With plexiglass project, fathers help keep Red Bank students safe
Even before Catholic schools around the Diocese began returning to in-person classes, Brian Hill and Arturo Scaramuzzino knew they could use their years of professional work experience to help keep local students safe during the pandemic.
The two parents from the St. James School community in Red Bank worked on building desk and cafeteria glass shields for the younger students and those at Red Bank Catholic High School.
“Arturo and I were highly motivated to supply a custom solution and complete this project before the first full day of school. We knew what was at stake and wanted to play a role in helping Catholic Schools succeed,” Hill said. “The project required all hands on deck. We got some critical help from family members, and before the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, 72 free-standing acrylic sneeze guards were in place at the cafeteria.”
St. James Principal JoAnn Giordano said she was pleased with the level of involvement. “The St. James cafeteria plexiglass project was truly a community effort. We are so thankful to Mr. Hill and Mr. Scaramuzzino for helping us ensure that our students would be able to eat in a safe environment.”
In addition to safety, one of the main reasons the project was important to the two men: faith.
“There were three biblical themes that went through my head during this project,” Hill said. “The first was the no-fear attitude, the second was the need to prepare, and the third being to persevere and go the distance. Arturo and I prayed constantly during this project; we are thankful that the students are back in school.”
Before school began, Scaramuzzino sent a letter to the administrators in Red Bank Catholic, while Hill reached out to St. James. Hill noted that the project worked out well since his business is in ergonomics. “The reason was my experience dealing with safety-related challenges. She [Principal Giordano] told me that RBC and St. James were determined to make the mealtime experience for their students the best and safest.”
Following the successful installation in St. James, the two focused their efforts on Red Bank Catholic High School, which requested a custom glass free-standing solution for their cafeteria tables as well.
Scaramuzzino and Hill have garnered years of professional experience within their respective fields. Hill explained, “As founder and owner of ErgoDynamics Inc. since 1997, I work directly with safety professionals at major corporations in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania areas, providing ergonomic products and solutions. Arturo is an architectural glass and metal professional working with companies and contractors throughout New York City.”
The two were pleased to cooperate with St. James School and Red Bank Catholic. Scaramuzzino noted, “What was striking was their enthusiasm, adaptability and can-do attitude. There was absolutely no fear, no panic, and no gloom-and-doom mentality. Everyone was on the same page and focused on bringing the students back to school. They spoke about how the teachers were positive and ready to come back and teach their students in-person again.”
Hill said that positivity is just another example of the importance of Catholic education. “They are a shining light during these dark times in our world.”
The relationship between the two families goes back many years. “Arturo and I have been close friends since our sons met at St. James over 10 years ago. We are in a father-son fellowship group named A.W.G [Attitude with Gratitude] and participate in the TMIY [That Man is You] Catholic men's ministry at Saint James on Saturday mornings,” Hill said.
Hill and his wife have three children who have graduated from St. James Elementary and two children who are current students. Similarly, Scaramuzzino and his wife have two sons who have graduated from St. James with one currently in Red Bank Catholic High School, and another son who graduated in 2018.