Spartans in the News
(Caption: Pictured from left to right in the front row are Katie Van Doren'03 (athletics), Sr. Mary Birster IHM (administration), Helen Sanford (Campus Ministry). Top row includes IHS Director Msgr. Seamus Brennan, Tom Gambino (Coach and Administrator), Tom Brislin'91 (music) Mrs. Anita ( and the late Ed) Hogan (benefactors), Kevin Foley'06 (athletics) and Principal Jean Kline.)
Somerville, NJ -- Immaculata High School inducted its fifth class of Hall of Fame candidates this week at a ceremony held at the Imperia in Somerset, NJ. The nine inductees joined a community of 33 other Immaculata Spartans who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields. “This evening was Spartan Spirit at its best with this tremendous talented class and the number of alumni, parents, and teachers, who joined in the celebration,” says Rich Ferguson, Director of Advancement.
This yearʼs class included the late Msgr. J. Nevin Kennedy, director of the high school from 1985 to 2002, distinguishing himself as a gentle leader who spearheaded two major capital campaigns, expanding the campus from one to three buildings and adding critical expansions to reflect changing education trends. Working side by side with him was another inductee, Sr. Mary Birster IHM, the schoolʼs longest serving principal. She added the schoolʼs nationally recognized Campus Ministry Program, had a gift for selecting top-notch teachers, and was beloved by the students, parents, and faculty. Sr. Mary tapped another inductee Helen Sanford to be the first Campus Ministry Director, who elevated the school with a extraordinary, three-pronged Campus Ministry initiative. Faith, retreats, and service were its hallmarks and thousands of lives (in and out of the school) were impacted by the work of Campus Ministry under Helenʼs leadership.
To accomplish all of this, benefactors such as inductees Anita and the late Ed Hogan, were essential, generously donating to the school and serving as management advisors to the schoolʼs administration in several key capacities. Athletic Director Tom Gambino with his incredible achievement of over 500 baseball wins, Coach of the Year Awards, conference championships, Hall of Fame membership in two state-wide coachesʼ groups, the number of his players who played baseball on a college, semi-professional and professional level, described as a “playerʼs coach,” was also inducted. Kevin Foleyʼ06, unquestionably the schoolʼs best golf player in its history, was the first Spartan to qualify for the PGA. Holder of numerous awards on the high school and college (Penn State) level, Foley turned pro in 2010 and continues to compete on the pro circuit, including last year as a US Open participant. Katie Van Dorenʼ03 was inducted not only for being the best tennis player in the history of the school, but her pivotal role in the Lady Spartans incredible girls basketball run in which they collected championships and were tagged as among the top programs in the state.
Rounding out the Class of 2016 was the first inductee to represent the arts. Tom Brislinʼ91, an internationally recognized musician, song writer and producer. Brislin has played with multi-platinum artists, including Meat Loaf, Debbie Harry, and Yes. Tom headed up his own group, Spiraling, producing 5 albums, along with a solo album called Hurry Up and Smell the Roses. His latest enterprise, partnering with fellow alumna Karen Zielinski Kowalskiʼ93, is Accessing Music, which allows disabled individuals to perform music in groups with the use of cutting-edge technology.