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Sunday, February 6, 2011

One of North Jersey's Own! Go B.J.!!!!!


Friday, February 4, 2011
LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 4, 2011, 5:56 PM
THE RECORD
Staff Writer
WASHINGTON TWP. – Chris Vieitez admits that he’s a N.Y. Giants fan, but on Sunday he’ll be rooting for the Green Bay Packers and hometown celebrity B.J. Raji.
Green Bay Packers lineman and Westwood grad B.J. Raji answers a question during media day for NFL football Super Bowl XLV Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.
AP
Green Bay Packers lineman and Westwood grad B.J. Raji answers a question during media day for NFL football Super Bowl XLV Tuesday in Arlington, Texas.
“From Westwood High School to the NFL championship game – incredible,” the high school sophomore said.
Raji, who graduated fromWestwood in 2005, isn’t just a local celebrity. After his interception, touchdown return and celebratory dance in the Jan. 26 NFC Championship against the Chicago Bears, the 337-pound lineman has gained notoriety.
Students at Westwood Jr./Sr. Regional High School held a pep rally in Raji’s honor during lunch Friday. Many spoke in awe of his now-famous touchdown and student Christian Sapp even did the “BJ Raji Dance” during the brief event in the school’s gymnasium.
The eighth grade class held a rally for Raji Thursday, attended by his brother Ade Raji, a sophomore at the school.
Both events were taped and Assistant Principal Frank Connelly said the district plans to send the footage to Raji.
“We were just obviously excited about one of our own playing in the Super Bowl,” he said of the rallies. “We felt it was the least we could do.”
Raji’s brother wasn’t at Friday’s rally. But Connelly said he had a good excuse for missing school – he was travelling with his family to Dallas to watch Super Bowl XLV.
Vieitez wasn’t the only student who said they aren’t normally Packers fans but they will be Sunday.
“It’s pretty interesting because he once came from this school,” sophomore Amir Bayat said adding that Raji is his reason for cheering on Green Bay.
Ben Schurr who lives near Raji’s family said he was excited to watch the NFL draft and looks forward to seeing someone he knows play in the big game.
“I can’t wait,” Schurr said.
Schurr, who described the Packers as one of his “top five” teams, said it has been exciting to watch his neighbor play this season.
“Every time he gets a sack, we scream,” he said.
Even students who don’t follow the sport said they plan to watch Raji play.
“I’m not a football fan, but I would root for B.J. Raji,” sophomore Charles London said.
Sophomore Jay Wallace, a Steelers fan, said he’ll be rooting against Green Bay, but he still looks forward to seeing Raji in the game.
“I think it’s cool,” he said.
E-mail: hayes@northjersey.com

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