James Rada, Jr.
Catoctin High School recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 7th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 22.
Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience the program “celebrates what makes this school and this community so special.”
The Catoctin High School Distinguished Graduate Organization formed in 2015 to honor alumni in the areas of academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.
This year’s alumni were honored for achievements in business and academics.
The ceremony also recognizes former Catoctin High staff who have had a significant impact on students.
Besides the honorees and their guests, the Catoctin freshman and senior classes were in attendance.
Jason Polansky, Class of 2014, was recognized for his business achievement. He has worked for Microsoft, Whole Foods, and Recruit Ability. He told the students that they can never know what life will throw at them, so they need faith, perseverance, and problem-solving skills, to “make the best decisions to continue to succeed.”
Kenneth Getzandanner, Class of 2006, was inducted for his academic achievement. He works with the Goddard Space Flight Center’s Navigation and Mission Design Branch. In 2020, he led the navigation team that landed a spacecraft on a meteor to collect samples to analyze. The spacecraft should return to earth next year.
He told the students that Catoctin High had helped him find something he was passionate about and offered him opportunities to explore it. He said that the students needed to surround themselves with people who support and encourage them, as his family and the staff at Catoctin High had.
Jason Stoner, Class of 1996, was another business inductee. Stoner is a full-time chainsaw-carving artist. He echoed Getzandanner’s sentiments, saying that the students needed to surround themselves with good friends who would support them in their goals.
Vickie Stroh spent 36 years of her teaching career as a library media specialist at Catoctin High. She encouraged the students to do three things that would help them have a great life. “Whatever your future brings to you, I hope it includes: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.”
Deborah Clark was another former Catoctin staff inductee. She taught Sociology and AP World History, served as the National Honor Society advisor, helped initiate Rho Kappa, and served as department chair.
“None of us get where we’re going without the influence of others,” she said. The others can be friends, family, teachers, and strangers. She encouraged the students to thank them for their positive influence.
Inductees received a Distinguished Graduate Award, a Catoctin High School print, and a Catoctin High School stadium blanket.
Pictured from left are CHS Principal Jennifer Clements with the 2022 Catoctin High Distinguished Graduate inductees, Vickie Stroh, Jason Stoner, Jason Polansky, Kenneth Getzandanner, and Deborah Clarke.
Photo by James Rada, Jr.