Friday, June 4, 2010

The 2010 Scholarship, Winner Robert Rollo

Hello and congratulations to the Class of 2010.

My name is Kathy Bowden, and I graduated with the class of '82. My brother, Tommy Bowden, graduated a year later, in '83.  Tommy was the friendliest guy I have ever known:  his buddies often remind me of how every time they saw him he was laughing or joking around, of how he had a smile for everyone.Tommy was involved in various activities during his years here: a little baseball, a few years of track, a little bit of AV club.  He loved Bruce Springsteen and U2, and adored staying with friends at the shore all summer long.

Tommy became a man I was always proud to call my brother - a man who knew how to live his life fully without sacrificing responsibility. A man who felt it his quiet duty to help out where needed. A man who surrounded himself with his friends and his family. Tommy married the woman he loved, and had 2 beautiful daughters - Sara, now 10 1/2, and Alyson, now almost 9.

Then one day Tommy went to work and our world changed. He was working for Cantor Fitzgerald, at the World Trade Center, on September 11, 2001.

While to most of you, 9/11 is a national and historical event, to my family  - and to another family here today - it is deeply personal. We lost Tommy, and we lost dear friends. Tiny little Glen Ridge lost 7 people - and 4 of them (Tommy, John Candela, Mike La Forte and Brian Bennett) went to this school.

But I don't want to dwell on Tommy's death. Tommy firmly believed that a key part of having a successful life was choosing happiness moment to moment. So I choose to remember Members Only jackets and barn parties, White Castle ratburgers and hot summer nights driving down the shore, Springsteen concerts and Red Sox games.

And in honor of those memories, and in honor of the love and laughter Tommy brought to our lives, I would like present this year's scholarship award to Robert Rollo.

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