The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Interview With Andy-the-Alligator, Gateway Guidance Office’s Unofficial Mascot

Gateway’s Favorite Gator
Melissa Powell, Guidance Counselor
Andy at his desk! He is ready to put students at easy by sharing his winning smile and chocolate treats!

The unofficial Gateway guidance mascot, Andy-the-Alligator, has touched the hearts of many in the Gateway community. He can often be seen at pep rallies, field trips, sports games, and other Gateway events alongside his best friend and mentor, guidance counselor, Melissa Powell. As for Andy’s opinion of Powell, “She’s quirky.” 

Andy is always there to cheer up Gateway students and put a smile on everyone’s face. We decided to interview him this month as October’s Featured Gator – literally.

If you haven’t heard already, Andy recently made his own Instagram account @andyalligator3! We asked him what inspired this decision, and this is what he had to say, “Well, I really want to showcase Gators doing good deeds! I also like to make people smile! Did you know that there are actual studies that suggest forcing yourself to smile can help boost your mood and happiness level? That’s wild! I tried it and it actually works!”

He’s right–no matter the trials we face in a day, it never hurts to smile! 

We asked Andy who his favorite counselor is in guidance, besides Ms. Powell of course, and why.

He eased inquiring minds and responded, “I like all of them, but I want to make a special shout-out to Mrs. O’Connell for letting me move into the guidance office!”

Following up, we inquired as to what the best advice is that Andy has heard passed onto kids in guidance. 

He answered, “Mrs. Clark visited all the senior classrooms about future plans and what they should be doing this year, and she told them all to read the guidance Google Classroom at least once a week! The school counselors post very important information in ALL the 9-12 Guidance Classrooms, including scholarship opportunities!” 

If you are not in the Guidance Google Classroom, Andy urges you to join! As for Andy’s best piece of personal advice, “Be kind! It’s so much easier to be kind than not.”

If you haven’t been in Ms. Powell’s office recently, you may not know that Andy has his own gator-sized desk! We were dying to know what it is like for Andy to work alongside Ms. Powell in the guidance office! “How do you connect with and put students at ease so that Ms. Powell can work her magic?” we curiously inquired.

I help put kids AND adults at ease with hugs! People seem to open up more when they are squeezing a Gator like me.

— Andy the Alligator

You should ask Mrs. Slater too! She has some friends of mine in her classroom that her students and teacher friends like to visit as well!” Andy excitedly added. 

If you are ever anxious or in need of some uplifting advice, stroll into Ms. Powell’s office for a cozy Andy hug and some words of wisdom! After all,  Andy’s magic is, “[His] sparkling personality and hugs.”

Other members in guidance enjoy hiding Andy from time to time, “Where were you hidden, and who found you? What effect does this Tom-foolery have on your emotional state?” we questioned.

Andy sitting patiently ready for a hug! (Melissa Powell, Guidance Counselor)


“Well, Mr. Kelly is kind of a prankster, so I think it was him. He hid me in the storage closet. Oh, wait! I think Mrs. Clark hid me before as well, but she only hid me IN Mr. Kelly’s office haha. I didn’t like the closet much; it was dark, so it made me scared and anxious. After Ms. Powell found me, I was the one that needed a hug!” Andy reminisced. 

Poor Andy–people just can’t resist his cuteness! Finally, we asked Andy to share his top ten with us! Here is what we found:


  1. Cheering on all of the fall Gateway sports teams
  2. Catching Gateway Gators doing good deeds
  3. Wearing his favorite sweatshirt
  4. Jumping in piles of leaves
  5. Visiting the beach
  6. Picking pumpkins out of the pumpkin patch
  7. Halloween
  8. Weekend fire pits
  9. Watching It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
  10. Going skydiving. He goes once a year!

Before we let Andy get back to his serious business, we asked if he thinks it’s possible for him to win The Chomp another Best of SNO award, to which he quipped: “I mean, I don’t see why not, right? What other school paper has an interview with a gator?!”

You can’t deny Andy’s logic. We are so glad he participated in an interview with us. If you spot Andy, hidden or just hanging around, give him a cuddle!

We love you, Andy!

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About the Contributors
Spencer Barrett
Spencer Barrett, Opinion/Entertainment Writer
Hello, I'm Spencer! I'm an 8th grader, and I enjoy writing opinion pieces on topics involving either Gateway or society. I really enjoy cooking, photography, and acting. I'm also involved in Chorus, the Gateway Theater program, Mock Trial, and I am an announcer for Gateway This Morning. I enjoy building robots and designing custom 3D models. I'm very excited to be a part of The Chomp again, I am so looking forward to an exciting new year!
Laurel Rose Barrett
Laurel Rose Barrett, Editor-in-Chief
I'm Laurel Barrett, and I am in my second year as the Editor-in-Chief of The Chomp! I am currently a junior, and my favorite subjects are English and Science. My hobbies are reading, writing, and creating artistic projects, like posters and models. I am a lawyer in Mock Trial, a President of Book Club, and I am an NJ-JCL Executive Board Officer. I'm also a member of Latin Club, NHS, World Language Honors Society, and Gateway's Mentor Program. Additionally, I am the social media manager of a NJ non-profit called P.U.R.E. Girls, Inc. and enjoy volunteering at Angels Community Outreach. I plan to become a patent lawyer in the future and practice somewhere in New England. I look forward to interviewing featured teachers, writing opinion pieces, and creating book reviews for The Chomp this year! If you want to join our team, feel free to email me @[email protected].
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