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Hall of Fame

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2019 Crown Point High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame

Colonel John Ward Wheeler   Class of 1911

John Ward Wheeler, the son of John J. and Virginia (nee Ward) Wheeler, was born on May 31, 1893.  His family’s history in Crown Point is as old as the community itself.  He was the great-grandson of local Civil War hero, Colonel John Wheeler, who was killed at Gettysburg in 1863 for whom Wheeler Middle School Point was named.  John Ward Wheeler was the great-great grandson of Crown Point’s founder Solon Robinson.

John Ward Wheeler graduated from Crown Point High School in 1911.  He graduated from Purdue University in 1916 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  Like his great-grandfather, John Ward Wheeler attained the rank of colonel in the US Army.  He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) in World War I and World War II. Colonel John Ward Wheeler had a distinguished military career. His civilian career as a transportation engineer was equally impressive.  In the 1930’s, Wheeler served as Indiana Governor Paul McNutt’s Highway Commissioner.  He served on Purdue University’s Board of Trustees from 1937 until 1942 when he returned to active duty in the USACOE.  Following WWII, he served as the Assistant to the President of the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad.  During this period, he was a consultant to the Association of American Railroads.  Purdue University conferred an honorary doctor of philosophy degree upon him for his outstanding accomplishments on the USACOE’s Alcan Highway and Burma Road transportation projects.

On September 26, 1954, John Ward Wheeler was severely injured after being thrown from his horse, Babe, while riding at the family’s estate east of Crown Point.  The accident crushed three vertebrae in his back and, as a result, John Ward Wheeler was a paraplegic for the rest of his life.  John Ward Wheeler faced the challenges of life in a wheel-chair with the same “soldier-like” determination shown throughout his life.  Despite nearly constant pain, John Ward Wheeler was a source of strength, kindness, and good humor to his family.  He passed away in May 1970 and was survived by his wife Ruth and sons Harold, Henry (“Hank”), and John.

Dr. Mary Catherine Georgas-Flath  Class of 1980

 Dr. Mary Catherine Flath is a Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, and has been teaching at Ashland Community & Technical College since 1994.  She received her B.S. in Biology from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN (1984), and her Ph.D. in Pathology from the Medical University of SC, Charleston, SC (1991).

Mary Cat serves as Science Discipline Leader for General Education Assessment, Team Leader for the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Walk, and March of Dimes Walk Teams.   Mary Cat serves as ACTC’s representative to the Coalition (Community Health Improvement) Advisory Board, and supports many other community agencies and charitable organizations.

Mary Cat currently serves on Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital’s Foundation Board, she served on OLBH’s Board of Directors, from 2009-2017, and Chaired the Board’s Quality Improvement Committee from 2010-2017.  Mary Cat has been President of Epsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a Key Women Educators Society, for eight of the last ten years, and she is DKG Kentucky State Recording Secretary.

Dr. Mary Cat has a published textbook supplement, Detailed Lecture Outline to accompany John Hole’s Human Anatomy & Physiology Textbook, McGraw-Hill Publishers since 1998.  She has updated her publication seven times, as new textbook editions are prepared, and she and her students serve as reviewers of this text, as well.  She completed the latest revision project for the 15th textbook during 2018.

Dr. Mary Cat was honored as the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Central Region Faculty Award winner in Seattle in September 2005.   She was also honored by her former students as the Gussler Award Recipient in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2017.

Mary Cat is President/CEO of Mary Cat’s Cuisine with Family and Friends for All Seasons Cookbooks.  Her Fall and Winter editions were published in 2010, 2011, respectively, and proceeds benefit OLBH Women’s Health Fund and “I Believe Foundation”.  Her Summer cookbook is in the works.

Mary Cat is married to husband Al (32 years), and her pride and joy is her son Allen, age 25, who will be completing his Master’s from University of KY, in Electrical Engineering May.  Allen will be marrying his college sweetheart, Emily Edmiston on May 25, 2019, in Lexington.

Larry Geisen    Class of 1984

Larry is the son of Robert and Marilyn (Foss) Geisen.  He has two sisters, Cathy (Larry) Maglish and Nancy Geisen.

Attended St. Marys Catholic School where he enjoyed playing Basketball, Football and Track.  He went on to attend Crown Point High School and again played Basketball and Football (Captain senior Yr). He served as Vice President of CPHS Student Council along with his close friend Jeff Georgas who was President. He was a member of the Latin and Letterman Clubs.

Larry graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Business in 1988. Then attended and graduated from the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago.  He then joined his father in the family business, Geisen Funeral Home in Crown Point as the 5th Generation Geisen to come into the family business.  Larry’s son Anthony has just joined the family business in September 2018 as the 6th generation.  The Geisen Funeral Home proudly celebrated its 150 year anniversary in 2017, which was started by Peter Geisen in 1867 in Crown Point.  The Geisen Funeral Home is one of Indiana’s oldest family operated business and one of the oldest funeral home in the country. In addition to the Crown Point location, Larry has added locations in Merrillville, Hebron and Michigan City.

Larry is proud to have received for the past five years the “Pursuit of Excellence Award” from the National Funeral Directors Association.  An award only given to roughly 200 of the nation’s 20,000 funeral homes for excellence in family service, community involvement, employee retention and education.

Larry is a lifelong member of St. Mary Catholic Church where he currently serves on the Finance Council. He is a board member of the Crown Point Community Foundation, and a member of the Crown Point Rotary Club.  He is a former board member for over 10 years of the Crown Point Cal Ripken Baseball and was proud to have been one of the coaches of the Crown Point Cal Ripken 2013 World Series Champions which his son Nick played on.  He also enjoyed coaching his daughter Alle in basketball and son Anthony in Jr. Bulldog Football.

Larry still resides in Crown Point with his high school sweetheart and now wife of 28 years Kim (Watson), together they have 3 children Alle, CPHS-2011, Purdue 2015, Ryerson Steel, Chicago, Anthony CPHS 2013-Purdue 2017, Geisen Funeral Home) and Nicholas CPHS 2019-Butler in the fall)

Dr. Heather “Stacks” Harder    Class of 1966

Heather is the daughter of Wendell and Anne Stacks and one of six children, all alumni of CPHS (Jean ‘63, John ‘68, Elizabeth ‘70, and twins Brent and Brian ‘77). She has two birth daughters and one foster daughter who are also CPHS alumni (Kerri ’91, Stacie ’96 and Victoria ‘2004), as well as four other foster children (Sarah HCHS 2008, Zach GED 2010, and Benjamin MHS 2005).

Heather earned a Bachelors’ Degree in Elementary Education in 1970 from Indiana University Bloomington and went on to receive a Masters’ Degree in Education and Reading in 1974. In 1988 she received a Ph.D. from Indiana State University in Reading and Literacy. Her Dissertation research focused on the impact of nonverbal communication on behavior, achievement, and performance. After graduation, she returned to the Crown Point School District to teach, first as an Elementary Teacher and then later as a Reading Specialist (1970 to 1979). In 1979 she left the comfort and security of the classroom to enter into the world of business with the creation of the first of four Child Care Centers. These Licensed Centers were located in Illinois and Indiana and served children from birth to age 12. She was the Executive Director of these centers for over twenty years. She became a full-time Professor and Coordinator of the Early Childhood Program at Governors State University and eventually retired from Concordia University Chicago in Reading (1986-2016). Heather was named the Outstanding Reading Professor for the State of Illinois, in 2014 by the Illinois Reading Council.

Heather is a passionate activist and has worked to bring about positive change wherever she can. Once disillusioned with our political system, she was determined to do her part to make a difference. After three years of researching, and a year of political training from every campaign school she could find, Heather threw her hat in the ring as a Democratic Candidate for President of the US. She spent six years on the campaign trail participating in up to 13 events in a single day, for her 1996 and 2000 Presidential bid. Although she lost the elections, she gained tremendous knowledge and firsthand experience of what we the people can do to make a difference. Her seventh and soon to be released book, The Game of Politics: How to Play it, Win it, and Change it: What Every American Needs to Know, details her lessons learned and the insider secrets discovered in her ten years invested in politics. Heather is also an active entrepreneur and businesswoman.

Heather lives in Crown Point and enjoys writing, speaking, and traveling the world. She serves on several nonprofit boards and provides consulting services to school districts, businesses, and innovative entrepreneurs. For fun, Heather dabbles in acting and has appeared in the background of numerous movies and television shows.

2018 CPHS Alumni Association Hall of Fame

Kara Mayden Argo
Class of 1976

Kara is the daughter of Dr. J. Robert and Carole Mayden and one of seven children. She attended St. Mary’s elementary school and was a cheerleader in both 7th and 8th grades.

She was a member of the Women’s Varsity Club and co-captain of the swimming and gymnastics teams and marched as a Cadet in the Crown Point Marching Band.   Her mentor, Mr. Charles Bowman, encouraged and challenged her within his Advanced Biology program

Kara graduated from Indiana University Northwest in Radiologic Technology in 1978 and pursued her interest in Diagnostic Ultrasound at the Maryland Institute of Ultrasound Technology her principal clinical training was at Johns Hopkins Hospital graduating as Valedictorian in 1979.  She accepted a position within the Perinatal Department at Yale University Medical Center. This high-risk pregnancy center was known for its pioneering work, in fetal ultrasound, having developed many of the standards, used in managing both normal and high-risk pregnancy.  Kara’s main interest is the detection of fetal structural and genetic malformations.  Her work includes the performance of in-utero fetal surgery, such as, the transfusion of blood into a fetus with severe anemia or when a fetus has a life threatening blockage to the kidneys.

Kara has received national recognition for her contributions to the field of ultrasound and while in college, received the Frederick Sample Student Excellence Award for her work on the Umbilical Vein Diameter in Rh Isoimmunization.  She went on to develop a nomogram which measured the size of fetal orbits, which today, allows the detection of genetic and other life-threatening fetal conditions. Her research was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1983.  Kara was a member of Yale’s invitro fertilization program; one of the first in the country. Kara currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband of 31 years, Dr. Dean R. Argo (Class of 1977).  Kara enjoys substitute teaching for special education and elementary-aged students.  They have two children, a daughter Taylor, a pediatric physician, at the University of Minnesota and a son, Ben who will graduate from Western Michigan University with a degree in Aviation Management.

David Huffine
Class of 1967

David Huffine was born in Gary, IN. and moved to Crown Point in time to attend 8th grade at Taft. He played percussion in the band and was a member of the 1965 CPHS State Champion Marching Band. He was very active in school publications and was a three year editor of The Inklings.

He attended Indiana University, Bloomington where he earned a degree in Education. In 1975-77, he interned at Chana High School, an alternative school in Auburn, CA. while earning a Master’s Degree in Alternative Education. He spent another year there on the faculty.

He has enjoyed three distinctly different career paths. In 1977, he left the field of education to become Senior Vice President/Partner of Calumet Securities Corp. in Schererville, IN. He was active in the Indiana mortgage Bankers Association, Lace Count, In. Hospital Authority, and Southlake Center for mental Health. He was very active in Youche Country Club in Crown Point serving as a board member and officer.

In 1990, he sold his interest in the mortgage firm and moved to Colorado Springs, Co. where he founded Sky View homes, a real estate development firm and manufactured housing dealership, and Sky View Realty. He was active in many organizations.

In 1999, he returned to Crown Point, spending time at IU in order to renew his past teaching license. In 2005, he had the good fortune to be hired as the Middle School English Teacher at Morgan Township School, part of the East Porter County School Corporation. He became very active in academic competitions. His middle School Spell Bowl team qualified and competed in the Indiana State Championship round for ten consecutive years in which he coached, which broke the consecutive appearance record by four years. He retired after the 2016 school year and was honored to be asked to deliver the commencement address at last year’s graduation.

David and his wife, Ingrid, live on beautiful little Fish Lake near LaPorte,. They have two grown children and welcomed their grandson this past April. They enjoy golfing, fishing, wine collecting, and dining

Wagonblast Kutemeier
Class of 1979

Jean was raised on the family farm in Crown Point, and while attending high school, participated in basketball, track, French Club, and served as vice-president of the National Honor Society.  She graduated in 1979 as one of the class valedictorians, and in 1983 graduated from Valparaiso University with highest distinction receiving her Bachelor of Science in Education with a certification in reading. In 1986, she earned her Master of Education from Valparaiso University.  Jean taught first and third grades at Watson Elementary School in the Lake Central School Corporation from 1983-1993 until her third child was born.  During her years at Watson Elementary, Jean served on many committees.  From 1983-1993, Jean was a member of the Kankakee Valley Reading Council serving terms in many officer positions.  In 1996, Jean received her Elementary Administration and Supervision License from Purdue University.

While raising her family, Jean has coached softball and Little League teams, worked on numerous school committees, and in 1998 served on the National Commission Accreditation Team for District Accreditation.  Jean sings in her church choir, teaches Sunday school, and has been a Boy Scout leader for 17 years serving as Assistant Cub master and Committee Chairperson and Chaplain, Scout Sunday Chairperson, Merit Badge Counselor, and Blood Drive Coordinator for Troop 48.  As a leader, she is the recipient of the Boy Scouts’ God and Service Award and the Cross and Flame Award.

Jean and her wonderful husband, Del, have been married for 32 years and have been blessed with six incredible children and one adorable grandson:  Eric (Kayla and son, Augustus) works in the business field as a Program Manager; Ashley (Dan) teaches high school English; Adam is a Landscape Architecture Associate; Alex will graduate in May 2018 with a degree in Heavy Equipment and Automotive Engineering; Andréa is a college sophomore majoring in digital media arts/photography; and Anne is a junior at CPHS with plans to become a veterinarian.  Jean’s family is the 5th and 6th generation of Wagonblasts to live on the family farm established in 1849, where they raise hay, soybeans, and wheat. To relax, Jean plays fast pitch softball, and enjoys most any other sport, photography, music, gardening, and reading works by Christian authors.

Dr. Mark Mallatt
Class of 1968

Mark was the third of six children to Russ and Marjorie Mallatt, all of whom grew up in Crown Point and attended Crown Point High School. Upon graduation in 1968, Mark attended Indiana University where he received a B.S. degree in 1971, a D.D.S. degree in 1975, and an M.S.D. degree in public health and preventive dentistry in 1997.

Dr. Mallatt served as Indiana State Oral Health Director at the Indiana State Department of Health from 1997-2007 and was a Professor at the Indiana University School of Dentistry from 1977-2007. He has been a Clinical Examiner, Co-Investigator, or Principal Investigator in over 85 clinical trials relative to the assessment of stain, calculus, gingivitis, periodontal disease, soft tissue pathology, and caries formation. These studies were conducted in Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Oregon, Texas, Canada, and China with total grant funding in excess or $10,000,000. Some of this work resulted in products such as advanced formula Crest, tartar control Crest, Peridex, and Nicorette. He has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has given numerous presentations at local, state, and international meetings. He has been active in community dentistry for over 40 years and served as Chairman of the Indiana Dental Association’s Council on Dental Public Health from 1997-2007. In 1997, he received a Teaching Excellent Recognition Award” for exceptional achievement in teaching as recognized by the faculty” and in 2000, received the Indiana Dental Association’s Distinguished Service Award. 1997-2007. Dr. Mallatt is a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Honorary Dental Society. He was also recognized with the Dr. Charles W. Gish Award for “outstanding leadership to improve the dental health of Indiana citizens” in 2003.

Dr. Mallatt credits his success to his parents for their love and guidance in his early years and for their support throughout his career; his participation in scouting during his formative years (Eagle Scout); and to the excellent education and life-preparing skills he received by growing up in Crown Point, and by having had the opportunity to learn from the outstanding teachers in Crown Point schools.

Ken Myres
Class of 1969

Ken Myres was born in Gary, Indiana and grew up in Crown Point.   He attended St. Mary’s grade school and graduated from CPHS in 1969.

Ken started his professional career in public accounting, joining Arthur Young and Company in Chicago after graduating with a degree in Business from Indiana University in 1973.  He moved to San Diego in 1977 where he embarked upon a restaurant career spanning more than four decades.

Ken held executive, C-level and Board positions with private and public restaurant and retail companies including Foodmaker, U.S.A. Cafes, Blockbuster, the Metromedia Restaurant Group and Romacorp, Inc. where he was President of Tony Roma’s.  He is currently President and CEO of YEBII, which recently acquired fast casual Asian concept Banh Shop.  His group also owns and franchises several other major international casual restaurant brands operating in major airports throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Ken is a frequent speaker at restaurant, legal and franchise industry conferences and events and also serves on the Advisory Board of the School of Business at Townview Magnet in Dallas, Texas, one of the highest ranked high schools in the country.

Ken is married to Debbie (Naum), also a CPHS and IU graduate.  They have 3 married children, Erin and husband Josh, Matt and wife Hannah and Megan and husband Austen.  They have two grandchildren, Harry and Lilly.  Ken and Debbie live in Richardson, Texas but still have many friends and family members in Crown Point.

Ken attributes his success in life to his faith, family, friends and the many mentors who have taught and inspired him.  Ken will also be happy to share stories with you of the many dedicated CPHS teachers who made an impact on him.

James Wagonblast
Class of 1977

Jim grew up in Crown Point on a small family farm just south of town with his three sisters Judy, Jean, Andrea and their supportive parents, Doris and Harry Wagonblast. He was always interested in science, math, and generally “how things worked”.  At CPHS, these interests were positively influenced by talented faculty that included math teachers such as Mr. Saylor, Mr. Isley, and Mr. O’Brien among many others in various subjects. Jim managed to letter in baseball thanks to head coaches Webb and Sproat and also participated in wrestling, golf, and various intramural sports. He graduated CPHS in 1977 as one of the class valedictorians. After high school Jim attended Valparaiso University where he graduated in 1981 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After college graduation, Jim was hired by Hughes Aircraft Company (aerospace, now Raytheon) in California where he enjoyed a 33 year career working on various air defense programs. During that time he completed his Masters degree in Computer Engineering at USC, and worked for a few years as a consultant to General Motors and General Dynamics in Detroit. Outside of work, Jim has spent his time playing some tennis and trying to keep up with his active family members that include his wonderful wife of 33 years Mary, his artistic daughter Christina, his son Joshua currently working as an EMT, and his son Gregory currently attending the University of Pittsburgh under the GI bill.

2017 Alumni Hall of Fame

Dr. Mary Davis Carroll
Class of 1939

Mary Elizabeth Davis received both her name and a home when she came to Crown Point at the age of 6. She lived on Ellendale Farm in the care of Mary Ellen Davis, who adopted her at the age of 13.  She attended St. Mary’s School and graduated from Crown Point High School in 1939.  She was class salutatorian; participated in debate, theater and girls’ basketball; and was editor-in-chief of the yearbook.he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1943, and afterward she remained at the university and taught labs, receiving her M.S. in physiology in 1944.  She entered the University of Chicago medical school and received her M.D. there in 1948. After internship at Passavant Hospital in Chicago, she began her medical practice in Crown Point in 1950 as a partner of Drs. Birdzell and Steele, in a building at 124 North Main Street owned by Louise Kincy, where Dr. Birdzell and Dr. John Iddings had practiced together since 1938.  She is believed to be the first female MD to have a general medical practice in Lake County. Action by legislators created the Crown Point Hospital Authority, which approved the establishment of St. Anthony Medical Center (now known as Franciscan Health Crown Point).  The hospital opened its doors March 1, 1974.  She was on the board from 1974 to 1976 and was chief of medical staff in 1976 and 1977.  She was also medical director of the St. Anthony Nursing Home from 1976 to 1995. Dr. Carroll was certified by the American Board of Family Practice.  She was a member of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Practice and the Indiana Academy of Family Practice (on the board of which she also served).   She was a member of the Lake County Medical Society, serving on its board from 1972-93 and as president in 1981-82.  She practiced in Crown Point for about 45 years, retiring in 1995 at the age of 74. She married William F. Carroll in December of 1947, and they lived on Ellendale Farm for the remainder of their lives.   Carroll became a lawyer in Crown Point.  In the midst of their busy professions, they raised four children:  William Jr., a retired chemist in Dallas, TX; Mary Ellen, a lawyer in Chapel Hill, NC; and James and Catherine, both now deceased.  Outside of medical practice, she offered service to the community as a lifelong member of the Tri Kappa service sorority; as a member (and past president) of the St. Mary Home and School Association; and as a member of the St. Matthias Parish Council.  Mary Davis Carroll—Dr. Mary—passed away January 23, 2000 at the age of 78.

Judy Wagondblast Herting M.D. Class of 1978

Judy grew up in Crown Point as part of the 5th generation of Wagonblast on the family farm. At Crown Point high school Judy lettered in volleyball and track and enriched their interest in the sciences in Mr. Charles “Bud” Bowman’s and Mr. Robert Conard’s classes. She graduated in 1978 as one of the class valedictorians. In 1982 Judy graduated from Valparaiso University with double majors in biology and chemistry. From there, Judy attended the Indiana University of Medicine. In 1990 she completed her anesthesia residency at the University of Cincinnati with a fellowship in pediatric anesthesia. Dr. Herting has worked as a pediatric anesthesiologist for 26 years in Dayton Children’s Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. From 1992-95 she served a s the Medical Director of anesthesia. From 2000-2005 Judy moved into the position of President of her private anesthesia corporation, managing the business aspects of her practice. Throughout her time serving in administrative roles, Judy has continued to work three days a week in the operating room and shared in call duties. Outside of work, Judy has volunteered as a Girl Scout leader for twelve years, Church Council member, adult assistant in church youth group for eight years and children’s Sunday school teacher for over 15 years. In her spare time Judy enjoys gardening, biking and traveling. Dr. Herting is blessed with a wonderful husband of 30 years, Carl Herting, and their 3 talented children: Andrew, Daniel and Elizabeth. Their sons are both mechanical engineers and their daughter will be a high school math teacher. Judy attributes her success in life to faith in God, her loving, encouraging parents, Doris and Harry Wagonblast her supportive husband, and many gifted teachers through the years.

Jodi Jawor, PhD.
Class of 1989

Dr. Jawor was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Crown Point, Indiana graduating from Crown Point High School in 1989.  She attended Ball State University receiving a Bachelor’s and then Masters of Science in Biological Sciences and then moved to the University of Dayton to complete her Doctorate.  Following a post-doctoral appointment at Indiana University, Dr. Jawor became a faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi as first an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Biology.  Recently Dr. Jawor began a position as a Program Director for the National Science Foundation.  Dr. Jawor is an author on over 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications, is a co-author on a chapter in the book Snowbird: Integrative Biology and Evolutionary Diversity in the Junco, and has had her research highlighted on NPR’s A Moment of Science and other internet media outlets.  Dr. Jawor’s research has focused on the evolution and expression of animal behaviors and the hormone mechanisms that control and influence behavioral expression in a variety of bird species.  Recently she has begun work investigating the hormonal and genetic controls of vocal learning in adult birds with collaborators at New Mexico State University and Georgia State University.  Dr. Jawor and her husband SFC Geoffrey Williams currently live in Texas where, when time permits, they enjoy hiking and bird watching and both plan on getting back into bike riding once life settles down a bit.

Mary Toman Ragsdale
Class of 1973

Mary (Toman) Ragsdale has worked in the field of education for 38 years, as a teacher and administrator focusing on the academic and social development of students with a range of learning needs. After graduating from Crown Point High School in 1973, she earned a bachelor of science in education from Ball State and a master of science in education, with certifications in learning disabilities and gifted education, from Indiana University. In the 1980s, Mary worked primarily in the area of gifted and talented education, as a teacher and as a consultant with the Indiana Department of Education. Since the 1990s, she has focused on children with learning differences, particularly in the language arts. As a founding educator of the Hutson School (now Fortune Academy) in Indianapolis, Mary developed programs and multisensory curricula for students with severe dyslexia and other learning differences. Since 2011, Mary has been a teacher and administrator at the Curry Ingram Academy in Brentwood, Tennessee, a K-12 college preparatory school for children with unique learning styles and learning differences. She is currently division head of the middle school. Mary and her husband, Roy, live in Franklin, Tennessee, near Nashville. They have two daughters: Elizabeth, who is a nursing administrator in Shelbyville, Tennessee; and Lynn, who is in 10th grade.

Dr. Louis Sertich D.D.S., M.S.,
Class of1973
Class of

Dr. Lou Sertich was born in East Chicago, IN, and moved to Crown Point to enter Crown Point High School in 1970. He was active as a percussionist in band and orchestra, and in student council, where he served as President his senior year. Lou attended the University of Notre Dame, majoring in economics and pre-med. He graduated in only three years. Loyola University presented Sertich with a Master Degree after completing a research thesis at its Dental School in Maywood, Il. Indiana University School of Dentistry granted Sertich a Doctorate in Dental Surgery in 1982. He then returned to the area to start his clinical practice and raise a family. Dr. Sertich married his high school prom date, Pam Hill, also from the class of 1973. They have three children, Maureen, John and Matthew. Dr. Sertich has had a successful dental practice in Merrillville for 35 years. He has earned a Fellowship from The Academy of General Dentistry and International College of Dentistry, as well as numerous awards from the Northwest Indiana Dental Society. For spare time, Dr. Sertich flies a federally seized ex drug plane, enjoys travel and fishing. He is still waiting for grandchildren.

Honorable Geoffrey Slaughter
Class of 1981

Geoffrey G. Slaughter was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court by Governor Mike Pence in May 2016. He took the oath of office as Indiana’s 109th Supreme Court Justice on June 13, 2016. Justice Slaughter was born in Gary, Indiana, in 1962 and grew up in nearby Crown Point. After graduating from high school in 1981, he attended Indiana University in Bloomington, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and in 1985 received a bachelor of arts in economics, graduating with a high honors. In 1989, he received an M.B.A. in finance from the Kelley School of Business and his juis doctor cum laude from IU’s Maurer School of Law. After law school, Justice Slaughter served for two years as a law clerk to Chief Judge Allen Sharp, United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in South Bend. He then worked in private practice with the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, concentrating on antitrust, bankruptcy, and other complex business litigation. From 1995-2001, he served as special counsel to the Attorney General of Indiana.  Before joining the Indiana Supreme Court, Justice Slaughter was a partner with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Indianapolis and litigated complex business disputes in both state and federal courts. Justice Slaughter has been an active member of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association and the appellate-practice sections of the Indiana State Bar Association and the Indianapolis Bar Association. Committed to furthering civics and constitutional education, Justice Slaughter has volunteered as judge for the “We the People” competition since 1996. In his spare time, Justice Slaughter roots for the Chicago Cubs and IU football.

2016 Alumni Hall of Fame

COL Andrew C. Dillon, Class of 1986 Mr. Dillon was born and raised in northwest Indiana, with the exception of being a Rotary Exchange student in Belem do Para, Brazil for his junior year of high school. He was active in swimming, cross county, and band. After graduating from CPHS he received an appointment to West Point and graduated in 1990, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army Field Artillery. His active assignments took him to various locations in Germany. In 1995 he transitioned to the US Army Reserves, and started his civilian career in logistics. He has been recalled to active duty and deployed several times including Iraq 2003, again in 2004 to July 2005, Afghanistan in 2012 and Saudi Arabia 2013-2014. In March 2014, as a Lieutenant Colonel, he became Battalion Commander of 3rd Battalion, 335th Regiment at Fort Sheridan, IL. In December 2015 he was confirmed by the US Senate for promotion to Colonel. Mr. Dillon has been active in civic and veteran affairs. He resides in Western Springs Illinois with his wife DeeAnn and their two children, Sam and Leah.


Barbara J. Toman, Class of 1979 Barbara is a Rhodes Scholar. She was elected from Indiana in 1983 after earning a B.A. in journalism and English at Indiana University. At Oxford University, Barbara earned a B.A. in politics and philosophy and an M.Litt. in politics. She subsequently worked as a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal in London, covering British politics and the European Union as well as writing general economic and corporate news and features. Since returning to the United States in 1991, Barbara has lived with her husband, Ian Jarman, in Rochester, Minnesota. They have a daughter and a son. Barbara is now a science and medical writer for the Mayo Clinic, specializing in the neurosciences, and a freelance editor. She is an active volunteer in her community and serves on a committee that selects Rhodes Scholars.

Michael Toman PhD, Class of 1972 Mike is the son of Robert and Nancy Toman, and older brother to Mary and Barbara. Mike was an honors student at CPHS whose activities included Choir, jazz band, and community youth theater group Mellow-Dramatics. Mike attended Indiana University and the University of Rochester, where he received a PhD in economics in 1983. After moving to Washington, DC, Mike worked for Resources for the Future, a research think tank concerned with natural resources and environmental issues. He also served on the staff of the White House agency, the Council of Economic Advisers. He has worked at the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, international organizations that provide technical assistance as well as loans to eradicate poverty and promote the economic development of lower-income countries. In his current position at the World Bank, Mike has traveled to a number of countries. Mike and his wife, Toi Carter (an attorney at George Washington University), live in Bethesda, Maryland and enjoy attending plays, travel, and quiet weekends at their cabin. Mike’s daughter Julia is a physician doing her residency and his son John is a PhD student in computer science.

Eston “Bud” Perry PhD, Class of 1954 Crown Point graduate, class of 1954, Eston “Bud” Perry, graduated from Indiana State and entered the business world. He is a businessman and entrepreneur, Chairman of the Board of 124 Madison Corporation- a real estate development, management, holding and leasing company headquartered in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mr. Perry also oversees a family run Foundation, the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation. He has served on Boards of Fifth Third Bank Indiana, Indiana State University Foundation, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra and Country Club of Terre Haute. He has served as President of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Terre Haute and United Way of Indiana. Mr. Perry received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from his alma mater Indiana State University in 2015. He is married to Alice Anne Schmidt Perry, a Purdue graduate and they have 3 children Julie (Heck), Jeffrey, and Jennifer (Norris).The Perry family reside in Terre Haute, Indiana and Windermere, FL

Keith Perry PhD, Class of 1956 Keith Perry was active in HI Y, science club, FFA, and served as a class officer at CPHS. He competed in varsity football, basketball, and track. He attended Indiana State Teachers College where he majored in biology and health science education. After graduation in 1960 he taught biology at Lowell High School and coached football, basketball, and baseball. In 1963, he was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to Kansas State Teachers College where he obtained a Master of Science degree, with a major in biology and minor in organic and biochemistry. After obtaining his degree he returned to teaching biology at Lake Central High School where he served as Science Department chairman. While teaching, Perry did post-graduate studies in botany at the University of New Hampshire, mathematics and physics at Purdue University, Science Laboratory Techniques at DePaul University in Chicago, and biology and organic chemistry at Indiana State University. During his tenure at Lake Central High School, he served as the Science Fair Director, a Calumet Regional Science Fair Committee member, and presented numerous workshops on laboratory techniques for elementary school teachers. He was listed in the publication Leaders of American Elementary and Secondary Education. He received the Westinghouse Award of Honor for Meritorious Work with science students and was a finalist for the Indiana Outstanding Biology Teacher of the Year Award. In 1976, Perry earned a fellowship to study for his Ph.D at Indiana State University in Educational Administration. After obtaining his doctorate in 1978, Dr. Perry was employed by DeKalb County Central United School District as a building level administrator, later becoming business manager, and then superintendent of schools. Dr. Perry is a firm believer that obtaining a sound education is one of the keys to achieving a successful life. Supporting his belief, he is a regular contributor to the Indiana State University Scholarship Foundation, as well as, providing tuition scholarships to local deserving students. Dr. Perry and his family have lived in Auburn, Indiana, for over 36 years.

Dr. Joseph Kacmar, Class of 1968 Born in April 1950, he was the third of nine children. They all attended St. Mary’s grade school, graduated from Crown Point high school and completed college degrees. His father worked as a millwright at US Steel in Gary, and his mother was always there for them as a stay-at-home housewife. Dr. Kacmar grew up playing baseball, running cross-country and track, playing basketball and also freshman football. After high school, he attended DePaul University and graduated in 1972 with a degree in chemistry. Dr. Kacmar went on to medical school at Indiana University, completing an M.D. degree in 1976. Following med school, he completed a family practice residency at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and ultimately came to practice in Crown Point in 1979. He joined a practice with Dr. Horst and Dr. Carpenter and has continued in that practice since 1979. Dr Kacmar married the former Barbara Wild (also a Crown Point graduate) in 1973 while still in med school. They have two sons, both of whom are married, and they now have three grandchildren. Over the years, he has been involved in youth sports and has served on various committees at St. Anthony’s Hospital here in Crown Point. Dr. Kacmar enjoys gardening and continues to be active with tennis and golf, although he admits that he is not greatly accomplished at either.

2015 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees

William F. Carroll Ph.D, Class of 1969 “Culture”
Dr. William F. Carroll, Jr. holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Indiana University. He received his M.S. from Tulane University in New Orleans, and a BA in Chemistry and Physics from DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. He is currently Vice President, Industry Issues for Occidental Chemical Corporation in Dallas, and also Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Indiana.Bill has received Distinguished Alumni Awards from both Indiana and DePauw. He has also received numerous ACS Division and Local Section awards, including the Public Affairs Award from the Chicago Section. He holds two patents, and has over seventy publications in the fields of organic electrochemistry, polymer chemistry, combustion chemistry, incineration, plastics recycling and popular music history.He is a proud member of the Crown Point High School Class of 1969 and is married to the former Mary B. Cooke, originally from Elkhart, IN. They have three adult children, Allison, Will and Quinlan, and reside in Dallas, Texas.

James J. DePaoli, Class of 1969 “Career”
Jim is President and CEO of ACMS Group a construction, engineering, and construction safety company. He is a member of Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable Association for Iron and Steel Technology; and the Construction Advancement Foundation. Jim has been a successful businessman since he was seventeen years old. He is very active in the community. Jim is also a member of St. Mary’s Church Association, Alzheimer’s Association, Boys & Girls Club, United Way, and the Fraternal Order of Police. Jim is married to the former Nancy Bibro and has five grandsons and two granddaughters.

Susan K. McConnell Ph.D, Class of 1976 “College”
Susan received her Ph.D in Neurobiology from Harvard University and did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurobiology at Stanford School of Medicine. She is an HHMI Professor, an appointment that recognizes faculty who are making outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Susan is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. This is one of the highest scientific honors in the U.S. She joined the Dept of Biology at Stanford in 1989. In the lab she and her students study the development of cerebral cortex, focusing on the mechanisms by which newly generated neurons migrate into the proper positions and form correct and specific connection with other nerve cells. Outside of the lab, Susan is often found with a camera in hand. She is an award winning wildlife photographer.

Shelli Hall VanDenburgh, Class of 1988 “Citizenship”
Shelli is a former Indiana State Representative for District 19; she has authored and passed several pieces of important legislation for our community. These bills included on-line tax bills, state funded preschool, legislation protecting children from on-line predators and many more. In addition to serving in the Indiana General Assembly Shelli was the first Democratic and the first woman elected to the Center Township Board. Shelli was awarded the American Legion Distinguished Public Service Award in 2013 and was voted the “Influential Woman of the Year” in 2014. Shelli is a champion of women’s equality and has always been an advocate for children and education. Shelli is most proud of her children, R.J. and Baily, whom both are current students in the Crown Point Community School system. Shelli is married to Tim VanDenburgh who is also a CPHS Alumni.

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Nomination Forms and Past Members

Nomination are open please download the application.

All applications are due by December 31st, applications received after December 31st will be held until for the following year.

Click HERE to download the form.

To view past inductees to the Alumni and Teacher Hall of Fame, please click HERE


2014 Alumni Hall of Fame

Dawn R. Caldart, JD, Class of 1984 “Courage”
Ms. Caldart is the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Justice Center (MJC). The MJC utilizes volunteer attorneys to help low income unrepresented litigants navigate the court system. Dawn was selected to receive the 2014 National Award from Marquette University Law School for her work in public service. In 2010 Dawn was selected by the Wisconsin Law Journal as a Leader in the Law for demonstrating outstanding leadership, vision and legal expertise in Wisconsin’s law community. Ms. Caldart is a graduate of Marquette University Law School (J.D.2001) and Purdue University (B.S. 1988) and has a long history of serving the under served. She is a former partner of First, Albrecht & Blondis, where she represented plaintiffs in the areas of employment law and civil rights. She is also a Former Director of Legal Services at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, where she targeted HIV and AIDS related discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy. Dawn lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Tom, and her daughters, Alemitu and Selame.

Merit D. (Erickson) Lemke, M.D. Class of 1984 “Citizenship”
Merit is a successful and well respected physician practicing in her hometown community of Crown Point. Merit graduated from Crown Point High School as the Salutatorian along with being a member and co-captain of the Lady Bulldog girls basketball 1984 state championship team along with being named to the academic all-state team. Merit went on to graduate with honors with a B.S. in Chemistry from Valparaiso University followed by attending Indiana University School of Medicine. In 1992 she graduated from IU School of Medicine with High Distinction.  She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency at Indiana University Medical Center in 1996. She is a member of the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologist along with obtaining the honor of being part of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical Honor Society. She has received awards such as the Romberg Award for “Excellence in Teaching”, Dr. E.B. Rinker academic achievement award, and Dr. Margaret Hatfield Award for academic achievement. Merit has been married for 21 years with 3 beautiful children. She volunteers her time and supports the Westminster Presbyterian church, Northwest Indiana Down Syndrome Association, and the Munster Band Backers.

Terry Pettit, Class of 1964 “COLLEGE”
After Terry graduated from Crown Point High School he attended Manchester College in Indiana. He attended graduate school in Theology and worked as a reporter for the Church of the Brethren before teaching English at Louisburg College in Louisburgh, North Carolina. Terry Pettit then went to work at Nebraska University as the women’s volleyball coach where he coached from 1977-1999 helping to build the Nebraska Cornhuskers volleyball program into a national power. Terry received the Big 8/Big 12 Coach of the year distinction in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1994 and the AVCCA National Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1994.

Dan Plesac, Class of 1980 “Culture”
Dan was recruited by major league baseball right out of high school. He opted to proceed to college. After college Dan went on to be a major league baseball pitcher by proving himself with a mid 90 mph fastball and nasty slider. His pitching career in the major leagues spanned from 1986-2003. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Philadelphia Phillies. Plesac worked as a news telecaster for Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, co hosting as a highlighter for the Chicago Cubs and pre and post game shows. He is also a horse trainer. Currently he is a sportscaster on Thursday Night Baseball and Quick Pitch.
Dan is married to Leslie and they have two children, Natalie and Madeline.

Robert “Bob” Rees, Class of 1959 “CAREER” Bob began his childhood in Crown Point and has continued into adulthood. Bob is a 1959 graduate of CPHS. He served in the United States Navy from 1959 to 1962. Bob taught at both Taft Junior High and Crown Point High Schools where he coached and officiated gymnastics, football, and wrestling. He is currently a State Farm Insurance Agent. Bob has served on the Crown Point Planning Commission and as a board member of Crown Point School District. He is currently the President of the Holding Corporation of Crown Point. Bob has always given of himself to the children and community of Crown Point.

Gina Velasco, Class of 1994 “Creativity”
Gina was in the gifted and talented program and participated in the Olympics of the Mind competitions in grades 6-8. Gina played wind instrument along with the clarinet. In high school she was in the marching band and was drum major her junior and senior years in high school. Gina served as Homecoming Queen, a member of the National honor Society and loved school and her four years at CPHS. She attributes her positive experiences in school to her decision to teach. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from Notre Dame. Gina has taught in Texas, Oregon and then decided to adventure to a private Guatemalan school that offered the U.S. diploma to students. Then she and her husband moved on to Costa Rica and the American school that served the embassies and ex-pat community near the capital. Their opportunities for travel took them to all of the Central American countries, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela. For the past 18 months they have been teaching at an American school in Casablanca, Morocco. Their proximity to Europe enables them to travel to Spain, Istanbul, Portugal, Croatia, Greece, Italy and France.