Published in the March 25, 2016 edition.
WAKEFIELD — Seven Wakefield Memorial High School alumni were inducted into eighth Hall of Fame on March 4, 2016. In the afternoon the inductees met with the senior class and shared many lessons they learned at Wakefield High School and in life.
Later that evening the seven were honored at an induction ceremony and dinner at Bear Hill Country Club. Along with co-workers, friends and family of the inductees, the guests included State Rep. Donald Wong, who presented the inductees with a certificate of achievement and Patrick Prendergast, a representative of State Rep. Paul Brodeur.
Wakefield’s government was well represented by Selectmen Paul DiNocco, Patrick Glynn, Phyllis Hull and Betsy Sheeran and School Committee member Christopher Callanan. Members of both The Savings Bank and the Wakefield Co-operative Bank attended to support the inductees. Faculty and staff of the Galvin Middle School also joined the festivities.
The evening was opened by WMHS Alumni Foundation President Anita Loughlin, who thanked the past president, the late John Encarnaceo, for laying the path to build a strong Alumni Foundation. She emphasized the Foundation’s renewed commitment to finding ways to help the high school meet the challenges of providing a quality education and programs for all students and invited alumni and friends of WMHS who valued education to help.
Dr. Kim Smith, Wakefield superintendent of schools, welcomed the inductees and the invited guests and shared warm anecdotes of how many inductees, from David Butler to Steve Maio, have helped to make her life as teacher, principal and now Superintendent easier. Master of ceremonies for the evening was WMHS Principal Richard Metropolis.
Actor and Director Raymond Girardin, Class of 1952, received the Arts Award. The award was accepted by his cousin and WMHS alumna, Patricia Maynard. She told the crowd, Ray wanted everyone to know that he was very honored to receive this award. She told the students, “He was a man who followed his dreams, and would encourage them to do the same.” He began acting in high school and after serving in the military studied theater at Boston University. He acted in Boston, New York City and Hollywood and had many performances in both film and television. His credits are many but include Love Story, Happy Days, Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues and Law and Order.
Over 10 years ago, he returned to Massachusetts as a director at the Academy of Performing Arts Playhouse in Orleans and is now retired, living with his wife on the Cape. Expressing his thanks, Maynard began and ended the acceptance reiterating that Ray was grateful for the recognition.
Businessman David Guttadauro, Class of 1983, received the award for Business. He was not able to attend but sent his apologies and a message that was read at the ceremony. He was an entrepreneur early on, stating that he “started a technology company called Security Source in his dining room with a $5,000 cash advance and later sold his company to a public company.”
David has over 20 inventions to his credit and holds over 25 patents. Currently, he is president and CEO of a facial recognition company in Virginia. In this role, he contributes to the antiterrorism efforts in the U.S. and worldwide. He was called to work in the Middle East the day of the induction. Recently, he has started a new venture and has moved to New Hampshire to farm, raise livestock and operate a restaurant. He thanks his family, teachers and coaches who “cared and shaped his life,” specifically, Coaches Kelly, Simpson and Lane who provided lessons of teamwork, dedication and perseverance.
He remembered fondly in seventh grade Mr. Lane telling him, “If you don’t shoot the ball at the rim, it can never go in,” a life lesson that he carried with him to Norwich University and into business. Naming Mrs. Panico, Ms. Dubois and Mr. Gersony, he said that he fondly remembered the teachers that “took a special interest and in turn made me work harder.” David quipped that his surveillance skills were honed by Mr. Bennett, who gave him the opportunity to learn electronics and to move through the halls without a pass and Mr. Sullivan, who taught him “the art of surveillance and discipline, usually the hard way.”
Honoree Susan (Dufault) Majeski (Class of 1959) received the award of Community Service. By example and passion, she inspired the students and the evening’s audience to volunteer and encouraged community involvement. Along with her work for the Wakefield School Department as executive secretary for three Superintendents and as clerk for the School Committee, she has volunteered for multiple organizations over the past 20 years. She said that she “chose causes that she could believe in,” including the Wakefield Educational Foundation, Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, the Center for Performing Arts Committee and the WMHS Alumni Foundation.
Over the years, she has worked on different initiatives aimed at improving the community. These initiatives fostered the Farmers Market, Boating on the Lake, the Holiday Stroll, Blossoms at the Beebe Library and the Wakefield-Stoneham Boys and Girls Club. Many life lessons were learned along the way, such as the importance of community teamwork and the “discovery of my own hidden talents.” She thanked her supportive family and stated that she accepted the award for “the many volunteers who are the backbone of our great community and who drive ideas and projects forward.”
Galvin Middle School Assistant Principal Therese (Riley) Jarmusik (Class of 1969) received the award for Education. In the afternoon, she was cheered by her former students and she told them that “it was very nice to see them grown up” and that she was “excited for them as they prepare for graduation and what was next in life.”
She told the students that, while she had planned to be a teacher, after college there weren’t any teaching jobs, and she found herself having a business career. An energetic personality now, she explained that in high school she was very quiet and studious and that no one would have predicted that she would be in a leadership position. She assured the students that “people do grow and change” and that “life will give them many opportunities to reinvent themselves.”
She said that one day when she was conducting a business training, a colleague told her that she had a natural ability to engage the audience and would make a great teacher. Therese said it was that nudge that prompted her to find opportunities to teach and led her back to Wakefield to a job that she loved. She reminded the students, “they should consider their teachers an important part of their networks” and that Wakefield was a special place to live, a place “where people will help you out.” Recounting her day with the students, Therese was honored by the award and thanked her family, friends and many faculty and staff from the Galvin who attended the induction to honor their colleague and friend.
Honoree Dr. Courtney (O’Farrell) Shirley, Class of 2003, received the award for Science. After high school, she received a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from Bates College and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and has completed a fellowship in pediatric oncology and hematology.
During the afternoon session, Courtney invited students to ask her questions about careers in science, and she asked them “how many of you have a mentor — a teacher, coach or counselor — who you can go to for advice and who advocates on your behalf?”
Both at the high school and at the induction ceremony, she described her career path and illustrated the importance of finding a mentor. As first to go to college in her family, she said her first mentor was Mr. Beebe, a WMHS guidance counselor who helped her make the most of the high school’s AP science program and helped her navigate the college application process. Courtney took the opportunity to thank Mr. Beebe for his help. Lost in large classes in college, she explained, she realized that it would be important for her to “seek out professors and have them get to know her.” That effort led her to meet her mentor at Bates, a professor who provided her an opportunity to do research, to publish and who guided her career path. “Find mentors,” Courtney told the students. “A good mentor will make your life easier and often better focused.”
Steve Maio, Class of 1980, was given the award for Government. He told the audience that the best part of the day was talking with the students. That afternoon, he asked the seniors to look around the room to the left and the right of themselves and to remember their classmates.
Steve told them, “These people will be in and out of your life for a long time and it is good to keep in contact with classmates.” He continued to explain that some of their classmates will move away and some will not and each will find a different profession, but “they are important part of your network.” He said, “They will be the people you can call to give you support or to help solve a problem you might have with work or in life.” He illustrated his point with examples from his class and the wealth of expertise that he has available to him and to the town.
Additionally, Steve said, “Don’t be fooled to believe that the road to success is a straight line.” Pulling out a cartoon of a winding and twisted line, he said, “Success looks like this! And there are many bumps and bruises along the way.” Giving the example of his life, he said, “I studied economics in college. I thought I’d work for the World Bank or be a banker. I wasn’t thinking politics.” He told them how he thought it was going to be a big setback for him when he lost an election for state representative. Yet, he said that this defeat was the best thing that had happened to him and led him to his current job as Town Administrator, which he truly enjoys.
The most heartfelt lesson was given to students by David Butler, Class of 1976, the high school’s head custodian and recipient of the Special Achievement Award. His message included themes of being open to opportunity, enjoying the people you meet in life and doing a job you like will make life rewarding. The students erupted into spontaneous cheers and a standing ovation in appreciation for all that Butler does for the High School and the students. In the evening, David accepted the award, saying, “It was an unexpected honor.” He explained that, over many years and across differing jobs, he has enjoyed meeting and working with interesting people, but most of all he has enjoyed helping the students.
The many life lessons the inductees shared with the students and the evening audience included following dreams, being innovative, staying involved, volunteering, embracing change, finding mentors, networking and realizing the road to success is seldom straight. The Alumni Foundation would like to thank the 2016 inductees into the Wakefield High School Alumni Hall of Fame for their inspiring words.