CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Two former Croton-Harmon High School students were inducted on Monday, Nov. 23, into the school’s Hall of Distinguished Graduates.
Benjamin Holzer (class of ’96) and Loren Stillman (class of ’98) spent the day talking to students and visiting classes.
“We are so happy to have our graduates come back and give us an opportunity to thank them,” said Principal Alan Capasso. “We have chosen people who have distinguished themselves in various fields and we feel this is an important part of our community. They have contributed in their fields and we want to recognize them and have our students benefit from their experiences.”
Madeleine Camillieri, a junior, introduced Holzer at the ceremony and talked about his many accomplishments.
Holzer, a Brown University graduate, works in the political and public policy arena.
He has worked for a U.S. senator’s campaign in South Carolina, a presidential campaign in Arkansas, and as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner.
He founded and directed Harmon Strategies, a public affairs and political consulting firm in Brooklyn.
In 2009, Holzer graduated from New York University School of Law. Two years later, he began a four-year stint as special assistant to President Barack Obama and was director of research in the White House.
“For our students to hear firsthand what it is like to be in the White House is truly something special,” said Capasso.
Holzer said he enjoyed his time in Croton-on-Hudson, noting: “The students are super impressive, as are the faculty.”
Student Luke Banta introduced Stillman, a renowned saxophonist and composer who attended the Manhattan School of Music and The New School on full music scholarships.
Stillman has garnered many accolades in the jazz field, including two Outstanding Performance awards and the Rising Star Jazz Artist Award from Downbeat Magazine.
He has performed as both a soloist and in ensembles in the United States, Europe and Japan.
His original recordings have received critical acclaim from The New York Times and four-star recognition in the BBC Jazz Review, Jazz Man Magazine and Downbeat Magazine.
The New York Times named Stillman an innovative voice of modern jazz and one of New York’s best alto saxophonists well before he turned 30.
Stillman, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson, works as an improviser, teacher and composer.
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