RAHWAY, NJ — On Friday, Oct. 7, Rahway High School staff and students roared with excitement and pride as they arrived at their new football turf at Rahway River Park. Students celebrated with pizza and music as they gathered in anticipation of the game. The event began with a homecoming and ribbon cutting ceremony that included a special honor to veterans in memory of the previous location, where the team played for almost the past 100 years.
“Rahway has been playing on Veteran’s Field, which was once known as Riverside Park, for almost the past 100 years,” Rahway High School Vice Principal Patricia Valino-Reinoso said. “In the early 1960s,
it was renamed Veteran’s Field to honor the veterans from Rahway. The city of Rahway has dedicated more than 14 of its parks to veterans, and streets like Harbienko Place and others throughout the city have also been named for casualties of war.
The city of Rahway lost 58 soldiers in World War II, and here in this very park, 58 trees have been planted in their honor just to the south of this field and around the walkway.”
The veterans were honored as the crowd saluted all that have served our great nation and they rose as Taps played, and a wreath was dedicated by Captain Jerry Parchman of Rahway High School’s JROTC. The teams took the field to initiate the ribbon cutting ceremony. Representing the high school for the ribbon cutting ceremony were members of the homecoming royal court and select foreign language students. Rahway Mayor Samson Steinman and Union County freeholders also marked the beginning of the new era in park history. Rahway scored their first touchdown within the first few minutes of the game against Somerville, and the crowd went wild as they cheered on their team.
“I’m really excited about the game tonight,” Makenzie Martin, of Rahway, told LocalSource. “We usually have games on Saturday when a lot of the students are busy with other activities, but Friday night is a great time for us to come together. This new turf will unify our class and school as whole.”
“This is my first time attending a school football game in Rahway,” Shane Whitemyer, of Rahway, told LocalSource. “Veteran’s Field isn’t as nice as this one. This park is absolutely beautiful. I’m enjoying the pizza and music, and I plan to attend more games even though there is only one more home game this season. Rahway is definitely having a great season with a record of four and zero.”
To celebrate the homecoming game, the homecoming court was announced as the class princesses were escorted by members of the JROTC and their parents. The class princesses included freshman Ka’Rynn Hill, sophomore Stacey Saint Paul and junior Jodi Alston. The members of the royal court were also announced, as well as homecoming king and queen, Zaire Wilder and Najah Nertzberger.
“This new football turf is something we’ve always dreamed about,” Valino-Reinoso told LocalSource. “It’s really an emotional experience for me since I was the track coach for 15 years. When we tested the music earlier, I listened to ‘Chariots of Fire,’ which had an incredible impact on me.”