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.

RUMSON SISTERS SHARE TEAM EXPERIENCE

malen-and-mara-6572030Sisters Malen and Mara Grubagh each played an instrumental role in the success of the RFH Dance Team (pictured below) this season.

rfh-dance-team-3130661Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

There was a lot to cheer about recently as the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School football team enjoyed a record-breaking championship season. Sharing in the excitement, and thrilled to be experiencing it together, were sisters Malen and Mara Grubaugh of Rumson.

Mara, a fifteen-year-old sophomore at RFH, is a member of the RFH Dance Team — while eighteen-year old Malen, who has Down syndrome and attends the Somerset County-based Midland School, is the team’s first-ever manager.

malen-on-the-job-8741660As Team Manager, Malen is in charge of keeping the girls’ spirits and energy up. She is also responsible for everything from taking attendance to making sure that all the dancers are wearing the correct hair bows and paw stickers. And it is up to Malen to give the “go ahead” confirming that the girls are ready before music begins playing for their half time performances.

Malen’s appointment was a dream come true for the Grubaugh family. The sisters share a love of dance and have taken lessons for years – Malen in a special needs class at Family Resource Associates in Shrewsbury, and Mara at a local dance academy.

“For years, both of my girls have been on the sidelines for one another’s performances,” said the girls’ mother Laurie Grubaugh. “They are one another’s biggest fans. And when Mara joined the RFH dance team as a freshman, Malen had a new sideline to watch her sister from.”

Malen enjoyed attending RFH football games and watching Dance Team practices last year. This year, as Mara began her sophomore year, she and Jen Costa — the RFH Dance Team Coach —  had a conversation about Malen and how she could become involved.

“I knew nothing about this in advance, and when Coach Costa approached me with the idea it brought tears to my eyes,” said Grubaugh. “I just couldn’t believe that my girls would have a chance to do what they both love and do it together! This was the very first opportunity Malen had to be involved in an activity at her hometown school and with her sister. It was amazing.”

According to Grubaugh, the team embraced Malen – and as much as Malen has learned from the girls on the team, the girls have learned even more from her. This past October, Malen and the Dance Team members worked together to support Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Malen provided bracelets to the cheerleaders and dancers to promote awareness, acceptance, and inclusion – and Coach Costa made blue and yellow ribbons for all of the girls to wear as well.

And for one of the senior girls, getting to know Malen influenced a potential career path.

“Katie Pierson was Mara’s Dance Team ‘big sister’ and became friends with Malen as well,” said Grubaugh. “Katie has now expressed an interest in becoming an occupational therapist and working with special needs clients. This was something she never realized she had a desire to do until she met Malen. Again, so much goodness triggered by a coach and a sister with big hearts, understanding, and acceptance.”

“After Malen’s first dance team practice, I knew that we had made the right decision by selecting her as Manager,” said Costa. “Even when we are freezing during a football game, Malen’s smile encourages the girls to give 110%. The team looks to Malen not only as a manager but as a teammate, friend, and sister. I see the girls looking out for her and wanting to know how her school day was, her favorite song … just simple teenage girl talk. As we begin our basketball and competition season, Malen will be present – she is a key part of the RFH Dance Team and when she is missing we are not complete.”

Grubaugh expressed appreciation for an experience that has enriched so many lives.

“It is truly amazing how much Coach Costa has done for both of my girls and for her team by just being kind,” said Grubaugh. “I am so very proud of Malen and Mara, the girls on the team, and Coach Costa. My hope is that there will be more opportunities like this for students with special needs in our community.”

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
TAR BEACH SOLSTICE
Aldo Quiroz of Ocean Township came ready with his beach chair and found a shady spot to spend his lunch hour in a parking lot off Broad Stre ...
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
RED BANK: Town prepares for Saturday's Pride in the Park celebration with another lawn art design by public works supervisor and Fire Chief ...
MOVIES VIA LIBRARY
RED BANK: Public Library now offers members access to streaming movies via Kanopy, with some 30,000 titles and tons of content for kids.
NEW RAINBOW CROSSWALK ON BROWN PLACE
Kicking off pride month, some Brown Place and Spring Street residents, ages 5 to 11, constructed a rainbow crosswalk with chalk over the wee ...
WHAT TO WEAR?
RED BANK: Dressmakers' mannequins appeared to mull what to wear as they looked down on Monmouth Street last week.
SYMPHONY RETURNS JUNE 29
RED BANK: An annual crowd pleaser returns June 29 with a free concert in Marine Park by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, RiverCenter said ...
Heard on the Green
Heard on the Green
DUCK RESCUE EFFORT
Duckling rescue attempt underway in sewer at East Front and Broad, 10:29 a.m.
HOUSING CRUNCH
Demolition begins for new apartments at Globe Court and Mechanic Street.
FEELING SNAPPY
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
TUB TIME
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
CHECK IT OUT
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.