Nine more graduates of Lockport High School have been named “Distinguished Alumni” by the LHS Foundation.
The 11th annual recognition ceremony for honorees will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at the high school auditorium. A reception precedes the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in the art gallery and foyer. All community members are welcome.
The 2017 honorees are listed here.
Anthony Caridi, class of 1980, is recognized as the state of West Virginias most popular sports voice.As the play-by-play announcer of the West Virginia University Mountaineers, he has described the action of some of the schools greatest athletic accomplishments including victories in the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls, along with an NCAA Final Four appearance.
A multiple winner of the West Virginia Sportscaster of the Year award, Caridi has hosted his own nightly statewide sports talk show on the Metro News Radio Network since 1986.
As a founding member of Emmy Award-winning Pikewood Creative, Caridi is responsible for generating new business development, fostering client relationships and directing the Pikewood team in its creative trajectory.
Caridi was raised in his familys grocery business in Lockport. He attended Syracuse University and graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication with a degree in broadcast journalism.
This past December, he released his first childrens book, Where, Oh Where, Oh Where Could we Go? which takes readers on a whimsical trek around West Virginia.
Tony and his wife Joan have three children: Michael, who has a degree in finance and works in Morgantown, and twins Andrew and Matthew, who just finished their freshman year at WVU.
Mary E. Poole Dale
The late Mary Elizabeth (Bette) Poole Dale, class of 1935, was a pioneer in the elder care field and her legacy lives on through the local not-for-profit Dale Association.
Dale was an early advocate for the elderly. She created the first senior center in the United States that provided direct mental health services for adults. Lockport Senior Centre became a national model of the multi-purpose senior center.Dale was an acclaimed speaker at conferences and seminarswell beyond the limits of New York state.In 1995, Lockport Senior Centre was renamed in her honor.
Dale died in 2007.
Jack J. Florio Jr.
Jack J. Florio Jr., class of 1979, and his wife Rebecca are the owners of Micro Graphics, a printing and sign company on Main Street. Florio founded the business in 1989, while he was attending college in Florida, studying computer engineering and working in the college computer lab.
Florio paid close attention to the graphic design classes taught in the lab and mastered the curriculum quickly. The college soon hired him as a technical adviser, to help instruct computer graphics. Seeing the industry’s potential, Florio invested in a Xerox copier and a laser printer and landed clients includingShands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida and Daytona International Speedway.
Upon his return to Western New York, Florio went to work for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, developing the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Registry and the AIDS Database Registry and utilizing his skills for various departments from radiology and pathology to medical illustration, marketing and the print shop. Simultaneously, he was rebuilding Micro Graphics, with which he eventually went full time.
While building up his business, it was normal for Florio to work two or three jobs at a time. He did CAD for General Motors and EDS and has worked as an auto mechanic for Texaco and Gulf Oil, a pre-press and web press operator for the Union-Sun & Journal, a software instructor for DuPont Paint, and a manager of CopyMax and the old Friendly’s restaurant in Lockport.
Florio and his wife have been the sole organizers of the Mother’s Day Breast Cancer Canal Walk for over 20 years. The walk has raised over $500,000 for cancer support. Florio also partners with the Salvation Army every year to send oversized Christmas cards to U.S. troops overseas.
The Florios’ son Michael works in the computer animation field in New York City.
Ronald Franco, class of 1982, met his future wife and fellow Distinguished Alumnus, Deborah Qualiana, while attending track practice as an eighth grader.He graduated as senior class president, then attended the Air Force Academy and Syracuse University, and earned a degree in aerospace engineering.
A graduate of Officer Training School, Franco flew supersonic jets during his year at undergraduate pilot training and qualified for Fighter-Attack-Reconnaissance assignment. He returned to Western New York to serve with the Niagara Falls-based 328th Tactical Airlift Squadron and flew: combat missions to liberate Kuwait during Desert Storm and in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Iraqi Freedom; humanitarian aid flights to Somalia and the Kurds; UN support missions in Bosnia and Serbia; international cooperation missions in Egypt and Japan; and Special Forces support in Central and South America. He was awarded the USAF Air Medal and Aerial Achievement Medal.
In 1999, Franco was hired by American Airlines. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Checkride Award and recently upgraded to Captain on the Airbus 321 aircraft. He has over 8,000 hours of flight time in jet aircraft.
Last year, Francospent two months at NASAs Johnston Space Center in Houston taking part in the Human Exploration Research Analog. He and three other men completed a simulated deep-space mission to help facilitate the national space program’s goal of sending a manned mission to Mars.
Franco is a past member for the Lockport Common Council, representing the 2nd Ward. Currently he serves on the board of directors of Challenger Learning Center and is a member of the Explorers Club in Manhattan.
Franco has completed two marathons was a member of the winning team in the Lockport 100 Mile Relay Race, which commemorated the 1967 world record. He also has volunteered with the disabled veterans sled hockey team.
Julie Zenger Hain
Julie Zenger Hain, class of 1980, is an expert in the field of genetics.
She’s a graduate of St. Lawrence University, where she earned a degree in biology and psychology and was inducted in Phi Beta Kappa. Subsequently, she earned a Ph.D. in human genetics and a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University. Her post-doctoral work in medical genetics and cytogenetics was completed at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and she achieved board certification from the American Board of Medical Genetics. From there she developed the genetics program at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan, which provides laboratory and clinical genetic services to the Oakwood Health System, now Beaumont Health.
Since her career at Oakwood, Zenger Hain has worked to educate physicians, patients and the public regarding the power of genetics in health care. She has been an active participant with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services genetic and genomic initiatives, volunteering her time to assist the development and implementation of public policy aimed at enhancing genetic services to all Michigan residents.
Zenger Hain is co-chair of the Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance, a collaborative network of genetics professionals, patient advocates, oncology experts, health plan employees, state and local public health workers and others with an interest in cancer genomics. She has collaborated on multiple state and community grants aimed at delivering genetic services to underserved populations and served on the Wayne State Institutional Review Board to foster safe research practices for human study participants.
She is also a mentor for the Womens Institute for National Global Success, which provides guidance to young women seeking to enter careers in the sciences.
Zenger Hainand her husband, Jon, have a son and daughter. They currently reside in Troy, Michigan.
Cindi McEachon, class of 2000,defied the odds as a teenage mother. After giving birth to her daughter, Emilee, in her sophomore year, she stayed in school and earned her diploma, then went on to complete post graduate studies. Today she’s a volunteer youth mentor with numerous organizations and serves as the executive director of Peaceprints of WNY.
After high school, McEachon earned an associate’s degree from Niagara County Community College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo and a Master of Business and Science degree from Medaille College.
According to her nominator, McEachon is passionate and often bull-headed; when she sets her mind to something, she never looks back. When she was 17, she moved out on her own and balanced full-time work, school and parenting, motivated by the “teen parent” stigma that she carried.
McEachon was appointed director of Peaceprints in 2014. Peaceprints works with incarcerated men, youths and their families. McEachon hopes to raise awareness about the U.S. epidemic of mass incarceration and put a stop to “school-to-prison pipeline” in Buffalo.
Currently, McEachon is the executive vice president of the Junior League of Buffalo and board secretary of Homespace Corporation and For Our Daughters Inc. She’s an active member of Women on the Rise and the Erie County Reentry Task Force, a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run Buffalo, a teen mentor for Homespace Corporation and coordinator of the annual Christmas cookie drive for Buffalo City Mission. She has been a Kenan Center youth soccer coach, a Brownie troop leader and a life coach mentor; and enjoys running marathons and half marathons.
McEachon has two daughters, Emilee, 19, and Lily, 12. She and Christopher Summers will be married on Sept. 9.
James Sansone, class of 1960, is a local attorney, accomplished musician and tireless civic booster.
Sansone earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from SUNY at Buffalo in 1964, then went to Buffalo Law School where he received a Bachelor of Laws degree and, in 1968, a Juris Doctorate. He has been a practicing attorney ever since; and has been a confidential law clerk to the Niagara County and Surrogates Court judges, an administrative law judge for New York State. Currently he’s the Newfane town attorney and town prosecutor, mortgage counsel to Cornerstone Community FCU and pro bono counsel to Olcott Volunteer Fire Company and EquiStar Therapeutic Riding in Newfane.
Sansone, an accomplished trumpet player, has played professionally since he was 12 years old. He has been a volunteer bugler for American Legion and VFW since 1953, playing Taps on Veterans Day and Memorial Day and at servicemen’s funerals. He’s a teacher and mentor to young trumpet players and has played in many high school musicals throughout Western New York. Every year, with his trumpet, he leads the (July 4) Patriots Day children’s parade in Olcott. He organizes the summertime Olcott Beach Gazebo Concert Series and volunteers his music services for an array of charitable organizations including Olcott Beach Carousel Park, Olcott Lions Club,Batavia School for the Blindand Lawyers for the Arts.
Sansone has been a member of the Newfane Tourism Board since 2003. He’s a member of Olcott Lions Club,a life member of Local 97-106 of the musicians’ union,a past Eucharistic Minister for St. Josephs church in Lockport and Niagara USA Chamber’s 2012 Small Business Person of the Year.
Jack B. Walters
Jack B. Walters, class of 1946, is an engineer, retired Iowa state public servant and the author of four books.
Waltersenlisted in the Army Air Corps when he turned 18, on July 30, 1946, and served in Japan for three years. He was the lead enlisted officer of a statistical control unit where he advanced to the rank of staff sergeant. Using the G.I. Bill, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Buffalo.
Walters married fellow LHS graduate Carolyn Highhouse in 1954 and began a lengthy career with Firestone. He was a staff engineer in Akron, Ohio, a senior engineer in Pottstown, Pa., a plant engineer in Hamilton, Ontario, and a plant manager in Calgary, Alberta, Akron, Ohio, and Firestone’s largest tire factory in Des Moines, Iowa. The Walters had three children, Amy, Andy and Steve, who died in a plane accident in 1997.
Walters became director of general services for the state of Iowa in 1983, upon appointment by Gov. Terry Branstad. Hismost notable efforts included starting exterior restoration of the Capitol building and design and construction of the $25 million Historical and Library Building. He served in the post for eight years, until his wife died from cancer.
Walters retired to Tucson, Arizona, where he discoveredthe Southern Arizona Hiking Club. The goal of members is to climb to the top of 315 area mountains and Walters did it in five years. Afterward, he became a guide and helped others in their quest. Later, the club set a 400-peak goal; and with encouragement from his friend Roxanna Baker, he accomplished the new goal in 2008, at age 79. Walters still hikes today.
Copies of Walters’ four published books are available at Lockport Public Library.
Edward C. Weeks
The late Edward C. Weeks, class of 1953, was an innovator in the adult care field in New York state.
At LSHS, Weeks played football and was a member of the swim team. He went on to the University of Buffalo, where he earned a degree in physical therapy, andmarried Margaret Reddington in 1958. (They had four children, Sean, Patricia, Bridge and Mark. Margaret Weeks died in 1979.)
Weeks did a tour of duty with the Army from 1958 to 1960, serving as a physical therapistat the 98th General Hospital in Neubrucke, Germany.After his discharge, he worked as a physical therapist at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, St. Josephs Hospital in Cheektowaga and Niagara Lutheran Home, where he established a physical therapy department. Impressed by his leadership skills, home management persuaded him to move into an administrative role.
After three years at Niagara Lutheran, Weeks was appointed administrator of Carlton House Nursing Home; and when that facility was sold to becomepart of what is now Roswell Park Cancer Institute, he became the administrator of Newfane Health Care Facility. In 1976, Weeks took over as administrator of Episcopal Church Home, where he rose to president and chief executive officer.
As an administrator, Weeks was always looking for better ways to care for elderly with illness and dementia. He developed many “firsts” in Western New York and New York state: respite care, long-term home health care, HIV/AIDS home care, restraint-free nursing home care, adult day health care, inter-generational child care and, ultimately, the first Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in the state.
Weeks lobbied for state legislation to permit operation of life-care communities, which resulted in him developing Canterbury Woods in Amherst. The project introduced the area to continuing care, which offers a range of options from independent living to skilled nursing, all on one campus.
Weeks married Alana Parisi in 1997 and added five stepchildren to his family: Jason, Cale, Aron, Matthew and Ryan. His hobbies included golfing and sailing. He died in 2015.
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LHS Foundation names 9 more Distinguished Alumni – Lockport Union-Sun & Journal