Five inductees into the Plum High School Distinguished Alumni Class of 2019 will be honored at a banquet at Oakmont Country Club late this month.
They include a biology instructor, a leader in the hospitality industry, a veterinarian, a glass sculptor and one of Pittsburgh’s first paramedics.
“We’re excited about this class,” alumni committee President Margie Evans said. “It represents quite a unique group of talent and abilities. Our goal is always to present a group of inductees who will serve as role models for our students and our community.”
Tickets are still available for the event April 28 at the country club at 1233 Hulton Road.
Honorees will tour the high school the next day and sit in on some classes with students.
The visit coincides with the National Honor Society induction of its new class and officers.
The alumni will receive proclamations from state Sen. James Brewster’s office that evening.
This marks the 11th year for the distinguished alumni program started by retired Plum teacher Bob Ford, who pushed to honor successful graduates.
“We’re happy that we’re able to continue to our 11th year and have a lot of worthy candidates,” Evans said.
Last year’s class included Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering K-12 STEM outreach manager Deborah Lange, Strategos CEO Gary Getz, longtime social services administrator Keith Kondrich, central Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeon Dr. Matthew Kelly and retired senior vice president of Elsevior Linda Belfus.
This year’s inductees include:
• Bob Farrow, a 1974 graduate and member of Pittsburgh Paramedics’ inaugural class, started a life of community service as a Unity Volunteer Fire Department junior firefighter. He was the city’s hazardous material team chief for many years moved through the ranks of every position in its EMS department. Farrow managed a multi-million dollar budget and led a force of 170 paramedics, 18 ambulances, two rescue trucks and two river rescue boats. He retired last year as Pittsburgh’s EMS chief.
• Edward Kachurik, a 1975 Plum alumnus, has worked with hot glass for more than 40 years. His exclusive sculptures and exhibition work spans museums and galleries throughout the country and can be found in the homes and office of distinguished leaders throughout the world. He has been commissioned to create awards sculptures for Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, the Pittsburgh International Airport, Trib Total Media, as well as members of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
• 1985 graduate Bart Berkey authored the book “Most People Don’t, (And Why You Should).” It is about real life stories designed to encourage others to act upon professional and personal improvement. Berkey was a recruiter for Ritz-Carlton for years, selecting the best of the best to lead part of a domestic global sales team for Marriott International Luxury Brands. He’s also named one of the top 25 most extraordinary minds in sales and marketing.
• Andrea Redinger, a Greensburg Salem School District biology teacher and founder of the Pennsylvania Science Curriculum Council, graduated from Plum in 1997. She’s helped Greensburg Salem students develop scientific knowledge for at least 16 years. Her passion and teaching prowess has earned her multiple awards. She was recently recognized as a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest honor to be bestowed by the federal government for science teaching.
• Dr. Andrea Miller grew up in Plum, where she garnered a love of helping animals. The 1999 graduate worked at a local veterinarian hospital and walked dogs at nearby shelters while in school. She went on to study at Ohio State University’s veterinary school, where she worked in a lab exploring future drug options for humans. She worked in small animal hospitals after college and opened her own, Liberty Pet Hospital, in May 2015. Her main areas of interest are animal dentistry, surgery and behavior.