Fifth Annual Knight of Distinguished Alumni

On May 26, 2022, members of the Norwin community and past graduates came together in celebration of the accomplishments of eleven Distinguished Norwin Alumni, one Distinguished Friend of Norwin, and our graduating NAFA Scholarship recipient.

The Norwin Alumni & Friends Association, together with the Norwin School District Community Foundation would like to thank the community for their support and a wonderful evening.

The 2022 Class of Distinguished Alumni

We are proud to announce that the following individuals have been selected for the 2022 Class of Distinguished Alumni.

Ronald Peduzzi
Mr. Ronald Peduzzi
Friend of Norwin (Posthumous)

Born in 1933 in Trafford, Pennsylvania, Ron Peduzzi formed half of the famed Peduzzi Twins duo. Together, he and his identical twin Rey conquered Trafford High School, Geneva College and the United States Marine Corps from which Ron retired as Colonel.

In 1958 Ron took a job teaching math at Norwin and began a lifelong commitment to the blue and gold culminating in twenty-five years as the Norwin High School principal. During his early tenure at Norwin, Ron was an assistant coach for the football and baseball teams. In 1960, he helped lead the baseball team to the WPIAL Championship. In 1971, Ron became the high school principal, a title he held – and treasured - until 1996. More than 15,000 students graduated under the watchful eye of Mr. Peduzzi.

The students’ welfare was always Ron’s first priority and in 2002, after several suicides at local schools, Ron helped start Norwin Contact, a crisis suicide prevention hotline. In addition, Ron also served as President of the Association of Secondary School Principals.

A fixture in the community, Ron regularly participated in the annual Memorial Day parade adorned in his Marine Corps uniform. He was a member of the Norwin Chamber of Commerce’s Year 2000 Committee and you could often spot him tending flowers on the Route 30 traffic islands. The Norwin Rotary Club recognized Ron for his distinguished community service with the Citizen of the Year Award.

Supporting Ron at home was his wife Carolyn and their daughters: Mary, Lauren and Anita. In everything he did, Ron lived out his motto, “First Class All the Way!”

Aaron R. Shedlock
Dr. Aaron R. Shedlock ‘03, M.D.
Distinguished Alum in Medicine

Aaron Shedlock graduated as valedictorian from Norwin Senior High School in 2003, and was also chosen as the graduating class’s “Most Outstanding Senior Male” and “Kenneth Tray Male Scholar Athlete”. While at Norwin, he was captain of the boys’ soccer team, a member of the WPIAL all-star team, and a finalist for the Westmoreland County Judge John J. Driscoll Scholar-Athlete Award. He then completed a double-major in chemistry and psychology at the University of Virginia (2007), a doctor of medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine (2011), and pediatric residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. (2014).

Along the way, Aaron was elected to the Echols Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, Gold Humanism, and Alpha Omega Alpha honor societies and was selected by his faculty and peers as the most outstanding pediatric resident physician. Focusing on medical education, his first academic appointment was at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) where he was chosen as residency “Educator of the Year” in 2016. Aaron eventually returned to Penn State Health Children’s Hospital as a general outpatient pediatrician in 2019 where he has been named a Top Educator in the Department of Pediatrics in 2020 and 2021.

He currently serves as pediatric residency program director overseeing the recruitment, education, and training of 48 pediatric resident physicians each year. He was recently elected co-chair of the Association of Pediatric Program Directors (APPD) Mid-Atlantic region in 2021, where he represents 16 pediatric residency programs across four states and the District of Columbia.

Daniel Medic
Dr. Daniel Medic ‘71, D.O.
Distinguished Alum in Medicine

Dr. Daniel Medic, Jr. is a practicing physician serving his North Huntingdon community for over thirty years. He grew up on a farm in Shafton where his parents stressed the importance of education.

He was inspired to pursue a career in medicine by an uncle, who was a family doctor.

After receiving the John B. Rodgers Scholarship during his high school senior year in 1971, the reality of becoming a doctor seemed possible. He graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. degree in Pre-Medicine. His education continued at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School in Developmental Biology. Prior to completing his degree, he was accepted to the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa. He completed his training by serving a one year internship at Des Moines General Hospital, and a two year Residency Program in Family Practice at McKeesport Hospital.

From there, Dan completed a three year Public Health Service commitment for the local community in Toledo, Iowa, and for the Meskwaki Native American Settlement. In addition, he was the Assistant County Coroner for Tama County, Iowa.

Since returning to his hometown in 1990 to begin his Family Practice career, he was involved with other opportunities which included serving as the Norwin School District physician for twenty-six years; Medical Director for two hospice organizations; Medical Director and Preceptor at UPMC McKeesport Family Medicine D.O. Residency Program; and Medical mission trips to Jamaica.

Over the years, Dr. Medic’s recognitions include Public Health Service Physician Award; Fellow American Academy of Family Physicians; Greensburg Tribune Review People’s Choice Awards for Best Family Doctor in North Huntingdon (Gold and Silver, and Regional Award Winner Family Doctor (Gold and Silver).

As Medic begins his transition towards retirement, he recently sold his private practice to the Excela Hospital System. Dan has been married to his wife Julie for thirty-seven years, and together they have raised three daughters, and recently became grandparents.

Doug W. Plank
Mr. Doug W. Plank ‘71
Distinguished Alum in Business/Sports

After graduating from Norwin, Douglas Plank was recruited by Ohio State University to play football, graduating with a BA in Sociology in 1975. Despite requiring knee surgery, Plank played five games in his senior year, and managed to get drafted based on what he accomplished in those five games. He played in three Rose Bowl games, was drafted in the NFL, and played eight seasons at defensive safety for the Chicago Bears, as well as playing for the USFL Chicago Blitz while simultaneously selling real estate, giving sports talks, and renovating residential homes in the Chicago area.

During his time in the NFL, he led the Bears in tackles several years including his rookie season - the first to do so in Bears history. Defensive coordinator “Buddy Ryan” created a defense with Doug as the middle linebacker, naming it the “46” Defense after his jersey. Although his football career was over in 1984, the Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985 using the “46” Defense. It is still regarded as the gold standard for dominating and impactful defenses along with the Pittsburgh Steel Curtain.

Plank’s achievements found him being voted as one of the top “100” Chicago Bears of all times, one of the top 10 scariest players in the NFL according to a former sports magazine, he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Norwin High School, Sports Hall of Fame for Western Pennsylvania, and NFL Gridiron Classics. He is on the Board of the Harris Poll, and is a member of the NFL Trust which helps NFL players make the transition from NFL careers to occupations outside football.

A National QSR franchisee, he has experience in the selling and acquisition of business and real estate transactions, mortgage financing, investment securities, residential contracting, and property entitlement. Doug has been an NFL national radio analyst for 15 years, coached in the Arena Football League, NCAA football at Ohio State University, and for the Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets. He is a public speaker providing sports talks to athletic teams, organizations, and crafting business solutions to companies interested in inspiring their workforce, and has operated Burger King restaurants for twenty-two years in Columbus, Ohio, Phoenix, Arizona, and Kansas City, Kansas.

Douglas Matty
Col. Douglas Matty ‘86, US Army
Distinguished Alum in Military Service

Dr. Douglas Matty serves as the Director of Army AI Capabilities at the Army Artificial Integration Center (AI2C) which was established under Army Futures Command in October 2020. The AI2C leads and integrates the Army artificial intelligence strategy and implementation plan, synchronizes key development efforts, and sets the foundations for operationalizing Artificial Intelligence within the Army Modernization Enterprise. The organization is based out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, leveraging the Pittsburgh ecosystem related to AI and robotics.

Dr. Matty, with more than 35 years of experience in advanced military technologies, held leadership positions in Test Technology Division (ATEC), Joint Requirements and Analysis Division (JS J-8) and Capability Development Group (USCYBERCOM).

His education includes BS in computer engineering (USMA), MS’s in applied mathematics (NPS) and National Securities Studies (USAWC), and PhD in Engineering Systems (MIT).

Halle Copeman née Siniawski
Ms. Halle Copeman née Siniawski ‘01
Distinguished Alum in Public Service

Halle Copeman is a proud Norwin graduate. Halle played softball for PAL and Norwin, participated in track, played basketball for NCAA, and served as the statistician for the Norwin High School boys’ basketball team.

Siniawski earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing/business from Penn State University. Working at S & T Bank as a Retail Sales Associate, she has received many Incredible Customer Experience Awards, and is ranked as one of the top five employees in her position. Known throughout the community as Moola Moola—the S&T’s Children Savings Account Mascot—she participates in the Light Up Norwin Parade, and visits elementary schools preparing financial literacy lessons for young children.

Believing “the greatest example of love is to serve others,” she has been a long-time volunteer with the Irwin Business and Professional Association (IBPA). She serves as a chairperson for the Annual Ladies Night, is a Board member of Tom’s Turkeys, a member of the Norwin Chamber of Commerce, a committee member for Back the Blue, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Wreaths Across America and the North Huntingdon FOP golf outings. She supports the American Red Cross, and serves as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army.

Her love for children is evidenced as she reads each year for Hahntown Elementary School’s Reading with the Stars event. A member of Brush Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church, she has served on Church Council, volunteered for Vacation Bible School, and chaperoned the youth to Camp Lutherlyn.

Siniawski loves and enjoys her community, cherishing the many opportunities to serve the community she calls home and exemplifying the true meaning of community service. Her unselfish gifts of time and expertise have enhanced the many organizations she has served, resulting in positive improvements within the Norwin Community and making it an awesome place to work, live, and learn. In her free time she loves camping, making special memories, and carrying on traditions, with her husband Mark and their children Kennedy and Hayden.

Lynn E. McCutcheon
Dr. Lynn E. McCutcheon ‘62, Ph.D.
Distinguished Alum in Science

Ellis McCutcheon graduated in 1962 where he was a varsity letterman in basketball. He was a psychology major at IUP, and later earned graduate degrees at Auburn University and Nova University. A psychology professor for 35 years, Dr. McCutcheon’s 140 scientific research articles have appeared in several prestigious psychology journals. He is currently ranked in the 87th percentile against scientists from all over the world by ResearchGate, a website that disseminates research in all scientific disciplines. His six books include one about the psychology of baseball players who played briefly in the Majors – a copy of which is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Another of his books chronicled the story of a Norwin student who was murdered and the subsequent investigation leading to a controversial conviction.

An amateur historian, he has written five pieces that were published in Westmoreland History, the most recent of which tells the story of the rise and demise of the summer playground program in Circleville, where he once served as a playground supervisor. In the 1980s, he became an accomplished long distance runner, making the national rankings in his age division at the marathon and the 50 mile run.

Dr. McCutcheon would go on to found the North American Journal of Psychology in 1999, a journal which is currently found in virtually every American university library. As editor, he has overseen the publication of over 2,000 articles, and has mentored or collaborated with more than a dozen young Ph.D.s around the world, including from England, Hungary and the Philippines.

Molly Hudson
Ms. Molly Hudson ‘88
2022 NAFA Scholarship Recipient

Molly Hudson is a graduating senior student-athlete at Norwin High School. Over the course of her high school career, Hudson has endeavored to make the most out of the opportunities offered by Norwin.

Ranked tenth out of four-hundred and three students in the 2022 graduating class, Hudson has pursued multiple honors and advanced placement classes during her high school career. At the same time, Hudson played soccer for all four years, including two years as a varsity defensive starter.

Hudson is the Vice President of the Class of 2022, and has worked with her fellow class officers to plan and execute events including the Homecoming Carnival, consignment sales, blood drives, prom, and graduation. She credits this work with helping develop a sense of leadership and experience that she’s applied to developing outside volunteer efforts including a Seniors to Seniors initiative in partnership with Redstone Highlands of North Huntingdon, an effort that was of particular importance to her.

Alongside those efforts, Hudson is a four-year member of the Peer Mentor and Buddy Club, which works to help foster an inclusive environment for all students, both those with and without disabilities. Whether it be bingo, Zoom workouts over quarantine, or blanket making, these experiences were an opportunity to help the community while bonding with friends.

Hudson plans to continue her education at Saint Vincent College, where she will study health science and education in pursuit of a career in education or speech pathology while also playing soccer.

Rachelle Dené Poth née Berquist
Ms. Rachelle Dené Poth née Berquist ‘89
Distinguished Alum in Education, Law, Technology

Rachelle Dené Poth is an edtech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, and teacher. Rachelle has taught French, Spanish and STEAM:Emerging Technology at Riverview High School in Oakmont since 1997. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor Degree from Duquesne University School of Law, a Master’s in Instructional Technology and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Technology.

Rachelle is an ISTE Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. She is past-president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and served on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network for five years. She received the ISTE Making IT Happen Award in 2019. She has three Presidential gold, two silver and a bronze award for more than 2,500 hours of volunteer service to education. She was named one of 30 K-12 IT Influencers for 2021. In 2017, Rachelle was selected as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT (the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications in Technology) and by the National School Board Association as one of “20 to Watch” educators.

Since 2019, Rachelle has written seven books. ‘Her newest book “Things I Wish […] Knew” includes the voices of 50 educators from around the world. She has also contributed to eight other books related to education. She presents regularly at state, national and international conferences and provides professional development and coaching for educators.

Rachelle is a columnist for Getting Smart, Defined Learning and NEO LMS. She hosts a podcast ThriveinEDU and ThriveinEDU Live and leads a community of educators on Facebook.

Sara K. Colosimo née Dvorsky
Ms. Sara K. Colosimo née Dvorsky ‘01
Distinguished Alum in Public Service

Once a Knight, always a Knight! Sara Colosimo has been a proud Norwin Knight since 1988. Sara feels that her educators played a hand in motivating her to become the person she is today. In addition to working hard in the classroom, she excelled on both the tennis and basketball teams, while also being involved in various clubs and organizations.

Colosimo attended Slippery Rock University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. While there, she played on the Women’s Division II Tennis team and served as the captain of the Women’s Ice Hockey Team. A member of honorary fraternities, she also traveled to Mexico City as a student teacher.

In 2007, she was hired as a teacher at Norwin, currently teaching full day Kindergarten at Hahntown Elementary School. This is where “The Christmas Family’’ tradition began in 2018 when she wanted to bring joy at Christmas time to a student and her family who were struggling. After asking for help on social media, an outpouring of support allowed her to buy the children gifts and give the “Christmas Mom” a check for $3,400. With a feeling of gratitude, Sara has continued “The Christmas Family”, seeing donations grow beyond the original goals and expectations - most recently receiving almost $10,000 in donations, multiple gifts and gift cards, and a 2019 Chevy Cruze.

She and her husband Andrew are the proud parents of three children: Francesca, Giada, and Giovanni.

Sean R. Mainwaring
Mr. Sean R. Mainwaring ‘05
Distinguished Alum in Education

Sean Mainwaring is a lifelong resident of the Norwin Community. He attended Norwin School District for grades K-12, where he was heavily involved in sports and activities. From academics, lettering in football and track to participating in Show Choir, Sean’s dedication to the Norwin School District started at an early age. After graduating from Norwin High School, Sean pursued an undergraduate degree at Clarion University, where he graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education.

Shortly after graduation, Sean was hired as a long-term substitute within the Norwin School District. The next school year, Sean was officially hired full-time as a fourth-grade teacher at Sheridan Terrace Elementary School, where he taught for the next 9 years. During 2015-2017, Sean then attended Delaware Valley University where he obtained his Masters of Educational Leadership and Principal Certification. A few short years later, he was assigned the Head Teacher position at Sheridan Terrace where he took on more administrative duties. He also supported the school district’s goal to assist students following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by serving as the Summer Academic Recovery Camp Coordinator. That same summer in 2021, Sean very excitedly applied for and ultimately took on the role of the Principal of Sheridan Terrace Elementary School.

Sean could not be more proud or honored to have the opportunity to work at his alma mater alongside the wonderful faculty and staff in the district as well as families and students in our community. Sean currently resides in the Norwin School District with his wife and their three daughters.

Terri Yost
Dr. Terri Yost ‘88, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC
Distinguished Alum in Education, Medicine, Military Service

Dr. Terri L. Yost is a 1988 graduate of Norwin High School. She began her career as a registered nurse at Latrobe Hospital before accepting a commission in the United States Army Nurse Corps. She served for over 20 years before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2016. Twice deployed to Iraq, Yost served as the Office in Charge of the Troop Medical Clinic and provided care to more than 10,000 service members, DoD civilians and coalition forces. She also deployed to Vietnam as part of a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency team to search for and retrieve the remains of military service members missing in action.

Academically, Yost earned a master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Virginia (UVA). Her scholarly honors include the Joan Lynaugh Award for Clinical Scholarship (2002) and the Carol Lindeman Award for a New Researcher (2012). She has developed questions for the ANCC FNP board certification exam, served as a working group member and co-author of DoD-level clinical practice guidelines and developed and taught workshops in evidence-based practice. Yost’s research includes the study of Qigong for military service personnel with chronic post-concussion syndrome, and cranial electrotherapy for restless legs syndrome.

Following her military career, Yost accepted a position as an Associate Professor at UVA where she currently teaches advanced practice nursing. She maintains her clinical practice as a volunteer FNP at the Greene Care Free Clinic in Virginia.

Thomas L. Hempel
Mr. Thomas L. Hempel ‘78
Distinguished Alum in Public Service

Tom Hempel attended Central Westmoreland Vocational Technical School for much of his high school years. His career began as an Industrial Sales Engineer for DoAll Corporation. Fulfilling a childhood desire to become a police officer, he enrolled part time in the Police Academy. After completing the Municipal Police Officers Education, he became a part time officer for the borough of Manor, and then a full-time officer in Pitcairn, while still working for the DoAll Corporation. Retiring as an officer in 1999, he joined Philips Respironics selling sleep and home respiratory products where a promotion gave him the state of North Carolina as his sales territory. Retiring due to health, he said, “I praise my Lord and Savior. He has truly blessed me. I give him all the glory!” Helping others gives him great enjoyment, and he lives by the philosophy “Thoughtful people hang with thoughtful people, good people hang with good people.”

Tom serves as CEO of his NON-PROFIT Organization “Tom’s Turkeys” which serves the Norwin area with ALDI gift cards for needy families so that no child will go to sleep hungry, is a member of the Norwin Chamber of Commerce, the Irwin Business and Professional Association, part of the “Back the Blue’’ event which honored the area’s two great Police Departments last year, and is spearheading a committee which is organizing the 1st Norwin Area First Responders event for June.

Having the true blessing of being married to the love of his life, Linda, for forty-one wonderful years, they enjoy spending time with their son Jason and his wife and two wonderful girls, Ryleigh Ann and Harlow Remi, and son Brian.

Thomas P. Shrump
Mr. Thomas P. Shrump ‘84
Distinguished Alum in Fine Arts (Posthumous)

Tom Shrump graduated from Norwin in 1984. After graduation, he attended the University of Pittsburgh. Upon graduation from Pitt, he worked for the H.J. Heinz Company for many years until eventually ending up as Director of Operations at Armada Supply Chain Solutions, a job that he loved.

Throughout his high school years, Tom was a tuba player for the Norwin Marching Band. He was also a member of the Norwin 1982 Grand National Champion marching band - an honor he was so proud of.

Tom married his wife Heather in 1993. They have two daughters, Rylee and Kassady, who are both graduates of Norwin. The Shrump family is very involved in the Norwin Band and Guard program. Rylee and Kassady were members of the colorguard program and Heather has been teaching the guard for over twenty years. Tom took on many roles during his time as a band parent, including Band Aides President for several years. He was instrumental in running the Norwin Band Festival, the WGI Pittsburgh Regional and the TRWEA show at Norwin. In addition, Tom was the TRWEA Executive Director for the past 5 years. Tom’s passion was the marching arts and the students who participated in them. His dedication and love for the arts was infectious as was his smile. You would rarely see Tom without a smile on his face.

Tom Shrump was a Norwin Knight through and through. He was the epitome of what Norwin stands for – Perseverance, Resilience and Positivity. Tom Shrump was #NorwinStrong.