Tom Otten, a man of style and substance

Elder principal is honored by the Cincinnati Parks Foundation and The Quill is there.


Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation.

Mr. Tom Otten relaxes at Smale Riverfront Park

On a night when Smale Riverfront Park was looking picture perfect, Elder’s very own Mr. Tom Otten accepted his award for being a “Gentlemen of Style and Substance.” Mr. Otten was one of the few men to receive the award. Others were famous chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, Richard E. Friedman, and Kent Wellington. Previous winners of the award were University of Cincinnati president Santa J. Ono, and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.

The event is sponsored by the Cincinnati Parks Foundation and it is a fundraiser. The goal of the event is to raise money to support more research to help inner city kids experience the cities great parks. Mr.Otten told me that his favorite park is Price Hill’s own Mount. Echo.

“It is such a beautiful view that overlooks the city. It is an amazing area that has had a special place in my heart.”

Three other Student Council Executives  and I were honored to attend the event. In his little celebratory video Mr. Otten elaborated on the special place Mt. Echo has in his heart.

"The men who run Elder" ~ Jake Rinear
Mr. Otten and the Student Council Executive Board at the Carousel

“I would take my kids there, just one at a time because it would give me and my kids this special moment or bond that we would be able to have for the rest of our lives.” Rapid Run Park also has a special place in his heart.

“I grew up in Price Hill, and still do live in Price Hill. Rapid Run Park was within walking distance of my house and I would spend my sled riding days there. That was my first real experience with the park. Rapid Run would be a close second to Mt. Echo.”

Mr. Otten was actually nominated last year for the same award.

“Yeah I had no clue that I was nominated, but I was at an event up here at Elder in the Schaeper Center and someone from the Hamilton County board came up and told me that I was a winner of the award. I then found out that I had been nominated last year but didn’t receive enough votes to win. This year I was unanimously chosen for the award which is very humbling.”

Mr. Otten’s contributions and service to the community was noted in his nomination and praised by the Cincinnati Parks Foundation.

Mr. Otten said he was happy to be nominated and was honored he was chosen for the award.

“I am just happy to do what I can, I love parks. I love what a park can do, it has this simplicity to it that makes it so admirable and enjoyable to look at.”

He even was able participate in of one of the functions where inner city kids got to visit a local park.

“I was shocked to see how many kids hadn’t been to a park. It really is a luxury that we have. Inner city kids can easily get tired of looking at bricks, taking them to a park is such an eye-opening and neat experience.”

He told me that he got to help teach them about the nature and animals on one of the trails.

The kids he was able to help ranged in age from 5-8. He also said that his event was rained out three times.

One of the cool things of the event was that Carol Ann’s Carousel was open to everyone at the event. Mr. Otten told me that he was amazed at what the city of Cincinnati has done to the parks around the city and Smale Riverfront Park. He said it gave the city a “new look and chance to showcase its beauty.”

Mr. Otten was asked if he had anything other than a gray or black suit he responded very simply, “Oh yeah, I have a purple jacket.”

Mr. Otten represented the school and was easily noticed in the purple blazer that everyone at Elder has grown to know and love.