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RED BANK REGIONAL HIGHThe Source provides counseling and other services to hundreds of students and families annually, supporters say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


hot topic red bank njThe in-school social services program dubbed The Source at Red Bank Regional High School faces extinction if a plan to eliminate state funding is not reversed, supporters said.

Under cuts to 91 school-based support programs statewide, the Source would lose about $277,000 in annual state funding, they said. That’s the full amount provided by the state, and its removal will have “devastating consequences,” Superintendent Lou Moore wrote in an announcement to the RBR community Friday.

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SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller (left) with Corey Van Huff, first recipient of the Sean Macon Memorial Scholarship, presented to him by Sam, Tiaunna and Lynn Macon.   

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Recently, The Source in-school program at Red Bank Regional High School hosted its 17th annual year end reception, a celebratory event to award student scholarships and honor the Community Partnerships that enable its mission, “To remove all obstacles that impede the success of young people in our community.”


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suzanne-keller-gwendolyn-loveThe SOURCE director Suzanne Keller and Lunch Break exec director Gwendolyn Love are pictured at the launch of the expanded Red Bank Regional Community Tutoring Program at Lunch Break.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

This school year, the Red Bank based nonprofit Lunch Break has graciously offered its facility to the Red Bank Regional High School District, for the expansion of its popular Community Peer Tutoring Program. Dedicated to a mission of “Removing all obstacles that impede a students’ academic success,” the program is operated by The SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program.

Fifty freshmen will meet at the newly renovated Lunch Break dining room every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., for homework help with their teachers. RBR upper classmen from the school’s National Honor Societies, Key Club and International Baccalaureate program also provide tutoring support for the students under the teachers’ supervision.

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RBR Source Lunch BreakThe Encourage an “A” Program from The SOURCE at Red Bank Regional celebrated its graduating seniors and gifted them with items they can use for college next year.  Pictured (standing, left to right) are Lexi Buffaloe, Olivia Nooney, Cecilia Gunderson, Jazmin Graham, Annmarie Melfi, and (seated, left to right) Dominique Bryan, Aliyyah Muhammad, Vandeka Rodgers, Day-Maris McMillan.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Recently, a newly appointed dining room at Red Bank’s nonprofit Lunch Break facility hosted this year’s Encourage an “A” Program, operated by The SOURCE at Red Bank Regional High School.

Now in its thirteenth year, the program encourages educational excellence in their students, awarding such gifts as flat screen TVs, HP computers, wireless headphones, a GoPro Camera and many gift cards to eligible students who earn from two to eight “A” grades in their third marking period. This year, 63 students qualified for the incentives, with the value of the gifts increasing with the number of As earned.

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DSC05499A Red Bank Regional High School “Boys 2 Men” facilitator teaches his students the art of tying a tie, while RBR football star Sadiq Palmer (below) poses in his selected paisley tie at the recent SOURCE-sponsored Dress for Success event.

 Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Sadiq“First Impressions could be lasting impressions,” Red Bank Regional High School Boys 2 Men facilitator and SOURCE clinician Sean Macon told the young men as they stood over a table carefully selecting their choice of tie. The neckwear was courtesy of RBR staff donations for the Boys to Men Dress for Success event, held at the school on January 11. Over 100 ties were donated for the program.

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RFH shoesPress release from Red Bank Regional High School

Parents who arrived at the most recent Buc Backer Foundation meeting at Red Bank Regional High School were greeted by an unexpected sight: a queue of shoes, lining the walls and snaking around the halls to their meeting room.

The shoes, as the parents soon found out, were part of a presentation that was designed by the founder of the nonprofit Attitudes In Reverse (AIR), to create a haunting but poignant statement on the topic of suicide.

The display featured some 233 pairs of shoes, representing the number of young people in New Jersey who took their lives in just the two years between 2010 and 2012. The project was coordinated by the Buc Backer Foundation in conjunction with The SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program.

Suicide has grown to be the second cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24 in the United States. Every 15 minutes someone commits suicide, while every 40 seconds someone attempts it.  According to the AIR website, “Unless you have walked IN THEIR SHOES you would never know the overwhelming feeling of sadness, anxiety and hopelessness that cause hundreds of young people to end their lives.”

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Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

sethrainessThe staff of Red Bank Regional High School recently invited author, educator and advocate Seth Rainess to speak on the topic of supporting students who self-identify as Transgender or Gender Non-conforming. As the Trans-family Group Facilitator with the Jersey Shore PFLAG (Parents and Families of Lesbians & Gays) organization, Rainess is uniquely qualified to discuss this subject from both his professional and educational background (with masters’ degrees in Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling), as well as through his own personal journey with transitioning.

Rainess, who has addressed a number of schools in Monmouth County, also spoke with the RBR Gay-Straight Alliance, the student organization advised by Stacy Liss, clinical supervisor for RBR’s School Based Youth Service program The Source. Several students received copies of Real Talk for Teens: a Jump-Start Guide to Gender Transitioning and Beyond, the Rainess-authored book that was written to help youth and families address transitioning, which is the process that transgender people may go through to align their body with their gender identity.

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kevinthreeAuthor, performer, TED Talk sensation and mental health activist Kevin Breel recently brought his important message of teenage depression and awareness to Red Bank Regional High School.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

As the six-foot-six captain of the basketball team, the life of the party and a natural stand-up comedian, the teenaged Kevin Breel lived two lives. One was the confident and outgoing persona that he presented to the world — and the other hid itself away, only to surface in the privacy of his room.

“It was exhausting;” he told a captivated audience at Red Bank Regional High School. “The lie was getting bigger and bigger and harder to change.”

One day, when he felt he had hit rock bottom, he decided to end the charade and picked up his pen to write his suicide note. That was his wake-up call, and somehow he summoned the courage to do the unthinkable: break the taboo, and talk about it to his family. Five years later, the 22-year old author, performer, TED Talk sensation and mental health activist Kevin Breel is still talking; bringing his important message of teenage depression and awareness to audiences from coast to coast — a calling that brought him to Red Bank Regional for a recent assembly.

Breel’s visit was sponsored by The SOURCE, the School-based Youth Service Program at RBR. It was the only high school stop on the current North American promotional tour for his book Boy Meets Depression: Or Life Sucks and Then You Live; published by Random House and released in September of this year. It was also a visit that was prompted by a poignant invitation from RBR senior Julie Cocker, a member of the Youth Council Executive Committee for Society for the Prevention of Suicide in Freehold. Incredibly engaging, funny and self-deprecating, Breel commanded his audience’s attention on a very heavy subject; informing his audience that “This generation not only has the power to change the conversation, but to change the culture.”

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bridgetandjulieDuring National Suicide Prevention Week, Red Bank Regional students Bridget Kelly and Julie Coker engaged their peers with a small gesture of distributing Life Savers candies wrapped with the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hot Line.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

During the second week of September, which is designated as National Suicide Prevention Week, students from Red Bank Regional High School were engaged in furthering awareness on what is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

Bridget Kelly, an RBR senior and athlete on RBR’s running teams, was recently shocked when a talented runner she used to compete against, committed suicide at the elite Ivy League university she was attending.

“This is the age when people are so vulnerable and may become susceptible to thoughts of suicide,” Bridget explains. “I wanted to do something to further awareness during this week.” Bridget’s simple but brilliant idea was to distribute Life Savers® candies to her peers during their lunch period. The candies were packaged in wrappers that read “Be a life saver, call 1-800- 273 TALK (8255);” a reference to the National Suicide Prevention Hot Line number.

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jack-navitsky-The Bucs of Red Bank Regional celebrate their opening home football game under the lights on Friday, September 18, with a kick-off picnic that will benefit The SOURCE, RBR’s School-based Youth Services Program.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The Bucs of Red Bank Regional High School invite the community to help them kick off the first home game of the season on Friday, September 18, when the RBR Buc Backer Foundation and The SOURCE join forces in sponsoring a pre-game picnic.

— RBR Bucs versus Colts Neck Cougars. Scheduled from 5:30 to 7 pm, prior to the start of the Bucs game against the visiting Colts Neck Cougars, the event features picnic food, soft drinks, door prizes, raffles and more. The first 50 attendees receive free tickets to the game, and a suggested donation of $5 per person per person will benefit The SOURCE, RBR’s School-Based Youth Services Program.

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tugofwarA Tug of War served to help students develop team-building skills, as Red Bank Regional’s Summer Slam program held a culminating day of activities at Thompson Park in Lincroft.

Press releases from Red Bank Regional High School

Over the past decade, Red Bank Regional High School has experienced remarkable academic success by every measure — with one of the primary reasons for that success taking place during the “summer vacation” month of July.

Known as Summer Slam, the freshman transition program plants the seeds of a new community of high schoolers formed from many different communities — primarily the sending towns of Red Bank, Little Silver and Shrewsbury, as well as other Monmouth County municipalities where K-8 districts offer RBR’s four-year academies as an alternative to their eighth grader’s high school choice.

With over 100 students enrolled in this voluntary program, over a third of the incoming freshman class is represented. Summer Slam is operated by The SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program and staffed by RBR Freshman Academy teachers.

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carcofficialLeft to right: Red Bank Regional Principal Risa Clay is pictured celebrating her being honored as a Partner in Education by the Community Affairs and Resource Center with her colleagues, RBR Interim Superintendent Tom Pagano, SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller, and SOURCE academic specialist Joseph Cerbone. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

On the evening of April 24, Red Bank Regional High School principal Risa Clay was honored by the Community Affairs and Resource Center (CARC) with their Partner in Education Award, during the organization’s fifth annual Black & White Gala reception at the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel.

Mrs. Clay, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, was honored for her work with RBR’s Latino students who are served by the SOURCE, the school based youth service program which she established 15 years ago. She also created an award winning- model program for English Language Learning (ELL) instruction and success. The program was responsible for RBR’s continued very high attendance and graduation rates among its ELL students, many of whom were able to afford college through a scholarship program she established with a private benefactor, The Andrew Kroon Memorial Scholarship, and a program with Brookdale College.

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RBR LatinoPlanning the upcoming fashion show and luncheon to benefit the Latino Scholarship program at Red Bank Regional are Linda Ensor, RBR Source supervisor Suzanne Keller, Dede Rumph, Didi Friedman, Anita Camarano and Rose Powers.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The Andrew Kroon Memorial Scholarship Fund, operating under the auspices of The SOURCE at Red Bank Regional High School, has been helping to make dreams come true for more than ten years. The program assists qualifying Latino students at RBR in affording their dream of college, and to benefit the scholarship, the foundation is sponsoring a fashion show and gift auction on Sunday, February 8.

Scheduled to run from from 12 to 3 pm at Buona Sera Ristorante in Red Bank, the event will spotlight fashions furnished by The Sport Spot in Shrewsbury and Posch Boutique in Rumson. Also featured will be a 50/50 raffle, raffle basket auction and coffee bar, as well as exquisite one-of-a kind jewelry by LeCharme.

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Camelot_press_photo_4A special performance of CAMELOT on December 13, captioned for Spanish-speaking audience members, is among a slate of free events designed for Monmouth County’s Latino community at Two River Theater. (Photo by T.C. Erickson)

Press release from Two River Theater Company

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, has announced a series of free events and productions for Monmouth County’s Latino community and Spanish-speaking audiences throughout the month of December. Tickets to the three events on December 13 and 21 are free of charge to Latino and Spanish-speaking patrons.

The special schedule begins with a free event presented under the name Nosotros: A Community Gathering and Sharing of Stories. Hosted inside Two River’s Marion Huber Theater on the afternoon of Saturday, December 13, the 4 pm event is hosted by playwright Tanya Saracho (a writer for television’s Looking and Girls) and Jerry Ruiz (director of Two River’s annual Crossing Borders festival of new Latino plays), as part of a project in which they will collaborate with Two River on creating an original play inspired by Monmouth County’s Latino community.

Saracho and Ruiz invite members of the community to share stories from their lives at the gathering, with no theatrical or public speaking experience necessary to participate. For more information or to reserve a spot, patrons should call (732)345-1400 (English) or (732)936-8843 (Spanish).

There’s more in store this month at Two River — including specially captioned performances of Two River Theater Company‘s current musical production Camelot, and this year’s upcoming all-ages family show.

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SummerSlamStudents at Summer Slam, the month-long high school transition program for rising freshmen at RBR, participate in a hula-hoop dance courtesy of the Community YMCA.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The phrase “lazy days of summer” does not apply to Red Bank Regional High School — at least in the mornings when the school is abuzz with various programs to maintain and sharpen student skills for September.

The largest program is Summer Slam, with over 90 students representing all sending towns of the regional school district.  This year marked Summer Slam’s 14th year of operation in preparing incoming freshmen for the very different world of high school. The program runs throughout the month of July, for four mornings a week. It is operated by the Source, RBR’s School-Based Youth Services program, and supervised by the Source Director Suzanne Keller. Ms. Keller is also the director of the RBR Freshman Academy, which provides continuity for the school’s newest students once they begin their high school careers.

Ms. Keller states of the program, “Summer Slam is primarily an academic program to prepare our kids for the rigors of high school and bridge the skill slide that research shows occurs during school vacations. It is also a great opportunity for kids to meet their classmates from other towns, so they will know just a few more faces, including their teachers, when the doors officially open for their first year of high school.”

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AndrewKroonScholarshipwinnersThis year’s winners of the coveted Andrew Kroon Scholarship award are pictured with members of the Andrew Kroon Memorial Scholarship Committee.  Pictured (left to right) are Chris Rumph, Board Vice President, Jocelyn Rojas Hernandez, Diana Escalona Cayetano, Mariela Reyes, Monica Urena, and Board President Carolina Sachs.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

At its year-end reception, Red Bank Regional High School’s school-based youth services program The Source honored individuals who have positively impacted the lives of RBR students during the year. The Source and its affiliates also awarded over $28,000 in scholarships to students.

With an emphasis on the overall optimal health of the students at Red Bank Regional, The Source is a comprehensive program that includes mental health counseling, preventative medical, dental and eye care, employment opportunities and learning support.

RBR Source Director Suzanne Keller recognized RBR math teacher Sunny Lenhard with the “Outstanding Service Award” for recognizing a need in the community, and helping to implement a program to address it.  With Mrs. Lenhard’s assistance, the Source was able to organize a community-based tutoring program to aid students who could not access that help offered at the high school building after school hours.  She, along with five of her colleagues and RBR National Honor Society students, tutored the students two evenings a week.  A second recognition, the Community Partnership Award, was given to Lori Hohenlietner, Executive Director of Horizons Student Enrichment Program, which provided assistance for Mrs. Lenhard’s envisioned tutoring program.  In addition, Horizons, a member of the Source Advisory Board, also contributed toward the Andrew Kroon Memorial Scholarship Fund; which for eight years has helped Hispanic students achieve their dream of attending college.

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sourceIn partnership with the Horizon Student Enrichment Program in Rumson, and donated space in the River Street Commons, the RBR SOURCE was able to create a valuable evening tutoring program for students in the community. 

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

Red Bank Regional High School offers many opportunities for their students to excel and succeed, including after-school tutoring at the high school. Recently, though, math teacher Sunny Lenhard identified an unmet need.

“One day I had two students at my door at 7:30 in the morning, asking, pleading for help,” she recalls.  Their homework paper was worn through from their constant erasures.  They exclaimed, ‘We can’t go to after-school help because of sports and no one for ten miles around here knows how to help with this math!’”

She discovered that other students had similar needs — especially if they had to leave directly after school for work or home obligations. She mentioned the issue to Suzanne Keller, Freshman Academy Supervisor, and director of THE SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program, whose mission is “To remove all obstacles that impede the success of young people in the community.”

Ms. Keller presides over the SOURCE’s community advisory board, and brought the need to that entity. Lori Hohenleitner, the Executive Director of Horizons Student Enrichment Program (based in Rumson) and The SOURCE advisory council member, thought this presented a great opportunity to help out RBR and also fulfill her organization’s desire to expand their services at the high school level.

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Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

The SOURCE, the School Based Youth Services Program at Red Bank Regional High School, will be the beneficiary when the RBR SOURCE Foundation presents a Casino Night on Saturday, March 29. McLoone’s Pier House at Pier Village in Long Branch will be the setting for the special event, taking place from 7 to 11 pm.

The SOURCE’s mission is “To remove all obstacles that impede the success of young people in the community.”  This is accomplished by offering services to students and their families including; individual, group and family counseling, preventative medical and dental care, academic support, scholarship opportunities, and recreational and cultural events.

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