Meet our new teachers!


Tis the season

 to be teachin'


Media Studies

        With roughly two months until Christmas, you can find Ms. Benn already listening to those holiday tunes. In fact she listens to them twelve months out of the year.

        When asked what was the coolest thing about herself, she enthusiastically replied with her love of Christmas. She is the self proclaimed Christmas queen.

        "There is a certain magic and joy and innocence to Christmas that I still hold on to," she said.

        She said her love of Christmas is "an open door to her personality."

         Ms. Benn described her time as a new English teacher here at Haddon Township High School as "amazingly wonderful."

         Ms. Benn was a teacher at Kingsway High School for 15 years. It was the only job she had had since college. She describes the job transition as "a terrifying decision" but she knew it was time for a change. She is glad to be here at HTHS.

        "Students at Kingsway were great but I came to find that there is a certain magic to the Haddon Township students that I can't put my finger on yet," she said.

        Her favorite aspect here at Haddon Township is the community. The small size of the school creates a culture that she loves to be a part of. We have a lot more opportunities at a smaller school, and she noted, "Haddon Township students have a lot more freedom they do not take for granted."

        She affectionately referred to Haddon Township as her second home. "Teachers from day one opened their arms to me no questions asked. The students from day one opened their arms to me no questions asked," she said.

        She loves to be surrounded by her students who "teach [her] so much about life."

        Her students describe her in the classroom as enthusiastic, outgoing and able to teach the material well. "She knows her stuff!" said Nicholas Tyrrell said. Students have described her as very energetic, and funny in the classroom while noting she is serious about her teaching.


New in November!

Place at the Table  |  Election  |  Fall Play  |  Construction

Archive: Meet the Teachers

Giving the Issues ‘A Place at the Table’


The issue: our carbon footprint, as addressed by Erica Mount.

To see all of the projects, right-click or, on a Mac, control-click on this link, then select “Open New Window.”

'A Place at the Table'


Media Studies Class

        Election year was right around the corner when Karen Kiick came up with the idea that would allow her Ceramics 2 students to give the issues of politics “a place at the table” -- creating a plate or place setting that visually takes a stand on a social issue of his or her choice.

She told her students, “Pick something that really matters to you. … If you were an adult what is something you would donate to or fully support?” When Ms. Kiick came up with this idea she admits, “I didn’t realize how inarticulate this election would be.”

In addition to the plates, students also expressed their positions visually and verbally through 30-second commercials. This aspect gave the students a way to express emotions with words to tie in with the visual aspect of an art piece.

“Bringing light to issues humanely that this election hasn’t shown, in a way other than negativity and hate, is important to convey through ways like art, which is something everyone can come together to understand,” Ms. Kiick said. Youth’s views are important since they are the future, she said; because of this she invited history, sociology, and media studies classes to take part in the viewing of the installation.

 This project also was a test of strength for Ms. Kiick’s art students. “Being able to feel strongly and have your own opinion told for what it is and being creative and confident enough to express this in art and literacy,” shows Ms. Kiick’s hope in the future through her pupils.

        “Issues can but don’t have to be polarizing like choosing between two candidates,” which Ms. Kiick says is really what this art installation is all about. Her goal was to give students a safe place to discuss issues in a non-judgmental way. By not labeling art pieces with names this also makes the installation more about the issues of politics themselves, and less about the people whose opinion is being conveyed.

Some students were willing to share their ideas and take a stand for them.

 Liz Barney, senior, is concerned about gun control. “Average people shouldn’t be able to have guns, only military and police force, or if your occupation uses it. People abuse their right to the second amendment. I made my plate with bullets going into a no symbol to represent something being destroyed.”

 Talia Ciko, senior, wants less pollution for marine animal’s health. “We’re killing off marine life and ruining our oceans. Making a turtle and filling the inside part of it’s stomach with plastic show how many of our marine life is subject to eating our trash.”

 Halie McAndrew, senior, wants gay marriage to stay legal in all of the United States. “It is important to me that everyone has the right to marry the person they love no matter what gender you are.” She created a heart shaped plate with a rainbow flag and American flag, and two women symbols with wedding bands to symbolize the marriage of two people being the same gender, and the American flag with the rainbow flag to show them united.

 Other issues represented by a place at the table included: global hunger, carbon footprint, global warming, deforestation, equal pay, planned parenthood, animal abuse, and funding space travel.

Place at the Table  |  Election  |  Fall Play  |  Construction

Archive: Meet the Teachers

HTHS Students Vote on Presidential Election:

Dissatisfaction Apparent


Media Studies Class

        On Nov. 1 and 2, the media studies class conducted a poll of students about their opinions on the 2016 presidential election. Students were asked whom they would vote for given the chance.

        32.92 percent of students said they would vote for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Her Republican challenger, Donald Trump, got 29.6 percent of the vote.

        The third most chosen option was not a candidate, but the choice to abstain from voting. Indicating the immense dissatisfaction among young Americans about the two major-party nominees, 21.25 percent of those surveyed said they would not cast a vote for president, even if they could.

Interestingly, the resentment towards the two largest candidates did not translate into support for third parties. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party received only 21 and 19 votes respectively.

The two barely managed to eke out a lead over Independent senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who, despite not being on the ballot or even actively running for president, garnered 15 votes as a write-in.

When Push Comes to Shove, Students Prefer Clinton

Students were also asked, if they had to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, whom they would vote for. In the two-way race, Clinton won, receiving 56 percent of the vote. Trump received 44 percent.

Students Predicted Clinton Would Win

Of all students, regardless of opinion, 66 percent believed Clinton would win on Election Day, in comparison to 31 percent who thought Trump will be elected.

Wide Gender Gap Evident

Like the rest of the country much of the vote was split down gender lines. In the open race, 45 percent of women indicated a preference for Hillary Clinton, compared to 22 percent for men. Men were more likely to support Trump. 39 percent of the male vote went to Trump, while 19 percent of women chose him.

There was also a gender difference among the third-party candidates. Johnson was favored by men, 5.81 percent of whom voted for him. This was nearly twice the percentage, 3.1 of men, who chose Jill Stein. This was mirrored in responses by women, 5.08 percent of whom chose Stein, while 2.76 percent chose Johnson

      The gap widened in the two-way race. Given the option between Clinton or Trump, 70.5 percent of women chose Clinton, and 55.8 percent of men chose trump.

Students Critical of News Media

In addition to being unenthusiastic about the candidates, respondents also showed a less than positive view of the news media. Students were asked if they believed that, as a whole, the news media had been fair, accurate, and unbiased in its coverage of the election.

Only 14.6 percent of those surveyed said yes. Almost half, 49.6 percent, said that the news media had not been fair, accurate, and unbiased, but it was not biased against one particular candidate.

 About a third, 31 percent said they believed the news media was biased against Donald Trump. In comparison, very few, only 2.7 percent, believed that the news media was biased against Hillary Clinton.

Overall, these results reinforce what many already know: Americans, particularly younger ones, were not happy with many aspects of the election. Voter apathy and dissatisfaction may be a crucial faction in this election as many look to cast a protest vote against the two at the top of the tickets, or simply do not vote at all.

Place at the Table  |  Election  |  Fall Play  |  Construction

Archive: Meet the Teachers

Haddon Township puts its own spin on Shakespeare

HTHS fall play photo.JPG

From left, Tim Mallgrave, Katie Cona, Jack Tredinnick and Olivia Herbstritt rehearse.



 Media Studies Class


            Kate Tharp, in her second year of directing the Haddon Township High School fall play, has decided to take on a daunting task – all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays.

        The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) will be performed Nov. 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the HTHS auditorium. Admission is $5 at the door. There will also be a free matinee for students and seniors at 10 a.m. on Nov. 16.

        The play is the result of almost three months of planning, set- and costume-designing, and rehearsing. From Hamlet to Romeo and Juliet, each play gets its own separate short vignette. And Tharp hasn’t simplified things for her actors.

         “The hard part is actually knowing and understanding the Shakespeare and being able to deliver it well,” she said. “There are direct quotes from the plays mixed with modern terms.”

            Among the students up to the challenge is Haddon Township senior Tim Mallgrave. After student-directing for his 10th and 11th grade school musicals, Mallgrave has undertaken the role of a narrator for the play.

      “Memorizing lines is the hardest part, but once you get into the rhythm of the show, the lines just sort of flow so it’s not too hard,” he said.

      Behind watching characters on stage act out a persona, there are real relationships being made and lessons being learned. “When I’m done with the play I’m always really sad because I’ll miss the cast and I’ll miss the show,” Mallgrave said.

        For Tharp, working with the students is most satisfying.

        “I love watching students grow and learn about themselves, finding their own voice and who they are,” she said.


Place at the Table  |  Election  |  Fall Play  |  Construction

Archive: Meet the Teachers

    Construction Brings New Elements To High School



Media Studies Class

             If you've heard the occasional sound of a hammer or screwdriver at some point during the school day, you've probably been hearing some touch-ups on the construction that has been happening at our school. The recent bond referendum for our school district has provided our school and all of the other schools in our district with important upgrades. Although there has been a lot of work that has been done to our high school there is still work that needs to be done.

    “The auditorium still has some work to be done,” says Principal Gary O’Brien. “The carpets need to be replaced, the stage needs to be repainted, they’re still working on the sound and lighting system,” Mr. O’Brien added.  Among other things that still need to be completed is the construction and renovation of the Greenhouse.

 Major additions and alterations have already been implemented in our school. One of those big additions has been the installation of the air conditioning.  “Even though it kind of came a little late, the air came,” Mr. O’Brien said.

  “How can you not be pleased with [air conditioning]? I have been here for 23 years and even though my office has had air for the last several years and I love air, I have felt bad for the teachers and the kids,” Mr. O’Brien proclaimed.

The principal also wanted to commend the maintenance and custodial staffs for all the work they did to make sure that our school was ready on the first day.

    Among the other alterations to our school was the renovation of the boiler and lighting systems. “We have replaced our old inefficient boilers and lights with high efficiency units,” said Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Michael Moore. “[The new boiler and lighting systems] will save the district money year after year,” Mr. Moore added.

           Technology has also been greatly impacted by the construction that has went on in the summer.

    “The technology team spent most of the summer running wire in ceilings, installing new switches in tech closets, reconfiguring the district networks and installing new technology,” said Director of Technology Todd Green.

           “Our team of 5 also had to take everything apart and put it back together before school resumed, they worked tirelessly to make sure we were operational on Day 1,” Mr. Green added.  

           Despite the immense success of the construction there have been some cost overruns during the construction process. “Keep in mind we are working with very old buildings and [the construction] brought about many unforeseen costs,” said district Business Administrator Jennifer Gauld.  

          Mrs. Gauld also said that, “The construction committee is working on solutions to the overruns, and as with any major construction project, there are many things you wish you had done differently, but the entire thing was a giant learning process.”



Meet our new teachers!

Laina Latta  |  Ben Lefler  |  Frank Giunta  |  John Baccaro  |  Club Fair

Laina Latta: More Than Just Alliteration


Media Studies Class

When Laina Latta exits the HTHS halls you would probably find her

with her husband of eight years and her two children, a daughter who is 5 and a son who is 1. Or, you may see her somewhere doing yoga, which is something new she is doing to relax. Mrs. Latta enjoys catching up on some shows, like Stranger Things, and listening to music in her free time.

Inside the school, Mrs. Latta is pursuing her passion for teaching. “When I  was little I used to set up my classroom and teach my dolls, so I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.” Living in Haddon Township for six years now Mrs. Latta has always heard great things about the schools, and now loves teaching here. She came to HTHS from a special education setting at YouthBuild Charter School in North Philadelphia, working with 18-21 year olds who were coming back to school for their diploma. “Obviously being a teacher I wanted to help students, and with teaching special education students need a little bit more of support and love.”

Among the teachers Mrs. Latta works with is Mr. Wister, who calls her “very knowledgeable, very friendly, very professional and very serious about her job.” Mrs. Latta’s fondest  memory of teaching was at her previous school, YouthBuild.

 “My very first class was in 2009, I had a mixed group of students with all different personalities.” She recalls one student being full of energy. She worked with her special Ed coordinator to engage the entire class. “In my mind teenagers are teenagers, any problem they come to you with is the the worst and most dramatic problem ever. Some of them might be different, but if someone is going through something and if it's serious to them, it's serious.” She had an agreement with the student that if he could get through the first 75 minutes of class without disruption she would give him “his minute” at the end of the period to perform for the class.

“Just compromising and learning that if there's disruptions and things like that, that you can work with any student if you build that.”

Laina Latta  |  Ben Lefler  |  Frank Giunta  |  John Baccaro  |  Club Fair

Lefler and HTHS Have Chemistry


Media Studies Class

Ben Lefler has recently joined the Haddon Township High School faculty as a student teacher. From day to day, he assists Ms. Coyle in her chemistry classes.

Mr. Lefler went to Haddonfield Memorial High School and then the University of Delaware where he studied chemistry. He is now attending Temple University to get his master’s in teaching.

While at Haddonfield, Lefler says that it was his chemistry teacher that inspired him to go into teaching. He was also encouraged by the experiences of being a teacher’s assistant and tutor at the University of Delaware.

According to Lefler, there are many things that make a teacher good. First, he says, is knowledge of the subject being taught, but he emphasizes that knowledge is not the only thing needed to be a good teacher. Having a passion and conveying that passion for the subject  are also critical.  

Mr. Lefler likes the feel and size of Haddon Township High School “You can know everyone, see everyone, get to know them, it’s awesome!” He also notes that, while it is smaller, it has a similar feel to his alma mater.

When he is not teaching, Mr. Lefler enjoys playing tennis, watching Netflix, and doing crosswords. He also acts at the Woodbury Sketch Club with the Spotlighters. In December, he will be part of a production of Beauty and the Beast, where he will be part of the ensemble.

Mr. Lefler has been acting at various venues for 16 years. In high school, his favorite show was Pippin. While at the University of Delaware, he was part of a production of The Wedding Singer, where he met his girlfriend, who he says is “Julia to my Robbie.” He says that theater has been a lot of fun for him: “Theater people are the greatest people around.”

He also says that his participation in theater has “done wonders for me,” especially in the area of public speaking.

Student Marietta Rowand said, “Mr. Lefler is an intelligent man, and is going to make a great teacher.”

 Ben Lefler will be at Haddon Township until December when he hopes to eventually get a job as a chemistry teacher in a small high school.

Laina Latta  |  Ben Lefler  |  Frank Giunta  |  John Baccaro  |  Club Fair

 Mr. G Says, "Eat Mor Chikin!!!!"



Media Studies Class

Mr. Frank Giunta, father of two and manager of a Chick fil-A franchise, now adds being a business teacher to the mix.

       Attending Trenton State College as a business major, Mr. G had not originally anticipated a career in the teaching field. However, his various years of experience in business, even being a current manager at Chick fil-A, have influenced him greatly to embark upon a teaching career.

        “My Chick fil-A background has led me into teaching because it has made me realize how much I enjoy working with and mentoring young adults,” he said.

This is Mr. G’s first year teaching, and current marketing student Stephanie Hawk says, “ I absolutely love how Mr. G continuously incorporates his Chick fil-A background in our classroom. It helps with real life examples.”

 Mr. G expressed his affection for our school by sharing: “I like that the school is fairly small because it's a close knit community similar to the Chick fil-A atmosphere and it is not as overwhelming as a big school would have been.”

         Mr. G was also influenced to teach by his wife, who is a High School Spanish teacher.

        Together, Mr. G and his wife reside in Sicklerville with their two young children, Carter, who is 5 years old and Christian, who is 2.

Outside of the classroom, Mr. G enjoys basketball, music, movies, spending time with his children and working on cars.

        His favorite music genres are alternative, and classic rock. His favorite band of “all time” is U2, and Mr. G has attended all recent Philly U2 concerts.

His favorite film of all time is Star Wars and he generally favors action and drama movies. “I've never seen the infamous Harry Potter movies, but I intend on reading the books and watching the movies with my son Carter,” he said.

Laina Latta  |  Ben Lefler  |  Frank Giunta  |  John Baccaro  |  Club Fair



Mr. Baccaro, Bringing

Even More Enthusiasm to the Performing Arts



Media Studies Class


       Being in music and theatre wasn't originally what Haddon Township High School's performing arts teacher, Mr. John Baccaro, wanted to do. “I actually wanted to be an artist , a painter, as a little kid, but I was always loud and making up plays and things like that, so my parents showed me the way to go.”

 Mr. Baccaro, a Haddon Township High School graduate, has been interested in performing arts ever since he started out in the musicals and choir programs as a student. He counts Mrs. Maryann McKenzie, a performing arts teacher at HTHS when Mr. Baccaro was a student, as an influence.

"I remember the first time I landed a leading role. Mrs. McKenzie announced that my sophomore year musical was going to be Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” he said.
       "I worked all summer and fall on my audition piece. When I auditioned and got the role, I think I smiled for a month straight. It was an exciting, uplifting experience and it put me on the path I follow today!"
      This is not Mr. Baccaro's first experience as a performing arts teacher. "I had worked at Collingswood for 5 years both at their middle school and elementary school," he said. Mr. Baccaro has also ran theatre programs during the summer months for the last 5 years, as well as many other theatre camps in towns such as Haddonfield and Oaklyn.
        Now that Mr. Baccaro is here at Haddon Township as a teacher, he has embraced the school even more. He said, "I find that the people here are very friendly and it's a small environment so we can work with people more closely, one on one.” He later added, " There is a big emphasis on performing arts here so that speaks to me very much.”

Visual/ Performing Arts department facilitator Mrs. Karen Kiick had only good things to say about Mr. Baccaro. "He brings an enormous amount of enthusiasm, joy, and a desire to help kids be their best,” she said.

Laina Latta  |  Ben Lefler  |  Frank Giunta  |  John Baccaro  |  Club Fair

Club Fair Gives Students a New Way to Express Themselves


Media Studies Class

        Last Tuesday, walking into the cafeteria at lunchtime had a new feel to it. It was louder, more crowded, and more involved.

    The students and teachers of Haddon Township came together for the Week of Respect to present the school with the Club Fair.

     Created by a committee of teachers led by Mrs. Hanlon, the Club Fair was an opportunity for the members of Haddon Township High School’s extracurricular activities to present other students with the guidelines of the club they’re associated with.

         During lunch, students set up a station with a poster bearing the name of their club in front of them. All of the students were seated next to each other at two tables, giving kids the opportunity to walk down the line and view them all. Ranging from Yearbook Club to Honors Society, there wasn’t a shortage of options to learn about and choose from.

        Starla Blatcher, a senior and a member of the Art Club, said, “The Art Club is new this year, and I’m disappointed that I won’t be here next year to do it again.”

       It goes to show how enthusiastic and involved the students are about their clubs. The people who are most thrilled about the opportunity to do something like this, however, are the teachers and facilitators.

       “Students who are involved excel,” explained Mr. George, who was a big factor in making the Club Fair happen. “It’s important to grab kids when they’re freshmen.”

        Will the Club Fair make another appearance in the future? Mrs. Hanlon agreed with Mr. George, “We can’t believe we haven’t done this before,” she said. “We’re looking forward to doing it again next year.”