It’s hard to put into words what makes South Orange and Maplewood NJ so special. They are 2 communities that each have their distinctive personalities and collectively they make a super place to live for so many reasons.
When clients ask me what makes South Orange and Maplewood NJ so special? I often get tongue tied. But the most salient characteristic that comes to mind(which I will be prepared to say the next time I am asked) are the incredible people of both communities which they choose to call home.
As a South Orange resident I was forever delighted by the people I met – whether it was when I was walking my dog in my immediate neighborhood, through school related events, and on the train platform day in and day out.
One of my neighbors, Robin Baker stood out immediately when I moved in. We had a lot in common –nwe were both working moms who commuted to NYC, had children the same age and our nannies became fast friends. Robin’s daughter Olivia and my son Jack played together often. I found Robin to be quite admiral for her ability to juggle it all. In addition to a holding a major corporate job in Manhattan and being a devoted mother, she also committed to serving the community as a member of the Board of Education.
So. I guess it’s not too much of a surprise to see that her daughter Olivia is turning out to be a master juggler as well. She is currently a graduating junior at Columbia High School, located right near the Maplewood village, is an accomplished viola player, is in the very top, top track in her academics and is also breaking almost every state record in running track.
Being a phenom is not easy, but Olivia is a young woman who takes it all in stride, has an infectious smile and is quite humble. She still has to do her chores which includes walking her dog. And that’s when I had a chance to chat with her last. She is charismatic, polite and not full of herself- which she has every right to be.
Last week she was the first athlete in the state to win 4 gold medals at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. And let’s not forget other winning track stars like Carl Lewis, Joetta Clark and Erin Dunn were all from NJ. Of course her dream is to compete at the 2016 Olympics. However she is simultaneously plugging away at her other dream of becoming a neuro-surgeon.
For her the options are clear. She says she will go to college and if she makes the Olympic team she will put off medical school until her running days are behind her. Can you imagine your fall back position if you don’t make the Olympic team is becoming a Neuro-Surgeon? She is indeed a special girl and I bid congrats to Robin and Sam for inspiring Olivia and for the many gifts she gives to our communities.
Read more about Olivia Baker’s accomplishments here.
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Read more about what makes these communities special here.