A Casey Family Living the Tradition of Giving

 

Service and the act of giving are at the heart of everything at Red Bank Catholic.  As a school rooted in the mission of the Sisters of Mercy, giving is part of our tradition and is an idea that our students, faculty, staff, and alumni live out every day.  “The act of service to others is so ingrained in our school, in fact, that we don’t even have a service requirement,” says school president Robert Abatemarco.  “Our community doesn’t need to be required to serve; it is simply who we are as Caseys.”

One family living that tradition of giving is the Flego family, Deborah and Tony and their four children. The Flego’s relationship with Red Bank Catholic goes back decades and their history of service to the school and community is a remarkable example for us all.  Since 1986, when a new teacher and young football coach met, fell in love, and married, Deborah and Tony have been a model of selfless service and giving at RBC.  These days, both teach in the Religion Department (“We share a wall!” laughs Deborah) and the couple teach a marriage class to senior Caseys where they discuss the importance of marriage and share stories about their own relationship history together.  As Tony says, “Why preach it if you don’t live it!” 

Aside from their teaching schedule, Deborah and Tony are dedicated to a variety of activities and clubs at RBC.  They both run the LIFE Club, having taken it over from Sister Joan Marie and Sister Regina.  With the Caseys4Life Club, Deborah and her students host the annual Baby Shower for Birthright, which collects gifts and donations for pregnant women in need.  Tony works with the Catholic Athletes for Christ, whose mission is to serve Catholic athletes and share the Gospel of Christ in and through athletics.  Says Tony, “The club works to create a network of Catholic athletes, coaches, and staff to organize sports conferences, service projects, pilgrimages, retreats, and days of reflection.”

According to  Deborah, “We teach the Gospel and we live the Gospel.  To me what I do is not extraordinary, it is the ordinary everyday listening, laughing, crying, encouraging, cheering on a team or sharing my faith which makes me love RBC and this community as if it were my family. There is something special and something different about RBC. Service is not required, it is a way of living.”

“We cherish our role of being there for the kids outside of our jobs and duties. Being present for games, plays, concerts, participating in service events with them,” Tony remarked.  “When someone shows interest in their activities, especially a coach or teacher, it helps them know someone cares.”

The family’s dedication to the school extends beyond Deborah and Tony too.  Patty Valente (‘80), Tony’s sister, has been a faculty member since 1986 and the chairperson of the Fine Art Department,  Stephen (‘14) coaches the hockey team and Annie (‘16) works in the math department, teaching Honors Calculus, and is the assistant coach of the girls soccer and softball teams. 

Having known Deborah and Tony for many years, Robert Abatemarco can attest to their dedication to service and Red Bank Catholic.  “Upon her arrival at RBC, Debbie’s energy and enthusiasm focused on bringing the faith to her students and stirring in them a fire to use their own faith for others. Tony is a good man who is a partner on the journey of faith with Debbie.  Their family has always brought their talents and God given gifts to this place.  They are Caseys who understand the significance of our mission and it calls on them to make a difference beyond these walls.”

“When I think of RBC, I think of home,” Deborah says with great fondness.  “Tony’s and my first date was to the school play, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown!  We fell in love in these halls.  Our children spent their childhood on the sidelines of the football field while Tony coached.  Then they all became Caseys too. My husband and I - and now our children - teach here.  Saint James is our parish, where our daughter Marie was recently married - to another Casey and RBC alum, I might add!  So many of my family’s greatest moments have been at this school.  This place is our life.”

Though the world may look very different from when Tony and Deborah first met at Red Bank Catholic in 1986, the traditions and community that RBC fosters remain very much the same.  Says Deborah, “The mission of the Sisters of Mercy has always been a focus at RBC and that constant has provided stability and meaning for generations of students and teachers.  What we teach, we put into practice.  Whether that’s the gardening club planting food for Lunch Break, or the cheerleading team volunteering with the Shamrocks.”  With a smile, before returning to class, Deborah says, “Everything that happens at RBC is done to serve others.  I don’t ever want that to change and I love that my family gets to be a part of that mission.”


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