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Alumni

Lake Orion Community Schools has a long history of successful students who have achieved well beyond their time in the school system. Each has a unique story and elicits pride from the community.

In 2017, Lake Orion High School opened a Wall of Excellence to highlight them all, by inducting its first class.

One of the first inductees was astronaut Drew Feustel, who connected with current LOHS students via a downlink in April 2018.

Other Wall of Excellence inductees include WWJ broadcaster Greg Bowman (1971), retired Navy commander James Ramirez (1986), retired Marines colonel Daniel Choike (1977), former GM CEO Fritz Henderson (1976), former Orion Schools teacher Blanche Sims (1895), martial arts champion Dr. Ron Tripp (1971), musician John Upton (2008), fashion designer Caroline Swierszczyk (2004), and scientist and inventor Bo Zhao (2000).

The Wall will grow, inducting a new class annually.

Many other former Dragons are making their mark as well.

Prominent alums by decade

1940s

--Orsel Dudley ('45/'16):  Left high school early to serve in the US Army in World War II.  Saw action in several European battles, including the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.  Earned several commendations including a Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and WWII Victory Medal.  Was awarded an honorary LOHS diploma in 2016 at age 89.  

--Charles Davis '46, '16:  Left high school early to serve in the US Navy in World War II. received four ribbons for his term of duty.

--Earl Bliss Jr. ('47):  Army veteran.  Oxford Museum curator.  Member of the American Legion.  Donated to the Orion Veterans Memorial.

1950s

--David Carlson, Ph.D. ('58):  US Army veteran and UM graduate.  Pioneered work in the automation of retail practices, installed early UPC scanning systems.  Worked with Kmart, Ingram Micro, IHS, and Branded Online.  

--Walter Cudnohufsky ('58):  Master's Degree from Harvard University in Landscape Architecture.  Founder of The Conway School, an accredited graduate program in sustainable landscape planning and design.  

1970s

-- Thomas Mackie Jr. ('77): Former director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate, Tennessee.

1980s

--Cynthia Watros ('86):  Cynthia is an actress with appearances in nearly 60 TV series, including “Lost”, “The Drew Carey Show”, and “Finding Carter”.  She won an Emmy for  “The Guiding Light” and a SAG Award for “Lost”.

--Tom Gillis ('86):  Tom is a pro on the PGA Tour.  He has achieved over $5 million in career earnings. He attended Oakland Community College.

--Stephanie Reitz ('86):  The spokesperson for the University of Connecticut.  Degree in journalism from MSU.  Worked as a reporter for the Hartford Courant.

--Patti Lareau ('87): Teacher at Stadium Drive Elementary School. Honored in 1998 as the LOCS Elementary Teacher of the Year.

-- Lari Barager ('89). Lari spent 15 years as an anchor at KDFW-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

1990s

--Chris Michels ('91):  Chris is co-host of the nationally syndicated “Free Beer & Hot Wings” morning radio show, heard in nearly 40 markets in the US. The show is based in Grand Rapids.

--Raymond Plouhar ('94):  US Marine Corps staff sergeant killed by a roadside bomb in Anbar, Iraq on June 26, 2006.  

--Nicole Curtis ('94):  Nicole is the star of HGTV’s Rehab Addict.  She focuses on restoring homes in Michigan and Minnesota.  Rehab Addict premiered in 2010.

--Greg Palmer ('94):  Teacher at Waterford Mott High School teaching history, psychology, and science.  Head swim coach with Detroit Golf Club Blue Lightning Swim Team and with Waterford Schools.

--Bryan Terry ('94):  Bryan is the Vice-President of the TruTV network.  He also has served as a writer and/or producer for MTV, MLB, and ESPN. He attended the University of Missouri.

-- Katie Yamasaki ('95). Muralist, illustrator, and author of children’s books. Has published 3 books, including “Fish for Jimmy”.

--Matt Wandrie: Superintendent of Lapeer Community Schools.  His career in education includes work as a high school teacher, athletic coach, assistant principal, athletic director, principal, and director of human resources.

--Matthew Dear ('97):  Professional electropop musician.  Has recorded multiple albums.  Toured with Depeche Mode.  Lecturer with the University of Michigan School of Music.

--Kimberly Duenow Genkov ('97):  Kimberly has served in the military since 2008, and she’s been deployed twice overseas.  She’s a U.S. Army Nurse Major and a Doctor of Nursing, currently stationed in the state of Washington.

--Troy Milam ('98): Professional ice hockey player, currently playing for High1 of the Asia League Ice Hockey.

--Lauren Thompson ('99): Lauren is a news anchor & reporter at WLNS-TV in Lansing. She attended Michigan State.

--Sherikia Hawkins ('99):  Sherikia is the elected City Clerk for the City of Southfield, making history in November of 2017 as the first African-American elected to that post.   Sherikia is a recipient of numerous awards including the 2017 Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 Award, The 2017 Oakland County Executive Elite 40 under 40 award, The 2018 Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence Award, The SiStars National Leadership Award powered by the Black Woman’s Roundtable, and the 2018 MSUBA Distinguished Terry Young Trailblazer Alumni Award.  

--Steve Peterson ('99):  Principal Trombone of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra.

--Jordan Desilets ('99):  Jordan was the 2004 NCAA National Track & Field Champion in the 3000m steeplechase. He is now a professional runner and has won countless events, including the Detroit Marathon. 

2000s

--Spencer Aston ('00):  Spencer is a professional trumpet player in Boston. He regularly performs with the Atlantic Symphony, and he’s a founding member of the Fenway Quintet. He received his Doctorate from Boston University in 2010.

--Zak Keasey ('00):  Zak played for the NFL’s Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. He played at fullback and linebacker. His collegiate days were spent at Princeton.

--Rory Finneren ('00): Chief Baking Officer at Mama Jude's Pie in Beijing, China.  Chief Instructor at Taipei Yacht Academy, skipper at Ohana Ocean Sailing.  

--Spencer Aston ('00):  Professional trumpet player, performs with the Atlantic Symphony, & is a founding member of the Fenway Quintet.

--Ryan Thulin ('01):  US Air Force Lt. Colonel.  Flew combat missions over Libya. Featured in a New York Times article about his missions.

-- Nick Stout ('01). Major, US Army. Serves in Afghanistan, esp. in roles to rebuild schools and cities.

--Jamie Milam ('02): Professional ice hockey player, currently playing for HK Nitra in Slovakia.

--Jason Moore ('02):  Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University.  Earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. at UM-Ann Arbor.

--Michael Daisley ('03):  Novi Police Department K-9 handler; awarded K-9 Handler of the Year with NPD.

--Victoria Neuville ('03):  Victoria is a pilot, a children’s author, and an advocate for rescue dogs.  She also runs the “Pixie Pilots” blog.  Look for her book Turbo the Flying Dog.

--Nate Recknagel ('04):  Nate played professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians organization.  He’s now a social worker for the NFL.

--Elizabeth Galvan ('04):  Professional percussionist; has won numerous national and international awards.

--Seth Troxler ('04):  Seth is a published musician, professional DJ, and restaurant owner.  He’s been ranked as one of the top 10 DJs in the world, and he’s been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine.

--Matt Zitzmann ('04):  Named to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of “brightest young entrepreneurs”. Matt is the co-founder and CEO of Kamcord, a mobile sharing and gaming company.

--Elizabeth Galvan ('04):  Elizabeth is a professional  percussionist. She has won numerous national and international awards, and she has been featured in countless performances and on multiple albums.

--Matt Engelbrecht ('04):  Matt is the Chief Meteorologist at WITN-TV in Greenville, North Carolina.  His collegiate days were spent at Valparaiso University.

-- Kojo Asiedu ('05):  Kojo lives in LA and is a commercial & film actor.  You’ll see him appear in some videos on “Funny or Die”. 

--Kevin Hoban ('05):  Kevin is a producer for the National Geographic Channel.  His recent productions include “The Great Human Race” and “Hunted”.  Kevin attended Northwestern University.

--Holli Finneran ('05):  Played soccer at Georgia Southern University.  Now a Doctor of Physical Therapy and competes in Ironman triathlons. 

--Caroline Steiger Harris ('05):  Assistant Professor of Music and head of the French Horn Studio at Texas State University.

--Kyle Upton ('06):  Kyle is a professional trumpet player in Chicago.

--Anthony and Sammy Taormina ('06):  Anthony and Sam are both involved in the LOHS Athletic Department in multiple roles.  Both graduated from Oakland University, with Anthony earning a degree in History and Sam a degree in Communications.  Anthony was also the OU Men's Basketball Manager.  Anthony and Sammy have tirelessly worked hard to advocate for students with autism, educating the staff and students of LOHS to promote acceptance and respect.

--Sebastian Harris ('06):  Professional soccer player, formerly of the Michigan Bucks, now with Detroit City FC in the National Premier Soccer League.

--Keri "Bean" Welborn ('06):  Author of two books, The Unforgettable Golf Cart Story and Guy After Guy, Where Is Right.  

-- Brandon Dosch ('07). Brandon rides BMX professionally. He won medals at the 2013 & 2014 ESPN X-Games.

--Brad Lawrence ('07):  Brad owns BLvisuals, the “pioneer in body marbling”.  He attended the College for Creative Studies.

-- Saxon Majeske ('07):  Founded “DJ Crashers”, a wedding entertainment company.  They’ve been named to the The Knot’s “Best of Weddings” list.

--Chris Ford ('07):  Chris is a Lighting Technician in Hollywood.  He worked as the Assistant Lighting Director on “Lady Bird”, which was nominated for 5 Oscars!  Chris attended MSU.

--Sarah Stiel ('07):  Flight attendant with United Airlines.

--Yvette Babich ('08):  Electrical engineer with DTE Energy.

--Jordan Wells ('08):  Works as a Military Legislative Assistant to US Senator Gary Peters.

--Angela McBride ('08):  Angela works for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Her credits include “Frozen”, “Big Hero 6”, and “Zootopia”.  She attended the College for Creative Studies.

--Rachel Kaltner ('08):  Employed as an Orthotics and Prosthetics Clinician at a leading O&P firm in Michigan.  Attended Oakland University and Eastern Michigan University, with her residency at the University of Michigan.

--Natalie Hengstebeck, Ph.D ('08).:  Postdoctoral fellow for the North Carolina Chapter of the Scholars Strategy network.  She is based at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.  Earned her Ph.D. in human development from the University of North Carolina.  

--Drew Maynard ('08):  Drew plays professional basketball for Brazil’s Team Minas. Drew played college basketball at Oakland University and Rochester College.

-- Jeff Heath ('09). Jeff plays for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Jeff played collegiate football at SVSU.

--Terry Sweeney ('09):  Terry is a member of Sandbox Percussion in NYC.  He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale School of Music.

2010s

--Jilian Linklater ('10):  Jilian is a professional songwriter and singer based in Nashville, TN. She has topped 5,000,000 listeners on Spotify.

--Jacob Ludwig ('10):  Performed undergraduate research at MSU in the development of cancer treatment.  Earned an MS in Chemistry from U-M, where he developed a carbon-carbon bond for an improved synthesis of molecules relevant to the petroleum, materials, agricultural, and pharmaceutical industries.

-- Devon Fasbinder ('10):  Devon is an anchor and the lead investigative reporter at KWCH-TV in Wichita, Kansas. She attended the University of Missouri.

--Ryan Wurst ('10):  MA from U-M in Aerospace Engineering while also playing on the Michigan drumline.  Employed by Aerojet Rocketdyne in Sacramento.  

--Laura Hessen ('10):  Laura is a producer for WJR 760 AM (Detroit), including the Paul W. Smith Show and the Guy Gordon Show.  Occasionally you’ll hear her on-the-air weekdays between 3:00-5:00 p.m.

--Adam Solarczyk ('11):  Adam is a Meteorologist at WANE-TV in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

--Alex Fine ('11):  Professional personal trainer who works with several celebrities. 

--Dr. Shelby Franklin ('11):  Shelby has degrees from GVSU and UM-Flint, she was a member of the first-ever Detroit Lions Cheerleaders squad, and she’s now a Physical Therapist.

--Shanna Dungan ('11):  Attended Brigham Young University, majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in French.  Employed by Goldman Sachs as a Credit Risk Analysis.  Passed the Foreign Service Officer test.  

--Melissa Case ('11):  Works as a registered nurse in the ICU department at St. Mary's Hospital in downtown Grand Rapids.

--Tyler Eschendal ('11):  Professional composer and percussionist.  Tyler's music has been performed at institutions across the U.S. including Indiana University, George Mason University, Boston University, and internationally at Soochow University in China. His compositions have also been showcased at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Giovani Vecchi Concert Series, UT Percussion Night, Nief-Norf Summer Festival, and Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SoSI) at Princeton University.

--Bridget Walton ('11):  Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant.

--Kathryn Havrilla ('12):  Kathryn is a News Producer at WAVY-TV in Virginia Beach. She was an anchor, director, and producer for “News Central 34” while at CMU.

-- Anthony Grupido ('13). “The Great Grupido” is a professional magician. He has appeared on FOX and NBC.

--Noah Dyer ('13):  Teacher and Director of West Bloomfield High School band programs.

-- Nick Deeg ('13):  Nick is a pitcher within the San Francisco Giants organization.  He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2013, and he played at Central Michigan.

-- Ana Cordera ('14):  Ana was named the state’s top broadcasting student during her senior year.  She then attended Northwestern University, and now she works for Facebook in NYC. 

--Bethany Kogut ('14):  Elementary Education major at MSU; co-founder and CEo of the first MSU-affiliated student-run business, Land Grant Foods.  

--Jaclyn Holmes ('16):  Professional musician with sister Jaclyn ('19). 

--Kristin Penrose ('17):  Kristin was crowned Miss Mid-Michigan 2018. She competed for Miss Michigan in June 2018.  Kristin attends Oakland University.

--Ian Gilmour ('18):  Student announcer for the Big Ten Network.  Journalism major at Michigan State University

Current LOHS Staff members

Athletic trainer Chelsea Hanning (2003), vocal coach Halie Watt (2003), auditorium manager Drew Fry (2004), Learning Support Specialist Lynne Kniess (1986), Athletic Director Chris Bell (1986), and teachers Jim Manzo (1988), Monty Gallaher (1989), Dave Whitaker (1990), Melissa McSweeney (1990), Roger Smith (1994), Cathy Srock (2002), Brooke Reichert (2005), Sam Rimi (2005), Vincent Booker (2010), Rebecca Booker (2010), Kaitlin Kogut (2010).

 

Current college students

-- Joe Dao, College for Creative Studies student wins Grand Prix post design competition

-- Megan Miller, Western Michigan student recognized for academic excellence in the Trailblazer Student Recognition program.

-- Chris Leigh, Hope College student named to the National Football Foundation Honor Society

-- Eric Smith, Kettering University student working on creating autonomous vehicles