Farrell Alumni 'Hall of Fame' Honorees
Biographies shown below
The purpose of the 'Farrell Alumni Hall of Fame', established by Ted Pedas in 2005, is to recognize former students who have brought distinction, honor and excellence to the Farrell Area School District through their accomplishments and achievements.
The Hall of Fame provides an opportunity to showcase the diversity of Farrell's graduates from 1904 to the present, all of whom are listed on the Farrell (PA) High School Alumni Archives Web site which was created and funded by Ted Pedas, FHS '56.
The Hall of Fame board of directors, which is responsible for the selection of inductees and the annual induction ceremony, includes Anthony Aiello, Serena Nevant, Virginia Price, Nicole Smith, Richard R. Rubano, Dr. James G. Kollar, Russell C. Phillips, Michael Wright and Jim Raykie.
A note of appreciation to Jim Raykie for his efforts in launching the Inaugural Farrell Alumni
Hall of Fame Awards and compiling the program which includes the below biographical information.
The Inaugural Annual Farrell Alumni Hall of Fame Awards Banquet was held on November 5, 2005 in the cafeteria of the Farrell Area School District.
Inaugural Annual Farrell Alumni Hall of Fame Awards Banquet
November 5, 2005
- Welcome - Richard R. Rubano, Jr., Superintendent, Farrell Area School District
- Invocation - The Rev. Robert E. Chavers, Community Missionary Baptist Church
- Introduction of the Class of 2005 -
James A. Raykie Editor, The Herald
- Musical presentation Tom and Mille Fowler "The Way We Were"
- Remarks, Ted Pedas, Director Emeritus, Farrell High Planetarium
- Benediction, The Rev. Donald Berdis, Our Lady of Fatima Church
- "The Farrell High School Alma Mater", Tom and Millie Fowler
| Farrell Alumni Hall of Fame 2005 Inductees
John Hetra, posthumous
FHS class of 1922
John Hetra, who spent 44 years with the school district as a teacher and an administrator, was born in Farrell and was a lifelong resident of the city. While in high school he played in the first state basketball championship tournament at Penn State in 1920.
After graduating in 1922 from Farrell High, where he was a member of the varsity basketball and football teams, he attended Westminster College and was a straight-A student. He was a winner of the 1926 Tri-State Gold Medal representing athletics and scholarship. He earned eight varsity letters: four in basketball, two in baseball and two in track.
Upon graduation from Westminster, he joined the faculty at Farrell. In 1935 he became assistant principal of the Farrell Junior-Senior High School. When Farrell High School was completed for the opening of the 1939-1940 year, the former high school building at Roemer Boulevard and Fruit Avenue became Farrell's first junior high school for grades seven, eight, and nine. Mr. Hetra became its first principal. He served as principal for four years after which he became assistant high school principal. On March 24, 1946, he was named principal of Farrell High.
As Farrell's first alumnus administrator, he served in all administrative positions of Farrell secondary schools. He capably guided the schools as superintendent throughout a period of great growth academically and athletically from the time he was appointed to the post in the latter part of 1946. He held that position until retiring in 1969 after 24 years of faithful service.
Mr. Hetra was married to Priscilla Rose Songer (FHS '28), a graduate of Farrell Senior High School, and his daughters, who graduated from Farrell Senior High School, are Priscilla Mae Herrick, and Sally Ann Gilliland.
John Hetra was nominated posthumously for the FHS Alumni Award by his daughters Sally Gilliland (FHS '49) and Priscilla Hettrick (FHS '53)
Dr. Julia Marshall
FHS class of 1931
Dr. Julia D. Marshall graduated second in her class from Farrell High in 1931. She graduated with honors from Kent State University with a bachelor of science degree in education in 1937 and eaned a master of arts degree from Kent in 1940.
She taught swimming at Kent until 1942 as a member of the Health and Physical Education Department. After teaching physical education at the college level from 1944-49, she began to teach in the public schools of Prince George's County in Maryland.
She graduated from the University of Maryland with a doctorate in human development education in 1955. From 1955 until 1976, she taught psychology at the college level and retired from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania as an Emeritus Professor with special commendation for developing the school's gerontology program.
In addition to Dr. Marshall, her three siblings attended schools in Farell. Her brother, Powers, graduated from Farrell in 1928. The family moved from Farrell during the Deptession to Meadville. Her brother Roland and sister Rowena graduated from Meadville High School. Her father served on the Farrell School Board for many years before the family relocated.
She said about her roots, "I look back with pleasure to our family's Farrell years and I am proud to say that my school days there were an excellent foundation for further learning and association with many fine people who turn up everywhere."
Ludima Gus Burton,
One is never too old to make a dream come true. Living proof of that adage is Ludima Gus Burton. Just ask her.
FHS class of 1938
She was born in Farrell and had a wonderful life there in spite of the Great Depression. She graduated from Farrell High School in 1938 and attended Hunter College in New York City and Albany State Teachers College, which today is the State University of New York.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1946, graduating summa cum laude.
"My husband Guy and I had three glorious retirement years before he died in 1981. Since then, I've lived with, one or the other, of my two daughters," Ludima said looking back on a part of her life.
Resurrecting a childhood dream, she wrote her first novel in long hand, on lined paper, in six weeks in 1991 at the age of 71. She thought "Lessons In Love" was perfect, but alas, the editors made it her first rejection.
Not to be denied, for the next nine years, she joined the Romance Writers of America, went to conferences and workshops, and learned the craft of writing. She wrote five more books and had four short stories published.
Finally, in 1999 at the age of 80, Avalon bought her first book, "Only For A Year." Then they bought "The Tycoon and the School Teacher" and "The Love Potion" during the next year. In 2005, Avalon published her fourth book, "The Wedding Cake," at age 85.
She has submitted two more books to her editors in the last few months.
"Since everyone must continue to have a dream and a goal, mine is, because I'm so proud of my immigrant heritage we all in Farrell have, to be published in Polish. They love romance in Poland," Ludima said.
I will never give up on this final dream. Age is no reason to slow down or to give up!"
Serena (Tizio) Nevant (FHS'48) nominated Ludima Gus Burton for the Alumni Award
George W. Lewis
FHS class of 1946
George W. Lewis is the symbol of Farrell High School's wrestling program that was at its zenith in the 1940's.
George lettered for four years and was a state champion in 1944, 1945 and 1946 and garnered numerous other honors along the way, including a District 10 championship and two WPIAL championships. He finished his illustrious prep career with a 65-2 record.
He continued his career at Waynesburg College, where he was a three-time 4-I champion, a 1948 national champion, a 1952 All-American and champion at the famous Baltimore Invitational.
Upon graduation from Waynesburg, he joined the faculty at Hickory High School, where he started the school's longtime wrestling program. He earned a master's degree from Westminster College in 1960.
He coached at Hickory for 20 years, and was District 10 Coach of the Year in 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1973. His coaching career included a record of 153 wins, 70 losses and 5 ties. In addition to wrestling, he coached baseball and for one year was the assistant coach for football.
He was a longtime member of the faculty at the high school, teaching well beyond his coaching years. On May 5, 1984, he was named Outstanding Educator by the city of Hermitage.
He is a member of several elite organizations, including the Waynesburg College Hall of Fame, the Mercer County Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Wrestling Hall of Fame.
He and his wife Kathy have been married 50 years and have two children and three grandchildren.
Anthony Aiello (FHS '54) nominated George W. Lewis for the Alumni Award
Julius L. McCoy
FHS class of 1952
Julius McCoy has been a resident of the Harrisburg area for decades, but the span in both space and time hasn't diminished his popularity in Farrell, where the 1952 graduate and star basketball player is still called, "The Legend".
Julius was the cornerstone of Coach Ed McCluskey's successful basketball program at Farrell, leading Farrell to its first of seven state championships under McCluskey in 1952. His prowess didn't end with basketball. He was named to the All-State football team in 1951 and was the western Pennsylvania 100-yard and 200-yard dash champion.
One of Farrell's most revered athletes, he excelled at the collegiate level for four years at Michigan State University, graduating in 1956.
He was Michigan State's Athlete of the Year in 1956, an all-American at Michigan State in 1956, and president of the "Excalibur" Honorary Society of Michigan State in 1955. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1958, and from 1959-1962 he served as director of physical education for the YMCA in Harrisburg.
He was a teacher and coach in the Harrisburg School District from 1962-68, and from 1971-1983 he served as the director in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's Bureau of Equal Opportunity. From 1983-2004, he served as special assistant to the secretary for PennDOT.
He was a 12-year player in the Eastern Professional Basketball League, and in 1996, was named to the Continental Basketball Association All-Time team. He was a member of the United States Olympic Basketball Committee from 1973-76 and has been enshrined in both the Dauphin County and Mercer County Halls of Fame.
He has a long list of community service in the Harrisburg area and has been the recipient of many awards and honors. In 2003, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minority Business Opportunity Committee in Pittsburgh.
Julius and his wife, Betty, a Farrell High alumna, have two children.
Dr. James G. Kollar (FHS '54) nominated Julius McCoy for the Alumni Award
Donald Cagigas is a Farrell alumni who distinguished himself during a long banking career in both Cleveland and Youngstown. After his days at Farrell, he graduated from Youngstown State University and began his career with National City Bank in Cleveland.
FHS class of 1957
He began his Bank One career in Cleveland in 1974 as senior vice president of funds and investment management. He was named chairman and CEO of Bank One, Youngstown, NA, in 1989 after serving as president and chief operating officer. When Bank One consolidated affiliates throughout Ohio in May 1997, he was named president of the Mahoning Valley region for the new Bank One, NA.
He retired form Bank One, NA on March 31, 1999. He was named president and chief professional officer of the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way on April 3, 2000, a position he currently holds.
He received the Youngstown State University Distinguished Citizen Award in 1995. As a result of this honor he was invited to be the commencement speaker at the university's summer graduation ceremony. During graduation he was awarded an honorary degree, a doctorate of humane letters, by Youngstown State.
Because of his volunteer service with the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce, which involved the leadership role in two chamber economic development fund-raising campaigns, an award was named in his honor. The Donald Cagigas Spirit of the Chamber award is given annually to a local leader who furthers the mission of the regional chamber.
In 1998, he was among the inaugural group of seven individuals to be inducted into the Lou Holtz-Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame for life achievement, community service and being a role model for the region's young people. In May of 2004, he was appointed by Ohio Governor Robert Taft to serve on the Board of Trustees of Youngstown State University. He has been the recipient of many awards.
He and his wife, Gloria, live in Poland (Ohio) and have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Dr. James G. Kollar (FHS '54) nominated Donald Cagigas for the Alumni Award
John W. Jack Marin
Jack was born in Farrell in 1944 to Chick and Louise Marin. In his
senior year, he was named a first-team All-State basketball player and was recruited by more than 70 colleges.
FHS class of 1962
He chose Duke University, where he majored in chemistry while playing for the Duke Blue Devils. As a sophomore in 1964 and again as a senior in 1966 his teams appeared in the NCAA Final Four. He was selected to various All-American squads in 1966.
He was accepted to Duke Medical School that summer, and he was selected by the Baltimore Bullets as their first pick in the NBA draft. He chose to join the Bullets that fall on a one-year-contract. He made the NBA's All-Rookie Team and went on to enjoy an 11-year career in the NBA. He played in 900 games, averaging 15 points per game, and made two All-Star-Game appearances in 1972 and 1973.
Upon retiring in 1977, he returned to Durham to attend the School of Law at his alma mater, receiving his juris doctorate three years later. He began private law practice in Durham in 1980.
He has practiced law for the past 20 years with Maupin Taylor P.A. in Raleigh, N.C. For many of those years he specialized in representing professional basketball players, mainly Americans playing overseas. He placed players in no less than 16 countries on all five continents.
For his accomplishements in basketball he has been elected to the Mercer County, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Duke University Sports Halls of Fame. In 1991 he was selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Silver Anniversary All-America Team.
He is a founding board member and former executive director of the Celebrity Players Tour Association, a group comprised of 150 nationally known personalities that supports various charities through participation in golf tournaments around the country. He also competes on the tour, and annually takes part in numerous other charity events. He has been an avid golfer for most of his life.
He married Robin Green of Houston in 1973 and they have one son. They have lived in Durham for the last 28 years.
Dr. James G. Kollar (FHS '54) nominated Jack Marin for the Alumni Award
Veleter M. B Mazyck
FHS class of 1970
Since May of 2005, Veleter M. B. Mazyck, as a private attorney and educational consultant, has been providing legal and other services to public education entities and advocates, including her former employer, the District of Columbia Public Schools, for who she served as general counsel for six years.
Her consulting work ranges from providing federal and state compliance advice, counsel and monitoring for administrations, to the development of operational and administrative policy guidelines for governing boards.
She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University School of Law, both in Pittsburgh. After earning her law degree, she served as the administrative law clerk for the Honorable Harry M. Montgomery of the appellate Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
In early 1988, she was appointed assistant solicitor and assistant secretary by and to the Pittsburgh Board of Education, where she engaged in personal injury, civil rights, workers' compensation, special education and of her miscellaneous litigation on behalf of the board, as well as heard student discipline matters and provided general legal advice to the board, superintendent and administration. She left the Pittsburgh Board of Education to accept the position of general counsel to the District of Columbia Public Schools in May 1999.
She is a resident of the District of Columbia, and has been admitted to the bars of the United States Supreme Court, other federal courts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and District of Columbia.
She is passionate about education issues, and believes that if she had not been able to use her legal training in the public education arena, she might not be practicing law today. She has dedicated more than 17 years to public education law, and believes that although the challenges in public education are great, we cannot abandon it or erode its viability as an effective vehicle for promoting excellence and life-long learning. As she constantly says, "It worked so well for me, and I know it can work even better for so many others."
Michael L. Wright (FHS '71) nominated Veleter Mazyck for the Alumni Award