Colorful Shoes and a Colorful Personality: Coach Hems

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I’m willing to bet everyone in the school is familiar with “Hems” – even if you’ve never spoken to her, you can always spot her in a crowd with her spunky neon outfits. Her unique fashion style and positivity has prevailed in Verona for the past 26 years, and each year she has brought passion and infectious energy to the school.  

PE teacher Patricia Hemsley-Cartotto isn’t a Verona native; she went to high school in North Arlington, where she used to play basketball and softball. 

Once she came to Verona, she expanded her love of sports by becoming a coach. She coached basketball at VHS for fourteen years, and was the assistant softball coach at the same time.

 “Being a coach really helps you grow as an individual,” she said, “You get to know kids in a more personal way and share your passion with a future generation.” She no longer coaches basketball, but is now the head coach of the softball team, which she led last year to a sectional championship. 

Another activity Hems is involved in is Heroes and Cool Kids. This club allows high schoolers to educate fifth graders in HBW by teaching them leadership and wellness, and also advising them against bullying and substance abuse. Hems has run the club for the past twelve years, and she was the one who brought Heroes and Cool Kids to VHS.

 “For the kids to come and see high schoolers in their classroom has a tremendous impact,” she said, “It’s the nicest thing to see the impact the Heroes have on the fifth graders, and to know that you are teaching them something they can carry with them into their future.” 

When she isn’t in school, coaching, or running clubs, Hems is spending time with her husband at their home in Glen Rock. She adores animals, and loves walking her two dogs, Darby and Josie. She always takes time out of her day to go to the gym, but also enjoys cooking up a nice meal with her husband. 

Another odd hobby that Hems does in her free time is to organize her collection of shoes. Hems is a huge sneaker lover, and owns over 45 pairs of brightly colored Nikes. She manages this massive collection in huge stacks in her closet, confessing that, “When you walk into the closet, the stacks are taller than I am, and I’m 5’9!” Ever since Hems was a little kid she loved sneakers, and was especially a fan of bold colors and designs. Clearly, her adoration of sneakers has carried into her adult life as well!

Hopefully, the colorful personality of Hems will be in the school for many years to come!