The Lion Year In Review 2023-24

Written on 06/28/2024

A message from moderator Mr. Tom Albano, '12

The staff of The Lion meets weekly in the Communications Center to discuss and decide story ideas and plan ahead for future publications. Students pictured, clockwise from top: Editor-in-Chief Matthew Toomey, '24; Adrian Apreza, '26; Angel Mercado, '26; Ryan Vega, '26; Ronald DeVito, '25; Assistant Editor Jack Lyons, '24; and Nicholas Nelson, '27.


What is The Lion?

The Lion is the digital student newspaper of Monsignor Farrell High School. The Lion staff creates content hosted on its portion of the Monsignor Farrell website, with articles including features on alumni, guest speakers, news and events at Farrell, and Q&As with students and faculty.

Members of The Lion meet weekly in the Communications Center, a digital hub featuring iMacs and suites for editing and publication, located in the East Wing of the Monsignor Farrell campus. There, students create multimedia story ideas, delegate assignments, discuss production, conduct interviews, write and edit articles, and more.

The Lion is moderated by Mr. Tom Albano, '12, a member of the English department and alumnus of Monsignor Farrell. Mr. Albano joined The Lion toward the end of his freshman year, going on to serve as Editor-in-Chief as a senior. Mr. Albano holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism.

The Lion is open to all students, who are free to join at any point during the school year. Anyone interested in joining The Lion should contact Mr. Albano.


2023-24 The Lion staff:


Editor-in-Chief: Matthew Toomey '24

Assistant Editor: Jack Lyons '24


Writing Staff:

Ronald DeVito '25 (Will serve as Editor for 2024-25)

Vincent Proscia '25

Adrian Apreza '26 (Will serve as Editor for 2024-25)

Nickita Zinkovsky '26

Ryan Vega '26

Nicholas Nelson '27

Michael DeCicco '27


From The Moderator

It only feels like yesterday when the school year began. And at that point, amongst dealing with lesson plans and figuring out how to navigate the school year, I had a mission in mind: How can The Lion capitalize on the successes it had in its return last year and push things forward this year?

And now that, like a flash, the school year has come to an end, I can say: Mission accomplished.

Over the last 10 months, The Lion has continued to consistently be something that I have taken the most pride in, trying to build the potential that it has. And as time progresses, I see more and more progress that The Lion gets, and it puts a smile on my face.


Whether they joined The Lion because they aspire for a career in the media or a related field, they want to improve their writing skills, or they simply want to be more involved in the Monsignor Farrell community, I can take pride in saying I have one of the best groups of students to work with amongst the many different clubs and organizations on Monsignor Farrell’s campus.

- Mr. Tom Albano

That said, while I hold a share of responsibility as The Lion moderator, the successes do not come because of me. It comes because of the efforts, diligence, dedication, and passion of The Lion writing staff.

Whether they joined The Lion because they aspire for a career in the media or a related field, they want to improve their writing skills, or they simply want to be more involved in the Monsignor Farrell community, I can take pride in saying I have one of the best groups of students to work with amongst the many different clubs and organizations on Monsignor Farrell’s campus.

And I take a sense of pride in being able to pass down knowledge of journalism and media as I work alongside these young men. Yes, I said work alongside. As I said, while I may be the moderator, The Lion is nothing without these terrific young men and their hard work. The Lion is a team effort and I’m glad to reap the rewards with these students.

Matthew Toomey, '24, who has been part of The Lion since its return, looks over articles and notes as he leads a production meeting.


As I mentioned in last year’s From the Moderator address (and I noted while speaking at this spring’s Open House), it’s sometimes fascinating to see the differences in media from the time I was younger and in high school (during which I rose up to the position of Editor-in-Chief at The Lion) to the digital media-focused world these young men find themselves in. It’s a world where the physical (newspapers or otherwise) seems to be no more. It’s a world dominated by social media. It’s a world where the expectation is that everything can be summed up in a 30 second TikTok-style video.

But in this world of high demand and immediate response, the students at The Lion can show they are ready, willing, and able to rise to the challenge always. From discussions at meetings, to their work in building their stories, to preparing stories to be upload on The Lion’s section of the Monsignor Farrell website, they are building great skills and abilities – not even just ones exclusive to journalism – that will help them in their lives when their times as a Monsignor Farrell student come to an end.

Departing Staff

And now for something a bit different. Unfortunately, unlike last year, I need to take some time out to send goodbyes and well wishes to this year’s leaders and editorial staff of The Lion: Matthew Toomey and Jack Lyons, both of whom graduated in May.

I got to meet Matt when he sat in my British Literature class as a sophomore. From the moment I got to see his writing for the first time, I knew he had excellent talent and was a motivated learner. That wasn’t exclusive to the classroom – it stretched into his time at WFBN and on the Monsignor Farrell track and field team. When he told me he had interest in being a part of The Lion as it was returning, I knew he was the one that could help get things off the ground. He was a great exemplar and role model for the younger students to follow. He was a true face of Monsignor Farrell in this senior class, and he will be missed.

Matthew Toomey and Jack Lyons served as editors for The Lion during the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.


Then, in the middle of the 2022-23 school year, I got to meet Jack. Jack, who also was a member of WFBN, showed great enthusiasm in being a part of The Lion. He was so impressive in his first couple of pieces that he quickly earned himself a leadership position. And for as well as he writes, he’s also a terrific individual in terms of his character.

Matt and Jack, thank you to the two of you for helping to get The Lion off the ground in its first couple of years back. You two will be missed, and we all at Monsignor Farrell wish you the best of success in your college journeys and beyond!

Returning Staff

For as tough as goodbyes can be, however, there is always looking forward to the future. And I want to take this time to personally congratulate the new editorial team of The Lion: Ronald DeVito, ’25, and Adrian Apreza, ’26.

Though I haven’t had him in the classroom, I’ve known Ronnie since the later stages of his freshman year at Monsignor Farrell. Ronnie is a very intelligent and charismatic young man. He sets the bar high for himself, having this desire to constantly challenge himself, do better, and learn more. His involvement in plenty of clubs and organizations around Monsignor Farrell in addition to The Lion – from FOSI to track and field – make him a key member of the rising senior class.

Ronnie only joined The Lion this school year, but he has always been someone with incredible writing talent. Ronnie isn’t afraid to take on challenges, even on short notice, and is reliable and trustworthy. He always has ideas, and I know as a leader, he will do his best to take The Lion to new heights. He’s already told me about ideas he wants to talk about over the summer, and I’ll be open to hearing about all of them.

Top: Adrian Apreza, '26, who will serve as an editor next year, helps to lay out story ideas during a production meeting.
Bottom: Ronald DeVito (right), '25, who will also be an editor, sits alongside Ryan Vega, '26, during a production meeting.


I have had the pleasure of having Adrian as a student in both his freshman and sophomore years. And if you ask anyone around Monsignor Farrell who knows Adrian, they will lavish this young man with praise. Adrian is a highly involved member in the Monsignor Farrell community who always gives his best efforts in everything he does – and he constantly succeeds. Adrian sets high standards for himself, and his diligence, concentration, and efforts allows him to consistently meet those standards.

Adrian joined The Lion very early on in his Monsignor Farrell career, and he has told me he wants to be its most consistent writer. I’m proud to say that Adrian has been that and then some. And more importantly, Adrian is just an excellent soul to be around. I know The Lion is in safe hands with Adrian’s leadership.

Here’s to Ronnie and Adrian and the incredible work they will do as The Lion’s leaders!

Thank Yous

I’d also like to give thanks to all of the other writers of The Lion staff: Joseph DeStefano, ’24, Vincent Proscia, ’25, Nickita Zinkovsky, ’26, Ryan Vega, ’26, Michael DeCicco, ’27, and Nicholas Nelson, ’27. (Also: congratulations as well to Joseph on his graduation from Monsignor Farrell!) Over the course of this past school year, they all have had their roles, highlights, and pieces published for The Lion, and I want to thank everyone involved for their efforts and work in making The Lion what it was in this past school year.

I’d also like to give a big thank you to Mr. Tobacco and the Monsignor Farrell leadership team for their continued support. They put a big responsibility in my hands approximately a couple of years ago when they tasked me in The Lion’s return and give students like the ones on The Lion an introduction to the fields of communications and media. I hope the students and I continue to make you proud, and I appreciate the guidance and assistance.

To the students and faculty: Thank you all for your continued support as well. Whether it was that The Lion was covering an event of yours, or that you simply wanted to give feedback and/or praise on the coverage and our work, know that I appreciate you all.

Mr. Albano (right), '12, moderator of The Lion, sits and gives advice to Adrian Apreza, '26.


Looking Ahead

And to everyone who has been a part of The Lion these past two years, you guys rock! I haven’t been prouder to know a great group and work alongside you. We’ve accomplished a lot, and I hope we continue to do great, big things!

And with that, 2023-24 has come to an end. What a year! See you all in the fall for what I hope will be a great 2024-25 school year! Until then, enjoy the summer, everyone!


Mr. Thomas Albano, ’12
Moderator of The Lion
Department of English


Mr. Albano graduated from Monsignor Farrell in 2012, serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Lion during his senior year.  He earned his B.A. in journalism from Rider University and his M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University.  He has been a member of the Monsignor Farrell Department of English since 2021.


The Lion is Monsignor Farrell's student digital newspaper. To read more articles from The Lion, click here.