Henry Hudson Regional School Senior Awarded Eric P. Donoghue Music Scholarship

Henry Hudson Regional School senior Alexander J. Braswell has been awarded an Eric P. Donoghue music scholarship.

Three other area graduating high school seniors were awarded the scholarships earlier this month. They are Emily Welsh of North Middletown, a Middletown High School North graduate; Alysa Finnegan of Port Monmouth, who graduated from Mater Dei Prep, and Ryerson P. Shippee of Atlantic Highlands, a recent Red Bank Catholic graduate.

All four received financial awards from the Eric P. Donoghue Scholarship Foundation.

The scholarships bring to over 30 the number given out by the foundation in memory of the late Eric Donoghue in the 13 years since his death. The awards were presented by Eric’s father, former Atlantic Highlands Mayor Peter E. Donoghue, and his mother, Louise I. Donoghue, a retired Henry Hudson Regional School language teacher.

The scholarship program was instituted 2003, the year Eric Donoghue died at age 32. Awards are made to area seniors who plan on pursing music in college and thereafter and are financed entirely through the generosity of hundreds of friends and other area residents.

Following his graduation from Henry Hudson, Eric Donoghue attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was a keyboardist and played in several Central Jersey jazz and rock bands. He was also a composer and a piano teacher.

At the time of his death, Eric was the organist at St. Agnes Catholic Church and directed its children’s choir.

Braswell is a drummer with a broad range of experience, a leader, a volunteer and a good student. At Henry Hudson, he was a member of the pit, marching and jazz bands as well as the a cappella choir, and attended Boy’s State. He played the role of Lord Farquaad in the recent school production of “Shrek, The Musical.”

He is also a member of Police Explorer Post 1900 in Highlands where he serves as post chief.

He will be attending the College of New Jersey in the fall where he will continue his music and pursue a career in criminal justice.

He is the son of Kenneth and Carla Braswell of Highlands.

Welsh is a singer with a broad range of experience in classical music and musical theater. Additionally, she has performed at Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Paul’s Chapel near “ground zero,” all in New York City.

She also has been a member of the Middletown High School North A Cappella Choir, its Drama Club, the National Honor Society, the All-State Mixed Chorus and the All-Shore Chorus as well as the varsity cheerleading squad.

She is the daughter of Christopher and Colleen Welsh and will be attending Arizona State University in Tempe in the fall, majoring in music therapy.

Finnegan is a singer and actress who has played major roles in eight Mater Dei productions as well at Monmouth University and with the Theatre Works  Productions and the Premier Theater Company. She played the lead in a video entitled “Saving Mater Dei Prep” and as a dancer on the Disney float in the 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

She also trained at the Berridge Conservatory in Normandy, France, and the French Woods Festival of Performing Arts in Hancock, N.Y.

She also has served as a student ambassador in Mater Dei student government, as secretary of the Performing Arts Council and as a member of the Honors Chorus/Dance Team.

Miss Finnegan was the winner of the 2015 Basie Award for Best Supporting Actress and the 2014 Paper Mill Playhouse “Rising Star Award.”

She is the daughter of Michael and Diana Finnegan and will be attending Point Park University in Pittsburgh in the fall, seeking a bachelor of fine arts degree.

Shippee is a trumpeter who has been  active in the music programs at Atlantic Highlands Elementary School, Henry Hudson Regional School and Red Bank Catholic.

While in grade school, he played in the school band, sang in the school chorus and was a member of the Bayshore Honors Band. At Henry Hudson, he was in the school band  as first trumpeter and performed in the Sounds of the Highlands Junior Concerts, playing both trumpet and classical piano pieces.

At Red Bank Catholic, he was a member of the high school choir, sang at Carnegie Hall, played lead rolls in RBC’s spring musical, “The Little Mermaid,” and played piano at area nursing homes as part of RBC’s “Arts for the Heart” outreach program to senior citizens. He also studied advanced music theory and advanced placement music theory.

Shippee will be attending Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he will be seeking a bachelor of music degree.

He is the son of Adrienne Shippe of Atlantic Highlands and Hamilton Shippee of Middletown.