Parkway Alumni Association to induct 23 graduates into Hall of Fame
7/23/2018 -- This fall, the Parkway Alumni Association will proudly welcome 23 outstanding Parkway graduates into the Parkway Alumni Hall of Fame.
Since 2004, the PAA has inducted 195 graduates into the HOF. Their professional backgrounds include medicine, law, government, fine arts, religion, education, performing arts, engineering, business, the military and community activism. All have demonstrated a high level of professional achievement and have shown an abiding commitment to their community.
The biennial gala and induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 10, 2018, at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel. Tickets will be available in August at www.ParkwayAlumni.org. A special invitation is extended to former classmates, Parkway staff members, Parkway alumni and friends of the inductees.
For more information about any of the inductees or the event, please contact Deana Parsons, communications specialist, at (314) 415-8073 (work), (636) 579-0610 (cell) or email@example.com. Inductees may be available for interviews prior to the event.
Parkway School District is located in Chesterfield, Missouri, a suburban city in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The school district’s enrollment was approximately 17,400 students during the 2017-18 school year. Students matriculate at one of four high schools: Central, North, South or West. The Parkway Alumni Association serves more than 80,000 Parkway graduates.
2018 Inductees—Parkway Alumni Hall of Fame
Disaster knows no geographical boundaries, and neither did Dr. Christopher Bosche [Central ’91] when it came to helping others. As an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Dr. Bosche and the Ohio 1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team provided medical support at New York’s Ground Zero in 2001. He also was one of the first responders to the areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina; the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri; and Hurricane Sandy. Locally, he was a member of Missouri Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team, and was medical director for the Mehlville Fire Protection District. After a battle with cancer resulting from his service at Ground Zero, he died on Sept. 12, 2017.
Lieutenant Colonel Adam Chitwood (USAF) [South ’99] has had a distinguished career in the United States Air Force, including service in areas of the Middle East where his leadership and skill as a pilot were tested under extreme conditions. In late 2015, Chitwood, as mission commander, led the largest strike force in OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve) history to combat ISIL under the direction of President Barak Obama. He presently serves as chief of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Policy and Posture Branch in the J5 Strategic Planning & Policy Directorate, overseeing major posture efforts in Guam, the Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands and the Philippines.
Dr. Jeanne (Hlavacek) Cleveland [South ’89] is the division chief and medical director of the cardiothoracic surgery program at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, a position she has held since 2014. She is one of only a few female cardiothoracic surgeons in St. Louis. One of her passions is educating people on the prevention and treatment of heart disease, with special attention paid to making women more aware of its symptoms and development. Her interest in surgery was sparked during her service as a medical student volunteer in the Dominican Republic in the 1990s.
As branch manager at Coldwell Banker Gundaker Town and Country, Dana Gundaker-Devers [Central ’79] is known throughout the St. Louis area for her successful real estate career. But she’s also known as someone who has given much of her time spearheading her office’s substantial support of the St. Louis County Division of Family Services’ Holiday Gifts for Children Campaign and Ronald McDonald House Charities for more than 25 years. Her office alone supports 10 to 15 children every year, while the corporation supports over 250 children annually. In addition, her office organizes events to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities, with Coldwell Banker Gundaker being a major contributor.
Jason File [South ’94] is an acclaimed artist, teacher and attorney who prosecuted Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic for genocide war crimes and crimes against humanity at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. He teaches on the fine art faculty at the Royal Academy of Art in the Netherlands, and has exhibited his work and given presentations across Europe and North America. Some of File’s art has been influenced by the startling evidence presented in the tribunal, which ended in 2017.
As president of Midwest Pool Management in St. Louis, Bert (Moll) Forde [North ’74] has shepherded thousands of high-school and college students through the rigors of lifeguard training, teaching them to handle pool emergencies as well as how to be responsible citizens. She began working for MPM as a life guard in 1971 and was hired for managerial roles after graduating from the University of Missouri. She and the company’s 1,600 staff members donate many hours toward community projects such as cleaning up parks and working at Ronald McDonald House.
After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1996 and earning her pilot’s wings in 1998, Lt. Terri Fussner [South ’92] dreamed of inspiring other women to pursue flying for the United States armed forces. She was known among her high-school, college and military comrades as a role model and a trailblazer. Tragically, the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter piloted by Fussner went down over the Mediterranean Sea on March 12, 2002, on a test flight during her last deployment. She had been preparing to start her next adventure in Mayport, Florida, as a Naval helicopter pilot trainer. The Navy recognized her posthumously for a mission she had successfully completed, when she’d volunteered to fly a fellow officer to a base in Greece, in spite of dangerous weather conditions, to help him get the emergency medical treatment that saved his life.
Kate Gregory (RADM, USN, Ret) [North ’78] is a registered professional civil engineer and now works as a senior advisor at Fermilab in Bativia, Illinois. She retired from the United States Navy as a rear admiral in 2015, when she accepted a position as vice president at Iowa State University’s University Services. Gregory has many firsts associated with her tenure as an officer in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps (CEC). At her Hail and Farewell ceremony, she was celebrated as the first female to serve in the following capacities: 1) commander of a construction battalion; 2) flag officer in the CEC; 3) leader of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), and; 4) chief of civil engineers. She was promoted to rear admiral in 2010 and assumed command of NAVFAC Pacific in Pearl Harbor. She took command of all NAVFAC as the highest ranking civil engineer in the Navy in 2012. She retired with many military honors to her credit, including the Legion of Merit. She is a qualified military parachutist and Seabee combat warfare officer. She holds degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Southern California and George Washington University.
Jonathan Hirshberg [Central ’90] is a successful global entrepreneur who is committed to philanthropy and giving back to others. The Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer, a charity he co-founded after losing his father to pancreatic cancer, has raised over $100 million to help find a cure for the disease. His primary business, JR286, holds a global license for Nike, Inc. The firm designs, develops and sells over 32,000 styles for the Nike brand and operates in more than 100 countries. He also runs Blue Ocean Ventures and J.R. Technologies, which are micro funds that invest in sports technologies, e-sports, patents, trademarks and other investments. Hirshberg, his wife and their four children live in Southern California.
Cathy Jolly [West ’91] has made a career of public service. She was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2000 when she was only 27 years old for District 45 in Kansas City, Missouri, sponsoring legislation that mandated tougher penalties for perpetrators of violent crimes. She has served as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Jackson County and later coordinated the county’s nationally recognized COMBAT anti-drug and violence program. She subsequently served as the at-large city council member for District 6, representing all of Kansas City, Missouri. She also has served on her local school board. She has run numerous campaigns, including serving as deputy director in Missouri for a presidential candidate. Today, she serves as a campaign coordinator for a mayoral candidate in Kansas City. She created and spearheads the annual benefit for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation sponsored by the City Council of Kansas City, having raised more than $500,000 for research.
Jerry Kokesh [Central ’68] has had a noteworthy career in running and biathlon. In 1976, he began a long tenure with the Road Runners Club of America, serving as its president and on its executive board for more than 20 years. During that time, he managed the largest running series in the USA, and later helped develop and manage the U.S. Biathlon Association’s summer biathlon program of more than 100 nationwide competitions. From 1994-2008, Kokesh coached and served as team leader for both the U.S. Biathlon National Team and summer teams in many international competitions. After serving as the U.S. Biathlon Association’s marketing and media director, he moved to the International Biathlon Union in Saltzburg, Austria, as an editor/writer for Biathlonworld Magazine and Biathlonworld.com. Named by his industry peers and biathlon fans as the top biathlon journalist in 2010, Kokesh covers World Cup and Olympic biathlon competitions.
Amy (Siegel) Kweskin [Central ’81] is the vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer at Washington University in St. Louis. Kweskin is responsible for the financial operations and management of the university’s $3 billion plus budget and serves as a member of WUSTL’s senior-most leadership team. As the university’s former treasurer, Kweskin developed WUSTL’s debt-financing strategy and led university bond financings of over $1.5 billion. Early in her career, she was named to the St. Louis Business Journal's 40 Under 40 list for being one of the youngest treasurers in WUSTL's history. This year, Kweskin was named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women list.
Jeremy Lasky [Central ’93] has spent his entire 20-year career as a cinematographer for Pixar Animation Studios in the San Francisco Bay area. After attending Rhode Island School of Design, he launched his career at the legendary company, where he served as director of photography on Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, WALL-E, the Cars series (1-3) and Toy Story 3. He also worked on A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and Monster’s, Inc., and directed three short films in the Cars world.
Nancy (Lay) McCormick [North ’80] is one of five women in the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame. Since its inception in 1971, the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame has honored over 900 soccer players with St. Louis roots dating back as far as the 1870s. She has a long career in the sport as a player at the collegiate and professional levels, a referee and a middle- and high-school coach. In 1998, she became the first woman to referee a professional men’s match in Major League Soccer. She also officiated international matches as a FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) referee, as well as matches in the Women’s United Soccer Association. She went on to establish a referee development academy for women. She is a National Board certified teacher and teaches elementary physical education in St. Petersburg, Florida. As a student at North High, McCormick played on the boys’ team (there was no girls’ team).
After teaching marketing at several universities, Alan Merschen [North ’74] founded a company that became an industry leader in international tourism. Today, that company works with over 20 governments on five continents. Although he sold the company in 2017, he continues to conduct marketing presentations throughout the world. Always the teacher, he helps fund an internship program for students from the Australian Outback to townships in South Africa. He recently gave the commencement speech and was honored as an outstanding alumnus at Webster University in St. Louis, where he is an advisory board member for the art and sciences program. Merschen has established an endowment and scholarship for the university's international campuses, and has been asked to be a trustee of the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s charitable foundation.
Brigadier General Paul Owen [South '86] is the commander and division engineer of the Southwestern Division, United States Army Corps of Engineers, headquartered in Dallas. Owen has over 28 years of service since being commissioned from the United States Military Academy in the Corps of Engineers. He has deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq. He has also led response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Superstorm Sandy in New York City and Hurricane Harvey in Houston. He earned a master's degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a professional engineer registered in Missouri.
As a physician with artistic instincts that stretch back to her childhood, Dr. Minta Phillips [West ’71] has carved a unique path for herself. After graduating from Yale with a fine arts degree and then completing her medical degree at Harvard Medical School, she began her long and successful career as a radiologist in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 2006, she became a volunteer disc jockey at WQFS 90.9FM, a radio station at Guilford College, where she hosted Carpe Diem, an original program featuring Jungian philosophy. She left her medical practice in 2012 due to an ocular condition and now volunteers as an art educator in the Guilford County elementary schools. At home, she is an artist and a beekeeper.
Michelle Riebeling [South '94] has worked as a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State for more than 14 years. She is currently serving at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. She also has represented the United States at its diplomatic missions in Uruguay, Poland and Costa Rica; and has served in Washington, D.C., including as an instructor at the Foreign Service Institute. She is a three-time recipient of the State Department's Superior Honor Award in recognition of sustained extraordinary performance. She speaks Spanish, Polish, and Czech, and enjoys volunteering as an English teacher for a group of disadvantaged children in Bogota. She has a master’s degree in European and Eurasian studies from George Washington University.
As animation supervisor on the Academy Award®-nominated Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman, Brad Schiff [West ’88] has had the privilege of overseeing a world-class team of animators at Laika who consistently push the art of stop-motion animation beyond its perceived limits. Schiff was nominated as part of the team that received an Oscar nomination in the VFX category and won a Visual Effects Society award for Kubo. After cutting his teeth on a number of popular American television series—including MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, The PJs, and Gary & Mike—in 2004, he animated on the first of a series of Academy Award®-nominated features that includes Corpse Bride, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings. While working on Gary & Mike in 2001, Brad brought home a Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation.
Dr. Mina Sedrak [North ’02] became a student in Parkway’s English as a Second Language program when he was in the fifth grade, after his family immigrated to the United States from Egypt. Today, he’s an assistant professor in the department of medical oncology and therapeutics research at City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center in Los Angeles. As a medical oncologist, he specializes in the care of older adults with breast cancer. Having identified older adults as one of the most disproportionately vulnerable and least studied cancer patients, he has dedicated his research and career to improving their treatment. Dr. Sedrak is the recipient of numerous grants, honors and awards, and is board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.
The voice of Roberta Solomon [North ’74] has been heard worldwide by millions of people who have listened to her voiceover work for radio, television and film. During the past year, she has narrated promos and projects for Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Late Late Show with James Corden, NBC's coverage of the French Open, National Geographic, Smithsonian Channel, ESPN and Adult Swim. She is the station voice for 26 television and radio stations across the country. Early in her career, Solomon was a morning radio host in Kansas City. She also popped out of a coffin on TV each week to host KSHB-TV’s Creature Feature as the creepy and loopy Crematia Mortem character. She later became a cast member of the award-winning sketch comedy show Right Between the Ears, which was carried on Sirius/XM and hundreds of National Public Radio stations. In St. Louis, she was the longtime station voice for both KSDK/Channel 5 and KEZK-102.5FM.
Dr. Sharon Dunski Vermont [North ’87] decided to dedicate herself to helping the greater transgender community when her oldest child came out as a transgender boy in 2015. Dr. Vermont is the volunteer medical advisor for Transparent, a support group for parents with transgender kids. She also meets with school districts and elected officials to provide information and lobby for the needs and rights of the transgender community. Dr. Vermont is a pediatrician at Mercy Clinic in Hazelwood and a physician provider at the newly opened Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Tommie Lathuras-Wehrle [North ’74] has forged a successful career as a real estate broker/agent over the past 25 years, but her legacy certainly will include the many leadership roles she has taken for the benefit of humanitarian causes and community development. She has taught leadership programs for Landmark Education; conducted an auction to help cover the funeral expenses for children slain at Sandy Hook Elementary; served on the board of governors for the Human Rights Campaign to benefit LBGTQ Americans; successfully negotiated with Connecticut’s family court system for extended parental rights for same-sex couples and step parents in the state; and participated in numerous volunteer projects that have supported her community in St. Louis and West Haven, Connecticut.