Just 1 Question: Unity High Hall of Fame

Just 1 Question: Unity High Hall of Fame

It's back-to-school night in Tolono for four distinguished alums set to be inducted into Unity High's Hall of Fame in a ceremony at 7:30 p.m.

As they embarked on a trip down memory lane, Editor JEFF D'ALESSIO asked the inductees-to-be: Who's the high school teacher who had the most profound impact on you?

LOREN REIFSTECK ('78)

Engineer served in leadership/quality control roles at Texas Instruments, major semiconductor companies

"My math teacher, ROBERT AIMONE, set very high, but fair, standards and taught me the importance of being precise and accurate. Being 'close' would not cut it. That is something that has stuck with me throughout my entire career as an engineer.

"He was also a stickler for neatness. If someone's work was not legible, he would state that 'a hundred Philadelphia lawyers couldn't decipher this.'

"He was also very generous with his time in answering questions, putting in long hours as the Student Council advisor, and keeping stats for the basketball team."

BETSY JONES ('66)

Co-founded corporate meeting production company with an A-list roster of clients

"I would be less than truthful if I suggested that my academic achievements in high school led to the success I have realized in my career. I was less than an exemplary student.

"I am not, however, critical of the education Unity High School offered. In fact, I discovered throughout my career that Unity provided a good, solid foundation for life and for that I am grateful.

"What I am suggesting is this: I did not take full advantage of what Unity's exceptional faculty provided. My focus was always elsewhere. You see, I had a passion for the creative arts. In high school, I was an artist, a writer, a ballerina, an actor and a daydreamer.

"So, rather than focusing on the subjects at hand, I was reading sci-fi books and Mad magazine, creating elaborate doodles in the edges of my notebooks, and imagining that I would be the next Walt Disney. In other words, I was a nerd.

"Today, perhaps I would be a 'geek' — ironically, a more highly valued status.

"That being said, in recent years I have attended St. Louis Shakespeare in the Park productions. An accompanying friend inquired as to whether I understood 'this Shakespeare stuff.' I responded, 'Yes, thanks to my Unity High School English teacher.' Never thought I would express appreciation for MRS. LELAH WIMMER imposing grueling hours of Will Shakespeare on this teen who was mostly focused on the Beatles."

DR. JOELLA (KOSS) MEHARRY ('00)

Opened Mahomet's All About Animals Pet Clinic in 2012

"Coach DAVE FINK was my eighth-grade science teacher and varsity softball coach for four years. He was tough, but held us all accountable in the classroom and on the field. He pushed me to be a better leader, better student, better teammate and better athlete.

"I thank him for his mentorship over the years."

BRENDA CAIN ('03)

State Department foreign service officer's next assignment: U.S. embassy in Beijing

"It is completely impossible for me to pick the one Unity staff member who made the most profound impact on me, because I'm lucky enough to have three.

"ROBERT AIMONE was my student council advisor, algebra teacher and even led weekly religion classes. He was one of those rare teachers that you knew really, truly cared about his students. My fondest memory was getting Mr. Aimone wound up enough that he'd start out a rant with 'm'son of a gun' and go into a tirade about binomials, sometimes from atop his desk.

"I also had the great pleasure of having ROGER KLEISS as my history teacher. He really instilled a sense of patriotism in me, and was able to walk the fine line of discussing and dissecting politics without telling his students what their opinions should be. His test prep jeopardy games were always a highlight.

"Finally, my dance coach, CINDY HUGHES. After college, I became a dance coach myself, and whenever I'd have a moment of doubt, I'd ask myself what Cindy would do. I remember during practice she'd always promise 'One more time!' and we just knew it was a lie.

"Unity wouldn't have the excellent dance program it does today without her leadership. All past and present Rockettes owe her a debt of gratitude."

Topics (2):Education, People
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