Ocean City High School Crew Honors Supporters in Boat-Naming Ceremony

Ocean City High School Crew Honors Supporters in Boat-Naming Ceremony

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Ocean City Schools Superintendent Kathleen Taylor christens a boat named in her honor Saturday at a ceremony given by the Ocean City High School Crew. She is one of four people recognized for support of the program. Photos by Tim Kelly.

By Maddy Vitale

Under sun splashed skies, the Ocean City High School Crew teams held a ceremony at the 34th Street boat dock Saturday afternoon honoring four families who have supported the program since its inception, by naming four boats after them.

Mayor Jay Gillian, Ocean City Schools Superintendent Kathleen Taylor, former Schools Superintendent Donald Dearborn and his wife Joan and Christopher and Ruth Ann Meyers were recognized for contributing so much to the program, that their names will forever grace the boats.

Honorees christened the 55 to 60-foot boats by pouring waters mixed from the bay, Lake Lenape in Mays Landing, the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and Cooper River in Camden.

Cape May County Freeholders E. Marie Hayes and Jeff Pierson with the honorees Mayor Jay Gillian, Schools Superintendent Kathleen Taylor, Donald Dearborn, Christopher and Ruth Ann Meyers and Freeholder Jeff Pierson.

Head Boys Crew Coach Michael Millar gave remarks about the mayor’s contributions to the program.

“When the idea of a crew team came to light Jay said, ‘If you get a program, I will get you a boat,’” Millar said.

Gillian did.

The boat, named “Emily Claire” after Gillian’s daughters, was affectionately nicknamed by crew members as “Eclaire,” Millar said. “He is the greatest supporter of boys and girls crew teams.”

Mayor Jay Gillian and his grandchild Scout Berenato christen the boat in his name.

Donna Oves, a member of the Ocean City Crew Boosters Club, read remarks about Dearborn by Faith Camp-O’Donnell who was out of town.

In her statement, Camp-O’Donnell spoke of how Dearborn was the superintendent when the school district was interested in creating a crew program at the high school. That was in 2004. The retired superintendent not only encouraged it; but helped make it possible.

“You are a big part of the Ocean City High School Crew,” she said.

Former Ocean City Schools Superintendent was instrumental in getting a crew team in the district.

Girls Crew Coach Ian Tapp spoke of the current superintendent.

He told the crowd that Taylor goes above and beyond when it comes to her love of her students and crew. She travels to races in Philadelphia and elsewhere, to show her support and belief in the program.

“She continues to be a role model,” Tapp said.

Earlier he spoke of what Saturday’s ceremony meant.

The Ocean City High School Crew teams.

“Just knowing the people whom we have named boats after and how much they have supported us,” he said. “It is nice we have the opportunity to give them the best honor we can.”

Prior to the ceremony Taylor looked at the roughly 55-foot-boat that had a red cloth covering Taylor’s name and said she was deeply honored.

“I love to see the students do well in the classroom and outside of the classroom,” she said, adding that she enjoys the races and watching the students succeed.”

Christopher and Ruth Ann Meyers christen a boat in their name.

When it came to the Meyers family, President of the Ocean City Crew Boosters Club Mario Japzon said they have been so instrumental in the program with true dedication to the students and the sport.

Dignitaries including Executive Director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Michele Gillian, Cape May County Freeholder Jeff Pierson, a retired from the U.S. Army as brigadier general and Freeholder E. Marie Hayes were also in attendance.

Pierson addressed the crew team.

“To all of the kids, this is the old general in me,” Pierson said. “Don’t let anything stop you.”

Mayor Jay Gillian and wife Michele with the Boys Crew.
Jen and Michael DeVlieger attend the ceremony. Their son Flynn rows.
On the left is Flynn DeVlieger with fellow crew members.
Ocean City High School Crew Boosters Club President Mario Japzon speaks about Christopher and Ruth Ann Meyer.
Head Boys Crew Coach Michael Millar.