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HomeSchool NewsPHS held 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

PHS held 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany High School inducted their 2019 Hall of Fame Class on Wednesday, February 13 in the Media Center. This year’s class consists of five impressive inductees; Parsippany High School Teacher Malvin Sumka; Jason Hallik (Class of 1989); Erika Plosa (Class of 1985) ;Chris Walas (Class of 1971) and The 1974 PHS Football Team.

Dr. Denis Mulroony, Principal of Parsippany High School

Parsippany High School Teacher Malvin Sumka, a WWII veteran, wore a lot of hats during time as an educator in Parsippany. He was a Math and Computer teacher at PHS from 1960-1979, advised multiple clubs, and was eventually named Director of Vocational Education and then Director of Data Processing for the district.

Parsippany High School Teacher Malvin Sumka presents his wife with a plaque

Malvin was a talented and motivated educator, with an aptitude for technology and the ambition of introducing computers to the district. The first computer, PLADEMAC (Parsippany’s Logical And Digital Electro-Mechanical Computer), took him and his students two years to build, took up half a classroom and cost $10,000 in supplies. He followed that up by creating and teaching courses in programming, punch carding, etc… As an administrator, Malvin evaluated staff, wrote curriculum, created the work-study program that continues today and continued to enhance our technological programs and resources. Upon his retirement, Malvin formed his own company, Cyberphile Group, which he used to teach computer seminars to adults, and served as an adjunct professor for multiple colleges.

Parsippany High School Teacher Malvin Sumka reading the plaque to his wife, Mayra. The plaque read “Behind every great man is even a greater woman pushing him forward”

Jason Hallik (Class of 1989): It isn’t every day that CNN calls you the “bravest man in NYC.” Unless your name is Jason Hallik. Jason, a NYPD Bomb Squad Detective, has been recognized multiple times for removing, disarming and dismantling bombs and explosive devices around New York City.  Jason has repeatedly put his life on the line to protect the people of New York City and keep them safe. “You train, you do your job. We help people – we protect people. It felt good.” – Detective Hallik on being able to protect New Yorkers from the bomb exploding.

Jason Hallik a NYPD Bomb Squad Detective
Mr. Ron Foreso introduced the 1974 Football Team

The 1974 PHS Football Team: Ready for some controversy? Despite finishing with an impressive 7-2 record, the 1974 Football Team has often finished second in the rankings among PHS all-time best. However, according to Mr. Ron Foreso, retired PHS teacher and “Voice of the Redskins” for 30+ years, the ‘74 team was the best the school has ever seen. Under the leadership of Head Coach Robert Martin, they allowed an average of only 8 points per game while scoring 28 points per game and finished the year ranked in the Top 20 of the entire state of NJ.  The only two blemishes on their record were heartbreaking losses to West Essex by a score of 7-6 and Morristown 14-13, both of whom finished the year ranked top five in the state.  They were led by Captains Mark Benton and Gene Kuber, and two-way players Rocky Zito, Mike Ryan, Bob Goldberg, Marty Picinich and George Fanning. Brian Gleason led the offense, rushing for many touchdowns and yardage.

Coaches: Head Coach: Robert Martin, Joe Grippaldi, Ronald Radice, Charles Motola, Gary Ruccia, Bill Coyne

Roster:  George Cicero, Greg Sweeney, Tim Corbett, Eric Mangia, Mike Caskie, Nick Watsik, Billy Orefice, Angelo DiGiacinto, Tom Weber, Frank Spano, John Lukasiewicz, Tom Walsh, Mitch Arlow, Mark Caruso, Joe Toth, Gary Payerl, Sal Cortorillo, Mike Cantagalo, Frank Arminio, Brian Hoffman, Kevin Furini, Bob Goldberg, Dominick Spano, Tony Del Gazio, Mike Kennedy, Steve Mancuso, Dan O’Keefe, Joe Harkins, Bill Powell, Eric Slazik, Ross Pantell, Bob Cregg, Bill Smith, Bob Krusch, Vinnie De Filippo, Mike Ryna, Rocky Zito, Mark Benton, Gene Kuber, George Fanning, Woodie Carrigan, Tony Suppa, John Waters, John Devine, Tom Ryan, Dave Youngleman, Gary Rahn, Bob Bailey, Frank Kish, Kevin Amen, Frank Manello, Joe Pulitano, Brian Gleason, Bob Monica, Marty Picinich, Stu Saposnic, Barry Schkolnick, Tony Genoble, Kim Miczak.

Erika Plosa’s sister Krista accepted the honor.

Erika Plosa (Class of 1985):  Erika Plosa was a standout softball and basketball player during her time at Par High. Following high school, she attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, making her the first (and only?) female PHS alum to attend a military academy. During her service as a pilot in the Air Force, Erika flew KC-135 refueling tankers and other aircraft in the Persian Gulf and around the world. She retired from the Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Erika is currently a pilot for American Airlines, working out of Fort Lauderdale.

Chris Walas (Class of 1971): Chris Walas, nominated by his classmate Ron Ribnik, was involved in myriad activities while a student at PHS, all of which showcased his creativity and talent.

He wrote for the school literary magazine, Totem; co-wrote the Junior Class play and was co-chairman of the Senior Christmas Committee; was a member of the Middle States Evaluation Committee; and was Vice President of Student Council his senior year.  Chris was even selected to play the role of “Gitchie Manito,” the PHS mascot during that time period.  Chris always had an interest and fascination with movies and special effects, and shortly after graduation he moved to Hollywood to pursue his dreams.

It wasn’t long before Chris’s abilities were recognized and he became a legend in the business.  His list of film credits and creations are iconic: he created the gremlins in the movie Gremlins; he was part of the team that created the melting Nazi head in Raiders of the Lost Ark; and his work can be seen in the films Enemy MineReturn of the JediDragon SlayerAirplane! and Scanners.

In 1986, Chris was presented the ACADEMY AWARD for the make-up and special effects in the movie The Fly. He later went on to direct The Fly II and the television show Tales From the Crypt.

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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