Advisers showcase their outside interests through clubs


Blot photo by Nora Thompson

Students perform in Drama Club’s 2017 production of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, which Bengle advised.

Tess Rempel

Math doesn’t have anything to do with religion, and debate doesn’t have anything to do with physics, but to CHS’s club advisers, that doesn’t matter.  While many advisers teach material very different from the clubs they advise, some teachers find it very easy to draw similarities.

“It’s really not that different,” said radio teacher and drama club adviser Bill Bengle. “There are aspects of drama in TV and radio… there’s a lot of acting involved in that. It’s still in that creative wheelhouse.”

Other teachers recognize and appreciate the diversity between their clubs and classes.

Physics teacher Steve Godkin advises Junior State of America (JSA), a club that focuses on debate and politics. “Having a little bit of variety in the day is definitely a plus. I do like the fact that there’s a contrast to the club versus what I teach.”

However, some teachers such as math teacher Scott Stengele, have a passion for the club that goes beyond the realm of CHS. Besides advising Christian Club, Stengele also has experience through his work as a pastor. He has provided sermons on topics such as God’s family tree and the stories of Grace from Manasseh in Toms River, which have been uploaded online since 2016.

“I feel like he kind of has, like, a godly presence,” said senior Meredith Prud’homme of Ocean, president of Christian Club.

Like Stengele, technology teacher Laura Gesin leads a seemingly unlikely club. Contrasting her STEM background, Gesin advises CHS’s literary magazine, The Commons. Club involvement allows her to put her creative writing degree and English teacher certification to good use.

“[The club] is a very nice way for me to give a little love to my other interests,” Gesin said. “I love programming, there’s nothing wrong with programming… but we are not one thing. Everybody has multiple interests.”

Senior Vaughn Battista of Tinton Falls, co-president of JSA, agrees that the club’s meetings and efforts would be impossible without its advisers. Despite their differences, advisers contribute something unique and important to their clubs. 

“Without an adviser, we wouldn’t be able to have a club in the first place,” Battista said.