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Southern Regional Holds its 1st Grand Reunion!

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2008 Wall of Fame Inductees: Dr. Fred Duffy, Kirk Larson, Mary Birdsong, Liza Kirschenbaum,
Steve Aker and Mark Occhipinti.  Not pictured Martin Truex Jr. and Anne Nachman.

On October 4th from 7:00pm to midnight at the Holiday Inn in Manahawkin, Southern Regional hosted its 1st Grand Reunion.  “It was a great opportunity to bring together the many graduates of Southern Regional High School,” said Heather Tatur, President of the Southern Regional Alumni Association.  Attendees enjoyed dinner, beer & wine, DJ and dancing.  Guests also received a Martin Truex Jr. gift bag filled with NASCAR merchandise.

Included in the Grand Reunion line-up was the Wall of Fame 2008 Inductees.  Southern Regional Alumni Association recognized graduates that made a significant contribution to our society since leaving the halls of Southern Regional School District.  “The Alumni Association continues to be proud of our graduates and we are excited to acknowledge their success,” said Tatur.  Inductees included:

Kirk O. Larson: Class of 1972
Mayor of Barnegat Light, Captain, owner of a commercial fishing vessel, co-owner of the largest commercial fishing fleet and seafood dock in Ocean County. 

Liza Kirschenbaum: Class of 1983
Attorney, State Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates, Member of the Foster and Adoptive Family Services Committee of New Jersey, Member of the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse & Neglect, Member of the Task Force Sub-Committee.

Mark Occhipinti: Class of 1978
Owner of the international fitness business, American Fitness Professionals and Associates (AFPA).  He has conducted hundreds of Fitness & Personal Trainer Workshops and Conferences worldwide.  He recently contributed over $80,000 in fitness equipment for the students at Southern Regional School District.

Mary Birdsong: Class of 1986
Broadway Actress, TV and Film Star.  Her Broadway credits include “Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me!,” and Velma Von Tussle in “Hairspray.”  Her TV credits include HBO’s “Suburban Shootout,” Comedy Central’s “Reno 911,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Lewis Balck’s “The Root of All Evil,” “Ed,” “Welcome to NY.”  Her film credits include “Made of Honor,” opposite Patrick Dempsey and “Adventureland” by “Superbad’s” Greg Mottolla. 

Steve Aker:  Class of 1963
English Teacher and Technology Coordinator.  He was a member of the 1st graduating class to attend 7-12th grade at Southern Regional and returned to teach English and implement an academic computer network that spanned four buildings.  

Anne Nachman: Class of 1982
Attorney and partner of a local Title Company on LBI.  She serves as secretary for the LBI Rotary, and is a member of the SOCH Foundation Board of Directors, the Advisory Board for Sun National Bank, and the Ship Bottom Emergency Management Committee.   

Dr. Fred Duffy: Class of 1978
Plastic Surgeon, D Magazine’s Top Doctors honor list for 2006 & 2007.  Board member of Wilkinson Center, a non-profit organization focused on combating poverty.  Medical Advisor of P.L.A.Y., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with limb amputations.

Martin Truex, Jr.: Class of 1998
NASCAR Driver and Founder of the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.  He won the Busch Series 2004 & 2005 and Bud Pole Awards.  He created The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation which is a non-profit charitable organization that strives to positively impact the lives of children in need.  

Inductees were grateful and honored to be recognized by the Southern Regional community.  Many spoke how Southern offered them so much opportunity to be involved in a number of activities and programs.  “This is where kids get their start,” said Kirk Larson, 2008 Wall of Fame Inductee.  “Whether it was a team or club, there was something for everyone.”  Southern graduates were thrilled to see classmates, friends and former teachers.  “It truly was a wonder, exciting evening!  Southern Regional is a very special district and the Grand Reunion was an event that highlighted- Once a Ram…Always a Ram!” said Tatur.