Pictured left to right are the April 25 induction luncheon for the 2014 Red Bank Regional Hall of Fame Inductees are Gregory Montgomery, Tiffaney Harris, honorary faculty inductee Dr. Seymour Siegler (seated), Dr. James Burden, and Brian Steckroth. Take it here for more on this year’s inductees and the Hall of Fame program.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
On Friday, April 25, the Red Bank Regional Education Foundation (RBREF) held its 2014 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Red Bank Regional High School. Entering the Hall of Fame this year were Greg Montgomery (Class of 1983), former NFL Football Player & Mental Health Advocate; Tiffaney M. Harris (Class of 1989), longtime Red Bank School District staff member and consummate community volunteer ; Dr. James Burden, D.M.D. (Class of 1991), mobile dentist to the elderly and infirm; and Brian Steckroth (Class of 1998), US Naval Academy Graduate, All-American and decorated Iraqi War Veteran. This year’s faculty honoree was Seymour Siegler, Ed.D. Red Bank High School biology teacher and guidance counselor (1957-1972), and co-founder of the Holocaust Museum at Brookdale Community College.
“The selection criterion for induction into the Hall of Fame involves being a role model for our current students,” Jacqueline Caruso Smith, committee chairperson for the event, informed the audience. “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.”
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.”
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.”
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 explaining, “I think it is important for everyone here to know that none of my accomplishments came easy to me. 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,” he continued. “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 Ph.D in counseling at Brookdale Community College, and to establish and direct the Holocaust Museum at that institution. His biography was written and poignantly read by his own granddaughter Siobhan Hansen of Red Bank.
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.