"Most definitely, it's a day I will never forget," Poole said.
The day ended with Poole receiving the Lester Purvere Award as the top male athlete at Weehawken High School, but what Poole will remember most was how the day began.
Late Thursday night, Poole was walking through his Weehawken home when he felt something stab him in his foot. Much to his surprise, Poole looked down and saw a pencil sticking out.
"It was a completely freak accident," Poole said. "It apparently landed perfectly on this marble stair we have and when I was walking, it lodged right through the webbing of my foot and snapped four inches into my foot. It was so totally freaky."
Poole's parents immediately called for emergency services and he was rushed to Palisades Medical Center.
"They gave me medication and operated on my foot right away to get the pencil out," Poole said.
By 2 p.m. Friday, the surgery was completed and Poole was back in his hospital room. He called Weehawken High School Athletic Director Richard Terpak to inform Terpak that he would not be able to attend the annual Senior Athletic Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction that were scheduled to be held later Friday night.
There was only one problem. Terpak already knew that Poole was slated to receive the premier award for the top male athlete, named after Purvere, the greatest coach in the history of the school. Poole had no idea he was getting the award.
"When Mr. Terpak was insisting that my parents could come to the dinner, then I started thinking that I might get the award," Poole said. "That's when I knew that I had to go to the dinner. My intent was to go for perhaps a half-hour."
So at 7 p.m., Poole was released from the hospital and he went with his parents straight to the dinner.
"I looked like hell," Poole said. "I had been up all night and by the time I got there, everyone knew what happened to me."
Getting the lead out
Soon after he arrived, Poole went up on crutches to receive the award as the school's top male athlete. Poole played three sports for Weehawken, competing in football, basketball, and baseball. Unfortunately, Poole never had a chance to play for a winning team during his stint as a varsity athlete, so receiving the Purvere Award was a fitting tribute to an extremely dedicated performer.
"I didn't think that I was going to get the award," Poole said. "I'm very grateful and honored, considering some of the great athletes who have received it in the past. I look up to some of the guys like Fernando Fuentes and Danny Lopez [a former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Year now playing baseball at Seton Hall University], so it means a lot to me."
Jenniffer Veras, who played volleyball, basketball, and softball during her career at Weehawken, was named as the Ernest J. Demontreaux Award winner for the school's outstanding female athlete.
"I was happy that Jenniffer got the award as well," Poole said. "We're very good friends."
While the school's varsity athletes received their awards for jobs well done, the night also featured the induction of two former athletic greats into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Former teammates Tom Englese (Class of 1982) and Jimmy Walsh (Class of 1984) were inducted into the Weehawken Athletic Hall of Fame together.
"It was a big surprise to me, I'll tell you," said Englese, who was a three-sport varsity performer for three years, playing football, basketball, and baseball.
Englese still holds the school record for scoring five touchdowns in a win over Ferris in 1981, and kicked a field goal to upset Set. Peter's Prep that year as well. Englese averaged 16 points per game as a basketball player and was a fine left-handed pitcher in baseball.
"It was a great honor to get inducted with a good friend like Jimmy," Englese said. "I have fond memories of my days in Weehawken and playing in those Hudson County rivalry games. I was lucky enough to start varsity football as a freshman and played all four years. I played for three great coaches [Terpak in football, Anthony LaBruno in baseball, and Brian Long in basketball] and they guided me along. It was good to come back and see people I hadn't seen in 20 years."
Walsh, who was the former head baseball coach at St. Peter's College and currently is an assistant at Columbia University, was also a standout in football, basketball, and baseball. Walsh truly shined as a baseball player, leading Hudson County in batting his senior year and going on to having a fine career at Upsala College, where he was named the New Jersey Pitcher of the Year in his senior year.
But the story of the night was Poole's courage, as he went from his hospital bed to an awards dinner without missing a beat.