Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Non-profit Organization

Red Bank River Center

The Red Bank River Center promotes local merchants, recruits new businesses, stages vibrant downtown events, and beautifies our streetscapes.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

RUMSON WOMEN PREP FOR A GIRLS’ ACADEMY

clifford-gmelich-101111Mairead Clifford, left, and Victoria Gmelich, hope to give their daughters and other young women the same kind of high school experience they had. (Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

Two Rumson women on a quest to develop an all-girls Catholic high school were heartened recently to find that thousands of area parents are just as interested in the idea as they are.

Victoria Gmelich and Mairead (pronounced ‘mah-RAID’) Clifford conducted an online survey last month to gauge interest in bringing such an institution to Monmouth County. They anticipated about 800 families would participate, but ended up with 2,000 responses.

Now, it’s time to “analyze the data and actually prove to ourselves what we think we already know — that there is a big need in this area for an all-girls school,” Gmelich tells redbankgreen.

Gmelich is mom to four daughters ranging in age from 12 to 5 years old, as well as a three-year-old son. Clifford has three daughters, aged 11, 9 and 7. The pair hope to have the Monmouth Girls Academy up running by the time the eldest of them enters high school, in fall 2013.

“That would be if every single thing was on track and we got our funding right away,” Gmelich said. “I think that’s aggressive, but definitely doable.”

So far, Gmelich and Clifford say they have not hit any significant speed bumps in the planning process. They are currently awaiting analysis of their survey’s results from a consulting firm, as well as investigating potential sources of funding for the school.

The women say they would start the school at a temporary location with a freshman class only, with about 100 girls. They anticipate the school’s permanent location would be in Lincroft, Colts Neck or somewhere else with easy Garden State Parkway access.

The feedback from parents thus far has been mostly positive, with many asking how they can help speed the process.

“There’s been so much enthusiasm and so many people have contacted us,” including not only parents but also potential principals, teachers and school nurses, Gmelich said. “People are definitely taking us seriously.”

Currently, girls like Gmelich’s and Clifford’s can attend Rumson-Fair Haven public high school, Red Bank Catholic High School or boarding schools located farther away, while their male counterparts have all of these options in addition to the all-boys Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft.

“These boys are getting the opportunity that the girls deserve,” Gmelich said. “I think people are really excited to think the girls are finally going to have something [similar].”

Research has shown that boys and girls learn differently, Gmelich said, and there is also a social benefit to keeping them separated when it comes to education, as it removes concerns over “hairdo or makeup or what the boys are perceiving [female students] to be.”

“If you eliminate that from the equation, you just have a lot more time and energy and enthusiasm for academics, which is really why you’re in high school,” Gmelich said.

The women also cite research indicating that students in all-girls schools score higher on the SATs, spend more time studying and are more likely to excel in engineering and math classes. Gmelich attributed this to the fact that teachers — perhaps subconsciously — sometimes push boys harder in science and math classes.

“That tends not to happen in an all-girls school,” she said. “You tend to teach to the entire student, the entire girl. Things aren’t falling through the cracks.”

Gmelich remembers her days at an all-girls Catholic high school on her native Long Island fondly.

“It brings you to such a different level as a woman with confidence, independence and self-awareness, as opposed to self-consciousness,” she said. “Those are the things I learned at an all-girls school, and I loved the camaraderie, the flourishing friendships and the simplicity of just focusing on school. It was cool to be smart, and you were well-received if you came to school well-prepared.”

While parents’ responses to the plan have been mostly supportive, some are “worried that the sports programs won’t be competitive,” Gmelich said, but she intends to seek advice from other people who have started grassroots high schools in order to keep sports programs up to snuff.

Also, some parents may be hesitant to support the idea because a similar effort was put forth in the area in the 1980s but fell through when the Diocese of Trenton withheld its blessing.

Gmelich and Clifford – who is also a product of a girls-only Catholic school – hope to win approval from the diocesan leader, Bishop David O’Connell, in order to make religious instruction part of the curriculum. Gmelich and Clifford intend to meet with O’Connell to share the results of the survey with him, as well as to ensure him, as they believe, that the school would not undermine the enrollment efforts of RBC and other Catholic high schools.

Gmelich said her own daughters “see all the work we’re putting into it and they say, ‘Why do you want to this?'” she said. “We say it’s because it’s a really special opportunity if you’re a girl to be able to go to an all-girls school. There’s really something that you can’t replicate anywhere else.”

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...
RED BANK: RAIL COMMUTER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of the Route 35 Cooper's Bridge over the Navesink River, as seen from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank F ...
RED BANK: PROMISING PROMS
RED BANK: Prom season approaches, and Lunch Break once again steps up with its 8th annual Prom Giveaway of donated dresses.
RED BANK: DOWN BY THE RIVER
RED BANK: Partyline contributor Karly Swaim captured a gloomy mood in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday evening.