that has been projected through the halls of East, and one that has touched so many.

Back in my sophomore year, I was cast in a one-act play directed by senior Matt Bennett. I had a few lines, and I was excited. I stood proudly onstage, and spoke in my loudest voice (which to my despair, wasn’t loud enough). I remember both Mr. Weaver and Mr. Musumeci giving me a ten-minute lesson on voice projection. I tried my best, believe me, but I don’t think anyone in the audience really knew what I was saying. To this day, I’m still practicing.

More than voice projection, Moose has taught me to project an optimism and love for others. This I have learned through his work as a substitute teacher. The protocol for most substitute teachers: stroll into class, read (or misread) a few names, answer a few questions, and move on. The protocol for Mr. Musumeci as substitute teacher is entirely different. He dances into class and doesn’t just read, but learns everyone’s name. He makes it his job to interact with his students, and to treat them as equal. Moose genuinely cares, and that is exactly why the entirety of East genuinely cares about Moose.

I have the utmost respect for you, Mr. Musumeci; as a teacher, a filmmaker and a friend. I may not have a great stage voice, but I hope I have projected my appreciation and love for you loud enough so that you can hear it. Many thanks.

Nicole Simone (’12):

I don’t think 3D Art would have been the same without you, Moose. You made us want to learn. Any teacher we were given after you never compared. Moose, you’re an outstanding person. And I hope the best for you! It always made me smile to see you at the basketball games at 9 a.m. when I was the manager in 9th and 10th grade for the freshman and JV teams. You are such a cheerful person, even at 9 o’clock in the morning! Keep staying strong Moose! We all have faith in you! My very best to you and your family! The Simone’s are keeping you in our prayers.

Elyse Ettin (’04):
When I was a student at East, I participated in East Cast, the broadcasting show on Channel 19.  Mr. Musumeci was such a great advisor and was so passionate about what he did.  Later, when I completed my Guidance Counseling practicum, internship, and Long-Term Substitute position at East, Mr. Musumeci made my experiences even more enjoyable.  I always looked forward to when he stopped by the Guidance Office because he has such a great and funny personality.  He could bring a smile to anyone’s face no matter how they felt before he stopped by.  He is like a ray of sunshine whenever he enters a room.  I know he is strong, and I hope he gets through this.

Tara Orichowskyj  (’06):

The memories I have of you as a coach and mentor at East are ones that will stay with me for awhile.  When I first heard you were sick I found it hard to believe and accept.  My memories of you and East have helped bring me to where I am today.  Even after graduation I had the pleasure of seeing and talking with you now and then as I subbed and what I would do to be back in high school again.  You welcomed me and my peers onto the Cross Country Team and became our biggest supporter/coach/mentor/cheerleader (well kind of!)  I never told you how much your confidence in us meant, even though I was no runner compared to the boys who did the 10-milers!  But believe it or not, I did run the Philly half marathon this year and there were many moments in my training where the feeling of running the races in high school came rushing back!  You contributed significantly to that!  
I know you are a fighter and one of the most positive, happy people I know, which I believe will help you through this.  My prayers are with you and your family and thank you for being such a positive influence in my life!

Max Cohen (’12):

Everyone has heard the expression that the little things in life are what matter the most.  I’d say that when someone does so many of the little things in life so well, the end result is something much bigger.  I do not believe that I know anyone who does the little things in life better than Mr. Musumeci on a daily basis.  I do not think I have ever seen Moose unhappy or unenthusiastic.  Not when I was interviewing him about the softball team for Eastside, not when he roamed the hallways of Cherry Hill East, saying hello to seemingly everyone, not when he was talking about AP tests (he even managed to get the entire Class of 2012 pumped up about new chairs in the Auxiliary Gym for testing) and not even at the basketball banquet last year, despite his sickness at the time. The impact of just one smiling face can completely change a person’s day around, and Mr. Musumeci was that person for so many people, day after day, and year after year, caring for everyone.

The enthusiasm Mr. Musumeci has for every aspect of life is something that will stay with me forever. I hope that one day I will be able to love my adult life just as much as Mr. Musumeci does. If you throw in even half of his ability to relate to others and truly care about how each and every one of them is doing, I will truly be the luckiest person in the world.

Jeff Deppa (’07):

MOOOSSSEEE!!! You have been on my mind frequently since I got word of your condition last summer. You have been and always will be an inspiration. You know how to properly insert a dash of light-hearted humor into anything, including the Cherry Hill newspaper article on you, which had you saying something along the lines of “the way I see it, I’m one special guy” (in reference to the 1 in a million chances of getting what you got). And you are a special guy, Moose. If your medical treatments are hitting some obstacles, may I suggest radioactive, DDT covered apples from the side of B-wing. Guaranteed to fix everything! HAHA, that has got to be one of the best moments we have shared thus far although there are plenty of other great ones from cross country and you as a “substitute teacher”. You’re a legend, buddy. With much love from a remote village in Tanzania, East Africa. – Jeff Deppa (depps)

Samantha Cohen (’11):

Energetic, optimistic, and loving, Moose always knew how to light up the room. I met Moose my freshman year, through starting a new club, Eastcast. Moose quickly took me under his wing, and soon I became one of the main anchors in Eastcast. It was through Moose that I discovered my love for public speaking. Every day on the set of Eastcast, Moose would tell jokes and make everyone laugh. He was always generous, offering up his time to attend every school event to make sure that we all felt comfortable with each interview and broadcast that we did. He gave me advice about public speaking, school, and life tips that I will never forget. Anyone that has been lucky enough to know Moose knows that he is irreplaceable. Moose has touched everyone’s life in a unique and distinct way. Moose will have a special place in my heart forever, and I pray that he knows the extraordinary impact that he has left on my life!

Sarah Daly (’07):

Mr. Musumeci,

Whether you know it or not, you played a very important role in my high school career, and honestly, if it wasn’t for you I’m not sure I’d be where I am today. You believed in me and gave me the confidence to believe in myself when it came to being in front of the camera for East Cast. You are one of the few people I’ve encountered in my years as a student that truly supports the students you work with, and more importantly, supports their dreams. You encouraged me to pursue broadcast journalism, and although I do not work in journalism today, the skills I learned from East Cast and what I studied has led me to landing a great job in public relations in New York City. I must add I am media training my clients on how to be on camera, which I know you would be proud of, and hopefully I am passing down some of the wonderful lessons you taught me! Wishing you all the best, and thinking and praying for you and your family during this time.

Get well soon,

Sarah Daly (Class of ’07)

Lara Abiona (’12):

One of Moose’s best attributes is that he brings out the best in everyone. He sees everyone as special and important, which then gives them the strength and willpower to reach for their dreams. Also, he is a doer AND a teacher. He does what he loves while seeking to contribute all that he can to the community. He is an inspirational man with a heart of gold and is truly one-of-a-kind. MOOSEstrong forever!

Blair Janney (’12):

Mr. Musumeci is a longtime family friend of mine and is considered a part of the family. He has influenced my life by always bringing a smile to my face. He is a great man that can always build my confidence and is always someone I go to about anything.

Ashley Reber (’08):

From the moment I met Moose he expressed an energy not many people possess. No matter what the situation was he knew how to make me laugh. I am so glad to have spent so much time around him, from practices and races, to seeing him in the halls at East. I now strive to always be as positive as possible with everything that comes my way, as I learned from Moose’s way of life and mentality. I know that energy remains within him and keeping him strong each day. I know you and Cindy are engulfed with love and support and I hope you continue having the strength of positivity pushing you forward. To seeing you soon!

Brittany Scarpato (’08):

One of the reasons running cross country was so enjoyable has everything to do with Moose. His enthusiasm was contagious and he was always a blast to be around. Through those four years, he formed a close relationship with every member of the team; he made each team member feel like an integral part of the team. We all miss him and want him to stay strong.

Matt Neary (’03):

Moose was as much a part of my experience at East as any other teacher. His perpetual good mood was contagious, and he always made himself available if something was on your mind. I am praying that he keeps his outlook positive, and that he knows how many people truly care for him.

Aimee Bornfreund (’09):

Moose is definitely one of the greatest guys. He helped make my theatre experience even more special by his unconditional support and willingness to always help. His passion for theatre was commendable and will always be remembered. I hope he pulls through and beats cancer!

Scott Dombro (’12):

Moose has been the man for the longest time. Every day walking in the halls everyone chants Mooooosee! Moose East loves you and I love you. Get better my man.

Joe Matteo (’03):

Mr. Musemeci gave me the tools not only to be a success in High School, but to succeed in life. His consistent joy and happiness is not only a treasure for his family, but for mine as well. Whether it was helping cultivate my communication skills as “Sports Director” for East Cast, making sure to visit my Mom and put a smile on her face every day, or even taking the time to put his arm around me when he saw me in the hallway Mr. Musumeci knew how to make everyone around him better. These wonderful gifts that he so easily provided are things that I take with me each and every day. One thing I have learned throughout my journey is that being successful is not just about making sure you have achieved your own goals. It is also about making sure that you help others to achieve theirs, and from the bottom of my heart, I can truly say that Mr. Musumeci is a success! Thank you for everything and continuing to battle each day. We are always with you and will continue to fight for you!

Aaron Aningalan (’12):

Moose was the first teacher I saw during my freshman year, I was lost and confused but he guided me to my home room. I remember during my first year every time I was lost he was there to help me. Just like he was my personal guide to East. Moose is a great guy who knows how to put smiles on students’ faces and is such a great inspiration.

Laurel Johnson (’06):

When I was at CHE, Mr. Musumeci was always one of those people at school who just made your day better. It didn’t matter what else was going on, I could always count on him to have that smile on his face that would brighten anyone’s day and make those around him smile as well. When thinking of “Moose,” I think of his spirit. He is just the kind of person you always want to be around.

Nate Mulberg (’10):

I first met you when I was a freshman cross country runner in 2006. You, of course, were the girls’ coach. Even though I was on the guys team, I felt like you were my coach. You always were there to encourage and motivate me. I remember you giving me pep talks before races, telling me that even as a freshman, I had to be a leader.

I was amazed at how much your runners admired you. Cross country is such a tough sport, filled with constant pain. Yet you helped your runners, and even the guy runners, find light during the pain. Because whenever I saw you during practice or a race, it was impossible not to feel a little less pain because you always knew how to motivate me. I always appreciated all the support you gave me, and for that, I wanted to race well for you.

Most people know I am pretty high strung and get stressed easily. In high school, my academics stressed me out a lot. But, whenever I saw you in the hallway, you brought a smile to my face with a joke. You always knew how to make me feel happier with your sense of humor. I will never forget that.

Most of all, we shared a bond between softball/baseball. You were one of the few adults in the building who truly cared about me not only as a student, but also a baseball player. As a softball coach, you fully understood the game of baseball. I cherish the memories sitting down with you to talk about how the season was going, and how goofy Coach Radbill was as a coach (with his obsession of mowing the infield grass).

Lastly, I remember the time when you helped Obi Onejeme with his Mr. East video. Obi asked me to interview him for the video, and you videoed us. I remember how frustrated you were getting because I kept messing up, and you had somewhere else in the school to be. I had no experience doing on-camera interviews, so I was very nervous. Eventually we got it done. I want you to know that, now as a junior in college, I have decided I want to pursue a broadcast journalism career. That was my first ever on-camera spot. I can only hope there will be many more times for me to be on camera, hopefully covering sports events. I can thank you for introducing me to the industry, an industry I am very passionate about now.

I am sorry I have not called since the summer, but I want you to know that I always will admire you. I’ve been out of high school for only three years, yet I am suffering from memory loss (I mean it). I have already started to forget certain teachers’ and students’ names. I will never forget you. You were hands-down the best substitute in the school and one of the truly genuine teachers who did everything for the betterment of each student’s high school experience. I am so happy we gave you Eastside Person of the Year in 2010. I campaigned largely for you. You deserved the award more than anyone.

And I hope you won your fantasy football league this year! Really enjoyed talking fantasy football with you in the summer.

Be strong as you always are.

Avra Bossov (’11):

Moose has been a cornerstone of the Cherry Hill East community, doing so as a result of his dedication. I never had him as a teacher or coach, and yet we knew each other as two people invested in this high school. He builds community by making connections with all students, faculty and staff. It’s people like Moose who are invested in what they do that inspire me to bring passion to all my endeavors.