WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Scholarship Fund recently announced the addition of a new award, which will be presented to a graduating senior at West Orange High School beginning in June, in memory of West Orange resident Tommy Page.
Page was a musician and music executive who died unexpectedly last year, and whose three children currently attend school in the West Orange School District. The scholarship was founded through the West Orange Scholarship Fund by Page’s close friends, Mark Levinsohn and Lisa Boymann, to reward a WOHS graduate who has an interest in continuing their education in fine arts, especially in music education or performance.
“We thought it would be nice to create a tribute in the community,” Levinsohn told the West Orange Chronicle in an April 5 phone interview. “It’s where his family still lives and they can celebrate his accomplishments and his good spirit, and this seemed like the perfect way to do it.”
Page was a New York University student just beginning his music career when Levinsohn, an entertainment lawyer, met him. Levinsohn represented Page as an artist and, when Page became an executive, the two continued to work together on recording contracts. During the course of that time, they became friends.
Boymann met Page when their oldest sons were in the same first-grade class, and discovered they were also neighbors. In an April 6 phone interview with the Chronicle, Boymann said their children are still friends.
“We really grew to be family,” she said. “He was really involved in the schools, he always wanted to help and he loved children. So we wanted to help another kid who wants to go in a similar direction that he went in.”
Page was a singer-songwriter who reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1990 with the song “I’ll Be Your Everything.” He later moved on to become a music executive at Warner Brothers, and the publisher at Billboard.
“(This scholarship is) for students who are interested in arts and performance,” Levinsohn said. “Tommy was a singer and songwriter and loved performing onstage. We wanted to keep it as broad as possible and give the scholarship committee as much leeway as possible.”
To create the scholarship, Levinsohn and Boymann worked with the West Orange Board of Education and the West Orange Scholarship Fund. An endowment will fund the first scholarship this year, and going forward the WOSF will accept donations for it.
Boymann said the community outreach she has seen surrounding the Tommy Page Scholarship is heartening. Many people have been sharing and donating to the scholarship in Page’s memory.
“To see it acknowledged in this way is such a plus for West Orange, even though that wasn’t my intention,” Boymann said. “So I’m so happy to see that that’s happening.”
According to WOSF treasurer Jim Quinn, the group gave $108,500 in scholarships to graduating WOHS students in 2017. There is an independent awards committee made up of people who do not have students in the district that reads through applications over the course of April, and the scholarship winners are revealed at the high school’s awards ceremony in early June.
“We thought it would be great to attract someone who is in the arts,” Quinn said in an April 5 phone interview with the Chronicle. “We have such a great music department at the high school. I didn’t know Tommy Page, but he seemed like such a great and talented person.”
Quinn also said the scholarship is a good way for Page’s children to keep his name alive in their school.
“This will hopefully be one of many,” Levinsohn said of the scholarship as a tribute to Page. “But this is one for where he lived and where his family still lives. He has fans everywhere, but this is one that will be close to home.”
Photos Courtesy of Lisa Boymann