About Town

January 3, 2014
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 RBR Student Selected to National H.S. Ambassador Program


LITTLE SILVER – Red Bank Regional (RBR) Visual & Performing Arts’ (VPA) major Morgan Brunson of Tinton Falls is a young Renaissance woman.

She sings, dances, plays the flute, paints and takes challenging academic courses while maintaining honor roll. No doubt these gifts, her extracurricular activities and community service earned her a rare invitation to join an elite group of students known as the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).


Morgan Brunson, left, a Red Bank Regional High School  student who is in the Visual and Performing Arts program, is congratulated by Claus Nobel during her recent induction into the National Society of High School Scholars.

Morgan Brunson, left, a Red Bank Regional High School
student who is in the Visual and Performing Arts program, is congratulated by Claus Nobel during her recent induction into the National Society of High School Scholars.


She was recently inducted into the organization by its founder and chairman, Claus Nobel, who sought to continue his famous family’s legacy of recognizing and rewarding outstanding achievement and inspiring the world’s youth.

“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Morgan has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence,” Nobel said. “Morgan is now a member of a unique community of scholars – a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”

As a member of the RBR VPA, Morgan plays the flute in the school’s band and orchestra. She also sings in the concert choir performing in many community and school presentations, including the December tribute to Frank Sinatra at the Count Basie Theatre.

Morgan, who has a passion for history, is the vice president of the RBR History Club and a member of the high school’s Mock Trial, Key Club and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has performed in the VPA drama productions “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and “The Little Mermaid Jr.”

As a VPA student, she takes advantage of the schools challenging academic curriculum with honors, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. The latter has inspired her to possibly study international relations in college. She was recently notified of several other accolades and has been invited to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., in February as well as the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., in the summer.

Morgan has been very active outside school. She has been a Girl Scout since she was 6. She has studied ballet since the age of 4 with the Asbury Park Technical Academy of Dance of Asbury Park. Morgan is a member of the Performing Arts Ensemble of Red Bank and has performed at major venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Disneyworld. Additionally, she studies with Ballet Hispanico and the Joffrey Ballet.

She also studies visual art in drawing and painting. Raised in a very community-minded family, Morgan participates in many community service projects including fundraisers, book, food and clothing drives, teaching ballet to young dancers and routinely reads to young children at the dance school.

As a NSHSS ambassador, she is encouraged to engage in a community service project in addition to her core responsibilities. Morgan’s first project will be to develop an anti-bullying campaign. As one who was the victim of bullying prior to attending RBR, Morgan is passionate about finding solutions to this issue. Since becoming a student at RBR, she has found warmth, support and acceptance within the RBR family. In particular, RBR’s Youth Based Services Program, The SOURCE has helped her to overcome these obstacles and challenges.

“I have met with RBR’s anti-bullying specialist, and would like to share the successful strategies that RBR practices with other schools,” she said.

As a member of the NSHSS, she is eligible to apply for college and educational program scholarships as well as participate in special programs and events sponsored by NSHSS numerous affiliates.

For more information on NSHSS visit its website at www.nshss.org.



Audubon Society to Visit Barnegat Light


The Monmouth County Audubon Society will host a field trip at noon Saturday, Jan. 25, to Barnegat Light and the Manahawkin marshes.

“Many species of ducks which breed in the Arctic spend the winter in the area of Barnegat Light,” said Lisa Ann Fanning, board member and field trip leader. “This is also a good place to see some birds of the dunes, such as snow buntings and horned larks.”

Some of the ducks that can be found here in winter include long-tailed duck, scoters, loons and eiders. This is also one of the most reliable locations in New Jersey to see the beautiful harlequin duck, another rare but regular winter visitor.

Anyone interested in participating in the event can meet at the Barnegat Light parking lot. Follow the Garden State Parkway south to Exit 63, then take Route 72 East to Long Beach Island. At the road’s end turn left; follow the main road to the north end of the island and to the parking lot for the lighthouse.

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The trip is open to both members and nonmembers of the Monmouth County Audubon Society, and participation is free. Advance registration is not required. Participants should dress appropriately for extremely cold temperatures and windy conditions, including footwear suitable for jetty-walking. Pets are not permitted.

The Monmouth County Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, is dedicated to the enjoyment and study of nature, wildlife conservation, habitat protection, and education. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month September through May at the Church of the Nativity, 180 Ridge Road, Fair Haven.

For more information and directions, visit the club’s website at www.monmouthaudubon.org, or via email at info@monmouthaudubon.org.



Ranney Student-Volunteers Share Gifts of Service


TINTON FALLS – Ranney School students have a long tradition of giving back to the community.

During the holiday season, they continued this tradition, sharing their gifts of service and learning invaluable lessons along the way. Beginning in the lower school, students had the opportunity to join the Community Service Club, which is present in all three divisions. Here, students develop positive and proactive citizenship and leadership skills and have an understanding of the impact their acts of kindness have on the community.

In the lower school, students participated in a Thanks­giving Food Drive for Lunch Break, a local charity that provides food, clothing and fellowship to community members in need. Gifts were collected for Lunch Break’s Adopt-A-Family program as well.

Students ultimately provided 225 gifts for 75 children and 32 families in the area. Students also responded after the Philippines were hit by Super Typhoon Haiyan in early November, organizing a collection of items including new and gently used clothing, shoes and socks, diapers, formula and first aid supplies.

Middle-school students involved in the Community Service Club also participated in Lunch Break’s Adopt-A-Family Program, donating items to another 30 families. “I am so excited that we were able to provide so many gifts for those in need this season,” said Head of Middle School David Fischer. “Combined with the other divisions, we have made quite a contribution to ‘thankfulness’ in our community this season.

Prior to Thanksgiving, the middle school held a food drive to benefit Lunch Break and donated 1,109 items to stock the shelves in the facility during their visit on Nov. 25.

The Jr. Tri-M® Music Honor Society held its fifth annual Penny Wars to raise funds to support Toys for Tots. This year, middle-schoolers raised $1,400 for the Toys for Tots Drive, bringing their total for the past five years to $7,750.37. Students and Jr. Tri-M® Advisor Lilly Torrente shopped for musical toys at the Eatontown Toys R Us and then dropped off the toys at the U.S. Marine facility in Lincroft to be distributed to children throughout Monmouth County.

The upper school Community Service Club members also collected for Toys for Tots and placed bins throughout campus for donations.

The upper school orchestra performed at Arbors Assisted Living in Spring Lake Heights on Nov. 24 to bring holiday cheer to the residents. Organized by Ranney sophomore Michelle Krameisen, the orchestra performed several holiday selections, including “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Sleigh Ride.”

“The students enjoyed performing for the seniors as much as talking to the residents and socializing at the conclusion of the performance,” said All-School Orchestra Director Dorothy Sobieski. “The experience was very fulfilling for all, and through music, the generations were brought together in a special way. The orchestra is looking forward to visiting our friends at the Arbors again in the upcoming weeks.”

Several upper school students also gave back by helping Spanish-speaking elementary school students with their homework for Amistad at the First Methodist Church in Freehold.

Other upper school initiatives included the support of Ronald McDonald House and Kensington Court Nursing Home. The National Art Honor Society visited K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital on Dec. 2 and 3 to paint the windows of the pediatric floors with seasonal pictures to bring cheer to the patients and staff. The hospital also received support from Ranney this fall with the school-wide “Bring a Pair/Wear a Pair” Pajama Drive. More than 1,000 pajamas were donated to provide each child at the hospital with a warm, cozy pair of pajamas this winter when they arrive at the hospital.



A free presentation, “Why Does He Do That?,” will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan 14, at the Atlantic Highlands library.

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During the presentation the four reasons “why” behavior occurs will be outlined with specific examples. Day-to-day issues such as teaching children to accept “no” for an answer, waiting appropriately, transitioning away from preferred items and other functional behaviors will be discussed.

The presenter will be Ray Cepeda, the founder and director of ABA Skills, LLC, a private consultation firm specializing in the education and treatment of children with autism and related learning differences in the metropolitan area.

Registration is required and may be completed by calling the library at 732-291-1956.



The Nursery School of the Colts Neck Reformed Church will hold its annual open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, and 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday, Jan. 23-24.

Registration for the 2014-15 school year begins on Feb. 10 so the open house is a perfect time to come and see what programs the school has to offer. Among the offerings is a nationally recognized Music Together music program, scheduled to start the week of Jan. 13.

Additional information is available by calling the nursery school at 732-462-4662 or visit the website at www.coltsneckreformed.org.



The Garden Club of Fair Haven will meet at noon Jan. 8, at the Fair Haven Community Center, Fisk Street.

The special guest will be Marty Oostvee, who was born in the Netherlands and came to the United States in the 1980s. After years of working and experimenting in her garden as well as taking classes in horticulture and design, she started her own business, The Dutch Touch, LLC, for ornamental and perennial gardens.

She is currently president and program chairwoman of the Gardeners of Somerset County, a garden designer and lecturer. She will speak on how the Dutch turn tiny spaces into lovely gardens.

The Garden Club of Fair Haven meets monthly on the first Wednesday of each month at the Fair Haven Youth Center on Fisk Street.

Those interested in learning more about horticulture, gardening and flower arranging, beautifying the town and servicing the community to foster interest in gardening are welcome to contact membership chairwoman Debbie Harris at 732-741-3506 or via email at GCFHNJ.ORG.



Do you ever really know the one you love? That is the question posed in the film, “The Attack,” which tells the story of a well-established Arab-Israeli surgeon in Tel Aviv who discovers, much to his horror, that his wealthy, middle-class wife is a suicide bomber.

The Library Committee at Congregation B’nai Israel (CBI) in Rumson will host a lunch and screening of the film at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22. A discussion of the film will follow.

Based on Yasmina Khadra’s international bestseller of the same name, the drama by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri is equal parts mystery, love story and political statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film, which won numerous film festival awards, was banned in much of the Arab world because Doueiri violated a decades-old rule prohibiting citizens of Lebanon from working in Israel. Doueiri believed that the Arab League asked its members to boycott his film not because he shot the film in Israel but because the film “did not demonize Israelis.”

Born in Lebanon, Doueiri grew up during the country’s civil war. He left Lebanon at age 20 to study in the United States, graduating in 1986 with a degree in film from San Diego State University. Afterward he worked in Hollywood on numerous films including Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown.”

Doueri was hoping that his film would be shown in the Middle East, especially Lebanon. “This is where I am emotionally involved and I hoped the film would start a conversation.”

Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the conversation following the film. The cost for the program, which includes Israeli food, desserts, coffee and the movie, is $15 for congregants and $20 for nonmembers. Advance reservations are required by Wednesday, Jan. 15, and may be made by visiting www.cbirumson.org or calling 732-842-1800, ext. 203.

CBI is located at 171 Ridge Road in Rumson.

In the event of snow, the snow date is Jan. 29.



The Art Society of Monmouth County is having a live model lecture and demonstration on how to paint a watercolor portrait at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, by renowned artist Roberta Carter Clark.

Clark is a prolific author on portrait paintings, exhibitions/ awards nationwide, and has had her work published nationally and in Europe. A member of American Watercolor Society among many other honors, she is in Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s Who in American Women.

The lecture will be held at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center on Ocean Avenue.

Additional information is available at www.artsocietyofmonmouthcounty.org.


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