From left to right: Radbill, Chow, Fehder, Gambino, Boyle, Drob, Garson, Blum
From left to right: Radbill, Chow, Fehder, Gambino, Boyle, Drob, Garson, Blum
Izzy Alvarez (’25)

Teachers reflect upon their student years at East

It is quite hard to imagine Cherry Hill High School East’s very own teachers to be sitting in the same seats as their students today. However, some may have literally sat in the chair you are currently sitting on in class years ago.

Among the East staff and administration, 21 have graduated from Cherry Hill High East as a student: Mr. Dave Allen, Mr. Steven Ascola, Ms. Deborah Barr, Mr. Jonathan Blum, Ms. Anita Bowser, Ms. Katie Boyle, Ms. Janet Chow, Mr. Thomas Coen, Mr. Joseph Cucinotti, Mr. Charles Davis, Ms. Amy Dombro, Mr.Tyler Drob, Ms. Diane Fehder, Ms. Carly Friedman, Ms. Jodi Hoff, Mr. Peter Gambino, Ms. Stacy Garson, Ms. Gina Oh, Mr. Erik Radbill, Ms. Katie Radbil and Mr. Andrew Satz.

Fourteen of these faculty members joined Eastside for an interview to reflect upon their own experiences both as a teacher and student alumni at East.

Eastside: Did you attend East with any of the teachers here?

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CD: I was a senior when Barr was a freshman. I was a teacher when these
two were students. *points to Ms. Friedman and Ms. Chow*

KR: Same. Actually, my first year was Ms. Barr’s senior year… Ms. Friedman grew up on my street… and her sister.

DB: I met Ms. Kelly Radbill because her brother was my best friend in high school. I knew her before I even got to East. Ms. Friedman went to school with me and her sister was a camp counselor with me. Mr. Davis’s younger sister also graduated with me, I knew her since elementary school. Oh, also Chef Di and I graduated together.

CD: I remember seeing Mr. Radbill’s picture in the football locker room… He had his sunglasses on with his arms folded. He was number six.

SG: Since I’ve started working here I’ve learned about some teachers that were at East the same time as me. However, more wild for me is that a bunch of my teachers are still here – I had Mr. Semus his first year teaching here, and I also had Mikulski, McKee, Buote, Morgan, Lausi, Keleher…Mrs. Radbill was my class advisor. It is really neat to now be colleagues with my teachers, and yes, it does still feel weird to call them by their first names.

ES: What was your favorite class in high school?

AS: Math, AP Calc with Semus.

JH: Vertebrae Anatomy, [Boyle and I] were in the same class. It was the best class we took for sure.

TD: Besides Environmental Science *points to Ms. Oh*,

GO: You don’t have to say that.

TD: Well, besides that class, precalculus and calculus with Mr. Dilks, it was a fun class. He is a great man, he always tried to liven up the class and make it fun.

SA: I would say English with Mr. Gambino. It was cool; I had him senior year and I was actually playing on his baseball team at the same time.

CD: I absolutely loved Mr. Kovalevich’s English class.

KR: Same, that’s why I’m here!

JCh: I would say English, too, with Mr. Carr. It was an amazing class.

ES: How has the school changed since when you were a student and now as a teacher?

KB: We don’t use lockers. Back then, I didn’t know a single kid who wore a back-
pack, which made C-wing much easier to navigate.

DF: We would put origami love notes or decorate lockers, it was really special.

SG: However, how has it not changed? Besides the vestibule at the main entrance,the school looks exactly the same. An ocean-themed mural I helped paint by the student entrance is still there!

ES: What was your favorite thing about East as a student? As a teacher?

AS: The pride in sports teams, and just the overall pride in school spirit. That’s why I wanted to come back here.

DF: When I was a student,it was definitely the extracurricular activities and finding your group… I did FOP, I was the captain of the cheerleading squad, and did the shows and dances. I think that finding the niche and with your friend group, the extras are what’s enriching for the school environment.

SG: Favorite thing about East now, working with such wonderful people in the Guidance Department. It really feels like a family.

ES: What is one aspect of East from your time that you would bring to the future now as a teacher?

JCu: I would like to see the applied prep classes back here, auto shop and beauty
products. Those types of classes I would like to see for our student body

KR: When we went here, our school day was 8:00 to 2:25 with homeroom in the
morning. All the classes were 42 minutes with 5 minutes in between classes.

JH: I liked the eight-period schedule, “labbing out”.

TD: Yeah, as a student, it was nice. The straight eight.

JCh: Oh, those 9:30 lunches.

KB: From our time, there were no study halls. You would fill your schedules with electives. You wanted to learn just to learn. I made a radio show with some of my best friends even to this day. It’s cool to try and dabble in different aspects, just try it. Explore different things, and I think that’s what kids these days miss out on.

DF: There’s a sweetness in communicating in realtime to a person. I wish that the mentality wasn’t split with their addiction to the cellphone. I wish they were present and realize that high school is such a time capsule of (their) life.

CD: I really miss float

CF: It’s similar to the spirit week booths now, but we did it at someone’s house. We did it for a full week after school, and one year we did it at my house.

ER: I would say school spirit peaked back in my time. I had the most fun four years of my life in this building…You get out what you put into it. There’s a lot going on here if you choose to participate.

CD: I think a lot of students need to learn today that it’s okay to have fun and not worry every single second of the day.

ES: What is one aspect of East now that you would bring back in time to when you were a student?


GO: I was just going to say that.

JC: Yeah, technology in general. It would be amazing.

KB: Most of us didn’t even have emails with our names and IDs. In our time, we couldn’t just email our teachers about absences or missing work. We had to find them and tell them in person and have that communication.

JH: I remember, when computers were first introduced, we were like “ooh, desktops!”.

JC: The stadium in the back. If we had that 20 years ago, it would have been a lot more fun.

DA: Joe, I agree with you. The first time I went to a Friday night game was in
college because even West didn’t have one.

ES: Why did you decide to return to East? Did you know as a student you would return to teach?

AS: When I decided to be a teacher was shortly after I graduated East. I felt likeI connected with the community because it raised me. It was the best school I’ve ever been to, and I knew this was the place I belonged.

DA: At first, I didn’t want to come back here because it was such a positive one.I formed such great relationships with my teachers, friends, principals and my coaches. If I came back
in terms of basketball and failed, it wouldn’t be positive anymore. It would be bitter, turning my positive experiences negatively…Yet it has been successful
so far.

SG: Although classes were tough and I worked hard, with many, many late nights, I overall had a really positive experience at East, both academically and socially. It feels very comfortable and familiar -especially with many of my teachers still here – since this is where I grew up. So,I was already working in a secretary-type role, though at a preschool, when this opportunity arose, and I knew I’d love it here. But no, it never occurred to me 20 years ago that I would be back, but I’m so happy I am.

ER: When I decided to go back to education, there was nowhere I wanted to be but here. I wanted to teach and coach here, with my dream job being to take over for a guy I played for.
I met my wife here and I asked her to marry me in the building here.

KR: B245 when I was teaching English to freshmen!

ER: Everything worked out anyway.

CF: When I changed course to guidance counselor, I don’t know if I thought about where I wanted to work. But when I graduated, it just made sense and there was an opening.
I think all of us here had great high school experiences, being involved, and loved high school. It felt natural to come back home and spend our careers here.

JC: I think that’s one of the reasons I came back as well. For me, it had a lot to do with where I would settle and start my family, which would impact where I was going to teach as well. remembered having really fun memories being here and it was important for me for there to be representation and diversity in the student body for my own kids, seeing them in all aspects and every corner of the building. I think East back then, and even now, that stayed consistent.

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