PHOTO: CDR. Thomas Gorman (USN regt.) returns a salute.

SANDY HOOK - The three founders of the NJROTC program at MAST, the Marine Academy of Science and technology and a retiring professional with 28 years at the high school were honored at two separate ceremonies in two separate locations earlier this month cadets at MAST conducted an honor guard and a Pass in Review.

The accomplishments and dedication of CDR. Thomas Gorman (USN regt.) and the late CDR Daniel Harrison Gholson and Chief F. Earl Dempsey were remembered in vivid detail in moving recollections by Dr. Brian McAndrew, a member of the Monmouth County Vocational Board of Education and Earl Moore, principal at MAST, as well as CDR. Tracie Smith-Yeoman, (USN Ret) senior naval instructor.

PHOTO: Tim McCorkell, Superintendent of Monmouth County Vocational School District, speaks.

McAndrew noted had he had served with both Gholson and Gorman while he was an instructor himself at MAST in the 1980s, and while he did not know Dempsey, he noted “his legacy and energy were constantly praised.” Smith-Yeoman noted that as a former Highlands resident who lived on the same block as the Dempsey family, she took special pride in hearing once again of the energy and passion of Dempsey as well as Gorman and Gohlson.   Moore noted that he has only been principal at MAST for three years, but assured both Gorman and the families of the late founders that he sees the legacy they left on a daily basis in the integrity, attention and dedication of the cadets.

Members of both the Gholson and Dempsey families, together with Gorman and his son were all in attendance for the ceremony, and all expressed their gratitude at the honors being bestowed on the retired navy men.

Gorman gave a brief description of how MAST became an NJROTC unit, a fight led by the trio who had all retired from the Navy and saw the advantages of a Navy-styled disciplined education at a county high school located on Sandy Hook. (see related story)

Mary Dempsey Moore, the oldest of the ten Dempsey siblings, and one of approximate dozen of two generations of Dempsey’s descendants attending the ceremony, said she always will recall her father’s passion for the MAST program, and his love for the students who attended. She expressed the happiness of the family that the legacy their father left 35 years ago is still so visible and alive in today’s cadets and marveled at the excellence of their records, both in scholastics and community service. Moore noted her father was proud of his trade as a tinsmith and “his passions became his life.” Moore and her husband, Herb, their son, JR, Peter and Holly Dempsey and their daughter Noel, Kelly Dempsey, all of Highlands, and Theresa and Peter Manning and their son Christian of Shrewsbury, were all in attendance for the honor bestowed on their father and grandfather.

McAndrew and Moore uncovered the blue and gold plaque which will hang at MAST in perpetuity citing the dedication, discipline and integrity of the three founders.

Cheryl McDonald, a social studies instructor at the school, led the committee that conducted the dedication program and said it was important that the history of the three founders be kept alive and appreciated by the thousands of young men and women who get their secondary education at MAST. Smith-Yeoman noted the dozens of graduates who went on to excel at colleges and military institutions around the world and have made their mark in the worlds of business, military leadership, finance, industry and other fields of endeavors.

Following the plaque uncovering ceremony held at the NJROTC building at Mast, the corps of cadets marched in formation to Pershing Field where the second ceremony of the day honored Eileen Manti, who has served as school secretary for 28 years. Manti, who refers to herself as the “social director” at MAST, is retiring after serving under three different principals and seeing the school continue to grow and its cadets succeed both at the high school and beyond. She is retiring to travel and spend more time with her family.

Following that ceremony, the cadets, led by Battalion Cdr. c/LCDR Michael Zimmerman, passed-in-review before CDR Smith-Yeoman and Ms Manti for their final salute of appreciation to the retiring professional. c/SCPO Olivia Monteleone was choir section leader and c/sCPO Jeanine Reeman was bandmaster.