RBR students at the memorial event, above, and others with the redwood tree planted in memory of RBR’s Albert Martin, below. (Photos by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)


Red Bank Regional’s graduating class gathered in front of the Little Silver school Wednesday to hear classmates and teachers speak in memory of Riyadh’na Farrow and Albert Martin, seniors who both died suddenly last year.

The Class of 2013 planted two trees in honor of their deceased cohorts: a magnolia for Riyadh’na, and a redwood for Albert.

“They’ll always be here. Whether they knew them or not, students, parents, and teachers will know what they stood for: peace, love, understanding, wisdom, and growth,” said senior Zakiyah Godsey, addressing the class.

“It’s up to you guys to carry their dreams now,” said business teacher James Young. “It’ll be hard. Sometimes you won’t want to. But you’re dreaming for three.”

Joseph Dean, an RBR parent, had carved the two names onto garden stones, one to dedicate each tree. The trees came from A. Casola Farms in Holmdel, with the help of parent Bill Gerth.

“In a school where kids are coming from different backgrounds, it could’ve become cliquish – but not here,” Young said afterward. “They’ve become closer through these tragedies. We’re very proud of them.”

He noted that the loss of the two classmates was compounded by the disruption of Hurricane Sandy, which displaced 72 students from their homes.