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West Orange — Above and Beyond

Fortissimo Restaurant Starts T-Shirt Campaign to Support Local Teachers

Jackie Schatell

Thursday, November 7, 2013 • 2:05am

West Orange, NJ – This week, Santo Castronovo, owner of Fortissimo, which is located at 484 Pleasant Valley Way, in West orange, started a t-shirt campaign to show his support and admiration for local teachers.

“Many local teachers spend their lunchtimes at Fortissimo, and I was looking for a way to show them how much they are appreciated, especially when they come under attack in the press,” said Castronovo. “My wife Jacqueline was a special education teacher in Sayreville for 20 years and has been the special education supervisor in Ocean County for the past two years—so I know how hard teachers work.”

Castronovo said he came up with the idea to have grey shirts printed that say, “Teachers make all professions possible.” He is giving them away for free to all local teachers, and if he runs out, he will print more. No purchase is necessary—he says to just come in and just ask for one.

“I have given out a few shirts so far, and the teachers have really appreciated the gesture,” said Castronovo. “I have asked them all to tell their colleagues to stop by and pick them up. I would bring them to the schools, but don’t want to intrude.”

One teacher who received a shirt was Lisa Marx, who lives in Livingston and is a first grade teacher at Mount Pleasant Elementary School in West Orange. “I was at the restaurant with my colleague Lauren Miller and we were so touched when we noticed a shirt hanging in the restaurant,” said Marx. “Then the owner came over to our table, asked us our sizes and brought us each a shirt. It was so nice of him. He said for us to tell our co-workers to come in and ask for free shirts. I already sent a few in.”

Castronovo said he started this movement to pay back the teachers in West Orange and it is his way of saying thank you for all that they do.

Fortissimo, which serves classic Italian cuisine from specialty pizzas to family classics, has been family owned and operated since 1985.

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