Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
Class of 2017 Red Bank Regional High School graduate Chase Hintelmann can remember talking with his parents about his grandfather’s early passing. At only 61, a heart attack stole his family’s patriarch. Chase was in preschool at the time.
“They say that he may have been saved if he had heart surgery.” He recalls, “I remember saying, ‘I wanted to be one of those people who could have helped him.’”
The “Bring It” traveling minstrels, composed of RBR Visual & Performing Art Academy students organized by Chase Hintlemann (red shirt), entertained area seniors in their residences and nursing homes over the past four years.
Other signs from his childhood pointed him on the path he now follows as a pre-med student at Johns Hopkins University this fall, where he will major in molecular and cellular biology. He recalls assisting his mother in giving her heparin injections during her high risk pregnancy (he was three then). At seven, he could remove his own stitches. And while other kids were getting Xboxes and video games for Christmas, he was asking for anatomy books and skeletal models.
But how can one be really certain about a career choice at the age of 17? Chase had other interests and unique talents too. From the age of seven, Chase was a gifted tap dancer. He continued to perfect his skill competing and winning top scores at dance events and performing in community and school musicals.
Moving to Little Silver in eighth grade, he was soon faced with the Red Bank Regional phenomenon of which academy or curriculum path to choose. He decided to take advantage of the school’s famous Visual & Performing Arts Academy and double major in Drama and Math and Science. He even started a roaming minstrel group composed of VPA performers, called “Bring It”, to entertain at local nursing homes and senior citizen residences. The inspiration for this came from a debilitating knee injury he suffered during his freshman year, while performing in Damn Yankees at the Count Basie.
He explains, “I had to sit in a knee bending machine for four hours a day and couldn’t go to school for several weeks. I was bored out of my mind. It got me thinking about how our students could bring entertainment to those who were similarly unable to leave their residences.”
The “Bring It” minstrels have brought smiles to the area elderly over the past four years. Chase has also arranged for the group to continue on after his graduation under the leadership of a fellow RBR classmate.
Throughout his high school years, Chase always kept in mind something he learned from his guidance counselor freshmen year. RBR, which adopted a block schedule some time ago, could arrange for an independent study for high-achieving students in their senior year in areas of special interest to their education. This required his substituting the course time he spent in the VPA.
Chase easily qualified for this option on an academic level, as he was a constant honor roll student and a commended scholar who scored among the top 2% of students in the country on his PSAT scores. He was also selected as one of only 39 students to be a New Jersey Scholar. For that venerate program, he spent five weeks in the summer of his junior year at an exclusive program of high achieving New Jersey scholars immersed in learning and philosophical discovery on the Lawrenceville Academy school campus. Chase still keeps in touch with these students whose paths will most likely cross again.
In exploring the independent study option, Chase gained assistance from an RBR teacher and physician assistant, who referred him to Dr. David Dupree of Shrewsbury. Dr. Dupree, a teaching general surgeon, has welcomed other high school students with medical interests to occasionally shadow him in his office practice and even in the operating room with prerequisite permissions. However, he had never taken on a student for an entire school year.
He states, “I thought this was unique and offered Chase a great opportunity to see the continuity of medical care for a patient from the first office visit, the operation, and then follow-up care.”
On Thursdays, Chase would accompany Dr. Dupree as he saw patients during office hours; watching as his mentor “would bring out charts and draw diagrams to show them what was going on or what he was going to do and then he would further explain it to me.”
Riverview Medical Center, where Dr. Dupree operates, allows observers in the operating theatre once a patient is under anesthesia and completely draped as long as the patient and all the medical team personnel give their permission. Chase was at every operation he could attend _ sometimes, according to Dr. Dupree, until 10 o’clock at night for long (eight or ten hour) complicated surgeries. Chase managed to balance this schedule while qualifying as a Little Silver EMS cadet which also furthered his medical experience.
During the surgeries, a physician assistant would talk Chase through the surgery. Soon he became a permanent and welcome fixture in the operating room. This unique opportunity allowed Chase to spend every other afternoon of his senior year gaining invaluable knowledge about the medical field from a teaching surgeon. To date, Chase has joined Dr. Dupree for nearly 100 surgeries; a rare and exemplary experience for a student who has yet to begin his undergraduate degree.
Chase states, “This experience confirmed my desire to become a surgeon and has given me great insight into varying aspects of the field. My internship with Dr. Dupree was a tremendous honor and privilege that I am incredibly grateful for.”
For Dr. Dupree, it was also an amazing opportunity to pass on his knowledge to our collective future. In watching Chase practice his sutures on a special suture model kit (which he also requested for Christmas) the doctor acknowledges, “He has amazing hands. He is just an exceptional kid.
“I train surgeons all the time at the residency program at Monmouth Medical,” the doctor adds. “I can recognize talent and he is destined for great things, he is going to do something pretty amazing.”