On the Move with Artist Laurence Gartel

Posted on 12 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

Figuring out where local artist Laurence Gartel is right now is a little like “Where’s Waldo?” After all, he is not one to sit around Boca Raton; he is more likely jet setting half a world away. Recently, this “Father of Digital Art” was in Italy for an extended stint for his Hyp Pop show showcasing his work next to Andy Warhol’s. But he came back to SoFla with a vengeance.

Gartel explained, “Since my traveling exhibition in Europe, “Warhol vs. Gartel Hyp Pop,” which has gone to several Italian cities, as well as exclusive book signings in Switzerland, I have been working on a new book and preparing for this upcoming exhibition in Pompano. Additionally, I created three new ART CARS for Art Basel and will be displaying them at various venues throughout the New Year, like at Art Ft. Lauderdale (Jan. 24-28). SuperCar Week in West Palm (Jan. 6 –14), Foto Fusion (Jan. 23-27) and other locations. People will get to see one at the Pompano showcase.”

Yes, touring all around Art Basel showing off dynamic art cars and being on the scene wherever he could, Gartel garnered quite a lot of attention. Next, he will be speaking at Art Ft. Lauderdale. And, after that, he is bringing his artistic creations right back here to Pompano Beach for a special exhibition that is going to bring not only a lot of attention to the area and his art, but also will bring in dignitaries from all around. The show is slated to run Feb. 22 – March 8, 2018 (pending approval) at the new Pompano Beach Cultural Center, but the date has already changed once, so it could be shifted again (More details soon).

After visiting all these grand locales around the world, “Why Pompano?” I asked, to which he responded, “Pompano has committed itself to be a new arts region. There will be artist housing, artist studios, the cultural amphitheatre and the new cultural center. There will be an exhibition space, a lecture/multiple use environment (hopefully, having diverse programming and cross cultural events). Included there is going to be a Digital Media Center. This is, of course, my area of interest and I hope to have great input into the direction this area goes in. As a visionary and pioneer of this field, I have clear concepts which I hope to implement. The goal is to further enrich lives through the development of art and technology.”

He added, “When I started, Digital Media did not exist, so the world has come a very long way in 40 years. It has literally taken a lifetime but it is worth the effort to change the shape of our civilization.”

Back in the day, it was Gartel who introduced Andy Warhol to digital art, after meeting him at Studio 54. His work was the official artwork for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, part of an Absolut Vodka campaign…He has created work for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears… The list goes on and on of what he has accomplished through the years.

His upcoming Pompano exhibition, he said will “include a variety of images, as well as processes that have been explored over time. From electronic images that have been photographed off the video monitor screens with a still camera mounted on a tripod, to black and white orthographic prints, Iris prints, thermal graphic prints, large scale ink-jet prints, as well as 3D ‘sculptural’ works. There will also be works created with a 3D drawing pen, so there will be a variety of images. The other ‘surprise’ will be a wall of media created from the history of my career…This is most unique.”

The title of his exhibit is a name he used 30 years ago as the title of his first book, which was published in 1989: ‘Laurence Gartel: A Cybernetic Romance.

The ‘romance,’” he explained, “is between ‘Artist and Machine,” adding, “Early on, it was questionable how a creative person could use a computer to release aesthetic ideas and concepts, as Rembrandt, Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Manet and every other artist through the centuries did. This was a revolution to be sure which the entire world now embraces. It is mind blowing when you think of it — to change an entire culture through an artist’s vision.”

After this, what could be next for this artist who is always on-the-go?

What’s next,” he said, “is to work on several concepts of books. I have so much work. Meeting new people around the world helps stimulate the artistic mind. I have been most fortunate to travel to Australia, India, Spain, Russia, Austria, Japan, Switzerland and Norway, to name a few. Travel is definitely in my future and so are the ART CARS that I love so much.”

For more on the Laurence Gartel, visit https://gartelmuseum.weebly.com/commissions.html.

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Tigers roar to title

Posted on 04 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Blanche Ely’s boys’ basketball team roared to the championship in the Under Armour Challenge bracket at the 28th annual Kreul Classic at Coral Springs City Gymnasium.

The Tigers topped Leflore (Mobile, AL) 66-48 in the championship game as it finally strung together two solid efforts on both sides of the court.

You play with five individuals on the court,” said Blanche Ely coach Melvin Randall. “If you have those five kids coming on the court together with one fist and delivering that punch you can do some things. Tonight, they were able to put it together. We still have some things to work on, but we are getting better.”

Randall hadn’t been pleased with his team’s effort earlier in the year.

But the Tigers (10-5) put things together on both ends of the court Monday night en route to whipping Leflore, of Mobile, AL, 66-48 in the championship game of the Under Armour Challenge bracket at the 28th annual Kreul Classic at Coral Springs City Gym.

In the beginning of the season, he (Randall) wasn’t happy,” said Ely senior guard Michael Forrest, who was named the MVP of the bracket. “He said that we would always quit on him. He put us to the challenge. We accepted the challenge and we stepped up. We played hard. we played as a team.”

Forrest finished with 19 points and Anthony Byrd Jr. added 14 for the Tigers (7-3), winners of four straight after starting 3-3.

Ely led only 16-15 after one quarter, but broke the game open after that.

The (defensive) pressure gives us more energy to get stops,” Forrest said, “and, as we get more stops, we get easy buckets.”

Baseball showcase

The South Florida Baseball School and STEALTH are teaming together for the Phenom Recruiting Showcase event on Jan. 6 at Highlands Christian Academy, 501 NE 48 St., Pompano Beach.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be a pro-style workout with evaluations and the cost to register is $150.

Confirmed schools that will be in attendance include Barry, ASA, Broward, Felician, Florida National, Hillsborough Community College, Palm Beach Atlantic, St. Thomas (NY) and more.

To register, go to www.Phenomrecruiting.com. For more information, call 973-295-5409.

Wallace Field House opening

Highlands Christian Academy baseball coach Bruce Charlebois and the South Florida Baseball School, based at the Pompano Beach campus, will hold a grand opening of the Wallace Field House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 13.

The field house is a 5,000 sq. ft. indoor baseball and softball training facility complete with a Raw Juice and Smoothie Bar, as well as dugout seating and a waiting area with TVs.

The grand opening will include self-guided tours of the facility, demonstrations, guest speakers, music, food and more.

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Bucks win Kreul title

Posted on 28 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Bracket MVP Victor Robinson scored 10 points to help lead Deerfield Beach to a 57-45 victory over McArthur for the BCAA Challenge championship in the 28th annual Kreul Classic basketball tournament at the Coral Springs Gymnasium.

Robinson, a junior, was helped by junior Faizon Francis, who also scored 10 points in the win for the Bucks (7-3) in the championship contest.

We’ve been getting better,” said Deerfield coach Kenny Brown, who has won four straight. “The strength of the team is our numbers.”

The Bucks are off to a 7-3 start and were slated to play Naples in a tournament game last night, which was unavailable as of press time.

Senior captain Lutelson Jerome is averaging 10.3 points per game and 6.3 rebounds a game, while Robinson is knocking down an average of 10.1 points per game and 8.0 rebounds a game.

Even though the Bucks have lost three games, they have all been within single digits – losing to Palm Beach Lakes, 60-55, and then Coral Springs twice, 61-55, in overtime and 60-54 just four days later. Coral Springs leads the District 11-9A race with a 6-0 record, while the Bucks are 4-2 and tied with Taravella.

Altieri competing at Nationals

Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri is competing among the top skaters in the country this week at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif. from Dec. 29 – January 7, 2018.

Altieri, 16, a sophomore at North Broward Prep School, is looking to win the Novice Men’s Division. He is a member of the Coral Springs-based Panthers Figure Skating Club.

Three other members of the club will join him at Nationals, including Coral Springs’ Sophia Chouinard (Novice Ladies) and Senior Division skaters — Coral Springs’ Andrew Torgashev and Franchesca Chiera, who are also hoping for spots on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Nationals, it’s the biggest event, so I really want to skate great there,” said Altieri, who finished fifth in the same division last year. “Nationals is pretty big for me. It is not like it is the only thing in my life, but it is definitely a huge part of it. I spend a lot of time skating and thinking about it.”

Altieri punched his ticket by finishing in the top four at U.S. Figure Skating’s Eastern Sectionals in Boxborough, Massachusetts in November. Only 12 skaters from all over the U.S. qualify for Nationals in each discipline.

Altieri, who finished third in the Novice Men’s Division at the Sectional event, has skated for almost six years and said he is looking for his best performance of the season.

He certainly puts in the time, skating from 5 to 6:30 a.m. every day.

This season has been okay,” he said. “I haven’t broken out yet. I haven’t skated great yet. I am hoping to skate my best programs possible at Nationals. I want to finish first.”

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FLICKS: 2017 in Review & evolution 2018

Posted on 28 December 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Much like Aeneas fleeing the fall of Troy 5000 years ago, this film columnist is feeling a kindred spirit with this fictional character from the Aeneid written by Virgil, the Roman playwright. During the holiday season 18 years ago, the theaters would be packed with consumers viewing movies like The Green Mile, The Sixth Sense and Toy Story 2. In the past, people had to plan weeks or months in advance to purchase a ticket for a blockbuster. Even with the current box office champion, there is no need to plan that far in advance.

There were some good movies that looked great on the movie screen this year with big epic visuals. Among the standouts were Kong: Skull Island and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to name a few. There were also strong stories like Moonlight and The Last Word that did not need to be seen on the big screen. These films were just as good on your television set at home. Thus, my major dilemma, being the longest standing film columnist in Broward County, has Flicks outlived its usefulness?

This swashbuckling journalist & information scientist still enjoys the challenge of coming up with seven paragraphs about the motion picture industry each week. Yet, with dropping box office revenue, there is no denying the shrinking interest in seeing a movie on the big screen. Entertainment spending is being spent on many alternative consumer items, like cell phones that can download movies for free with a library card.

Ninety years ago, Al Jolson brought sound to the big screen with the debut of The Jazz Singer. The doom knell for movies was sounded 60 years ago when Americans purchased black & white television sets for home entertainment and mass communication. The movie industry responded with Technicolor epics like The Searchers, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ and Rio Bravo. The motion picture industry survived because it consistently evolves.

Prurient scandals have been part of Hollywood history since its inception, from Charlie Chaplin’s peccadillos to Harvey Weinstein’s full-blown harassment scandals. As a journalist, one can not pursue news and information about the movie industry without being sidetracked by these scandals. This writer prefers to read stories about the business side of the industry or interviews with actors who talk about their craft and character development.

These types of stories and interviews are getting harder to find in this information age filled with #FakeNews.

Next week, Flicks will present our annual Top 10 List with Honorable Mentions. As long as I keep writing this column, Flicks will always have a movie component to it. Yet, there is so much more to the world of arts, entertainment, theater and culture than just sitting in a dark room watching projected celluloid images on a big screen.

Starting with Jan. 11, 2018, Flicks will be undergoing its first step of its evolution. it is my hope that my dear readers since 1999 will grow along with me. Until then, have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve weekend.

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City Facilities Closed for Christmas

Posted on 22 December 2017 by JLusk

All city facilities, with exception to the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier, will be closed on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 and Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 in observance of Christmas. The Deerfield Beach Aquatic Center will be closed Sunday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 25. The Aquatic Center will reopen Tuesday, Dec. 26th from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The City of Deerfield Beach will be adjusting the garbage and recycling collection schedule for the week of Dec. 25 through Dec. 30. There will be no service provided on Monday, Dec. 25 due to the Christmas holiday. Most services for the remainder of the week will take place one day later than normally scheduled.

All collections will return to normal starting Jan. 1. There will be no change in service for the New Year’s holiday

For additional information contact the City of Deerfield Beach at 954.480.4201.

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FYI: Wawa Grand Opening moved to Friday, Dec. 22

Posted on 21 December 2017 by JLusk

The Wawa at 20 SW 12 Ave. in Deerfield Beach was supposed to open on Thursday, Dec. 21, but, after press time, they decided to move it to Friday, Dec. 22. Festivities, which include a hoagie building competition between Broward Sheriff’s Office and Broward Fire Rescue personnel, a parade, giveaways, tastings and more, will begin at 10 a.m. (but the store actually opens at 8 a.m.) They usually have extremely low gas prices during their openings. They will have free coffee through Dec. 31.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Posted on 21 December 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

cinemadave.livejournal.com

When I began writing “Flicks” 18 summers ago, Star Wars: Episode I -The Phantom Menace was the most hyped movie of 1999. Unlike previous Star Wars movies which opened on Memorial Day weekend and stayed on the big screen past Labor Day weekend, Star Wars: Episode I lost momentum after the 4th of July weekend. For the next six years, two more Star Wars movies were released to a good box office, but with critical disdain. Creator George Lucas claimed the Star Wars story was over, but Disney purchased the franchise and we have seen three movies that last three holiday seasons. Star Wars: Episode VIII- The Last Jedi, is the most recent endeavor.

The Last Jedi picks up where Star Wars: Episode VII -The Force Awakens left off. The good guys — the Resistance — are under assault from the bad guys — the First Order. Hot shot pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) defies General Leia Organa’s (Carrie Fisher) orders and ignites a space battle with Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The battle is decisive for the Resistance, but with a great loss for the heroes.

Meanwhile on an abandoned planet, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has found legendary hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who is old, disillusioned and cantankerous. As Rey tries to persuade this war hero to help fight the bad guys, Luke feels grief over his nephew’s conversion to the dark side and the rise of the First Order. Luke’s nephew is Kylo Ren, who is the son of Princess Leia.

In terms of understanding the narrative information leading up to The Last Jedi, the pedigree between mother, son and nephew is all one needs to know to enjoy last weekend’s box office champion. Director Rian Johnson does a fine job revealing a fresh story with archetypal conflict. The lessons of war are presented with reverence, filled with clear and concise visuals. The computerized special effects enhance, but do not distract, from the fast-paced narrative drive.

Given that the director was only 3 years old when the original Star Wars (known as Episode IV: A New Hope) was released, The Last Jedi emphasizes the theme of passing the generational torch. The robots from the first six movies — R2-D2 and C-3PO — are given less screen time compared to the new prodigy, BB-8. Harrison Ford’s character is gone and we know that the late Carrie Fisher’s character will not return, so Episode IX will revolve around the conflict between those kids, Rey and Kylo Ren.

Yet, being the longest Star Wars movie on record, The Last Jedi does not cheat on entertainment. There are moments of pure Saturday matinee popcorn-eating fun that transport the ticket buyer to the thrilling days of yesterday when Flash Gordon battled Ming the Merciless. Of all the performers, Mark Hamill does a fine job balancing the serious nature of Luke Skywalker’s dilemma, with a humorous wink to the Star Wars core fanatics.

With the recent passing of my publisher David Eller, my old boss Rick Shaw and colleague Skip Sheffield, 2017 marks the end of an era. Given my generation’s 40-year history with this film franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi taps into the collective grief of our days. Yet, in its darkest moments, The Last Jedi draws from the need to be optimistic and celebrate our loved ones in this world and the next. Without meaning to, The Last Jedi says “Merry Christmas!”

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Spirito shines on the links

Posted on 21 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

At 86 years of age, Pompano Beach’s Carlo Spirito is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, like a fine wine, he seems to be getting better with age.

Earlier this year, Spirito was the 2017 Club Masters Champion for the Pompano Beach Men’s Golf Association and he followed that up by picking up his fourth career hole-in-one recently on the third hole of the Greg Norman Signature Pines Course at the Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course.

It ran about 145-yards,” said Spirito, who captured the C Flight championship that day in the individual class play, odd holes minus ½ handicap, with a 24.5 total. “It is a tricky little hole with water on the left and the pin was in the back. I hit a 6-iron with a nice draw on the ball and it was coming in towards the hole. I saw it hit the green and roll up towards the pin, but I never saw it go in.”

The guys I was playing with said, ‘it’s in, it’s in the hole,” he continued. “I couldn’t believe it. It is always exciting when you get a hole-in-one.”

The first hole-in-one for Spirito came in 1985 at the Cape Cod Country Club in Massachusetts where he aced the Par-3, 150-yard fifth hole. The second one came in 1988 at the White Mountain Country Club in New Hampshire where he negotiated the Par-3, 5th-hole, 175-yard distance with a 5-wood. His third ace was in 2002 where he needed just one shot on the 125-yard, third hole at the Oriole Golf and Tennis Club in Margate.

Spirito was proud of winning the Master’s title at the club.

I was really excited to win the men’s championship,” Spirito said. “You play and you play, and you play, and you never expect it to happen. I just happened to have a couple of good weeks. The putts were falling and you wind up with a low score, and you end up winning. I was surprised. I never expected to do it. There are a lot of good golfers.”

Spirito said he has won tournaments throughout his career, but it was nice to win one as he approaches 90 years of age. He started playing golf at the age of 25, so six decades longer and he is still at it.

I have never won one alone,” he continued. “It was always with a foursome or a twosome or something like that.”

Since turning 86 in October, he has shot his age or better eight times.

It is very exciting because when I do it, I call my son (Steven) in Rhode Island and say, ‘guess what? I shot my age today,’” Spirito said with a laugh. “He will ask me what tees am I playing from and I say, what’s the difference?”

Spirito said the longevity on the course comes from being in good shape. He carries a 22-handicap from the senior tees at the course.

Up until they put the Pines course in about three years ago, I would walk every time I played,” said Spirito, who plays three times a week. “My son will come down next month for a week or so and we will play everyday. He is a really good golfer.”

How long does he plan to keep at it?

Until I am in the 100s or so,” Spirito said. “I like it because it is good exercise and something to do.

There is good camaraderie and it is challenging. Of course, you always have a little side bet here and there.”

I think getting a hole-in-one is always more exciting,” Spirito said. “I’ve been playing for 60 years and I only have four of them. Winning a tournament, or something like that, I have done many times…shooting my age will be exciting. The older I get the easier it will be. When I am down in the 80s like that, I feel good about it.”

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Highlands starts off 2-2

Posted on 07 December 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

After opening the season with wins over Sheridan Hills and Boca Raton Christian, the Highlands Christian Academy boys’ basketball team found the going rough in its own holiday tournament.

The Knights began the regular season as it topped Sheridan Hills, 83-67, and then downed District 7-3A rival Boca Raton Christian, 53-40, in the opener of the 40th annual event that was started by former AD and basketball coach Reg Cook.

Sophomore guard Alex Villas led the team in scoring with 16 points, including going 6 for 6 from the field with 2, three-pointers in the win over the Blazers.

The Knights (2-2) dropped its final two games in the tournament, falling to the eventual tournament champion, Pine Crest, 57-44, and to King’s Academy, 57-56, in the third place game. Highlands trailed Pine Crest by 14 points and were able to draw within four before the Panthers pulled away for the win.

Playing these three games really sets the tone for our season and gives me a good indication of what our strengths and weaknesses are,” said Knights coach and Athletic Director Jim Good. “Although we ended up losing two out of the three games, I was very encouraged and pleased with our effort. Unfortunately, we found ourselves too deep in a hole versus Pine Crest and King’s trying to overcome double digits.”

Highlands and King’s are quite familiar with each other as they faced off the previous two tournaments. Highlands defeated King’s for third place last year and in double overtime the previous year for the championship game. The Knights were down 12 in the third quarter before senior point guard Sawyer Lawhon hit 3, threes to draw them close. Lawhon was named to the All-Tournament team.

We, unfortunately, did not shoot the ball well from the free throw line that night,” Good said. “I guess King’s was finally due to pick up a win against us. It’s always a great week as we host the Classic right after Thanksgiving.”

Pine Crest, the defending champion, won the title with a 72-55 victory over North Broward Prep as Brian Anderson was named tournament MVP. The Knights had won its own tournament nine times – 1978, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2009, 2010 and in 2015.

Santos Sweep helps Piranhas finish 15th in Winter Champs

Pompano Beach’s Mattheus Santos, 16, and his 15-year-old brother Raphael went 1-2 in the 15-16 boys high point standings to help the Pompano Beach Piranhas swim team to a 15th place overall finish at the 27th annual Speedo Winter Championships at Plantation Aquatic Complex recently.

Mattheus had 64 points, while Raphael added 60.50 as the pair combined to score 124.50 of the swim club’s points for the four-day meet and led the boys’ team to an 11th place finish with 219.50 points. The girls’ team finished 28th with 26 points as the program ended up with 245.50 total points.

The meet featured nearly 1,100 swimmers and more than 50 teams from the Florida Gold Coast (South Florida teams) organization, in addition to teams from out of state and international squads. Swimmers ages 9-16 were involved in the competition.

Hosted by the Plantation Swim Team, the Winter Championships is the state’s largest age group meet and one of the nation’s largest LSC (Local Swimming Committees) meets.

Other top finishes for Pompano included Emilio Barrantes, 14, who was sixth with 46 points; Summer Schulte, 14, who finished 18th in the Girls 13-14 high points with 17 points; Alex Marquez, 15, (7 points) and Shane Schulte, 16, (5 points) placed 30th and 35th, respectively, in the meet.

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After signings, Pompano players set on season

Posted on 30 November 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

After putting “pen to paper” five Pompano Beach High School seniors are hoping to make even more history.

Five baseball players from the school recently became the first early signees from the school to ink national letters-of-intent with Division 1 college programs.

Trevor Kniskern, who was named the Dairy Farmers Player of the Year in Class 5A, led the way signing with Pepperdine, while Dillon Abell (University of New Orleans), Chris Ajello (Asbury College), Chase Costello (Louisiana State University) and Mike Schuler (Florida Atlantic University) also signed to play at the next level during national early signing day in the school’s auditorium earlier this month.

The fab five from Pompano Beach have been setting records and making history since they arrived and hope to bring a state championship back to the school this season. The team came up a run short against Jacksonville Bolles in the Class 5A state semifinal game.

This is crazy,” said Kniskern, who helped Pompano Beach win their first ever regional final and reach the state’s final four. “I have been looking forward to this day my whole life. Ever since I started to play baseball, I always thought I have to make it to college and it is finally here. It is definitely a weight off your shoulders.

I am banking on going to school,” said the 17-year-old from Lighthouse Point. “I don’t think my draft stock is that high, but we will see in three years. It should be up there.”

Kniskern said he has learned a lot of communication skills with the team and said, “When I was talking to all of the different coaches for colleges, I got to work on my speaking abilities. I’ve learned a lot.”

Being exposed to a lot of tight situations on the mound, where he is the team’s ace, has helped in close ballgames. He finished 11-1 last season on the hill for the Tornadoes.

I have been able to channel my nervousness to do well on the field,” Kniskern said. “Last year, we fell short and we are going to use that as motivation to keep it going and stay focused on the goal and that is to win a state championship, and win the first ever one for Pompano Beach High School. I am very proud of this group of guys. we have been making history together and it is really exciting to be doing all of this with them.”

These are the most we’ve had up on this stage at one time on this day,” said Pompano Beach Athletic Director Jason Frey, as he addressed friends, family, peers and others during the 40-minute ceremony. He noted that the players on stage also excel in the classroom with a 3.75 combined cumulative GPA.

Pompano Beach’s Costello, 17, said he hardly slept the night before signing day. Ironic, since he said he’s dreamed of the moment ever since he started playing.

I was very anxious for this day to come,” Costello said. “Today was just amazing. It just came up so quick. I loved it. I loved every minute of it.”

Ajello joked of his recruiting trip to the Christian school.

It was a little weird because everyone was really nice,” Ajello said with a laugh. “One of my coaches, who played for Coach Giummule, said, ‘don’t worry about it, you’ll get used to it.’”

The biggest reaction and laughter of the morning came from Abell as he recounted the singing on the bus ride home after winning the regional title last year in addition to his reasons for his college choice.

I chose them (New Orleans) because they gave me the best offer,” Abell said, “and I wanted to be away from home.”

Two years ago, the Tornados won their first district title in 55 years and now have won two straight. The team won their first regional championship and also advanced to the state final four for the first time in school history.

It’s the first time we have ever had any early signees,” Giummule said. “This is the group I came in with, so that makes it a little more special. I came in with these guys and all five of these guys who have signed have been in the program all four years. It is all about them, their families and their dreams coming true.

Today is a sweet day and I will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow,” Giummule said of the pending graduations of the players after the season. “A lot of hard work was put into this and I thank my booster club for making sure that this was set up and organized. I am appreciative of them. It is hard for their families. Good families produce good kids and this is the product of a good upbringing.”

The group was among the thousands of senior athletes around the country to sign their national letters-of-intent. Only football, soccer and men’s water polo athletes could not sign during the early signing period.

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