Wauseon High School presented its fifth academic hall of fame class to the student body and family and friends at the school’s auditorium recently.
The hall of fame is comprised of three components: Hall 0f Fame (Top 5% of graduating class), Distinguished Alumni and Legends in Education. The event happens every other spring. So the top percent graduating seniors were honored from the classes of 2014 and 2015. They are: Class of 2014: Aric Gurzynski, Courtney Kuney, Kevin Moden, Justin Mourguet, Marin Schaffner, Mary Katherine Spieles, Ty Suntken, and Chris Yackee. Class of 2015 included: Jesse Sanders, Andrew Kohls, Jacob Newlove, Collin Stump, Zac Robinson, Trevor Dominique, Ellie Hayati, Bailey Hardy, Taylor Vernot, and Brooke Hardy.
The first distinguished alumni honored was Paul A. Reichert (Class of 1946). Paul attended Defiance College where he received a B.S. in education in Education and a B.A. in 1950. Mr, Reichert helped provide university programs and facilities at a “reasonable” cost to thousands of people of Ashtabula area. Reichert was appointed Assistant Director of Kent State Academic Center, later named Director and then, Dean, holding that position for 23 years. He retired in 1985. Still, Paul served as Interim Dean of the Trumbull Campus in Warren, Ohio into the 1990’s. He attained the rank of Associate Professor in the College of Education.
Richard D. Schwab (Class of 1949). Mr. Schwab has been a very successful educator in accounting and business law for 35 years. His B.A. degree was attained at Capital University. From there he went on to Ohio State University and to the College of William and Mary for his M.A. in law and taxation. Mr. Schwab continued graduate work in economics, finance and accounting. He crowned this with auditing, real estate and consumer law at the University of Florida. Just a few of the honors that came to him were Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Capital University, Professors’ Hall of Fame, Capital University in 2008 (first living inductee), President’s Cup Award, 1990 for dedicated and meritorious services to the accounting profession.
Charles Provost (Class of 1971). Mr Provost graduated from Purdue-Krannet School BSCE Civil Engineering in 1975. From there he received a MSIA from the school in 1977. He founded and served as President of Provost Construction, Inc. 1987-2002. Since 2002 Mr. Provost has been the manager/owner of Provost Contracting Co. and Provost Construction. Inc. in Indianapolis. The focus of Charles’ life’s work was design and construction of supersonic wind tunnels, test facilities for engines and equipment for space launch complex. Between 1985 and 2002 Mr. Provost distinguished himself as: Project Manager of the turbine engine used to develop the Osprey aircraft engine. Modified NASA & Boeing Supersonic wind tunnels for Aerodynamics research. Designed and manufactured high pressure gas (6,000 PSI) Rocket Engines and furnished equipment for Launch Complex #41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Robert J. Distler, Jr. (Class of 1978) Mr. Distler is a degreed Chemical Engineer. He graduated from Notre Dame University in 1982. Mr. Distler has lived in Ohio, Connecticut, California and currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a part of his job, he has visited 10 countries and has flown around the world three times. One of Mr. Distler’s jobs was being a part of a team that built a manufacturing facility in Goa, India. He spent four months overseeing that construction and start-up. Mr. Distler’s greatest achievement has been working with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the city of Marion, Indiana. He led the effort to transform a former manufacturing field site a municipal waterpark. Begun as a three year effort, it has grown. Now, eight years later, this park includes waterslides, a lazy river raft ride, and wave pool. Mr. Distler felt great success in working with the state and local officials and clean-up contractors to change a field into a park.
Shelby Eicker (Class of 1978). At the end of his senior year at Wauseon High School, Mr. Eicher received the “John Phillip Sousa award” as the top musician in the school. Even while growing up, Shelby played square dance music with his mom, dad, and grandmother in a band called “The Fulton County Sand Sifters”. Mr. Eicher’s mother still lives in the area and has great pride in all of Shelby’s achievements. Mr. Eicher played several instruments. By the time he began his career, Mr. Eicher played the fiddle, viola, chin-cello, mandola, mandolin, mando-cello, alto guitar, and of course, the guitar. Mr Eicher became an artist, supporting artist, producer, band leader, educator, mentor, writer and composer. Mr. Eicher became a part of every phase of music. In 2006, Mr. Eicher was an inductee into the Western Swing Music Society of Kansas. Then in 2012, he was inducted into the Swing Music Society of the Southwest. As a member of Roy Clark’s band for 15 years, Mr. Eicher recorded five albums with Roy. Mr. Eicher was the leader of the Tulsa Playboys band as well. He appeared numerous times on the Tonight Show and Hee Haw. He has also had multiple performances with the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase, and Merv Griffin. Mr. Eicher was musical director of Honky Tonk Angels. He also did the Playstation game soundtrack for Dukes of Hazzard, just to name some of his successes. Mr. Eicher still found time to serve on the Education Committee for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. This efforts to “pass it on” and to do outreach to others is one of his distinguished characteristics.
Dr. Patrick (Bill) Frank (Class of 1986). After his high school graduation Dr. Frank went on to Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, Illinois for one year and returned to the University of Toledo for his Bachelors of Science degree (1994). In 2010, he attended New York Chiropractic College. Besides becoming a Chiropractor, Dr. Frank became an Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Department-Gross Anatomy as well as a Assistant Professor in the Neuroscience Department at UT. Dr. Frank focuses on personal achievement in being the principal investigator in research publication for the Journal of Clinical Anatomy (1996) in which Dr. Frank contributed: “The Communicating Branch of the Lateral Plantar Nerve,” a descriptive anatomic study. In addition, Dr. Frank published “Basic and Clinical Anatomy of the Spine, Spinal Cord and ANS” by Cramer & Darby (chapters 3,4,6,7,13) as well as many abstracts. This research expanded Dr. Frank’s own knowledge and for all in his profession. Dr. Frank believes in “giving back” and improving the entire community. He was a founding member and Board President of “Sara’s Garden” to present. An Active participant and chair for Relay for Life, an active supporter of the American Red Cross, Advisory for Big Brothers-Big Sisters Unit and Wauseon Homecoming Committee member for three years.
Legends of Education was the third and final area with some familiar names being enshrined.
James P. George (WHS Band Director 1965-1990) After graduating from WHS in 1956, Mr. George attended Bowling Green State University, where he held the position of principal euphonium and soloist with the symphonic band. Upon graduation from BGSU in 1960, with a degree in music education, Mr. George was recognized as the outstanding senior member of the band. Jim then served as band and chorus director in Grand Rapids, Ohio Schools for three years. New London, Ohio Schools for one year, and Indians Lake Local Schools for one year. Mr. George then began his position as band director for Wauseon Schools in 1965, where he remained until 1990. Mr. George had many accomplishments during his years at Wauseon. Mr. George earned a Masters of Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1966, attending classes there for several summers. At Wauseon, he added the jazz/rock ensemble to the music program, added the flag corp. to the marching band, and established the marching band camp in Lake Wawasee in Indiana. Mr. George and choral director, Paul Meeker, established the first Spring Arts Festival, which in addition to the music groups, included displays of student projects from the art, home economics, and industrial arts departments. He also took the WHS band on their first trip to Disney World, where they performed in a parade and field competition. Mr. George’s community activities at Wauseon included serving as choir director at First Christian Church, resurrecting the Wauseon Community Band, and serving as president of the Wauseon Kiwanis Club. He also served in the Ohio Music Education Association as district president and Northwest Ohio regional choir.
Steve Schneider (Mathematics Teacher 1969-2014) Upon graduation from WHS in 1965, Mr. Schneider attended Bowling Green State University, graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in math and education. He began teaching math at Wauseon High School in the fall of 1969 and continued teaching there for 45 years, retiring in 2014. While teaching, Mr. Schneider earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from BGSU in 1974. Mr. Schneider also coached wrestling for 34 years, football for 25 years, and baseball for two years. In 2007, he was honored with the Franklin B. Walter Teacher of the Year Award, and in 2013 he was recognized by the Wauseon Chamber of Commerce as their Educator of the Year. As a wrestling coach he was honored four times as the Northwest Ohio Coach of the Year, was the Division II Ohio Coach of the Year in 2000, and was honored to be the coach of the 1984 State Runner-Up Wrestling Team, the highest finish in school history. When Mr. Schneider retired from coaching wrestling, his overall record was 287-146-5, the third highest all-time record in Ohio at the time.
Neil D. Weber (Teacher and Superintendent 1963-1999) Mr. Weber graduated from Pettisville High School in 1956. He then attended Bowling Green State University and graduated in 1962. Mr. Weber then taught at Berlin Heights Local Schools before being hired by Wauseon Schools in 1963. Mr. Weber taught chemistry, physics, and math at WHS, coached basketball and golf, and served as the junior class advisor. While teaching, he received a grant from the National Science Foundation to attend Brown University for a year and received a Master’s of Arts in Teaching (Chemistry). When Mr. Weber returned to WHS, he established an Advanced Chemistry course. Mr. Weber enjoyed the interaction with his students very much during his teaching years. While teaching, Mr. Weber also attended the University of Toledo for his administrative courses. He then served as the high school assistant principal, assistant superintendent, and then served as superintendent from 1984-1999. Mr. Weber especially enjoyed the process of building the K-2 school. Mr. Weber commented that he felt honored and proud to serve Wauseon School for 35 years. After retiring from Wauseon, Mr. Weber served as interim superintendent in Bryan City Schools and as high school principal and then superintendent for Swanton Local Schools.