BY MICHAEL ACKER
SAYREVILLE — Five alumni, including four with careers in public service, will be inducted into the Sayreville War Memorial High School Hall of Fame next month.
The honorees in this second round of inductions – the Hall of Fame was created last year – are Sayreville Economic Redevelopment Agency (SERA) Executive Director and former state Sen. Randy Corman, Borough Councilman Stanley Drwal, national diving champion Reyne Borup Quackenbush, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Victor J. Wolski, and SERA Vice Chairman and volunteer firefighter Raniero Travisano.
The group will be inducted during a May 20 banquet at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall on Jernee Mill Road. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $50. For information, call Barbara Anderson at (732) 727-1566, chairwoman of the Hall of Fame Committee.
Quackenbush, 38, a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Board of Directors, said she is very excited about the upcoming ceremony. The most significant honor she recalled from her years at the high school was when she made All-American.
Born in New Brunswick, Quackenbush grew up in Sayreville. She graduated from high school with the class of 1985 and went out of state for the next 15 years. Following a career in which she was a five-time member of the U.S. Diving National Team, she returned to the borough to raise her children.
“I am back here, where I think I fit in best,” Quackenbush said, adding that she also missed the bagels and pizza of New Jersey.
Quackenbush had lived in South Carolina, Florida and California before returning to Sayreville. She and her husband, Kyle, whom she met while living in California, have two children, Lily, 2, and Sanibel, 6.
Quackenbush said that a fellow inductee helped her when she was called to Germany to dive for the U.S. national team.
“I recall my first international trip with the U.S. National Diving Team,” Quackenbush said. “Raniero [Travisano] helped me get my first U.S. passport. I was excited when I saw that he is being inducted [too]. My family knew Ranny a long time, and [what he did] is something that I never forgot.”
Quackenbush reiterated her feelings on the induction.
“It is a great honor, even more of an honor because it is only the second year that they are doing this. When you sit back, it is not like I wake up in the morning and think about my accomplishments. When I look at them on paper, I can say, ‘Wow, I did do some pretty outstanding things.’ “
Quackenbush will be coaching at a private swim club called Frog Hollow on Pine Avenue in Morgan this summer.
“It is my opportunity to give back to the community. Maybe someday, one of those kids can travel the world and get experiences they otherwise would not have.”
Wolski graduated from Sayreville with the class of 1980. He was raised in the borough and is now a federal judge living and working in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area since 2003. His wife, Lisa, works on Capitol Hill as a tax counselor.
As a junior in high school, Wolski joined the Sayreville Young Republicans Club, where he assisted with a Senate campaign. He was also active on the soccer team, yearbook committee, literary magazine and school newspaper. In the summers during his time in high school, Wolski worked for the borough’s water, public works and public safety departments.
Wolski earned dual college degrees in history and economics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and went on to law school at the University of Virginia.
His first work was as a speech writer for Reagan administration Secretary of Agriculture Richard Lyng. He then worked with the general counsel for the Department of Energy. Wolski then served as a law clerk in San Francisco, where he became an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit public interest firm in Sacramento.
“I was representing clients for free and trying cases from the perspective of the people who were suing the government,” Wolski has said.
Wolski then returned to Washington to work as tax counsel for Sen. Connie Mack (R-Florida) and general counsel and chief tax adviser to the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. He also joined the firm of Cooper & Kirk.
The Court of Federal Claims, to which President George W. Bush recommended Wolski, has national jurisdiction over claims such as tax refunds, contract claims, civilian and military pay, and statutory claims against the United States.
“My job is to make sure that the government keeps its promise,” Wolski said.
Wolski credited Marie Parnell, former principal of Sayreville War Memorial High School, as having challenged him to become more involved.
Drwal also credited his experiences in high school as having helped guide him to succeed.
“I am very honored,” Drwal said of the induction. “I enjoyed my entire time in high school. It is where I made lifelong friends, and it gave me a foundation for everything I would do afterward.”
He and his wife, Helga, have been married for 30 years. He said he appreciates the efforts and choices made by the Hall of Fame committee.
“One thing I enjoy is that they do this across different fields and professions and livelihoods,” he said.
Drwal, a councilman since 2004, is a math teacher at Cardinal McCarrick High School, South Amboy. He was born and raised in Sayreville, where he attended public schools and graduated from the high school with the class of 1972.
He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and went on to serve overseas for 14 years in 16 countries. His final assignment before retiring as a lieutenant colonel was with the British Army as operation officer of a unit consisting of 3,500 personnel in a
In addition to the bachelor of science degree in engineering Drwal earned at West Point, and a master’s degree in national security and strategic planning from the U.S. Naval War College, he also earned a master’s in international relations from Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I.
Corman, who graduated from Sayreville with the class of 1978, is another public official being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“I feel very honored,” Corman said of the upcoming induction. “I can tell you that the teachers at the high school prepared me well for college and law school.”
Corman, 45, elaborated on how the high school prepared him for the challenges he would face later in life.
“To get through college and law school, you have to be able to write out a logical argument,” Corman said. “That was taught in my English and history classes [in high school], and I was surprised when I got to college and found out that a lot of freshmen have no clue how to do that.”
Corman received his bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in philosophy at Rutgers University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to earn a juris doctorate at Rutgers Law School.
Corman ran unsuccessfully for the Sayreville Board of Education in 1979 but was elected the following year while still in college. He graduated from law school in 1985.
Corman mentioned the fact that he is being inducted with Drwal and Travisano, two people he sees regularly in his capacity as director of SERA.
“Both of those guys have long careers in public service,” Corman said, adding that he enjoys working with them on matters concerning the borough.
Corman and his wife, Kathleen, met in college. They have four children – William, 8, Justin, 6, Bridget, 4, and Maura, 3.
“It is something that I did not expect,” Corman said of the Hall of Fame induction, “and it is humbling, especially considering the company I am going to be in.”
Fellow SERA member Travisano, 69, a retired Sayreville teacher and guidance counselor, is also honored by the induction.
“Needless to say, I am very proud,” he said. “It is an honor to be [recognized] for something that you love doing.”
Travisano said he enjoys being a volunteer at the Morgan firehouse, as well as teaching and performing other public services for the community.
“All of my life I have enjoyed working with people,” Travisano said. He cited his work as a member on the Borough Council from 1973 to 1984 as an example. He said he was proud of having helped guide the safety complex for the police station when he was on the council’s police committee. The new building was one of the most modern built in the region at that time, he noted.
In addition to his work as an educator, Travisano was elected and served as Middlesex County clerk.
Born in Newark, Travisano was raised in Sayreville and described his years in high school as one of the greatest times of his life. He was active on the football, baseball and track teams. He also participated in school plays. He graduated from the high school with the class of 1954, and said he still keeps in contact with many of his classmates.
During the summers, Travisano worked with the Brain-Injured Children’s [BIC] camp for 13 years, starting in 1969. He took charge of the camp, which accepted children from the borough as well as youngsters from South River, Old Bridge and South Amboy. He said his time as summer camp director allowed him to teach brain-injured children how to swim.
“We would meet at 8 o’clock in the morning until noon or 1 in the afternoon,” Travisano said. “It would give families time to go to work, while the kids got to enjoy themselves.”
He described his time at the camp as one of the greatest experiences he has had working with children.
“We were able to prove that [the children] could do things that they did not think they could do, like swimming,” Travisano said.
Travisano served with the U.S. Army in Korea in 1958, after the conflict. He was abroad for 14 months, working in the Mobil Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit in the hospital as a clerk.
After two years of service in the Army, Travisano was accepted to Monmouth College, now Monmouth University, in West Long Branch. He would later go to Kean College in Union.
He has been married to his wife, Joan, for 38 years.
As a volunteer firefighter in Morgan since 1965, Travisano was named Fireman of the Year by the Knights of Columbus in 2004 and was presented with the Shield Award. He is currently president of the Morgan Hose and Chemical Company.
In addition to being a guidance counselor and middle school teacher in Sayreville from 1963 to 1983, Travisano also worked with the Administration of Purchasing for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority from 1990 to 1999. He has served on SERA since its inception nine years ago.
Inductees from last year’s round were Barry Albin, class of 1970, an associate justice to the New Jersey Supreme Court; Edwin Kolodziej, class of 1943, a local attorney and former New Jersey assemblyman; Rhonda Rompola, class of 1978, head coach of women’s basketball for Southern Methodist University; Michael Wasko, class of 1982, a school principal and former U.S. Olympic team member for bobsledding; and current Democratic state Assemblyman John Wisniewski, class of 1980.