On April 29, the Red Bank Regional (RBR) Buc Backer Foundation held its 15th annual induction of Distinguished Alumni into its Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees included: award-winning, psychiatric researcher Janice A. Egeland, Ph.D., Class of 1952; otolaryngologist, and inventor Dr. S. Thomas Westerman, Class of 1952; Red Bank businessman and community leader Dean Ross, Class of 1969; physician and professor Dr. Lindsay Maggio, Class of 1998; financial advisor; coach and collegiate star athlete Tahj J. Holden, Class of 1999; and Army Troop Commander and West Point graduate and athlete CPT Bo Olsen, Class of 2004.
A special ceremony took place in front of a student-packed auditorium where The Buccaneer student newspaper writers read their biographies of the inductees and introduced them to the audience. The inductees and their families where later treated to the RBR Culinary Club’s specially prepared brunch while serenaded by the VPA Piano Majors. Shrewsbury Mayor Donald Burden, Little Silver Mayor Robert Neff, Red Bank Council President Cindy Burnham and New Jersey state representative Michael Hughes bestowed proclamations upon the distinguished alumni.
RBR Principal Risa Clay welcomed the inductees and their families stating, “This event has become a wonderful tradition. It combines the occasion to learn more about the rich history of our school and it gives us an opportunity to honor our past heritage.”
Dr. Egeland could not make the ceremony but sent her sister Nina, her most ardent supporter, in her stead. RBR junior and art columnist Emilie Weiner described the researcher’s trailblazing career from the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school in the early 1950s to her groundbreaking research on bipolar disease.
The distinguished medical career of Dr. Westerman was detailed by RBR junior and art editor Phoebe Carr. She noted his holding of five US patents for his different medical inventions as well as his long-time contribution to local clinics including The Parker Family Health Clinic. She added that, “he also travelled overseas to lecture … especially in Israel where he was given a lifetime appointment to their Society of Otolaryngology.”
The life-long community service of Dean Ross was detailed in RBR junior and Buccaneer writer Alex Sosa’s account. This included his dedication to his hometown of Red Bank where he spearheaded such programs as the “Shine the Light” initiative in partnership with St. Anthony’s Church to provide bike lights to local residents. He extended his philanthropy overseas on missions with his family to Africa donating many shoes from his Red Bank Doc Shoppe. She added, “Everyone should think about the things Mr. Ross has accomplished…If he sees a broken, discarded bike he’ll pick it up, fix it and donate it… He only hopes his example can be contagious.”
Dr. Lindsay Maggio’s medical and research career was highlighted by Buccaneer Editor In Chief and RBR senior Amy Cavallo who stated, “Throughout her 15 year medical, research and education career she has earned many awards and recognitions including being twice honored by Brown University with its Medical Student Teaching Award and its Resident Teaching Award.”
Buccaneer Sports Editor, RBR junior, Ella Brockway described Tahj Holden’s amazing athletic career which included member of the national championship basketball team at the University of Maryland and a professional basketball player in Istanbul Turkey, as well as basketball coach at both CBA and now Ranney. She stated, “Before he was a college standout or high school head coach, Tahj Holden was a BUC.” Tahj Holden, a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley in their Global Sports & Entertainment Division, was a storied RBR basketball player but also served as the student council president. He told the students how he always pushed himself to perform outside his comfort zone giving the example of trying out for the school Shakespearian play (where he surprisingly earned a star role) even though he had never acted.
RBR junior Zeke Weston detailed the astonishing career of CPT Bo Olsen, a West Point graduate and athlete, and also a standout RBR athlete as Captain of the Football team who “lead the school to the state playoffs for the first time in 19 years.” His military career included responsibility for a 458 paratrooper airborne cavalry reconnaissance squadron and now Troop commander. Among many other accolades, he earned the Armed Forces Service Medal as well as the Bronze star for his mission in Iraq. Yet another deployment on a very important mission in service of our country precluded CPT Olsen from attending the ceremony. His family was in attendance, however, including his father, RBR teacher Brad Olsen who spoke on his behalf.
At Bo’s direction he thanked all the people--teachers, coaches, and family--who gave him the opportunities to be the man he is today stating, “No one achieves success on their own without having people—opening the door of opportunity for them.”
He then directly addressed the hundreds of students in attendance adding, “As students at RBR, all of you have doors of opportunity opened to you by the great teachers and staff here. You just need to take the initiative to walk through those doors to accomplish great things that you are all capable of. What Bo would like for you to remember is that your life journey is really up to you.”