Following graduation, many high school classmates lose touch. It’s common to wonder whatever happened to that guy who sat next to you in study hall, or that girl who had a locker next to yours.
But a few local graduates are pretty easy to find. They’ve gone on to fame or fortune – or both – in a variety of ways. From Playmates to politicians, they’ve been in the public eye. We’ve compiled a list of some of the people you could’ve sat next to in an Evansville high school, and who probably should have been voted “most likely to succeed.”
William Henry Harrison High School
Calbert Cheaney (1989) – NCAA men’s basketball player of the year at Indiana University, NBA player
Randall Shepard (1965) – Chief Justice of the Indiana State Supreme Court
Amanda Herrmann (1998) – Playboy Magazine’s Miss May 2008
Brad Ellsworth (1976) – Former Vanderburgh County Sheriff and U.S. Representative from Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District
Walter McCarty (1992) – Former NBA player with the Knicks, Celtics, Suns, and Clippers, and currently an assistant coach with the Celtics.
Steven Sater (1972) – Poet, playwright, lyricist, television writer, and screenwriter. Two-time Tony Award winner.
Paula Leggett Chase (1979) – Television actress, best known for roles on “30 Rock” and “The Sound of Music Live!”
Jami Stallings (2004) – Miss Indiana 2007
Benjamin Bosse High School
Arad McCutchan (1930) – Hall of Fame basketball coach at Evansville College
Pete Fox (1927) – Major League Baseball player from 1933 to 1945
Roy Halston Frowick (1950) – 1970s American fashion designer known as Halston
Ruth Siems (1949) – Creator of Stove Top Stuffing
Michael Michele Williams (1985) – Actress, best known for role on TV show “E.R.”
F.J. Reitz High School
Don Hansen (1965) – NFL linebacker for the Vikings, Falcons, Seahawks, and Packers
Matt Williams (1985) – TV producer whose shows include “The Cosby Show,” “Home Improvement,” and “Roseanne”
Central High School
Lee Hamilton (1948) – U.S. Representative from Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District
Andy Benes (1985) – Major League Baseball pitcher
Lloyd Winnecke (1978) – Mayor of Evansville
Reitz Memorial High School
Don Mattingly (1979) – Major League Baseball player and manager
Larry Stallings (1960) – Pro Bowl linebacker for the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL
Jonathan Weinzapfel (1984) – Former Mayor of Evansville
North High School
Dave Schellhase (1963) – NBA basketball player, NCAA basketball coach
Bob Ford (1968) – ABA basketball player, Purdue basketball broadcaster
Jeff Overton (2001) – PGA golfer
Mater Dei High School
Suzanne Crouch (1970) – Indiana State Auditor
Castle High School
Jamey Carroll – (1992) Major League Baseball player
Michael Rosenbaum – (1991) Television and movie actor and director
Bryce Hunt (2000) – Olympic swimmer
Evansville Day School
Molly Newman (1972) – Tony Award nominee in 1985
William Snyder (1977) – Four time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer
Most of us have at least a few favorite memories from high school. Maybe it was a big game or a first date. Maybe it was a favorite teacher. Maybe it was that time your buddy Ferris got you to skip school and you drove your dad’s car to Chicago for a day of shenanigans. Those were good times.
So, we asked you to send us some of your favorite high school memories. Too many of you responded for us to list them all here, but we chose a few of them. We’re almost longing to be teenagers again.
Julie Schutte Zuber — Mater Dei High School, 1979. My best memory is marching on the football field as a pompom girl.
Molly Blackford Mackey — Castle High School, 1997. First and only (as far as a I know) class to go undefeated through four years of Powder Puff Football during homecoming week. We were kind of a big deal.
Marilyn Edgar Wurtz — Bosse High School, 1949. Great memory: Overnight choir trip to St. Louis with choir director Charles Horn (and chaperones) to see Risë Stevens in a performance of “Carmen.” We also visited the Botanic Gardens and got to ride the great wooden roller coaster! Fabulous time!
Tim Sloat — Bosse High School, 1980. Speech class with Mr. (Ray) Begarly. Thanks to him, public speaking is easy for me. He also was the teacher for those interested in being a radio personality. Several of his students have had successful radio careers because of him, including hall of famer Dale Carter.
Chad Hayden— Boonville High School, 1994. My favorite memory was being able to be a part of the Theater Department and see some amazing performances come off that stage. Judy McNeely (now retired) was an awesome and amazing instructor, mentor, and teacher of that program.
Bobbie JoAnn Hudson — Central High School, 1972. (We were) the first class to graduate from the “new” Central on First Avenue. I have many fond memories of my senior year at Central — classes, pep assemblies, and the like — but I think the one that sticks out in my mind is a whole group of us piling into a friend’s car — sitting on each other’s laps in fact — and racing over to one of the eateries on Diamond Avenue for lunch. Dangerous yes, but loads of fun!
Cathy Dyson — North Posey High School, 1989. My favorite memories of high school were the times spent at the football and basketball games and the high school dances that followed all the home games. The friendships made there and the music of the ‘80s were CLASSIC! Great times in a small town are what living in Indiana is all about!
Susan Weber Montgomery — Reitz High School, 1978. I would have to say my fondest memories of high school have to be the school spirit that we shared. Every week the Pep Club sold a button or ribbon for the upcoming game. For a quarter you could show your school spirit by wearing it to the game. I still have them, it’s quite a collection.
Tina Sizemore — North High School, 1970. Spanish class with Mr. Deig, pep club, and cruising in my friend’s GTO convertible!
“Never, Ever Give Up”
When Diana Nyad made her fifth attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys in 2013, nothing was left to chance. From the special suit she wore to protect against jellyfish stings to the support boat that helped guide the way, every detail was meticulously planned.
Her Aug. 15 speech at the Mid-America Institute on Aging, hosted by the University of Southern Indiana along with SWIRCA & More, won’t involve nearly as much planning.
“I’ve never planned any talk,” says Nyad, who has accepted public speaking invitations for 35 years. “I’ve never written down a word of what I’m going to say. There are lots of things I try to do to connect with the audience from a stage, and I’ve had a good response all these years, telling inspirational stories and entertaining stories.”
In 1978, at the age of 28, Nyad attempted to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys. After 76 miles in rough seas, she had to stop. It was 33 years later, in 2011, when Nyad tried again. She came up short, but kept trying and on her fourth attempt after turning 60, she made it, on Sept. 2, 2013. She swam the 110.86 miles without a shark cage, making her the first confirmed person to have done so.
“The message that I carried with me, and that I lived out loud and my team lived out loud, was ‘Never, ever give up,’” says Nyad. “Honestly, I am more proud of the fact that we didn’t give up than I am at actually having made it.”
The experience she says was very different from her distance swims of the 1970s, but not just because of physical reasons.
“I used to be much more egocentric,” says Nyad. “Back then, it had more to do with records and being ‘the one’ being recognized. This time around, it had nothing to do with that. It was about being in a state of awe about this planet we live on, and the feeling of pride and gratitude of doing something so epic and outrageous.”
Nyad says some people begin to feel marginalized in their professional and personal lives as they age, making it that much more important not to give up on what makes them feel important and useful. That’s part of what drove her to her record-setting swim.
“Every human being on earth has dreams,” she says. “And they can be small or they can be large. But it is important, because tapping one’s potential makes one feel alive, makes one feel purposeful.”
The Mid-America Institute on Aging at USI will be held Aug. 14 and 15. Other speakers include: Teepa Snow, a dementia expert who will discuss the choices caregivers must make; Dr. Mimi Guarneri, founder of the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, who will talk about disease prevention; and comedic actor Breeda Miller, who will speak about finding humor as a caregiver. Nyad will speak at 3 p.m. Aug. 15.
“Hopefully, when you’re done listening to the speech you’ll leap to your feet, feel like you’ve laughed until you’ve cried, and you’ve actually cried,” says Nyad. “And you’ll want to get back to your life and live it full-tilt. It’s very organic, and whatever moves me as well.”
How Sweet It Is
“When I was in second grade, I heard about people with cancer and I just wanted to help them,” says Paige Miller.
That simplistic yet surprisingly strong motivation led to Paige’s Cupcakes for Cancer. This year Miller, 9, raised $3,650 for cancer patients at Deaconess Hospital.
“She started out digging up little seeds on the playground to grow plants to sell, to make money for people with cancer,” says Crystal Miller, Paige’s mother who works at Caze Elementary School as a kindergarten assistant. “We explained that she was actually digging up weeds and that wouldn’t work. Then she thought she was going to make makeup and we had to tell her that wasn’t going to work; there’s a lot more to that. And then she said, ‘Fine, if you’re not going to take me, I’m just going to walk the money to the hospital myself.’”
That was when Crystal and her husband, Mike, director of table games at Tropicana Evansville, knew Paige was serious. When Crystal put a status on her Facebook about how much Paige wanted to help, a friend commented, and the idea of baking cupcakes was born.
Crystal created the Paige’s Cupcakes for Cancer Facebook page and Paige, with help from her family, started baking vanilla cupcakes from scratch complete with pink, strawberry-flavored icing to sell for $20 per dozen.
“When we first started this, we thought this will just be a cute little thing and family and friends will order,” says Crystal. “We were expecting maybe 20 dozen (orders). And the first year (2012) she raised $1,200. Last year, her goal was to double that and she ended up tripling it.”
Paige’s giving spirit even has caught on at Caze Elementary School, where Paige is a fifth-grade student.
In May, teachers and staff stayed one night four hours after school to help bake cupcakes, something Crystal refers to as the “baking blitz,” meaning 50 dozen cupcakes were made in one night.
“We wanted the students’ help because they wanted to help, too, so each cupcake was $1 when they ate lunch,” adds Paige.
Those cupcake sales during lunch raised $225. Teachers also can purchase a Paige’s Cupcakes for Cancer T-shirt and wear them on the first school day in May, helping raise awareness.
The community’s awareness of Paige’s charity work also has increased. Paige received two nominations for the 2014 Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program award, which is a chance at a $10,000 scholarship.
She won the Sam Featherstone Youth Award through Leadership Evansville at the 2013 Celebration of Leadership awards, and was asked to return this year as a presenter. She was given the 2013 Pam Rausch Spirit Award from Deaconess Hospital, the T-Green Perseverance Award from the Evansville Area Council PTA, and the Indianapolis Colts honored her with the team’s 2013 Student All-Star Award, giving her $500 to help with the project this year.
At the end of May, Paige presented a large cardboard check to the Deaconess Foundation for the entire profit amount. The only thing she keeps is the cardboard check afterward and a feeling of “excited happiness.”
Paige and her family plan on continuing the cupcake charity next May.
“Every little bit helps,” says Crystal. “Even if they can’t give money, they can always do something to help someone. It doesn’t matter the age, anyone can help somebody.”
For more information about Paige’s Cupcakes for Cancer, visit its Facebook page.
Champion of Change
After 25 years in the corporate world of college athletics and broadcast media management, Evansville native Bill Hodge decided to “catch his breath” and ask himself what he really wanted to be doing. In 2009, Hodge began volunteering in conservation work and in November 2010, he started the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS) program, which became a project of The Wilderness Society in May 2011. Hodge, a North High School and University of Evansville graduate now living in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, works to recruit and inspire the next generation of wilderness stewards to ensure public lands are cared for well into the future. In 2013, the program employed 23 seasonal conservation leaders, trained more than 90 wilderness stewards and facilitated more than 8,000 volunteer hours of service across five National Forests.
In March, President Barack Obama invited Hodge to the White House and he was honored as one of 14 Champions of Change for Engaging the Next Generation of Conservation Leaders.
Evansville Living: What was it like finding out you were honored as a Champion of Change at the White House?
Bill Hodge: “I had no idea I was even nominated. When Michael Boots (acting chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality) called to identify himself and to tell me I had been nominated and selected, I, for a minute, thought it was a prank phone call, to be honest. I was completely surprised. It was a shock. He called Feb. 28 and I had to be there March 18. I asked my coworker what was on my schedule that day, and she said, ‘It doesn’t matter what’s on your schedule. You’re going to the White House now.’”
EL: How has Evansville shaped your passion for public lands and your love for nature?
BH: “My time spent on the Ohio River, down at Land Between the Lakes, and over on the Shawnee National Forest at Garden of the Gods, were all public lands I explored during my time spent in the Ohio River Valley. My parents started me camping as a young kid. We lived in Western North Carolina before moving to Evansville and we camped in the Pisgah National Forest and I was hooked. Public lands are where I would spend any of my time away from the corporate world. I didn’t hate what I was doing. I quite loved working in marketing and advertising, and all those skills I used then, I now use today. I use my marketing experience to get more young people involved in enjoying and serving public lands in general, and federally designated wilderness in particular.”
EL: What are immediate and long-term benefits in the work you do?
BH: “We are keeping trails open and accessible while connecting a younger and more diverse generation to the idea of protected public lands. People won’t protect a place they don’t know about, and they won’t know about a place with out experiencing it. We are rebuilding trails so people can get out there and enjoy it. The long-term benefit is building a new generation and watching the transformation. There is this phenomenon of a whole generation that has missed growing up in the outdoors, and we are working hard to change that.”
For more information about Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, call 423-261-2543 or visit trailcrews.org.
Sculpture Takes Flight
Bob Zasadny is a sculpture artist who uses a unique mix of fiberglass and recycled materials to create abstract sculptures. In his early 20s, Zasadny worked for a fiberglass fabricating shop in his native city of Chicago as a production worker. Once he got to know the material and how to apply it, he decided to follow his passion of art.
Zasadny’s art eventually led him to the Princeton, Indiana, area 26 years ago. Inspired by shapes in nature, he submitted an idea to Keep Evansville Beautiful in 2011 for a sculpture at the Evansville Airport Gateway Welcome Monument.
“I read about it right toward the very end of the call, found out the requirements, put together a small model, and that was accepted as one of the contenders for the final selection of six entries,” says Zasadny. “Then they had a process of elimination ultimately down to two (contenders), and I was fortunate to be chosen (on March 24).”
The sculpture titled “Aerial Beauty” will be made of Styrofoam, a steel support framework, and fiberglass, and will soon grace the Welcome Monument wall at the Evansville Airport Gateway. The shape of the wings on the abstract sculpture are similar to propellers of an LST or of a P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, and the wing curves recall the bend in the Ohio River. They also relate to pods on the native Honey Locust tree. The body of the sculpture is similar to the shape of an American Indian knife-like tool made from deer antler or a piece of flint. The design also was influenced by the logos of the two airlines that use the airport, Delta, and American Eagle.
“And it relates to man’s early dreams of flying and flight, which seems to be the most appropriate theme for an airport,” says Zasadny.
Entirely funded by private contributions, Keep Evansville Beautiful has received several grants from organizations but still needs a substantial amount of money from additional resources. When the entire amount is raised, a contract is expected to be awarded to Zasadny’s choice of manufacturer Weber Group, Inc., in Sellersburg, Indiana, to fabricate, transport, and install the finished sculpture.
“This is the culmination of years of preparation for this moment because every job that I’ve had and every path that I’ve taken have all led to this,” reflects Zasadny. “I have to thank God for giving me the health and wisdom to create art that is inspired by all the beautiful and intricate shapes He has created and giving me the opportunity to share it with others. This is the right moment in my life for this to happen.”
Making Music Happen
Paige McFarling’s past is filled with music. Growing up in the Evansville area, she took lessons in piano, flute, oboe, and voice with teachers trained at Eastman School of Music, The Julliard School, and New York Opera. She met world-renowned musicians. And she sang in multiple honors choirs, community choirs, and theater.
But until she took a marketing job with the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Symphony Orchestra last year, her career never had anything to do with music. Earlier this year, McFarling was named the orchestra’s new executive director.
“I am responsible for all of the administrative and operational side of the organization,” says McFarling. “The Maestro is responsible for the programming and the music and the artistic direction. I take care of the rest of it. My skillset is on the business side of the symphony, while my passion is on the music side.”
McFarling’s career has involved environmental science, banking, school leadership, and more. She held a vice president position at Old National Bank, then went to Evansville Day School as its director of advancement to have more time for her three young children.
In 2009, she was recruited by Linden Hall School in Lititz, Pennsylvania, where she was the chief operating officer. She says there was a “major shift” at the school in 2013, and she decided to leave.
“I was headed off on my own to decide what I wanted to do next in my career, and a friend of mine who is on the board of the symphony who asked, while I was ‘hanging out doing nothing’, would I go help the symphony,” says McFarling.
She lived in New Harmony, Indiana, as a child, where her mother was the president of an international music festival. She saw a lot of world-class musicians perform live, which sparked her interest in music. She sang in the choirs at Central High School and the University of Evansville, as well as other community choirs and theater.
“All of my music experience, passion, and expertise were built in Evansville and New Harmony,” she says. “I studied with Jack and Sue Schriber and Terry Becker, whom I know everyone loves. I learned a lot from Bob Jones at Old National. There are so many things about Evansville that have given me the roots to stand on and the strength to grow and try new things. I will always be very connected to Evansville.”
Keep on Rolling
About a year ago, a few local vintage motorcycle enthusiasts decided it was time to start having regular outings with those with similar interests. So they set up informal gatherings where they can share information, insight, skills, and experiences.
The result was Tri-State Vin Moto, which holds monthly “rave ups” at Evansville restaurants on the first Thursday of each month.
“We have people like myself who are more interested in restoring bikes to their original appearances,” says Barry Schonberger, one of the group’s original organizers. “But we also have people who are interested in converting bikes into café racers or street trackers.”
The rave ups draw in both foreign and domestic motorcycles. The ages of the bikes vary, since some consider machines from the 1980s to be vintage, while others have much older bikes.
Randy Lientz displayed a 1965 Triumph Bonneville T120R at the 2013 Shrinersfest. That’s when he met Schonberger, who approached him about forming what is now Vin Moto. Lientz works in marketing at AXIOM, and with the company’s art director, Jason Snader, he helped develop a logo and Facebook page for Vin Moto.
Like many of the others in the group, Lientz has a long history with vintage motorcycles.
“My connection with vintage Triumphs goes back to my high school time when Steve McQueen was ‘the King of Cool’ in movies, and he raced them,” says Lientz. “Like music, vintage bikes take me to another time.”
Ralph Trautvetter has been riding since he was 15; he’s 71 now. He owns a very rare restored 1956 Ariel Square Four, which he bought just two years ago.
“Modern bikes handle so much better,” says Trautvetter. “I didn’t know that until I got back on this one. I had one of these when I was 15. It handles terrible. But it is pretty and it is fun to ride.”
Tri-State Vin Moto meets the first Thursday of each month, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.
From Small Seeds
It was, until owner Grant Hartman decided to retire 13 years ago, a land of pasture and hay. Hartman had already owned the 20 acres of land for more than two decades, but needed to find a new use for it.
So Hartman and his wife Jean, started planting trees. Hartman’s three brothers encouraged him to continue planting and ultimately to turn it into the Hartman Arboretum, located near the German Township ball fields on Boonville-New Harmony Road. There now are close to 500 trees on the grounds.
“We have planted mostly native trees and shrubs and give people an opportunity to come out and see what the possibilities are,” says Hartman. “If they see something they like, they can find out what it is and put it in their landscaping.”
Open to the public on Thursdays or by appointment, visitors to the arboretum will find a variety of native and non-native trees, including a Chinese Fringe Tree, Viburnum, Carolina silverbells, American holly trees, pawpaw, and yellowwood trees. The Southern Indiana Master Gardener Association also maintains a wildlife garden on the grounds.
“It goes back to nature really, and conservation of the property,” says Hartman. “We wanted to see trees of different types grow, and it’s interesting to watch them take shape.”
An espalier of crabapple trees surrounds the hydrangea garden at the Arboretum. Magnolias grow in a gathering past a small lake and a large display of native redbud trees, Hartman’s personal favorite.
Some of the most interesting plants to visitors are the 35-year-old blueberry bushes. Visitors pick about 800 pounds of blueberries each season for free.
“It’s been nice to see things come together,” says Hartman. “Whenever you plant something, you think about how it’s going to look. And sometimes it takes years before you actually see it. But it’s really satisfying to see plants come to a maturity and fruition.”
For more information on Hartman Arboretum, call 812-963-5418 or visit harboretum.com.
Behind the Mask
Costume play, or cosplay for short, is a form of performance art where participants role play specific characters. It’s been a growing hobby for more than two decades, and it’s become a growing industry.
Not every character needs a mask, but many do. And that’s where Evansville’s Emily Bachman and Dark Cornerz Artistry come in. She started making leather masks in 2010, along with other leather accessories.
Bachman wasn’t really into cosplay before she started making the masks, but now she travels across the country going to conventions and showing her masks and other items. Customers can either buy one of the pieces or give Bachman a specialty order.
“I think it is really important for people to express themselves,” she says. “If I can bring something really unique for them that’s what’s important.”
What made you decide to start Dark Cornerz Artistry?
The love of simply creating and designing costumes. I realized after some trial and error I really enjoyed working with leather versus fabrics. I started out small with a few very detailed costume masks, mostly science fiction themed. After great feedback at my first convention at EvilleCon, I began expanding into other accessories. Now, I create custom pieces as well as my own designs. I am inspired more everyday by movies, TV shows, and my very enthusiastic customer base.
Who are the masks made for?
They are created for anyone and everyone, adults and children alike; everything from Halloween masks to cosplay enthusiasts. There is a wide range of people whom my art appeals to. Some people even use my pieces as wall art.
What’s fun about making masks?
The most exciting part is traveling and seeing the pure joy of those who find a finishing piece for their costume. I also am approached by those who choose one of my masks to create an entire costume around. Now that’s fun!
Do you have common requests?
During my travels the most common requests have been for superhero style masks and armor accessories. The need for superhero masks encouraged me to create kid-friendly foam masks. These are specifically designed for a child’s face and are a perfect alternative to my leather masks.
Do you have a piece you’ve made that is a personal favorite?
My favorite would have to be the Green Man mask. It’s based off a tree spirit mythology, and it was my most enjoyable art piece to create. The mask is bordered with curled leaves, which emphasize a realistic and dimensional overall feel.
What else do you make besides the masks?
I also make a variety of other accessories. These include eye patches, bracelets, chokers, helmets, and tiara headdresses. As my business grows and I receive more customers’ input, the accessories I make also will expand. In the near future, I’m looking into introducing thermo plastic into my inventory. I’m excited to see how my customers will react to these new possibilities.
How much of your business comes from word-of-mouth?
Some does, but I also (promote the items) on Facebook and I go to conventions every few months if possible. The comic conventions themselves are a fantastic way to advertise. My customers are my best promoters; they show off their costume accessories everywhere they can. It really allows them to become their own characters and express themselves.
Are there many artists who make masks?
It’s pretty unique. I would say there are only a handful of crafters who work with leather to specifically create masks. I feel it’s important to branch out from just making masks and offer more choices to the public. That’s why I advertise the creativity aspect of what I do. If people don’t see what they want on my table, they can always request a custom order. I love bringing people’s imagination into a reality.
For more about Dark Cornerz Artistry, visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/DarkCornerz.