Catoctin High School recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 8th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony on November 21.
Principal Jennifer Clements welcomed the students and guests, expressing pride in the school’s plentiful distinguished alumni.
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.
This year’s alumni were honored for achievements in academics, public service, and arts and humanities, who have made a difference in the state or nation.
The ceremony also recognizes former Catoctin High staff who have had a significant impact on students.
Susan Weaver was one of the Former Catoctin Staff Member Inductees. She worked as a school counselor for 32 years, about half of that at Catoctin High School. She also coached JV basketball, varsity volleyball, and softball. She also worked at the ticket gate with colleagues, officiated athletic events, and enjoyed pep rallies. Susan recently moved to Delaware and enjoys biking the Eastern Shore bike paths, golfing, walking on the beach, and has recently started playing pickleball.
Brian Persse (Class of 1999) was the Public Service Inductee. He is a senior analyst with the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, where he leads high-visibility audits of the National Highway Traffic Safety and Pipelines and Hazardous Materials administrations.
Jeff Barber (Class of 1994) was the Business Inductee. After graduation, Jeff pursued a career in farming and construction. He started Playground Specialists Inc. in 1998 at the age of 22. Through the past 25 years, while keeping the company located in Thurmont region, Playground Specialists has installed large custom playgrounds all over the region, totaling almost $250 million in revenue, and becoming one of the leaders throughout the world in the recreation market. He also opened Thurmont’s first ice vending machine, Twice the Ice, and purchased Maple Run Golf Course.
William Delawter (Class of 2004) was the Athletic Inductee. As a sophomore at Governor Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, he pitched on the state champion baseball team before transferring to finish his high school career at Catoctin the following year. He continued playing baseball at UMBC at the Division 1 level.
He has been named a Frederick County’s Player of the Year, earned a spot on the Brooks Robinson All-Star Team, was a Team Maryland Selection, a JUCO All American, UMBC Pre-Season All-American, and 1st Team All-Region, just to name only a few. In 2009, Will was inducted into the Chesapeake College Hall of Fame.
Will earned an associate degree from Chesapeake College and a bachelor’s degree on a full scholarship to UMBC, where he played baseball at the Division 1 level. He also obtained his master’s degree from Frostburg University.
He is now a teacher at Whittier Elementary School, but he has been an assistant baseball coach at Catoctin High since 2015.
Jeff McAfee (Class of 1982) was the Arts and Humanities Inductee. After graduating Catoctin High in 1982, Jeff started working for the State of Maryland in the division of Maryland Environmental Service as a Water Plant Operator for 10 years. From there, he moved to the Maryland Park Service and worked at South Mountain Recreation area as a Park Technician for 11 years. Jeff then transferred to Maryland Wildlife Division and is currently a Wildlife Technician.
Robert Viti is the second Former Catoctin Staff Member Inductee. Robert started his educational career as a Social Studies teacher at Dundalk Middle School and eventually transferred to Frederick County Public Schools, where he continued teaching Social Studies. He then became an assistant principal with Frederick County Public Schools and eventually landed at Catoctin High School, where he also took the role as Behavior Support Specialist. In 2016, he was inducted into the Frederick County Soccer Hall of Fame. He is also a lifetime member of the National PTA, as well as an honorary chapter FFA member of Catoctin High School.
Distinguished graduates are shown (left to right) Susan Weaver, William Delawter, Jeff McAfee, Robert Viti, Brian Persse, and Jeff Barber.
Photo by Keith Bruck