Single Mom Holding It Together With Hard Work, Much Love

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By Samantha Catalano
Nineteen-year-old Cynthia Caballero is juggling parenthood, two jobs and classes at SCCC, and already she knows that it’s all about balance.
Her normal week includes being on campus for classes from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Plus, she works six days a week at two jobs in Vernon, and her son, Liam, is not yet out of diapers.
Although some might find Caballero’s schedule difficult, she goes through it with ease.
“The best part of the day is coming home to my son’s big smile and laugh,” Cynthia said. “I just wish I could spend more time with him.”
In addition to her busy life, Cynthia maintains good grades. She says she has found the perfect balance between her two jobs, classes, homework and taking care of her son.
When she gets some free time, she enjoys having lunch with her friends and working out.
“It’s my little taste of being a teenager still,” Cynthia said.
Like most mom’s, finding babysitters has proven to be stressful. Her mother and friends watch Liam when she is working or attending class. “Finding a babysitter is hard when I’m needed last minute for one of my jobs,” said Cynthia.
She thought about her young son when she chose a major.
“I’m a criminal justice major because I want to help out my community and I also want to be a good role model for my son,” Cynthia said. “I want him to know that anyone can achieve their goals no matter their situation.”

Musician Enjoys Devine Inspiration For Her Songs

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By Dana Panaro
Sometimes lyrics come out of nowhere, but at other times, the songs seem divinely inspired.
“The best songs I have written came to me in a dreamlike state, as if I’m hypnotized by a melody,” said Kelsey Stoll, a 20-year-old musician from Wantage. “It is one of the most intense and beautiful things I think I’ve ever experienced.”
Kelsey Stoll, a 20-year-old aspiring musician from Wantage, has wanted to pursue a career in music since she could talk. She remembers being a little girl and telling her mom that she would be a famous singer one day, and since that day, music has been her number one.
Writing inspiration for Stoll can come from anywhere. She said that anything can be inspiring if you look at it in the right light. Writing helps her realize that people, including herself, struggle through the hardest times in their lives without realizing that those times are what make people who they are.
Stoll writes about things that tear her apart emotionally — from love and rage, to sadness and happiness. Besides those, she writes about things like money and mystery. Stoll likes to write lyrics that make people think. Her lyrics and melodies range from a “rock and indie sort of feel,” although she doesn’t shy away from other genres, she said.
“It all depends on what my mood is and what feels right at the moment. My genre is changing day by day, emotion by emotion,” Kelsey said.
Stoll has been handed obstacles throughout her music career. One of the most difficult she has faced was getting past fear, mostly the fear of being rejected. Stoll said she never used to sing in front of people and would hide away and write lyrics.
“This dream means too much to me to give up just because someone might say ‘well, you kind of suck’. I still get nervous as hell going up in front of people and pouring my heart out. I constantly remind myself that in 10 years looking back, I would be happier with failed attempts than without attempting anything at all,” Kelsey said.
Wanting to be out there and noticed isn’t about money, or fame, for Stoll. It is about getting to be that voice on the radio when you have your first kiss, when you lose someone you love, or when you can’t take life’s twists and turns. She wants to be that voice reminding people that they aren’t alone, Kelsey said.
Kelsey wants people to love her music and feel a certain way when they listen to her lyrics, or even have a certain song they only listen to with their best friend.
“I want to share the best and worst times of my life with people going through their own ups and downs. I want my music to save someone’s life, to make them think, to touch them and hold them in swaying arms when no one else is around,” she said.

Marijuana Use, Medicinal or Not, Now a Hot Topic

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By Kareem Yaghnam
Marijuana, an herb used for medicinal, religious and recreational purposes for thousands of years, is the topic of much buzz these days.
Weed, pot, smoke or Mary Jane, marijuana has people talking, and people developing opinions.
Should marijuana be legalized? If so, how far does the nation go in legalizing this plant? Should it be used in only medical cases, or is it time to legalize recreational marijuana, as Washington and Colorado have already done?
An attorney in New York City, who asked that his name not be used, spoke highly of the drug when asked how he felt about it.
“I believe the reason pot was made illegal in the first place was due to people with misguided information on the drug,” he said. “Marijuana has incredible uses, such as calming people with post-traumatic stress disorder. How can Xanax be healthier for you than a natural plant that comes from the earth?”
Some, however, believe marijuana is an addictive, gateway drug. A student at SCCC, who preferred to remain anonymous, believes that legalization of weed would only cause bigger problems for the nation in the long run.
“The majority of people addicted to hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, started this path in life with marijuana. By legalizing weed, we are building the path for people to get mixed up with addiction, crime, and violence.”
A NJ accountant who spoke on condition his name not be used, believes that in the next five to ten years the entire nation will have legalized recreational marijuana.
“It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “In 100 years, our great grandchildren will laugh at us the way we laugh at our great grandparents for the alcohol prohibition movement in the 1920s.”
While it seems that there has been a more liberal approach to the topic in recent years, it is still illegal in a majority of the states. Today, all we can do is wait and see what lawmakers decide.

‘Quit Smoking’ Message Is Heard Loud and Clear

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By Viktoria-Leigh Wagner
“When I was a teenager, my friends and I would spray our car windows with cleaner and watch the yellow stain caused by secondhand smoke ooze off.”
Cindy Meakem of the Center for Prevention and Counseling shared a memory and a thought. “When we breathe in secondhand smoke, we’re breathing in all the carcinogens. Plus, it’s disgusting.”
On March 4,  Cindy gave SCCC smokers a run for their money.  With the center four years, she was a smoker herself and quit about six years ago.
“I was smoking on and off probably 10 years,” said Meakem.  “I started at 13, my mother gave me permission to smoke at 16, and then I quit because it was not fun anymore.  I started smoking again in my thirties.”
Meakem says it was peer pressure that got her started.  “I wanted to look older and cool.”
“I’d say smoking is the number one preventable death worldwide,” she said.  Tobacco contains nicotine and 4,000 other cancer causing chemicals, including stearic acid (used in candle wax), ammonia, carbon monoxide, methanol, butane, arsenic, formaldehyde (used to preserve dead bodies) and hydrogen cyanide (gas chamber poison).
According to facts gathered by the center, tobacco kills more than any other substance.  430,000 tobacco users die each year in the U.S., and 4,000,000 die worldwide from tobacco.
The 2006 N.J. Smoke-Free Air Act prohibits smoking in any indoor public place and work place.  220 New Jersey municipalities and 12 counties have enacted 248 laws that restrict outdoor smoking in various recreational areas.
“Hackensack was officially smoke-free March 4th and Branchville March 5th,” said Meakem.  “We reach out to community members who might be interested in creating smoke-free park policies.  A community must show interest, then the town council and mayor decide if the town will be smoke-free.  It is first introduced as an ordinance and then becomes a law.”
Meakem’s home is smoke-free.
“My father died when I was 11, my mother when I was 42, my brother-in-law and my sister all from smoking,” said Meakem.  Her husband, a smoker for 30 years, had a stroke 12 years ago and then quit within six months.
How did Meakem’s husband quit?
“He wanted to buy a jet ski, and I told him ‘no’ because we didn’t have the money.  A year later, he presented me with $4,000.  What I didn’t know was that for the past year, he had been setting aside his two pack-a-day money and saving it in a jar, where it added up.  Needless to say, we got that jet-ski.  I couldn’t tell him no that time!”
The average smoker spends $3,000 per year on tobacco products.
Meakem also talked about the new forms of tobacco products.  Orbs, for example, are designed to look like breath mints.  They contain high amounts of nicotine, and ingesting too many could lead to nicotine poisoning.
Tobacco, explains Meakem, is a gateway drug:  “Back when I started smoking, a lot of people that I was friendly with started smoking young.  We were uneducated, and at that time, we could buy our own cigarettes.  There was no age limit.”
It’s estimated that by 2030, more than 10,000,000 will die every year from tobacco-related illnesses.
According to Meakem, secondhand smoke is an issue of its own.  Non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke are at the same risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia as smokers themselves.

Young Film Producer Begins To Make Money From His Passion

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By Dori Healey
Lights, camera, action!”
Joey Gatto is making a film in his home, and he expects to make money from it.
From Instagram to Tumblr, young adults are creating a name for themselves within the communities of each social platform and turning it into a job by getting paid from advertising or the website itself.
The most known website of this new career is YouTube. It’s not only a website that hosts cute cat videos and random people falling down. It’s a community of people who are creating content to the world on things they love and feel the need to share.
In this community is 20-year-old Gatto of Morristown, who has turned his love of video editing and his charismatic personality into his own dream job. When fans type in are greeted by Joey’s main channel on YouTube where he uploads weekly videos of his own creative content.
With a growing 70K Subscribers’ and over 2M views, Gatto has had to produce unique content that will keep his dream alive.
It’s not easy,” Gatto said. “When there are hundreds of other people trying to do what you do every day.”
With over 800 million views, the Top YouTuber today is a young Swedish guy who has a gaming channel. You can watch him play and comment on videogames. His net worth is close to $6.1M.
“It’s not for the money, it’s more for the creating a name for myself in something that I love doing,” he said.
This is not Gatto’s first YouTube channel. In high school, he had a channel known as GhettoKid1234, where he uploaded interviews that he did on the Seaside Boardwalk asking strangers to comment on the Jersey Shore cast.
This is also where he uploaded the video that really “set him off” into the YouTube community, in 2011 when he was a junior in high school.
It was a video called “Sh*t Teachers Want to Say” where he posed as a teacher saying what he thought was really on their minds when it came to dealing with annoying or disruptive students. It had reached 1.4 million views.
Unfortunately Gatto had to delete the account because he “was not able to prove to YouTube the amount of views” he had gotten in so little time. They alleged that he was hacking his own account, because his subscriptions and video views were not in the same range of numbers. Fans can still see that video on his second channel,
For Gatto, in the last year it became feasible to make a living entirely online, creating his own content. He uses all social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to get his content and name out there.
But after creating video after video talking about random topics to the same people and fan bases, Gatto took the next step in YouTuber content, a Collab Channel. It’s a way for Youtubers to create better content with help of friends and also to connect and help their fan bases grow.
Each YouTuber has a day where he uploads his own video on a topic chosen by the group collectively. Gatto and eight other Youtubers got together one day and created the channel SDK, or Settle Down Kids.
It includes Youtubers Josh Sobo who has 84,000 subscribers, Jonah Green with 100,000, MANNTV with 36,000, Ryan’s Average Life with 256,000 and Santagato TV with 200,000 subscribers.
Gatto’s career has only started and is growing on a daily basis. He now has merchandise on, where fans can buy four different styled T-shirts that he created.
This March, Gatto will be a special guest on the YouTube Event, Playlist Live, a three-day event in Florida created by District Lines, where creators, fans, and supporters of online video content get together and just have a good time. YouTubers from all around the world fly in to meet some of their biggest fans and hang out with other YouTubers.
Although Gatto knows hisYouTube career won’t last forever.
When it’s over, he’ll “crawl in a hole and cry,” he said. But he hopes to “vlog (video blogging) his everyday life with his wife and family.”
It’s not a secret that YouTube is taking over the entertainment community. It’s a platform where people have the freedom of creating their own content on their own time, without the worry of management, the fear of being cancelled or getting a bad review. YouTubers are able to create and say whatever they want and post it to

Local Skateboarders Get Serious About Their Beloved Sport

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By Manny Rodriguez
Local students from Sussex County are making history on the skateboarding scene.
Former SCCC student Jeff Starch and a couple of his friends started a skateboard collective called EastCrust, and an increasing number of people are involved.
At first, in 2008, the group was simply for fun, and they had only a few members. But as their skateboarding skills progressed, so did their popularity.
They began filming short videos at famous places in New Jersey and New York City. They started sticking their EastCrust logo stickers on ledges, handrails and signs.  They posted their finished videos on Youtube.
Slowly, skateboarders from all over began seeing their mysterious stickers and started searching on the internet to see what it was all about.
Jeff noticed and created a website, There you can gather information on the collective, and see photos of the members and videos they put together.
“It’s just something we all do for fun, but now it’s something more. Something a lot bigger,” said EastCrust member and SCCC student Jack Lally.
Bigger is right. Jeff has opened a shop on the website selling tee shirts, hoodies and jackets with the EastCrust logo.
They have released a full-length collaborative video titled “Battylife,” directed by member Sam Fickinger. The video has been featured on skateboarding websites such as, and now currently has over 30,000 views on Youtube.
Jeff and the rest of the members are currently filming another video, but aren’t worried about who sees it or not.
“Were doing this for ourselves. It’s never been about making money or gaining popularity, we do it because it’s fun and we love it,” he said.

Former Grocery Worker Loves Teaching Here

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By Nicole Price
Michael Hughes is one of the many professors of communications at SCCC.  He started at the college as a part-time teacher, but got an offer to teach full time — and he took it right away.
“How could I refuse an offer like that?” said Hughes. He was originally hired to teach the art courses, but when Gary Meilo, a communications professor retired, he handed his courses to Hughes.
Some of those courses included Introduction to Mass Communications, all of the film classes and some additional art classes.
He said that film has always been an interest of his and couldn’t wait to start.  In fact, Hughes tries to go to the movies often and see a new movie at least once every weekend.
His job is “great” and he loves every minute of it. The only thing he wishes is that in some of his classes, his students would raise their hands more often so that there can be a debate or heated discussion, he said.
Hughes stumbled into teaching; he was for many decades in the grocery business.
He worked at ShopRite for 37 years; he started out in Netcong and transferred finally to Newton.  He finished up at the Newton ShopRite as one of the night crew shelf stockers.
Hughes has a 25-year plaque at the ShopRite in Newton by the exit door. But after he finished his education, he was offered a temporary part-time job at SCCC.
He started his education after high school, at the County College of Morris, for three years. Then, he transferred to Kean College for a year.  He had to stop his education for a year when he was drafted during the Vietnam War.  He did not serve overseas. It took 10 years for him to continue his education — longer than he expected.
He continued at SCCC for three years. Then he went to William Paterson University to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  In addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree, he also received a Master’s degree in Fine Arts.
Hughes has many role models in his life, but a few that inspired him are Joseph Cornell, a famous artist and his mentor, fellow professor Julie McWilliams.
Hughes grew up in Essex County, in the Newark and E. Orange areas.  He moved to Sussex County when he was 12.  He went to Netcong High School, and now lives in Sussex County with his wife and daughter.

TV Department Wins Telly Award

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By Jordan Cottelli
The SCCC Television Department has won two consecutive Telly Awards for student-produced films, the first in 2012, and the second late last year.
Last years’ award is for a local SCCC TV commercial, which was produced by TV department staff member Tim O’Connor.
The commercial uses testimonials from both current and former students, highlighting all their great experiences while attending SCCC.
The 2013 Telly Awards competition was the first time the college has won for a commercial production.
In 2012, a one-hour documentary about the Vernon High School Robotics team, who are followed throughout the process of building a robot, then, onto the competition at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, won the Telly Award.

Teacher Enjoys Missionary Work

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By Dana Panaro

Arlene Van Horn went to Peru several years ago with her church and met an adorable deaf girl deep in the Andes Mountains.

“This little girl had a beautiful smile but no way of communicating outside of hand gestures,” said SCCC Professor Van Horn.

The child’s parents didn’t allow her to attend any programs to improve her communication skills because they wanted to her to continue working on their farm. This really touched Van Horn, and once she returned home, she began to research deaf education in Peru.

What she discovered was that many deaf children were educated in schools that are designed to educate special needs children. These teachers do not know sign language and are not qualified to work with the deaf. Through her research, Van Horn met the director of the Programs for the Deaf in Peru and developed a relationship to work and help improve the future of deaf children there.

She has completed one or two missionary trips per year, to Peru and other places, since 2001. Schools in Peru are 20 years behind schools in the U.S. and while we offer education specifically for the deaf — including a university especially for the deaf — Peru doesn’t, she said.

Peruvian schools lack severely in terms of deaf education. The deaf children there attend schools where they learn by copying the teachers’ notes from the board to a piece of paper. Many of these children aren’t actually learning, though. Instead, they just see a bunch of written words, Van Horn said.

While visiting these schools, Van Horn educates the teachers on deaf education. She creates mock lessons, instructs the class, and teaches sign language to the teachers, students and parents, she said.

Others attend these missionary trips with Van Horn. While there, they use public transportation and stay in a private homes, she said.

“The trip costs $1,700, which includes airfare, food and housing, so all you have to pay for are souvenirs,” Van Horn said. You may think the trip is all work and no play (for missionaries), but that’s incorrect. Yes, the trip calls for a lot of hard work and dedication, but there’s still time to have fun.

On previous trips, Van Horn and the others enjoyed sightseeing and the local culture. Many times, they give the deaf children an opportunity to go along with them.

You don’t have to be fluent in sign language to go on a mission trip to Peru. Other talents are necessary to work with the children. A smile goes a long way, she said.

For more information go to You can find out about her past and future trips, along with how to apply.

“God has used talents from here to help another country, and I will not leave this earth without seeing a deaf student graduate from college,” Van Horn said.

Tattoo Artist Loves His Work, People He Works On

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Photos and story by Carl Marchiano
If you wanted a tattoo, you’d want to get one from a guy who always wanted to be an artist and who really enjoys the people he creates with.
Eric Hornung is that guy. He recently opened Anti-hero Electric Tattoo in Andover after several decades as an artist. He left home at 17 to attend art school, but wound up working for a sign company creating graphic designs and lettering trucks, while bartending on the side.
That became uninspiring after awhile.
“I wanted to be in a place where art is created,” Eric, age 37, said.  So he went into the art of tattoos– an area he loved – and became hideously underpaid. In 2006 Eric landed an apprenticeship at Eternal Grafix in Newton.
“I ran up 4 credit cards during my apprenticeship, and lived from tattoo to tattoo,” he said. If he did no tattoos that week, he wouldn’t have money to eat.
As an aspiring tattoo artist, he was discouraged many times, but he kept improving and remained diligent in his endeavor to succeed and obtain his dream job.             “The only way to be good is to do a million crappy tattoos,” he said.
After four years of apprenticeship, he realized he was just an employee. He was getting good at his craft, and he was ready to be an artist with his own studio. So, Anti-hero Electric Tattoo was opened in 2010.
He now specializes in color tattoos with nature themes. In his studio are depictions of fish, deer and all kinds of other animals.
“Nature is perfectly imperfect,” he said describing his passion. “A spark plug is manufactured to be certain dimensions, but no two deer antlers are the same, like fingerprints.”
After a few years, and several hardships, Eric has achieved his dream of being his own boss, and owning a tattoo parlor. Meanwhile he gained some local popularity by being featured in the New Jersey Herald. His business expanded by means of social media and by word of mouth, a result of his exceptional customer service.
No matter what, Eric has never compromised himself as an artist.
Eric will do any tattoo, however he likes to add his own touch to all of his work, making it unique from others of its kind. Currently, he loves his “cool job” where he makes his own hours, is his own boss, and gets paid to make art and chat with people.
His busy months are usually in the summer. When business slows down in the winter months, Eric also works for a multitude of graphic design companies.
He prides himself on the fact that his tattoos are all hand drawn. Every image, creation, and idea is original from the moment of conception; there are no stencils or printed images.