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SRS Teacher Spotlight
SRS Teacher Spotlight


SRS is blessed to have hardworking, dedicated and caring teachers. The PTA would like to spotlight teachers throughout the school year .

1.        Please share a little background about yourself?

​My name is Jimmy Fuccello and I was born in Trenton, New Jersey. I have lived in this area my entire life. My parents were my main inspiration and did everything for me. At a young age, I played many sports such as football, basketball, wrestling, baseball, karate, and track and field. My favorite sport was football and my dad created the Hamilton PAL football league so that all players can have an opportunity to play in a fun league with good sportsmanship. After playing 8 years in Hamilton P.A.L., I played football at Notre Dame High School. I had 4 great years there starting at running back and slot receiver. The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome was tearing my ACL going into my senior football season. Although the doctor said it was impossible for anyone to play with a torn ACL, with the help of my dad who trained me with weights since I was young, I proved the doctor wrong and played the entire season with a torn ACL. I got knee surgery after the season but was able to recover and play in the Sunshine Classic All-Star game. The next year, I coached at Notre Dame but ended up tearing my ACL again. I finally recovered and went to Temple University. Unfortunately, I tore my ACL for the third time. Although devastated at first that I had to give up football, I met two people who were both blind and they changed my life forever. They became my best friends and I walked them to class every day for 4 years. I believe that it was God’s plan for me to go to Temple and meet my friends.

 

2.            What inspired or motivated you to become a teacher?   My Aunt Chris Fuccello, who was my physical education teacher at Holy Angels for 8 years inspired me to become a teacher. She was always so kind to me and I saw what a difference she made in her students’ lives. My father was also an inspiration to me because he was also a physical education teacher and I would go with him to school and see how much the students looked up to him.

 

3.            Why did you choose to be a teacher St Raphael School? I chose St. Raphael’s School because it is a wonderful and loving community. I went to Holy Angels and many of my amazing teachers such as Mrs. Chiariello, Mrs. LaMorte, Mrs. Mickolas, and Mrs. Gronostajski all ended up teaching at St. Raphael’s when Holy Angels closed. All of these incredible teachers made a huge impact on my life. They instilled Catholic values and discipline into their students. I also had Mrs. Lori Verde as my first grade teacher, whose children come to St. Raphael’s. Two other great teachers who had a huge influence on me were my 7th grade and 8th grade teachers at Holy Angles named Mrs. Rivera and Mr. Wojcik. All of the teachers that I mentioned made Catholic education so wonderful for me and I knew that St. Raphael’s was the school that I wanted to be at because it reminded me so much of the education that I received growing up. In August of 2017, when I found out that Mr. Belviso was leaving, I was ecstatic to learn that Mrs. Cwirko offered me my dream job to teach at St. Raphael’s. I get a chance to teach with a bunch of my former teachers. I get to share my Catholic faith and my favorite sports with the students. I get a chance to inspire the students just like all of these wonderful teachers and coaches who I mentioned inspired me. Mrs. Cwirko is the greatest Principal that I have ever met and she would do anything for her staff and students. Going into the job, I was a little nervous and had some butterflies at first because it was my first full-time teaching job. During our first mass when I saw what a loving and welcoming family everyone was, all of my butterflies flew away. Every student and teacher made me feel at home right from the start. Just like listening to Chicago love songs reminded me of my amazing childhood with my parents, hearing all of the classic church songs that we used to sing at Holy Angels and seeing teachers like Mrs. Chiariello and Mrs. LaMorte made it feel just like the old days. At the end of that first mass, I was so touched by everyone singing “Lord I lift your name on high,” and clapping as a community that I got chills and tears in my eyes. It also brought a brand new song out of me, which ended up becoming the “Saint Raphael’s School Song.” I was so touched by the school’s faith and love that all of these lyrics and melody just flowed out of my head in about 5 minutes. I wrote it down on my phone, hummed the melody into an app and hired a singer to sing it a few months later. I could not believe how much my life had come full circle. I went through so much, but I overcame it all and ended up working with some of my favorite teachers who helped shape me into the man I am. 

4.            Throughout your time as a teacher, what moments have captivated you to think/say “This is why I teach at a Catholic School.” My first year at Saint Raphael’s could not have gone better. I made so many great friends and had the honor of teaching so many wonderful students. I try to instill in my students the same lessons that my dad and teachers instilled in me, which is having great sportsmanship, treating everyone with kindness, trying your best to overcome your struggles and never giving up. Seeing things like students complimenting each other, helping each other up after they have fallen, and making sandwiches for the homeless is what makes me proud to be not just a Catholic School teacher, but to be a Saint Raphael’s School teacher.

 

5.            What do you enjoy doing once you go home at the end of the school day? When I am not in school, I enjoy working out. My favorite workouts include lifting weights in my attic and running at the field or gym. I also love the Dallas Cowboys and enjoy watching their games on television. I love classic rock and oldie music and my all-time favorite band is the legendary rock group Chicago. I have seen them live over 40 times. I even became friends with their lead singer Jason Scheff and got to work out with him in Las Vegas.  I also love the bands and singers Styx, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Richard Marx, The Police, Sting, Boston, Kansas, Toto, Mr. Mister, Boz Scaggs, Foreigner, Hall and Oates, and many others! I enjoy watching movies, especially Rocky. My all-time favorite movie is Rocky IV. My dad had me watching Rocky since I was a kid and it taught me a lot about overcoming adversity. I enjoy Adam Sandler movies along with classic 90’s movies like The Addams Family, The Little Giants, Jumanji, Casper, Home Alone, and Hocus Pocus. I also love sitcoms such as Seinfeld, Friends, the Goldbergs and the Wonder Years. I have been watching shows and movies about heroes that help people since I was a kid and I have always loved helping people. Seeing someone smile after I help them is worth way more to me than any amount of money. I love to do all of these things with my girlfriend Stephanie, who was a Saint Raphael’s graduate. We love to travel to Disney World every year.

 

{You can hear “The Raphael’s School Song” written by Mr. Fuccello on the homepage of the school website www.srsnj.org }

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