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May 17, 2022

Middletown’s Robert Manse Headed to West Point

By Lori Draz

This month, Americans everywhere will honor the memories of the brave men and women of the armed forces who made protecting the rights and freedoms of America their top priority. These warriors are the embodiment of highest standards of citizenship, and carrying on in that tradition is a remarkable young man from Middletown named Robert “Robby” Manse.

Manse is a 17-year-old senior at Christian Brothers Academy (CBA). He is well-known as a smart, kind, compassionate young man not only to his CBA family but to so many in the area through his time in athletics, academics and volunteerism. Soon he will be known as a West Point Cadet, and the area will have yet another reason to be proud.

It’s almost hard to believe that one young man has been able to accomplish so much in his youth. He scored a perfect 400 on his ACT while in Village School in Middletown and was awarded high honors in all grades at Thompson Middle School.

He won numerous games for the Middletown Little League and played ice hockey for the Middletown Titans for several years. Manse served as business manager of the Thompson Basketball Team and as a peer leader in Thompson Middle School, before moving onto CBA. There, his athletic and academic careers took off. His homeroom teacher, Andrew Cusick, also the throwing coach at CBA, invited Manse to try out for the track and field team. He started throwing shot put and discus in his freshman year and is currently captain of CBA’s throwing team. As a varsity track and field athlete, Manse has won many gold and silver medals over the past few years. He was the top sophomore and junior thrower in New Jersey, and he became the No. 7 shot put thrower in the U.S. at the competition held in the New York City Armory this March. He is among the top three throwers in CBA’s gloried history. Manse has won Shore Conference, Regionals and County championships, NJTC Gold and Silver for shot put and discus, and he was honored to be named this year’s CBA track and field MVP.

All those achievements take a lot of time and commitment, yet Manse still found the time to earn academic honors while mentoring younger students. He served as a freshman “shadow” in his sophomore year, guiding and helping the incoming freshman newcomers feel comfortable around campus and in their activities. When a group of Japanese foreign exchange students went to study at CBA, Manse acted as their ambassador. He was also presented with CBA’s Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish.

He is also a man of real faith and is proud to be a GURU (Giving Us Religious Understanding) at CBA for the freshman class, where he teaches a weekly theology class. He also is a regular volunteer with the Blessing Bag Brigade of Middletown, feeding the homeless and providing essentials to those less fortunate.

Now he has been bestowed the high honor of an appointment to The United States Military Academy at West Point for his outstanding academic and athletic leadership. Manse is the first CBA graduate to go to West Point in more than 20 years and only the third on record. He will depart on Monday, June 27. 

Manse is extremely humble about his accomplishments, choosing instead to let them serve as an inspiration to others who are finding their own paths through life.

Securing a West Point appointment requires a letter of recommendation from a congressman. His father, Robert Jr., didn’t even know his son had requested the letter. 

“Before I even had a chance to bring it up, he had taken care of writing that letter and personally delivered it to Congressman [Chris] Smith’s office in Freehold,” he said. “He never fails to amaze me with all the things he does, but the truly incredible part is what a sweet, caring young man he is. Robby has a tremendous list of accomplishments, but it’s never gone to his head. He’s got a big heart and is always concerned about everyone around him.”

Manse’s mom, Cheryl, added, “I don’t know what we did to have such an incredible son. It really overwhelms me. Robby is just the most kind person I know. He is always focusing his team, his friends, his schoolmates and the world around him. I know he will be going on to do amazing things.”

Robby added, “I have been blessed with great parents who taught me so many things, and I know I have so much more to learn. This opportunity to attend the USMA at West Point and be a varsity, Division 1 thrower will take everything I have and help mold me into the leader I know I can be. I am super excited for my future serving our great country.”