2007-05-24 / Front Page

Four alumni inducted into h.s. Hall of Fame

Honorees' careers range from actor to funeral director
BY MICHAEL ACKER Staff Writer

BY MICHAEL ACKER
Staff Writer

The Sayreville War Memorial High School Hall of Fame inductees for 2007 show their plaques following a recent ceremony. From left are Jeffrey Osowski, viec president at Liberty Science Center; Carmen Spezzi, owner of Spezzi and Maliszewski Funeral Services; Dr. Patricia O'Conner Dreyfuss, obstetrician and gynecologist; and Greg Evigan, actor and musician.The Sayreville War Memorial High School Hall of Fame inductees for 2007 show their plaques following a recent ceremony. From left are Jeffrey Osowski, viec president at Liberty Science Center; Carmen Spezzi, owner of Spezzi and Maliszewski Funeral Services; Dr. Patricia O'Conner Dreyfuss, obstetrician and gynecologist; and Greg Evigan, actor and musician. SAYREVILLE - The Sayreville War Memorial High School Hall of Fame gained a doctor, actor, educator and funeral director at its annual banquet earlier this month.

Dr. Patricia O'Connor Dreyfuss, Greg Evigan, Jeffrey Osowski and Carmen F. Spezzi were inducted at a May 5 ceremony coordinated by the Hall of Fame Committee and attended by close to 200 people.

"I think it was our most successful hall of fame banquet to date," committee member Barbara Anderson said. "It was our third and most well attended, and everybody seemed to enjoy the evening."

Adding to the enjoyment, she said, was a performance by the high school jazz band during the cocktail hour, she said.

Dreyfuss, who graduated with the class of 1970, is a staff physician at St. Clare's Hospital, Denville, and has been an obstetrician and a gynecologist for 25 years. She is said to have safely delivered over 4,000 babies.

"She gave a nice speech," Anderson said. "It was all about people who inspired her and how she likes to inspire other people. That is where she is coming from [with] the ideological point of view. She is a lovely woman. I got to know her during the course of the evening."

Dreyfuss was pleasantly surprised to find high school classmates at the event, Anderson said, adding that Dreyfuss' favorite teacher, Richard Kahrmann, also attended the event.

"This year, for the first time, we invited the honorees' favorite teachers," Anderson said.

Evigan graduated in 1971 and went on to act in a wide array of television shows and films. He portrayed B.J. McKay in the "BJ and the Bear" TV series and Joey Harris in "My Two Dads." He also had lead acting roles on Broadway with "Grease" and "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Evigan later embarked on a career in music, producing and singing in his first pop album, titled "Slow Down." Evigan plays piano, drums and saxophone in addition to writing his own music.

Now a resident of California, Evigan was selected for the Hall of Fame in 2006, but due to commitments with various plays, he was unable to attend last year, Anderson said.

"He was very pleased to be able to come back to Sayreville," she said. "He renewed some old friendships while he was here."

Evigan's favorite teacher, Patrick Arzonio, now of Florida, was unable to attend. Arzonio was the director of the high school's spring musicals.

"Greg said that [Arzonio] had a tremendous impact on his life and choice of career," Anderson said.

Spezzi, a 1969 graduate, is the owner and director of Spezzi and Maliszewski Funeral Services. He began his work at funeral homes at age 16 with his cousin, Matthew A. Maliszewski. He opened his own business in town with his wife, Christine, in 1977.

Spezzi, 55, was named Business Man of the Year by the Sayreville Chamber of Commerce and the Sayreville Lady Dems in 1996. He is a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus, the Sayreville Lions Club, the South Amboy Elks Club, and the professional funeral directors associations.

Anderson told the Suburban that Spezzi chose Walter Kawalec to be the high school teacher who would attend with him at the ceremony.

"A lot of people came because [Spezzi] was being honored," Anderson said. "He has a lot of friends in town, because he has been so involved in the community."

Spezzi has volunteered and donated for a variety of causes in the borough. He has three children - Meaghan, Carmen Jr. and Moira.

"He had a wonderful time," Anderson said of Spezzi, "and he was very honored."

Osowski told the Suburban that he was honored to be chosen for the Hall of Fame.

"It was terrific," he said. "It was a wonderful evening. There were a few hundred people or so and many teachers, even my kindergarten teacher. I am incredibly honored to be in that select company."

Osowski said his career has taken a lot of twists and turns. He started out as a math teacher, went on to become a school psychologist, a school administrator, the state director of special education and assistant state commissioner of education. He is now vice president of learning and teaching at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.

Osowski said that the Liberty Science Center is about to open again after work is completed on the site in July. He said he has been with the center since the summer 2004.

"I am responsible for all of the education programs for students, teachers, general audience and family members at the science center, in schools or on-line through electric video conference field trips," he said.

The center offers on-line interactive science exhibitions, as well as the largest Imax theater in the country.

Osowski, who said that as a kid he "spent a lot of time in the woods, loving nature," credited two teachers with facilitating his interest in science: Angelina Romano and Irene Arthur.

"They truly had an impact on me in the 1960s," Osowski said. "I can trace my inspiration back to them."

He asked Gerald Stefanski to attend the Hall of Fame banquet as his favorite teacher.

"He was my senior [year] English teacher," Osowski said. "I credit him especially for showing me how to write well."

Osowski married his high school sweetheart, whose maiden name is Therasa Marchesi, in 1969.

"She was captain of the cheerleaders and I was captain of the basketball team," he said.

Osowski was an all-state basketball player when he graduated with the class of 1965. He later earned all-Ivy League honorable mention for basketball while studying at college in 1969.

The couple has two adult children, Amie, 33, and Ken, 30, both of whom are getting married this year, Osowski noted.

Osowski said his mother attended the event as well.

"She has also been my inspiration in so many ways, I can't even enumerate them," he said.

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