rbr distinguished alumni

PHOTO: The 2014 Red Bank Regional Hall of Fame Inductees are pictured above at their Induction Ceremony and Celebratory luncheon.  They are: (left to right), (standing)  former NFL football player and mental health advocate Gregory Montgomery, class of 1983; Red Bank School district employee, and consummate community volunteer Tiffaney Harris, class of 1989; Millstone and geriatric dentist Dr. James Burden, class of 1998; Naval Academy All American, decorated Iraq War Veteran and businessman Brian Steckroth, class of 1988. Seated is this year’s honorary faculty inductee, Dr. Seymour Siegler who became a Professor at Brookdale College and co-founded the Holocaust Museum at the college and still serves as its director.

Little Silver, NJ - On Friday, April 24, the Red Bank Regional Education Foundation (RBREF) held its 2014 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the high school. RBR Principal Risa Clay greeted the Inductees, their families and friends and the RBR Freshman Class, specifically addressing the students stating, “We chose the freshman class to participate in this ceremony because you are just beginning your journey, and we hope that you will gain some knowledge from their (The Inductees) words of wisdom.”

 

 Inducted this year were:

  • Greg H. Montgomery, Jr. – Class of 1983, NFL Football Player & Mental Health Advocate
  • Tiffaney M. Harris – Class of 1989, Long time Red Bank School District staff member, Consummate Community Volunteer also known as "Red Bank's Mom".
  • – Class of 1991, Practice of General Dentistry & Mobile Dentist to the elderly andinfirm
  • Brian Steckroth – Class of 1998, US Naval Academy Graduate, All-American and decorated Iraqi War Veteran
  • Seymour Siegler, Ed.D. – Faculty Honoree, 1957-1972, RBHS Biology Teacher & Guidance Counselor and Professor &  Co-Founder, Holocaust Museum at Brookdale Community College

Jacqueline Caruso Smith, the RBREF committee chairperson for the event, informed the audience, “The selection criterion for induction into the Hall of Fame involves being a role model for our current students. Whether someone attended our school 50 or 15 years ago or was a faculty member, they must have distinguished themselves by making some unique contribution in their careers and served their communities with honor and significant commitment.” She added, “Today, as you read their biographies and listen to them speak; we are sure you will agree, our honorees have far surpassed this criteria.”

rbr distinguished alumni student writers

PHOTO: RBR student writers and artists integral to the RBR Hall of Fame celebration.  Pictured (left to right): Charlet Ervin,  Union Beach, designed the Program journal cover art, Skylar Guica, Deal, Buccaneer staff photographer, photographed the event; and Buccaneer writers: Emily Weiner, Ocean Township, Siobhan Hansen, Red Bank, Sofia Dadap, Red Bank, Ella Brockway, Shrewsbury and Cecelia Gunderson, Neptune City, wrote and read the biographies of the Distinguished Alumni.

            The biographies of the Distinguished Alumni were written and read by the RBR Buccaneer school newspaper writers who took the opportunity to interview the honorees. Freshman Ella Brockway of Shrewsbury described Greg Montgomery as “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…,” adding, “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.”

            Senior Sofia Dadap of Red Bank described Tiffaney Harris as “Red Bank’s Mom” for all the selfless time and attention she has devoted to the Red Bank youth 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 added, “In essence, she feels the same pride in Red Bank’s children as she has experienced in her own.”

Sophomore Cecelia Gunderson of Neptune City described the unique characteristics of Dr. James Burden’s mobile dental career for the aged and infirm explaining, “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.”

 Dr. Burden, as the other inductees, addressed the students in the audience with memories from his days in high school and advice for a purposeful life stating, “We all have obstacles and external forces working against us. But only you have the power to choose how to overcome them and nourish your values and dreams. And while some people or situations may try to limit your choice or persuade you to choose wrongly, in the end, it all comes down to your choice – personal responsibility – the ability to choose your response - the aligning of your choices with your principles.”

            Freshman Emilie Weiner of Ocean Township described the storied naval, athletic and business career of decorated war veteran Lieutenant Brian Steckroth.  However, the Lieutenant surprised his audience by thanking Emilie for her well written bio and then explaining, “I think it is important for everyone here to know that none of my accomplishments came easy to me. ...Nothing came easy to me in the classroom.  While some of my classmates understood new concepts quickly, I did not.  However, I learned that through repetition and hard work, I could compete with my peers and eventually, through perseverance I could and WOULD succeed.  Everywhere I went, whether it was the US Naval Academy, Flight School or my MBA program at Penn State, I was constantly surrounded by smarter and more gifted peers.  However, once I came to terms with the fact that school and life was not easy, the doors of opportunity began to open for me because I realized that if I worked harder, if I stayed up later – I could also succeed.”

The last inductee was Dr. Seymour Siegler, past RBR teacher and guidance counselor who left Red Bank High School to pursue his PHD in counseling at Brookdale Community college and establish and direct the venerable Holocaust Museum at that institution. His biography was written and poignantly read by his own granddaughter Siobhan Hansen of Red Bank.  She stated, “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.”

            Dr. Siegler chose to leave the 2014 Freshman Class of 2014 with another quote and some salient advice stating, “A warning, devote little to no brain space to hate, a quote I heard recently says it so well, ‘Hate always corrodes the vessel it is carried in.’ Hate wastes time, and energy. Instead I encourage you to be an activist for good causes, volunteer, write letters to editors, organize meetings and conferences, focus on justice not revenge, and most important be an “upstander” not a bystander.”

Following the official ceremony the RBR 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees were treated to a fabulous lunch created by the RBR Culinary Club, while the RBR Academy of Visual & Performing Arts’ Piano majors provided a musical ambience.  Further accolades were bestowed by New Jersey Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and the Mayors of RBR’s sending towns of Red Bank, Little Silver and Shrewsbury.  Notably, Mayor Donald Burden presented his own son with his town’s commendation.

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( right) Pictured are: Shrewsbury Mayor Donald Burden, Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna, RBR Principal Risa Clay, Little Silver Mayor Bob Neff and RBR Assistant Principal Rob Donohoe at the RBR Hall of Fame Celebratory luncheon.

(left) RBR 2014 Distinguished Alumni Inductee Lieutenant Brian Steckroth addresses the RBR audience at the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony as (left to right) RBR Ed Foundation Hall of Fame Committee Chair Jacqui Caruso Smith, Shrewsbury, and RBR HOF inductee Dr. Seymour Siegler and RBR Principal Risa Clay look on.

(Left) The RBR VPA piano majors, pictured with their teacher Camille Thompson, provided the musical ambience for the event.

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