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Morrisville-Eaton Inducts Six Alumni to Wall of Fame

The Morrisville-Eaton Central School District will induct six distinguished alumni into the 2018 class of its Wall of Fame. This year’s inductees – John Caezza, Jennifer Bostic Fong, Gloria Littlefield Lenhart, Dick Morton, Kurt Virkaitis and Greg Weinschreider will be recognized during an October 20th ceremony at 12:00 p.m. in the Middle/High School Auditorium. This was a change from the previously scheduled October 13th event.

The MECS Wall of Fame was established to recognize outstanding alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen fields through significant contributions to their careers and community or personal achievements. This honor is meant to stand as a model and incentive to current and future students, and to recognize the foundation that a quality public education at Morrisville-Eaton played in each recipient’s success.

Honorees were nominated and evaluated by a committee of community and school district stakeholders. Nominees were eligible if they have an MECS diploma or attended the district for a significant portion of their education, graduated at least 10 years ago, have an appreciation for their MECS education, and have demonstrated leadership, character and service in their profession and community involvement.
This year’s Wall of Fame Committee members were: Morgan Phillips, Jordyn Younglove, Jamie Kent, Carol Sidoran, Karen Jacobs, Penny Koehl, Kathy Roher, Jeff Golley and Jessica Burch.

The Wall of Fame Class of 2018:

John O. Caezza, Class of 1975

John earned an associate degree in Engineering Science from Morrisville State College and a bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Clarkson University. John’s first job after college was as an engineer for Magnavox CATV/Philips Broadband Networks in Manlius, where he remained until 2000 and held a variety of positions, including Director of International Sales and Vice President of Engineering. In 2000, John moved to Connecticut where he became General Manager of ADC, a network infrastructure company. From there, he became President of C-Cor in 2001 before joining ARRIS, a network and communication technology firm, in 2007, where he currently serves as a Senior Vice President. John’s work requires him to travel extensively, but he still maintains an active family life. He attends his two sons’ athletic competitions, band concerts and recitals, and he routinely chaperones overnight Boy Scouts and school trips. He helps his children’s school with its communication and internet needs. He also has preserved a long-standing Caezza family custom of pressing apples for cider in the fall, sharing the tradition with his family, local Boy Scout troops and his neighborhood.

Jennifer Bostic Fong, Class of 1994

Jennifer earned a dual degree in Biology and English from Colgate University. She attended law school for one year but changed career plans and enrolled in the Columbia University School of Nursing, where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. She works as a pediatric nurse practitioner at Montefiore Children’s Hospital in New York City in the oncology division, specifically working on bone marrow transplant cases. In addition to her daily work in nursing, Jennifer has given back to the medical field for many years. She served as a panelist at Colgate for a discussion on Alternative Medical Careers, speaking to undergraduates about the role of the nurse practitioner. She has presented at national medical conferences and researched scientific papers on bone marrow transplant treatment plans, and she has volunteered at community health fairs. Outside of work, Jennifer is active in community theater, both on the stage and in the pit orchestra, where she plays flute and piano. She and her husband, Nicholas, live in Westchester County with their two children.

Gloria Littlefield Lenhart, Class of 1961

Gloria spent most of her career as an elementary school teacher in Hamilton Central. After earning her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland, Gloria briefly taught in Liverpool before joining the faculty at Hamilton, where her husband, Dick, also worked. She and Dick raised three children. When Gloria retired from teaching in 2005, she became a passionate and dedicated community volunteer. She served as the president of Community Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for many years, managing volunteers, serving on the hospital gala committee and leading the annual holiday sale. She also served as president of the Worn Again Thrift Shop, opening its doors three days a week and leading an annual clothing sale to raise money for the community. In 2015, Gloria and Dick were selected as grand marshals for the Hamilton Fourth of July parade, and Gloria was recognized earlier this year at Community Memorial Hospital’s Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. Gloria has also served on the board of Park United Methodist Church for many years and sung in the choir, and she is a member of Jubilation vocal ensemble, The Palace Players theater troupe, the Sherburne Community Chorus and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International’s Sigma Chapter, which serves women educators. She has also served as a local election official, and her family has hosted many foreign exchange students over the years.

Dick Morton, Class of 1951

Dick spent eight years in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, serving as a jet mechanic on aircraft carriers in Japan. When he returned home, he earned an associate degree in Food Packaging from Morrisville State College and was hired by Gerber Packaging and then Loblaws supermarket chain. Around 1970, he purchased Eccleston Hardware Store, renamed it Village Hardware, and ran it for several years with his late wife, Kay. They also owned and operated KDS Antiques in Bouckville, a business that started in the back of the hardware store. Dick eventually changed careers and worked as a rural mail carrier for 17 years until his retirement in 1997. Dick also spent a lot of time on his own carpentry and remodeling projects, and he often helped family and friends with projects as well. Dick served as a Hamilton Village Trustee for two terms and on several village boards, as master of Hamilton Masons Lodge, as a committeeman for a local Boy Scout troop, and on the board of Madison Lane Senior Center. Over the years, he donated photos and memorabilia of Hamilton to the local Historical Commission. Dick continues to live in Hamilton, as do his daughters and several grandchildren.

Kurt Virkaitis, Class of 1990

Kurt is a career military officer who reported to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy less than two weeks after graduating high school. At the Academy, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and was commissioned as an officer in 1994. Following his initial assignment aboard ships in Alabama and Maine, Kurt enrolled at Brown University, earning his master’s degree in Chemistry and then teaching at the Coast Guard Academy for four years. He also served as analyst in Washington, D.C., at Coast Guard headquarters and the Pentagon, and he spent three years coordinating maritime law enforcement from New York City to the Canadian border where he also represented the nation at international conferences.  As the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter CAMPBELL, he led a 110 person crew in interdiction of illegal migrants and narcotics, protection of commercial fish stocks, and rescue of mariners in distress. Captain Virkaitis has received 10 personal decorations for his service, and is currently the Chief of External Affairs for the Northeast District, which is headquartered in Boston. Kurt and his wife, Malinda, live in New Hampshire with their two sons.

Gregg Weinschreider, Class of 1982

Upon graduation from MECS, Gregg chose to enter the workforce and moved to Albany for a few years before returning to his hometown with his new wife, the former Kim Hill, a 1984 MECS graduate. In Morrisville, Gregg worked in the construction field for eight years before establishing his own business, English Avenue Industries, which completed building renovations and built furniture. This led him to develop the SleepSafe Bed, a specialized safety bed designed for children with disabilities. The bed, patented in 2002, helped set the standard for bed safety guidelines. In 2005, Gregg moved his company to Virginia and later established another retail line of adjustable beds. Gregg’s company supports many charities, including a therapeutic horse-riding center, Challenger baseball and bowling programs, a local soup kitchen, the United Way and Cerebral Palsy Kids. Gregg has helped construct a baseball field at a local park and a ramp at the home of someone with ALS, purchased and installed a lift at the horse-riding center, and completed renovation work at the local soup kitchen. Gregg also became a silent partner in a friend’s art gallery. Rotary International honored Gregg in 2017 with the Paul Harris Fellow Award, for contributions to the community. Gregg and Kim have been married for 30 years and have four children.

On behalf of the entire Morrisville-Eaton school district and community, congratulations to our six newest members of the Wall of Fame.