Currently viewing the tag: "Distinguished Alumni"

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School (CHS) recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 6th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony in November 2021.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience, “Catoctin High School is a place of deep roots and strong traditions. Our history is so rich because of the incredible staff and students who have walked these halls, making a positive impact on our school and our community.”

It is that tradition and those people that the school celebrates with its Distinguished Graduate Program. The Catoctin High School Distinguished Graduate Organization was formed in 2015 to honor alumni in the areas of academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.

The 2021 program recognized alumni from the arts and humanities, academics, and public service sectors. It also recognized two former CHS staff members.

Former teacher, John Koepke, taught, coached, and advised students at CHS for 35 years. During the program, he passed on some advice from his father to the students in attendance. “Life is full of cool moments. Enjoy the cool moments.”

He also shared some advice from Dr. Jack Graham, a Texas pastor, and it was to PACE yourself through life. However, Koepke added his own words for the acronym.

Patience helps peace.

Acceptance helps attitude.

Confidence helps commitment.

Embrace encouragement.

Rebecca Chaney, Class of 1982, was the arts and entertainment inductee. She is an author, speaker, and livestock and dairy judging coach. Her twin daughters, Sheridan and Rianna Chaney, who are seniors at CHS introduced their mother.

“You need to remember to dream big,” Cheney told the students. “Never waver from your dream and goals. With hard work and determination, you can achieve incredible things in this life.”

Brian Haines, Class of 2000, was the academics inductee. He is currently an assistant principal scientist at Merck, working in regulatory affairs.

He told the students not to give up on their goals. However, you need to work to make them happen. “Dig in just a little harder and not give up after setting a goal,” Haines said.

Maria Smaldone, Class of 2010, was the public service inductee. Her professional career has been spent in social work, and she is currently the senior neighborhood resource coordinator at Neighborhood Housing Services in Baltimore. Her sister, Raphaela Smaldone, a CHS senior, introduced her.

She said, “My normal is probably not your normal…considering someone’s context (their normal) is critical to understanding their thoughts, their feelings, and their motivations.” She added that this understanding will help bridge “trust gaps” between people of different backgrounds. She urged the students to get to know someone with a different normal and listen to them and learn from them.

She also told students not to, “pigeonhole yourself too soon into what you think you’re good at or what you think is good for you. There are so many other things out there, and you are capable of so many other things than you can give yourself credit for.”

Curtis Howser, a former industrial arts teacher and school counselor for 44 years, was another former CHS staff inductee. He served as a counselor at CHS for 18 years.

He said. “Be part of the solution rather than someone who just talks about it.”

Pictured from left are: (standing) Curtis Howser, John Koepke, and Bryan Haines; (seated) Maria Smaldone and Rebecca Chaney.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 5th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 26, 2019.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience, “During the past 50 years, the staff at Catoctin High School has always strived to foster learning, character, innovation, compassion, perseverance, and service. Today is a great opportunity for us to celebrate that with some special graduates, and hopefully, it’s an opportunity for us to challenge our current students to aspire to do great things.”

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 academics, public service, and arts and humanities.

According to Senior Isabel Rozo, the honorees “have made a difference in the state or nation.”

“Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, names from the class of 2020 and 2023 will join this honor group,” Rozo said.

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.

Former teacher Carol Forman taught mathematics classes at Catoctin for 30 years, from remedial to A.P. She gave the students some tips for getting through life successfully: (1) Don’t be afraid to change your goals; (2) When opportunities present themselves, don’t be afraid to try new things; (3) When the unexpected happens, do what you can in the situation and pray; (4) When things get overwhelming, consider prayer or at least find someone with whom to share your concerns; (5) It is never too late to do something you like to do in a different way; (6) Be bold, energetic, and stay true to yourself; and (7) Don’t ever give up.

Former teacher and coach George Kuhn was also recognized. He worked as a physical education teacher and athletic director at Catoctin, beginning in 1969. He also had tips for the students about how to live their lives. He also challenged the students to go home that evening, hug their parents, and tell them they loved them. “You’ll be surprised what that will do for your relationship with your mom and dad,” Kuhn said.

Dr. John Chatlos, Class of 1970, was the academics inductee. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. His expertise is dealing with mental disorders and addiction in teens. He is the director of a community outpatient substance abuse treatment program at the university and the medical director for the Wei Ji Point outpatient detoxification program, Human Faith Project.

“I never would have had the confidence to tackle what I did if not for Catoctin High School,” Chatlos said.

Susan Favorite, Class of 1982, was the public service inductee. She has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations over the years and was named a 2011 Wertheimer Fellow for Excellence in Volunteerism. She has also received a number of Lions Club awards for her volunteer service.

Favorite encouraged the students to count their blessings every day. “Not only will this put you in a more positive frame of mind and make you happier with your life, but, as importantly, when you take a little time each day to count your blessings, you realize how much you truly have,” she said.

Kelly Quesinberry, Class of 2000, was the arts and humanities inductee. She is a journalist, currently working with WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her reporting and stories has won her many awards, including two regional Emmy Awards.

Quesinberry thanked her family for encouraging and supporting her. “Learn the importance of asking questions and advocating for yourself,” she said. “Don’t wait on somebody to give you what you want in life. Go after it.”

Pictured arefrom left are Carol Forman, George Kuhn, Dr. John Chatlos, Susan Favorite, and Kelly Quesinberry.