Voices and Echoes
By Alex Sosa
On Thursday, May 1, the creative writing majors took to the stage for their annual Voices and Echoes performance to exhibit the works they perfected all year. Levels one through four all performed extraordinary pieces of writing that touched the hearts of all present. Many people that attended are still talking about the marvelous show. There was great turnout and a plethora of support for all of the aspiring writers. The creative writing majors’ performances brought their pieces to life.
Though it may look easy to put on a production of this caliber, a lot of hard work and time is invested in the show. The students practiced for hours and spent an enormous amount of effort trying to make their piece even better. The seniors performed two amazing pieces each, instead of one. Fellow peers complimented them and acknowledged their contribution to the program over the past four years. It was a night to remember.
“It takes at least two days to get a piece of writing etched in your mind. You have to re-read over and over again.” Skylar Eber states.
It takes a lot of time to memorize a work of literature, especially a long one. Some students like to record their voices and play it back before going on stage. It’s a nice way to help memorize the piece and get into character. All of the credit cannot go solely to the writers. They owe an enormous amount of gratitude to their teacher, Dr. Gretna “Doc” Wilkinson. She encourages, assists and guides all of her writers and is an integral part in their progress in the program.
“She’s like a second mom to all of us. We all love her as she inspires us each day.” Emma Wright says of her teacher.
All the Creative Writing Majors thanked everyone who came and extended them an initiation to next year’s festivities.
You and I (Winner of a National Scholastic Gold Key Award)
By Skylar Eber
I drove you to your date
At exactly seven p.m.
When arrived at her house
You moved to get out of the car
And I couldn’t let you
When you turned
And my green eyes met your blue
I can’t let you do this because I love you
I’ve always loved you
Except I don’t say that
I could not say that
Instead, You’re wearing that? On a date?
Those are your work clothes
You looked distressed
And I knew what you wanted to hear
But I couldn’t bring myself to say it
Take off the tie, come on.
You do and I toss the fabric into the backseat
That’s a little better. Unbutton the first two on your shirt.
I stare at you
Study your face
From your cheekbones
To the slight stubble down your neck
And the little bit of skin revealed
From your now open-collared shirt
Your blue eyes wide
still waiting for approval
My Advice to Future College Applicants
By Sofia Dadap, Co-Editor In Chief
To all who haven’t yet experienced the college application process or who are just beginning it, I am going to tell you the truth. In my experience, the process is unnecessarily stressful and it is not uncommon for its results to be ultimately disappointing. For juniors who already have an idea where they want to go and what is attainable for them, good job! I foolishly started research in late September of my senior year. If you have no idea where you want to go, make a list of characteristics that you do and don’t want in your school. Visits can help you in your decision (though weather can be a confounding factor) so if you have the means, it might be a good idea to try to get a sense of each school and make a personal visit. Colleges also take into account your interest if you have visited their campus.
To incoming freshmen—don’t think that mistakes and bad grades attained freshman year don’t matter at all to colleges. It’s true that some schools calculate GPA without freshman year, but it factors into your class ranking which can help or hurt your case significantly. Also, start forming good relationships with your teachers from whom you will need recommendations in the future. (Though you can only ask teachers for recommendations from your sophomore or junior year.)
I advise you to study for your SATs or ACTs even the first time you take them. Some people will tell you that you should “go in blind” to see how much you can improve. They are steering you in the wrong direction, because you are paying $50 for your test and the whole point of the PSATs is to come up with an estimate for what your score would be like without studying. And though most schools mainly consider your superscore (highest score from each section), many require you to send your scores from each testing date. My advice is to get a SAT practice book, do timed practice tests under similar testing conditions, and do not rely on 5 Hour Energy to keep you up during your tests.
You’ll be told that colleges look for strong extracurricular activities and leadership positions. This is true, but not every student has to play a varsity sport, run a charity, and be the president of every honor society. Get involved and make sure there is variety in your activities, but also be aware of your time commitments—schools like to see a comprehensive picture of your real interests.
As far as your college essay, the only thing I can say is that you should start early and have about three people read it. Make sure your voice isn’t changed by others’ edits, but be open to constructive criticism. You will probably end up writing several essays (though that’s never a comforting thing to hear) until you find an essay that you feel suits you. Be honest and remember that most schools you apply to will have supplemental essay questions that can help fill in any details about you that might not come across in your main Common App essay.
I implore you all, underclassmen and future college applicants, to know that the college application process is frustratingly absurd and that the results are not a measure of your worth or your potential. You will see some people able to convince a school that they are great (even if that is an exaggeration), and great people rejected from schools at which they certainly would have succeeded. But in the college acceptances process, remember to report the qualities that make you stand out even if you haven’t gotten straight A’s throughout high school. Colleges like to look for upward trends in grades and involvement, so even if you have something of a rough start, you can still be taken seriously as an applicant as long as you show genuine interest and academic curiosity.
Overall, the process is miserable, tedious, and annoyingly requires the ability to describe oneself in great detail. You need to be thorough in explaining your strengths but simultaneously come across as humble and honest in acknowledging personal weaknesses. People will tell you that you’ll “definitely end up where you’re meant to be”. Though it is true in many cases, this is rarely comforting, because most students will still likely spend last-minute late nights stressing over the overwhelming gravity of new responsibility piled onto the senior year course load. The best way to alleviate some of this stress is simply to start early, to keep an open mind, and to be realistic about your abilities, means, desire to succeed, and definition of success (since college isn’t for everyone). Good luck to all students who have yet to experience this firsthand.
The Amazing Spider-Man Two Movie Review
By Courtney Ravelo, Co-Editor In Chief
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I have been obsessed with Spider-Man since I was a little girl and first saw the Tobey Maguire movies. The irony is that I have severe arachnophobia. Anyway, the second round of Spider-Man movies starring Andrew Garfield, one of my favorite actors ever since I saw him in Never Let Me Go, is as amazing if not better than the original. But that is a difficult comparison to make since the story lines and villains are so different.
I’ve been reading the comics lately and just falling more and more in love with Peter Parker’s character, so I knew basically everything that was going to happen in the second Amazing Spider-Man movie.
SPOILER ALERT- if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you don’t want to keep reading because something colossal happens at the end.
Anyhow, when I saw the Amazing Spider-Man for the first time in theatres, I loved it so much I saw it four more times in theatres because I didn’t want to wait until the DVD came out months later. I learned every line in the movie. My point is, I was planning on doing the same with the second Amazing Spider-Man… until I experienced the heartbreaking scene at the end where Peter tries valiantly to save Gwen but she dies. I cried so hard- sobbed, really,that I don’t think I can see this movie more than once. Everyone continues to ask me how I liked it, and I don’t know what to say because I have mixed emotions.
The movie itself was great and so were the actors, but I can’t handle Gwen dying after everything Peter did to keep that very thing from happening. Now, everyone knows Gwen had to be killed off to make room for Mary Jane Watson, Peter Parker’s true love in the comics. It’s so unfortunate as Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have such great chemistry in the movies because they’re dating in real life. I don’t know if that kind of chemistry can be replicated for the next couple of movies with someone who isn’t Emma.
Besides Gwen dying, the movie deserves five stars. My second favorite super villain of all time, Electro (played by Jamie Foxx), gave a great performance. Another great perk of this movie is Dane DeHaan- my new favorite actor- who played Harry Osbourne (The Green Goblin). He was spectacular in his performance of Peter Parker’s best friend who ultimately betrays him. Paul Giamatti appeared to the end of the movie as The Rhino, another villain whom I thought was particularly humorous since whenever I picture Paul Giamatti, I think of the movie Big Fat Liar.
To wrap things up, Spider-Man ultimately defeats Electro and the Green Goblin. After a five-month absence from superhero activity as he mourns Gwen’s death, he triumphantly returns to defeat Rhino too. Marc Webb (hah, coincidental name) is a fabulous director and had well staged all the shots of Spider-Man fighting crime and swinging through the air in slow motion. Overall, I give this movie an A+. I cannot wait for the third one, despite Gwen being dead. Welcome Mary Jane!
Gayla Coming on May 30 to RBR
Red Bank Regional’s own Gay-Straight Alliance will be, for the first time, hosting Monmouth County’s fourth annual GSA Prom, or ‘Gayla’. This event will be held on May 30th in the commons, and is open to all high school students from ages 13-19.
The GSA strives to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ youth and their allies; attendees and chaperones must be accepting of all sexual orientations/gender identities. Any suggestions or comments can be directed to the Gay-Straight Alliance’s officers during 2:30pm meetings on Mondays. The entrance fee is $20, payable at the door. See Mrs. Liss for forms.
Scrumptious Nutella Fried Ravioli
Submitted by Courtney Ravelo, Co-Editor In Chief
-16 wonton wrappers
-1 egg, beaten to technique: blend mixing two or more ingredients with another so that they combine together as one mixture. You can also use the main blade of a food processor to blend.
-225g Nutella spread
-Vegetable oil, for frying
-16 fresh mint leaves
-Nonstick vegetable oil spray
-Granulated sugar, for dredging
-Technique: Icing adding a mixture of icing sugar and water, butter or cream to a cake or cupcake for a decorative finish.
-Icing sugar, for dusting
1. Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place one wonton wrapper on the work surface. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with egg.
2. Spoon one tablespoon of Nutella into the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper diagonally in half over the filling and press the edges of the wrapper to seal.
3. Place the ravioli on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers, egg, and Nutella.
4. Preheat the oven to 90 degrees Celsius. Add enough oil to a heavy large frying pan to reach a depth of 5cm. Heat the oil over medium heat 180 degrees Celsius.
5. Working in batches, carefully add the ravioli to the hot oil and cook until they are golden brown, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Then, transfer the cooked ravioli to another baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while frying the remaining ravioli.
6. The fried ravioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool them completely, then cover and refrigerate. Before serving, place them on a baking sheet and re-warm in a preheated 190 degrees Celsius oven just until they are heated through, about 7 minutes.
7. Spray the top side of the mint leaves very lightly with nonstick spray. Working with one leaf at a time, dredge the coated side of the leaves in sugar to coat lightly.
8. Arrange 2 fried ravioli on each plate. Dust the ravioli with Technique: icing adding a mixture of icing sugar and water, butter or cream to a cake or cupcake for a decorative finish. Decorate with the sugared mint leaves and serve.
Courtesy of foodnetwork.com
Victoria Garcia’s Home
By Emilie Weiner
During the holiday season, the art majors at RBR were given an assignment to create a piece depicting the holidays and what they meant to them. Senior Victoria Garcia took this prompt and turned it into something more.
“Instead of doing the obvious decorative subjects we associate with the season, I wanted to do something closer to my heart,” Victoria states.
In this case, she meant her family. She explained in great detail that her family is a personal inspiration and motivator for her.
“They are my biggest fans, and I thought I could show the importance of all of us being together for the holidays in this piece.”
The acrylic painting, Home shows a row of shoes lined up on a matt, portraying a full house in one of the most creative ways. She used great detail in the folds and the shadows of the shoes, and even brought in a little more holiday charm with the wreath matt and red and green floor. Acrylic, Victoria states , is her most commonly used medium because it’s the simplest, but watercolor has worked its way to the top of her list because, “it’s so fluid and light and it is very calming to work with.”
Garcia draws her inspiration from a number of places, including her family, as mentioned before, as well as the simplistic beauty in life, and the intricate shapes of both human hands and faces. As she was drawn to art as a child, she was drawn to the Studio Art major immediately.
“I chose Studio Art as my major because it was a clear choice. I loved art and I wanted to learn even more about it…. I could make a nice little home in the art world.” Victoria states.
RBR has evidently nurtured her artistic skills and knowledge, bringing the talent that she had enjoyed since she was a child to its full potential.
RBR’s 42nd Street
By Pheobe Carr
Recently, Red Bank Regional High School put on their production of 42nd Street, a truly entertaining musical about a girl wanting to live her dream to perform on Broadway. The show was not only well staged, but well-executed, believable, and extremely impressive. I even forgot these students were some of my peers. The entire cast had to learn how to tap dance for the musical. They all looked so well trained that many students found it hard to believe that only a few had prior tap experience. Nominated for Basies for the production were Eliana Swartz for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical; Jaci Gisondi for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical and Camille Thompson for Outstanding Student Adult Orchestra.
42nd Street was all-around impressive and spectacular and will definitely be hard to top.
RBR 2014 Distinguished Alumnus - Gregory H. Montgomery, Jr. – Class of 1983
By Ella Brockway
Gregory Montgomery is no stranger to adversity. Over the course of nine years as a two-time, All Pro punter for three teams in the National Football League (NFL), he overcame many struggles both on and off the field. With one look at his resume, which stretches from being a third-round pick in the 1988 NFL draft to currently working as the CEO of a coaching/mentoring program for all level punters, one may say that life has been an interesting ride for Greg, a journey that began at none other than Red Bank Regional.
Greg began his football career as a linebacker for the Buccaneers. It was a position and a sport that he greatly enjoyed, until he cracked his vertebrae at the age of 17. It was on that day in June of 1982, that Greg declared, “My goal in life is to be a professional specialist in the N.F.L”. A statement that turned out being a self-fulfilling prophesy. This injury and transition wouldn’t be the first time Greg would have to face adversity; however he would learn to overcome it.
“It was a blessing in disguise, for it gave me the opportunity to attend college on scholarship, and led to a successful career in the NFL.” He explains.
This move did prove to change Greg’s life in a way that he never expected. By 1987, along with his brother Steve, Greg had attended Michigan State University, like his father, on a football scholarship, where he set numerous Big 10 conference records, was a three time All Big Ten and two-time All American selection and eventually became a member of Michigan State’s All-Time team. A high point in his football career came when he was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the 1988 NFL Draft. Playing for the Oilers for six years (1988-1993), one year with the Detroit Lions (1994) and two years with the Baltimore Ravens (1996-1997), Greg led a storied football career, including being a three-time NFL punting champion in 1990, 1992, 1993, a two-time All Pro punter in 1989 and 1993 and a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1994. When Greg signed with the Ravens in 1996, as part of his own personal “comeback” after a one-year hiatus, he took on a whole new look on life. According to Montgomery, this change was a period of both spiritual enlightenment and personal freedom.
“It was an awakening that Buddhist monks call Nirvana,” he says. “Being as ‘One with the Universe’. A total stripping down of what friends/family/society thought I was.”
Playing in the NFL was without a doubt a great feat for Montgomery. However, he believes his biggest accomplishment was learning to overcome adversity and depression. As an NFL punter, Montgomery found himself facing a lot of pressure, both from within and on the field.
He explains, “Though football is a team sport, punters and kickers are evaluated by their personal performance. I took my job extremely seriously and put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best.”
Years of playing with injuries and the desire for perfection eventually caught up to Greg leading to a much documented battle with depression and performance anxiety. He left professional football shortly after, and began a somewhat different journey, including the search for the “perfect punt”.
Trust, control and focus are just a few of Montgomery’s philosophies today. He still maintains his connection to and love of football through his program ZenPunt 5.0, where he coaches and mentors high school, college and NFL punters. He considers two keys to mastering the perfect punt: letting go in order to gain control, and looking at punting the football with a “less is more” approach”. He is a board member of both the E.R.I.C. (Everyone Remains In Control) Program, where he helps to educate families dealing with the experiences of heightened states of mood and depression, and is a board member for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).
“Sharing my experience and giving those that experience expanded states of consciousness the much needed support to work through their struggles has been very rewarding,” Montgomery says of his work with these programs. “Having the ability to share my story and helping people regain balance in their lives is a passion of mine that I’m most proud of.”
In addition, he is president of Everyminute.org, a web-based suicide prevention advocacy group, and has participated in NFL films addressing the roots of depression.
He also runs two websites, “Zen In The Art of Living Bipolar” and “Zen In The Art of Punting”, on which he blogs about what he has done to get to where he is today. Montgomery’s blog entries on both life as a whole and punting talk a lot about trust. Finding that trust and showing compassion for others has also been a large part of his journey to overcome adversity and learn from the many lessons life has to offer.
“Learning to listen and to trust the wisdom that is readily available in the present moment has shown me the way to avoid conflict and enjoy life to the fullest.” He states.
Greg Montgomery has had a tremendous impact on the lives of the people he touches through his mentoring programs, his websites, and the organizations he helps to lead. We are very proud to induct him into the Red Bank Regional High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
Report on RBR’s Trip to Paris
By Courtney Ravelo, Co-Editor In Chief
I have been waiting to go to France my whole life. When I found out in eighth grade that RBR travels to France, I nearly lost it. My room and house are covered with Eiffel Towers so I preemptively started preparing myself for the senior year trip-of-a-lifetime to France. Knowing it was expensive, I started saving, and even started a countdown two months before the departure date.
Our group (18 students and three teacher chaperones) left on Saturday, April 12, on a six and a half-hour long flight across the pond. I didn’t sleep at all, and we landed around two a.m. our time but eight a.m. Paris time. I think I went thirty something hours without sleeping, which was totally fine because I WAS IN PARIS! FINALLY!
On Sunday when we arrived, we saw the Eiffel Tower (in person, not on Google images), from the hotel balcony. Later we walked to it and took many a picture, becoming professional tourists. I had a traditional French honey crepe at a café for lunch that day. Walking around Paris, my mouth was agape in disbelief that I was actually there. We stayed at the Novotel in Vaugirard, a lively section of Paris in the 15th arrondissement and enjoyed a first dinner of beef bourguignon, a traditional French dish. Every day, we traveled on the metro which was fun; sometimes I would take it by myself with my roommate when there was free time.
Sightseeing included a trip to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, one of the most famous Catholic churches. It sits on this huge hill overlooking all of Paris. On Monday, while touring the city in a three hour-long bus ride, our travelers took in the Arc de Triomphe and the obelisk at Concorde. One day, we went walking along the Seine River, crossing the famous lock bridge on our way to visit Notre Dame, another famous church. Another stop included the Pompidou, the modern art district in Paris. We also saw an inside out building, street art and sculptures.
We traveled to the region of Normandie to the town of Giverny where the famous artist Claude Monet lived. We toured his house and his gardens, one of them being a water garden filled with bridges and little boats. The next stop was the world-famous Versailles where we visited the famous palace and gardens, which were both massive and beautiful. Our tour guide, Anne-Claire, was so knowledgeable. He pointed out the beautiful architecture and flowers and paintings. We even walked through the famous Hall of Mirrors.
Paris is rich with famous, amazing art and we took this all in with visits to the Musee D’Orsay (famous for its impressionists painting collection) and the Rodin Museum filled with works of that famous sculptor including the “Thinker” and “Gates of Hell”. Then, we took in the enormous Louvre museum, home of Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting, which is actually a lot smaller in person. We also saw the Venus statue and the Sphinx inside the Louvre, two very famous works of art.
A day of castles was also prominent on our itinerary, visiting Chenonceaux and Chambord. The Chenonceaux castle was surrounded by a moat, which was utterly cool. Chambord was ten times bigger than Chenonceaux, but they were equally impressive. On Friday night at 10 pm. when the Eiffel Tower was all lit up and sparkling, we took the elevator to the second tier and then transferred to another climbing to the third tier, which was over a thousand feet in the air affording us the magnificent view of the entire city. On the last night, we took an hour-long boat ride on the Seine and an hour-long illuminated bus tour around the city.
Reluctantly, our journey ended on April 20 with an eight hour trip back to the United States. All in all, I now have the most splendid memory to hold onto forever. Paris was everything I expected it to be and more. I simply cannot wait to go back.
RBR 2014 Distinguished Alumna - Tiffaney Harris— Class of 1989
By Sofia Dadap, Co-Editor In Chief
Tiffaney Harris has changed the community in so many ways. She has raised two happy and successful children, Tiarra and Ronald, while simultaneously mentoring Red Bank kids of all ages. The latter has earned her the affectionate nickname of “Red Bank’s Mom.” Ms. Harris attributes her strong attachment for Red Bank’s children to the fact that she started working at the Red Bank Primary School in 2001 and many of the kids have known her since they started in Pre-K. Since then, she has been a constant, prominent and involved figure at the Red Bank Middle School as well as at Red Bank Regional.
She currently works in the Red Bank Middle School as a Special Ed Inclusion Assistant, and is training to become a guidance counselor, a role that so well suits her personality and passion. She is also involved with an after-school program called ‘Showtime’ in which students who love to perform put on shows for the school and the town.
Ms. Harris states, “My nature is nurture.” which is evidenced in her work, both professionally and as a volunteer. She is especially enamored of fourth and fifth graders because, as she states, “they’re often so enthusiastic and willing to listen.” But she does whatever she can to help high school students, from giving students rides to their ball games and their SATs as well as reminding them of deadlines and even helping seniors fill out their college applications. She claims to love her work in education because the students are unique and creative in their own ways, and she is able to truly see the fruits of her labor in them. In essence, she feels the same pride in Red Bank’s children as she has experienced in her own.
Tiffaney Harris has faced great loss and challenge in her life and has emerged as resilient as she is caring. She has lived with scleroderma for many years and has dealt with the death of her fiancée and father of her children. She has assumed the care of her mother since she became partially blind due to glaucoma. She put herself through school and purchased a “first house” for her family. As she states, “to have something for my children and I to call our own.” And she gives immensely of her time to the community.
One of her dearest avocations is working with the Boys and Girls Club in Red Bank where everyone knows her and benefits from her mentoring. In recognition of he commitment, that organization named her Parent Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Through the Phyllis Wheatley Temple #276 in Red Bank, she continues to aid the youth enrichment and education committees. With the grassroots organization, Count the Children Movement, she additionally supports Red Bank’s children. Ms. Harris is also a member of the Red Bank Zoning Board and cites her work in obtaining the approval for the “Flowers on Front” move from Front St. to Maple Ave. as her favorite project.
No doubt Ms. Harris has found an amazing formula to balance a full life of work, family, school, and volunteering.
When asked to give advice to students who want to go to college but may not feel confident in their abilities or otherwise feel hindered by their circumstances, Ms. Harris states, “What you do defines the outcome. Never give up, never ever, ever give up, never settle, and never be discouraged.”
Tiffaney Harris inspires impassioned and active service in the community and exemplifies hard-earned success, but above all, she believes, “My joy is bringing others joy.”
RBR 2014 Distinguished Alumnus - Dr. James Burden - Class of 1991
By Cecelia Gunderson, Features Co-Editor
Dr. James Burden was raised in Shrewsbury, NJ. From the time he was a child, he knew he wanted to be a dentist.
He recalls, “As a kid, I loved science and I was always taking something apart or putting something back together. My grandfather was a dentist and at a young age, I began to like the idea of being a dentist because it was a good marriage of science and craft.”
James attended Red Bank Regional High School from 1987 until his graduation in 1991. He remembers his time at RBR as a good foundation for his future education and furthermore, his life. He often thinks about what path he would have taken if he had not “met that teacher or had that encounter with a teacher”, exemplifying the impact the RBR environment and faculty had on his life.
Upon graduation from RBR, Burden attended Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania a school with an outstanding science program. He graduated with honors and then headed off to Philadelphia and Temple University’s School of Dentistry where he was commended as a member of several honor societies. He also had the good fortune to meet his wife of 12 years, Coleen, during his junior year of dental school; she was from the Philadelphia area.
During his summers at Temple, he participated in several important dental internships that truly set the tone for the unique style of dentistry he would later practice in his professional life. In particular, he engaged in public health research directed at identifying understanding and overcoming barriers to dental care. Burden found that many people who were unable to seek dental treatment were sick, disabled, or elderly. In conferencing with one of his advisers, he explored the possibility of creating a portable dentist practice. They together created a business plan that he would implement in the future.
Dr. Burden returned to New Jersey to do a general practice residency at Virtua Hospital in Camden, NJ, where he provided hospital based dental care in a one-year post doctoral program.
Soon after, he launched the specialized mobile practice business plan in 2001 to practice dentistry in his home state of New Jersey. He built his practice with referrals from other dentists he had encountered, whose patients were no longer able to physically come to their office. Once again marrying his love for science and creativity, he transformed a dentist black bag into a portable dental office replete with water and drill lines and everything else he could need to set up shop in someone’s home.
His business grew and he garnered the attention of Monmouth Medical who learned of his expertise with special needs and geriatric patients. He continues to volunteer his time at the hospital as an attending dentist where he leads a team of eight dental residents. Burden enjoys this work so much that he sees a future in teaching dentistry to young scholars.
He was also invited to set up a permanent office on the large and sprawling Seabrook Village adult community for its residents. Dr. Burden believes the greatest quality a geriatric dental practitioner needs is adaptability, giving the example of a patient with Parkinson’s disease who is unable to sit still.
He comments, “I find them (older patients) a pleasure to work with, as they are very gentle and honest.”
Dr. Burden shares half his professional time in a general dental practice, New Paradigm Dentistry located in his home town of Millstone which affords him great opportunities to participate in his young children’s lives. While his two practices occupy most of Dr. Burden’s professional time, when the need arises, he still dusts off his homemade portable dental office and hits the road which brings him to someone’s doorstep.
With multiple dental practices, and significant volunteer duties at Monmouth Medical, Dr. James Burden is a very accomplished professional. It takes a genuinely amazing person to balance all of these aspects of life, something Dr. Burden seems to do with ease. Of all his accomplishments, though, Dr. Burden feels the most rewarding are his two children. Dr. Burden is a leader, innovator, family man and role model whose ability to adapt and his humility truly completes the package. Everyone at RBRHS can learn something from Dr. Burden and it is very apparent how deserving he is to receive this great honor.
RBR Hall of Fame Distinguished Faculty Honoree (1957 – 1972) - Dr. Seymour Siegler
By Siobhan Hansen, Arts Editor
Dr. Seymour Siegler has done a lot of amazing things in his life. He has taught on both a high school and college level, co-founded the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights, and Genocide Education Studies (CHHANGE) at Brookdale Community College, and has influenced countless lives with his teaching and counseling. It’s obvious that Dr. Siegler believes in helping others and being actively involved in the wellbeing of other people.
Dr. Siegler explains that he lives by this quote from Stephen Grellet, “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”
By simply looking at his list of achievements you can tell that Dr. Siegler follows this motto, but upon meeting him you realize just how well he follows it. Of course, I have an advantage in this regard because Dr. Seymour Siegler is my grandfather.
Following his service to our country, Dr. Siegler pursued his college education with a major in biology in college and an interest in a medical career. However, he realized that he preferred the social sciences and minored in psychology. Both areas of study found expression and purpose at RBHS as, first, a biology teacher and later a guidance counselor. His wife Marilyn also worked in the high school as a home-economics teacher before she left to raise their five children.
In all, he enjoyed a storied 15-year career at Red Bank High School (RBHS) where he also served as advisor for the RBHS Jazz Club, Press Club, Biology Lab Assistants, and National Honor Society. His life-long love for current events and writing made him a natural to take on RBHS’s role of Public Relations “person.” He also served as the President to the RBHS Teachers’ Association and Monmouth County Guidance Association. Dr. Siegler feels that, aside from how CHHANGE has developed and grown, his success as a teacher is his greatest professional accomplishment.
He received his doctorate in Counseling Psychology in 1971 and later left RBHS to teach and counsel at Brookdale Community College for the next 25 years. He simultaneously ran his own private counseling practice.
In 1977, he co-presented a program on the Holocaust in response to a series run on NBC on the subject hoping to benefit from its sudden, national spotlight. As a Jewish man with relatives who fled Europe to evade Hitler’s genocide, he felt a strong personal commitment to finally tell the stories of that horrific time in history, especially through the voices of its survivors. Those voices have visited this high school (and many others in Monmouth County) year after year, educating RBR students on what they witnessed. The program was very well received and grew to become a permanent and iconic presence at the college. Dr. Seymour Siegler has co-directed CHHANGE ever since and has been involved with many Holocaust-related events and programs. He has served on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Holocaust Education, at one time as its Assistant Director. He has been multiply honored for his work at CHHANGE including with The Jewish War Veterans, “Man of the Year” award and the National Council of Jewish Women’s Hannah Solomon award
To me, my grandfather is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. Upon meeting him, one is immediately filled with a sense of understanding and wisdom, an expression formed from his years as a counselor. My grandfather has always enjoyed talking for hours about current events - in my life, his life, our family’s lives, and in the world around us. For as long as I can remember, my grandfather has done everything to try and spark my creativity and imagination. His teaching experience not only involves his years at Red Bank High School and Brookdale, but his life as a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. I am very happy he is receiving RBR’s Distinguished Alumni Award and am honored to present his biography.
2014 Distinguished Alumnus - Brian Steckroth - Class of 1998
By Emilie Weiner
Lieutenant Brian Steckroth began a life of accomplishments early while attending Red Bank Regional (RBR) where he was inspired to direct his life toward business and the United States Navy.
He explains, “I owe RBR’s outstanding faculty a lifetime of thanks,” he says. “The teachers and staff during my high school years were monumental in molding me into the person I am today.”
At RBR, Brian excelled in sports and academics alike. He was captain of the soccer team and earned eleven individual varsity letters. Steckroth also found a place in the National Honor Society, something that requires time, dedication, and hard work. He also earned the prestigious Congressional Award during his senior year, an award geared toward young Americans who show effort and growth in four categories: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
Upon graduation, Brian attended the coveted United States Naval Academy where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Oceanography. There, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002 for athletic excellence and was named an NCAA Division 1 All American in soccer and was selected the Naval Academy’sbest male athlete in his graduating class with the “2002 Sword for Men”.
His next stop was United States Navy Flight School, where he was trained to be a P-3 Orion Naval Aviator, a Mission Commander, and an Instructor Pilot. His ten years in the Navy trained him to be the stuff of young children’s dreams.
“I chose the big plane,” he admits. “It has thirteen people on it, and I love the whole team atmosphere.”
Even during his naval career, he still managed to find his way back to his team-oriented roots. He led and flew 65 combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, earning him the Naval Achievement Medal for outstanding leadership. Brian also commanded the aircraft and crew that was selected as the “Combat Aircrew of the Quarter” for superb performance during the Exercise Valiant Shield 2007. Steckroth was also responsible for instructing and mentoring naval aviators through a grueling 12-stage naval flight program. Due to his outstanding service, he was recommended for early promotion and was ranked number three out of forty-eight lieutenants on an annual performance report.
His valiant and lionhearted efforts also earned him a plethora of other awards, including a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons.
From 2011 to 2012, he worked as an Operations Officer and Executive Officer for the U.S. CENTCOM where he supervised 50 joint-operations personnel responsible for the daily operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also in charge of publishing over 100 military operational directives impacting time-critical missions of over 2,400 air assets throughout the Middle East.
While he enjoyed a very distinguished career in the Navy, his seven months deployments and five moves posed a great sacrifice to his wife (his high-school sweetheart, Annie). In 2012, Brian left active duty and returned to school to earn his MBA from Penn Statein hopes of settling down and having the ability to spend more time with Annie and their three children Charlie, Campbell and Claire.
Steckroth now works as a Business Manager at Jacobs Vehicle System in Hartford, Connecticut where he is responsible for the company’s second largest account. He relies on support from his family and coworkers, as his job depends on motivating and mentoring his coworkers to continually improve.
Not only is Steckroth a highly qualified and decorated man, he is a good citizen who remains involved in the community and in helping others.
He comments, “It comes straight back to my mother. She was always involved in the community. Sheis also an RBR Distinguished Alumna. She always taught me to give back more than I take.”
(In fact,Geraldine “Deanie”Steckroth began RBR’s Education Foundation over ten years ago.)
Brian Steckroth directed the Squadron’s Pilot for a Day program, which allows chronically ill children to experience life as a Naval Aviator. He also helped with Habitat for Humanity and Hurricane Sandy relief, where he incorporated his love for woodworking and his coordination skills to build houses and gather supplies for those in need. While he was stationed in Pensacola, he also participated in Relay for Life, raising money to cure cancer, and volunteered as a youth soccer coach, teaching the local fifth grade team.
“Athletics is a terrific way to teach the importance of integrity, hard work and respect,” Steckroth raves.
When asked for a quote that guides his life, he used Thomas Edison’s famous words: “Genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” These words hold true to Steckroth, a man with a strong work ethic and a long list of accomplishments to prove it. Brian is truly an exemplary, honorable, and tremendous man, and Red Bank Regional is honored to induct him to its Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
Student Vigil Remembers Grace
By Emma Wright
On Thursday, April 10, a vigil was held in the RBR courtyard to help the community grieve in the wake of the sudden death of sophomore and VPA drama major Grace Giffen. Students, parents, and teachers all came to this intimate ceremony to remember Grace and comfort one another.
The chorus sang, the orchestra played and some creative writing majors, including Giana Apreza and Mya Nunnally, performed pieces at the vigil.
RBR Principal Risa Clay addressed her students stating, “You are powerful sources of healing for your peers through your actions, your gentle words and the loving presence you have provided each other, showing what wonderful young people you are. You are not alone. You can ask for help. There are many people here to help you.
In the depth of your grief, you will experience many different emotions. Some of you may feel as though you have no control over anything. Others may feel anger, guilt and confusion. All will experience great sadness. There is a lesson here, too – one of great value. Depression can often wear a mask that hides behind a beautiful smile. We must continue to be vigilant. We must protect each other and hold each other close and when we have doubts or concerns we must reach out. Do not hesitate, do not second guess yourself. Protect each other.”
Many of Grace’s teachers and friends spoke, and the evening concluded with a candle lighting ceremony. The atmosphere of the vigil was very welcoming and emotional. As memories of Grace were shared, people laughed and cried together, holding each other in their arms. Everyone felt so connected to the people around them, grieving together, remembering together. It was apparent throughout the ceremony that everyone at RBR will help each other through this difficult time. Grace’s best friends along with the people who came to support their fellow students were touched by the event.
The most emotional part of the evening was when Mrs. Giffen, Grace’s mother spoke, offering her love and encouragement to all the students. The vigil was a cathartic ceremony for all as they recalled Grace Giffen, who will be greatly missed.
During this difficult time, it is important to remember that safety is key. Reach out for help if it is needed. The Source is available if anyone should need to talk. In addition, the guidance counselors and faculty at RBR are more than willing to assist everyone through this experience. The following hot lines are available should anyone need immediate help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-8255
NJ Hopeline 1-855-654-6735
2ndFloor Hotline 1-888-222-2228
The Trevor Project Lifeline (Focus on crisis & suicide prevention for LGBT youth) 1-866-488-7386