Robert Arena Memorial Scholarship Fund

Robert Arena passed away suddenly Monday, October 18, 2021. His death is a devastating loss to his wife, Cristina, mother Louise Iskander, father Fred Arena, brother Michael Arena, and step father Joe Iskander. Rob was a "Larger than Life" person, and to know him was to love him. Big heart, big smile, big biceps, big teddy bear. A special ed teacher by training, a phenomenal girls track coach by heart.
 
The proceeds from this GoFundMe will be used to carry on his legacy with The Robert Arena Memorial Scholarship Fund. This has been established to recognize student athletes who believe in a proclamation that hard work will lead them to success. The family hopes to continue to inspire inner-city teens to awesomely high achievements for years to come.
 
A self proclaimed “mama’s boy,” Robert loved his family with all his heart. His brother, Michael, was his best friend and Robert was excited to stand by his side at his wedding next year. Robert met his wife Cristina in 2011 when they were both working at Liberty Lake Day Camp in Bordentown New Jersey. Both aspiring educators, Cristina and Robert bonded over their love of teaching and the annual camp “Color Wars” games. Robert proposed on the 4th of July with a grand gesture in front of all of Cristina’s closest friends. They married in July 2016 and lived in Jersey City with their Corgis, Enzo and Sophie.
 
Robert graduated from Rancocas Valley Regional High School in 2003, studied at Widener University receiving a degree in Criminal Justice and continued his education online at Grand Canyon where he received his degree Special Education. It was when he began his career in Jersey City Public Schools that he found his true passion and purpose when he took a position as Assistant Track and Field Coach at Henry Snyder High School. Rob was not athletic by any means, and he had no prior coaching or sports experience, but he was determined to learn the sport and push his athletes to victory.
 
Robert Coached Girls Cross Country, Girls Track and Field - Winter, and Girls Track and Field - Spring. It is difficult to put into words what his student-athletes meant to him. Coach Arena believed in his girls before they believed in themselves. He spent countless afternoons, evenings, and weekends fostering a culture of dedication, determination, and hard work. Coach Arena always said, hard work is more important than talent, and that hard work paid off.
 
Before Coach Arena joined them, Snyder had not won the Indoor County Championship since 1998 or an Outdoor County Championship since 1984. Coach Arena proudly led his track teams to victories including Hudson County Varsity Girls Indoor Track & Field Champions (2017, 2019), Jersey City Frosh/Soph Girls Indoor Track & Field Champions (2017, 2018), Hudson County Frosh/Soph Indoor Track & Field Champions (2018), HCIAL Varsity Girls Indoor Relay Champions (2019), Jersey City Varsity Girls Outdoor Track & Field Champions (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021), Jersey City Frosh/Soph Girls Outdoor Track & Field Champions (2016), Hudson County Varsity Girls Outdoor Track & Field Champions (2019), Hudson County Frosh/Soph Girls Outdoor Track & Field Champions (2018), New Balance National Qualifiers (2017-2021), and 6th Place All American Mixed Relay (2021). He was humbled and honored to be named the Hudson County Track Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2017 and the Snyder High School Coach of the Year 3 times. Robert was a hopeful contender for 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year. Coach Arena was excited to lead his team to another win at the upcoming HCTCA Cross Country Championship on October 30, 2021.
 
Coach Arena had so much more to give and would have wanted student athletes to continue dropping times, winning medals, and setting records. While no amount of money could inspire his athletes the way he could, his family will continue Rob’s legacy and commitment to hard work and perseverance for years to come.
 
  • Kelly & Dominick Dalanni 
    • $100 
    • 5 mos
  • susan sexton 
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • Colleen Reed 
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Andrew Potopchuk 
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Debbie Owens 
    • $50 
    • 7 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Cris Tina 
Organizer
Burlington, NJ
Michael Arena 
Beneficiary