2013 Alumni Award Recipients
Please check back for details on the 2014 Alumni Award Recipients.
Christian Leadership – Dan Meyer '74
The Christian Leadership Award is named in honor of Father Urban J. Stang, a former Elder Principal. It is awarded to a member of the Elder community who best exemplifies the Christian values upon which Elder High School is based. This year’s recipient is Dan Meyer, Elder Class of 1974.
The key element of Christian leadership is service to others, and Dan has exemplified this trait all of his adult life. While at Elder, Dan was part of the football program for four years and was selected for the Mr. Zip Award as a senior. Dan also was selected Honorable Mention on the Enquirer’s All-City football team. He achieved honor letters his first three years at Elder and at graduation received the Catholic Leadership Award. Dan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he had attended on a scholarship.
Dan had a successful career with consumer good companies like Procter & Gamble and Drackett before going out on his own to found Changing Paradigms, a supplier of various store brand products to Kroger and other retailers. At the same time, Dan found time to be part of the Elder Boosters, serving as the group’s President in the late-1980’s. At Our Lady of Visitation, Dan coached his daughter’s basketball teams, was a member of the Booster Board and parish council, and was a key player in the parish festival for three years. He was also on the Booster Board at St. Ursula Academy, serving as President in 2007-2008, and served on the school’s Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2010. For the past four years, Dan has served on the Board of Trustees at St. Vincent de Paul of Cincinnati.
In 2009, Dan started a company he named Nehemiah Manufacturing located in the West End. The company is named after the Old Testament prophet called by God to rebuild Jerusalem. The company’s mission is “building brands, creating jobs, changing lives,” and Dan’s goal is “profit with a purpose”. That purpose is to provide jobs for those who have had difficulty finding long-term employment. Nehemiah works closely with social service agencies to help people better themselves and find meaningful lives. Dan and the other members of the Nehemiah management team take a personal interest in the employees and work with them to reach bigger goals.
Nehemiah manufactures the Kandoo line of wet wipes under licensing from P&G and has a goal to employ several hundred people in the Cincinnati area.
Dan is a past recipient of the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award. He and his wife Deb have three daughters and live on the west side of town.
Spirit – Accepted by Principal Tom Otten '64 On Behalf of All Members of Elder High School Faculty and Staff
The Spirit Award is named in honor of Father Edward L. Rudemiller, alumnus of and longtime athletic director at Elder. It is awarded to a member of the Elder community who perpetuates the unselfish enthusiasm that is the Elder experience. In celebration of the school’s 90th anniversary, this year’s recipients are the past, present, and future members of the Elder High School Faculty and Staff.
The origins of our great school can be traced all the way back to 1912, when the Reverend John Schoenhoeft founded a two-year high school for the boys of St. Lawrence Parish. Just two Brothers of Mary were needed as instructors at the time. Two. However, since opening the doors at Vincent and Regina in 1922, over 665 faculty and staff members have had a profound effect on the lives of nearly 21,000 young men and women who have been lucky enough to call Elder High School their alma mater.
Charged with making men of boys (and early on, women of girls), faculty and staff members have employed various educational techniques while also teaching the ways of the Catholic Church and of Altiora, or rather “the higher things”. Their influence both in- and outside the classroom is immeasurable, but yet so noticeable in the lives and careers of the alumni who have moved on to the next stages of their lives, oftentimes crediting a high school teacher, priest, guidance counselor or staff member for why they are who they are or how they got to where they are today.
A good example of this would be Mr. John Ploehs, an alumnus from the class of 1968 and currently celebrating his 40th year teaching here at Elder, who often adopts and shares this memorable quote by Fr. Rudy, and that is: “Elder has done more for me than I have ever done for Elder.” Coming from the man who embodied the unselfish enthusiasm which this award recognizes, this is quite a testament to the spirit of Elder. But even Fr. Rudy would admit that it’s more than just pep rallies, sporting events, art competitions, or test-taking; it’s also the people in the classrooms and those affiliated with the school who help create “that purple thing” which so many people outside of these halls just don’t understand.
And so tonight, the Alumni Association recognizes and celebrates the past, present, and future men and women who make Elder, Elder; those who push others to not only become better students, but also better people – people who want to succeed; people who want to achieve Altiora; people who are proud to say, “I graduated from Elder High School.”
Athletic Excellence – Ron Krechting '68
The Athletic Excellence Award is named in honor of Walter “Babe” Bartlett, Elder coach of many different sports for 25 years from 1927-1953. It is awarded to a member of the Elder community who embraces the values of fair competition and whose tenacity and sacrifice have advanced the Elder athletic tradition. This year’s recipient is Ron Krechting, Elder Class of 1968.
The one word that best describes the athletic achievements of Ron Krechting is WOW! His accomplishments are legendary not only in one sport, but in three – football, basketball and baseball. Ron came to Elder from St. Teresa and as a freshman in the spring of 1965 set a freshman record in the high jump at 5’5”. He also had exceptional talent as a diver. There literally was not a sport at which Ron Krechting did not excel.
At Elder, Ron was part of the football program all four years, and most notably was the starting quarterback beginning in his sophomore year, a rare accomplishment at a major high school. In an era dominated by the running game, Ron threw for 3,543 yards and 30 TDs. His performance was rewarded by being selected 1st Team GCL, WCPO, Enquirer, Post-Time Star, and Southwest District.
In basketball, Ron was also a three-year varsity performer and scored 625 points. His senior year team finished with a record of 23-2 and was crowned District Champions. Ron was the leading scorer that year and was voted co-MVP. He achieved 2nd Team GCL and All-City honors as well.
Ron participated in baseball as well, where he was a plus-.300 hitter and had a 29-13 career pitching record, posting a 1.00 and 0.50 ERA in his junior and senior years respectively. The highlight of his senior year was a 4-0 no-hitter versus St. Xavier. Ron was co-captain of the team and selected 1st Team GCL at shortstop.
Ron pursued football on a scholarship at then-Division I University of Dayton where he started at quarterback the last 25 games of his career. For many years, he participated in amateur athletics in the Cincinnati area. In 2012, Ron was inducted into the LaRosa’s High School Sports Hall of Fame. He is now retired and lives in Delhi.
Professional – Bill Hemmer '83
The Professional Distinction Award is named in honor of Paul V. Stryker, a teacher at Elder for over 40 years. It is awarded to a member of the Elder community whose professional achievements foster superior performance in his peers as well as the men of Elder. This year’s recipient is Bill Hemmer, Elder Class of 1983.
Little could anyone have known that when Bill Hemmer interned as a radio disc jockey at WOXY-FM it would be the beginning of a career that would lead to a prominent national media presence.
Bill came to Elder from Our Lady of Victory and was very active primarily as a four-year member of student council and as a member of the football program for four years, winning the Mr. Zip Award as a senior. He was also involved with the Purple Quill, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and was a member of the National Honor Society as a senior. Bill went on to attend Miami University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications.
Bill began his post-college career with stints at several local TV stations and was WCPO’s weekend sports anchor. He took a yearlong hiatus to travel the world, and his journey was published as “Bill’s Excellent Adventure”. He then returned to Cincinnati for two years, working in broadcasting before accepting a position at CNN’s Atlanta office. In ten years at CNN, Bill hosted numerous programs including “CNN Tonight”, “CNN Early Edition”, and “CNN Live Today”. He often reported onsite from major news events like the 2000 Presidential election recount in Florida, the World Trade Center site after 9/11, mid-east tensions, and the death of Pope John Paul II.
In 2005, Bill joined Fox News and is currently co-hosting “America’s Newsroom”. He continues to be onsite for major news events like the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti and the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Bill has been the recipient of many awards and honors, including an Emmy Award in 1996.
In spite of being “offsite”, Bill still observes Purple Fridays during the school year by wearing a purple tie on the air.
Unfortunately, Bill’s schedule could not allow him to be with us this evening, but he has sent us a special “thank you” message from New York.
Andy Hemmer, Bill’s brother and an alumnus from the Class of 1982, accepted this award on behalf of Bill.
Cultural Enrichment – Bill Tonnis '78
The Cultural Enrichment Award is named in honor of Lee M. Trauth, longtime music teacher at Elder and composer of many of the Elder songs still used today. It is awarded to a member of the Elder community who has advanced the appreciation of culture in society. This year’s recipient is Bill Tonnis, Elder Class of 1978.
Bill Tonnis grew up on the westside of Cincinnati attending Our Lady of Victory grade school. After his four years at Elder, Bill attended Xavier University graduating in 1982 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and went on to have a 20+year radio news career primarily with WLW.
Though Bill enjoyed a long and successful career in radio with one of the broadcast giants in the Cincinnati market, he longed for something more. So he went back to school to earn a Masters in Religious and Pastoral Studies from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 2003 and he left his radio news career behind in 2007 to become a youth minister at Our Lady of the Visitation.
From his years as a student in Dave Allen’s glee club program here at Elder to the many years he sang in the St. William Choir, St. William Singers and Starlight Singers also under the direction of Dave, Bill has always loved music. Somewhere along the way, he picked up the guitar and honed his talents as a musician and composer and now in 2013, with 2 CD's and 6 years of ministry under his belt, Bill has begun recording his 3rd CD - Give Praise which is to be released in April of this year.
His current position as Pastoral Associate for Outreach at Our Lady of Visitation enables Bill to continue to do what he loves – to spread the healing and saving message of Jesus Christ in words and song.