Six people will be added to the Edgewood High School Hall of Fame during afternoon and evening ceremonies to be held at the school on Wednesday, June 5. The six will join 20 others inducted during the first two years of the program which honors alumni, former staff, and community supporters who have made extraordinary contributions to the school, to the community and in their professional lives.
The prospective Hall members will be inducted during an afternoon ceremony in the school auditorium and will then be honored as on-stage guests during the evening 2013 commencement ceremonies to be held in the school gymnasium. Plaques outlining their outstanding contributions will be added to the existing 20 on a central wall of the school.
"We are so proud, not only of these our newest Hall of Fame members and those who were selected before, but of the thousands of former students, staff members and community supporters who have helped make Edgewood High School the outstanding center for learning it continues to be," EHS Principal Larissa Santos said. "The individuals who appear on the Hall of Fame Wall serve as continuing role models for our current students, staff and the community."
The EHS Hall of Fame is a joint project of the school administration and the EHS Alumni Association. Helen Morrison, president of the association and a charter member of the Hall of Fame, said the program is an ideal way to bring the school's past and present together.
"Those of us who have been close to the school since its beginning in 1954 have seen it grow and change over the years, but remain a focus for the community it serves," Morrison, a member of the Class of 1961, the first to enter the new school as sixth graders, said. "There are so many deserving of recognition and we're happy to play a role in thanking those selected for their service and the honor they bring to our school."
Those to be inducted will receive awards from the school and the Alumni Association as well as from County and State legislators. During the ceremony, student ambassadors will describe the new Hall of Fame members' contributions while Power Point presentations depicting the various stages of their lives will be shown. Selected students, current Hall of Fame members, central office and Edgewood area administrators, families and friends of the inductees, invited Alumni, elected officials and representatives from the current staff are expected to attend the event which will be seen throughout the school on closed-circuit television. The ceremony will be shown later on the Harford Cable Network.
Later that evening, the honorees will join the EHS faculty in caps and gowns, processing into the gymnasium where they will be announced to those attending the Class of 2013 commencement.
More than 30 people were nominated for this year's Hall of Fame class. The six to be inducted were selected through a competitive process by a committee composed of alumni, representatives of the school administration, the community, the current student body and the five Hall of Fame members selected last year.
Those to be inducted this year include four alumni (one of whom was also a staff member) and two former staff members. Selected were: John C. Bowman, Class of 1960 and a Community Supporter; the late Rosellen Goodrich Richardson, Class of 1962 and a 25-year secretary at the school; Bonnie Morkosky Haden, Class of 1973 and a Community Supporter; Dr. Patricia Procell Wilkins, Class of 1975; James R. Murdza, retired Instrumental Music Teacher and Director of Bands; and Stephen R. Williams, former Counselor, Coach and Principal.
JOHN C. BOWMAN, Alumni/Community Service, Class of 1960 – A career police officer, John Bowman, 71, also served honorably in the Navy for five years and worked for the Bendix Radio Corporation for three years before becoming a Maryland State Trooper, serving for 27 years in a variety of road and leadership capacities, including as a crime investigator and as President of the Chesapeake Bay Division of the International Association for Identification.
After retiring from the State Police, Bowman served as a Department of Defense police Lieutenant for 10 years at Aberdeen Proving Ground, retiring in 2007. While with the State Police, he was an "unofficial" school resource officer, working with the local schools as a liaison with students before the program became a standard part of the Harford County Sheriff's Office and local police agencies. In high school, he played varsity football and attended Harford Junior College following graduation. Bowman served for more than 20 years as the "voice" of the Edgewood Rams, volunteering as a public address announcer at home football games. During this time, he obtained and then maintained coaches' headphones for more than two decades. Bowman was a founding member of the Edgewood High School Alumni Association and has been a key organizer of most Alumni Association events. He has been emcee for the first two EHS Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Bowman and his wife, Janet, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They have two children, Juanita Bowman Leders and James Bowman, both graduates of Edgewood High; four grandchildren, and twin great-grandchildren. Leders says her father is "a remarkable man who blesses everyone he meets," citing his service to a stage 4 cancer patient, and to retired Harford Sheriff, the late Ted Moyer, during Mr. Moyer's declining years. "He may not be able to give his community the gift of money, but he can offer the most precious gift of all – his time and willingness to help others."
BONNIE L. MORKOSKY HADEN, Alumni/Community Service, Class of 1973 – Bonnie Haden, 58, not only worked tirelessly with the Edgewood High School Booster Club while her three children attended the school, but also continues as the bulwark of the organization long after her children graduated. Professionally, since 1977, she has run a licensed home day care business in her home, earning various training certificates along the way. While a student, she began her record of service as an aide in the main office and nurse's office. She also worked on the school yearbook and the Miss EHS Pageant. A member of the Booster Club since 1992, Haden has served as its treasurer since 2000 and runs concession stands at inside and outside sporting events, averaging three times a week during the school year. In that role, she is responsible for taking inventory, shopping and ordering food. During the summer, Haden works at cleaning the concession stand and preparing it for the fall season. She orders tee-shirts, sweat shirts and school spirit items to be sold in support of the school athletic program. In the summer of 2011, she led the successful effort to have the Booster Club incorporated, obtaining a Federal ID number and a sales tax certificate. As treasurer, she counts money, records profits, pays bills and does all bookkeeping for the boosters; and has been the key resource in getting businesses to sponsor a variety of fundraisers that have been run by various sports teams.
Haden was instrumental in securing funding for scoreboards in the stadium and gymnasium. She has played an essential role in organizing six Class of 1973 reunions and is now a lead organizer for the group's 40th reunion. In addition to her service to the school, Haden was President of the Edgewood Parks & Recreation Fall soccer program for six years; has been committee chairperson for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life since 2000 (13 years); and has helped with fundraising mailings for the Heart Association and Autism Association for the past three years. Also, she is a life member of the Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary (joined in 1980); was secretary of the company's Auxiliary for seven years (1991-'97), and was president of the Auxiliary for six years (1998-2003). For the past seven years, she has been vice president of the Joppa/Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary; and has been a member of the Harford County Fire and EMS Association since 1998. Haden served as County Auxiliary Chaplain, Treasurer and Secretary and is the organization's Vice President. She and her husband of 38 years, Edward (EHS Class of 1973), met while he was a member of the school soccer team and she was an aide in the health room, caring for his injured ankle. They are parents to Chad, Curtis and Christopher, all of whom played sports and graduated from Edgewood High; and have four grandchildren.
JAMES R. MURDZA, Former Staff – Jim Murdza, 75, taught instrumental music at Edgewood High School for 25 years, building the school's program into one of the most respected on the East Coast. He began the jazz program at EHS as an after/before school activity which led to the addition of a jazz ensemble as a for-credit course at EHS and, eventually, throughout the county.
Murdza expanded the music program at EHS, offering courses in music theory, jazz improvisation, piano lab and concert/marching/jazz bands. He founded the EHS Chesapeake Jazz Festival, which drew participants from all over the East Coast, bringing national attention to the school. He took the school jazz ensemble to the International Jazz Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland in 1972 (one of four high schools to be invited); and twice took school bands to the All-American High School Jazz Festival in Mobile, Ala. Murdza initiated exchange programs with concert bands from other areas. He arranged for the EHS band to perform at local elementary schools and organized/facilitated the Band Parents Association to support funding for the bands' activities. Murdza inspired numerous students to become professional musicians/teachers. He wrote original music and scored arrangements for the EHS Jazz Ensemble/concert/marching bands as well as plotting original field drills for the marching band. When the county schools experienced budget cuts in the early 1980s, he arranged with the Edgewood Parks and Recreation Department to continue summer music. Murdza used his personal time to lead the EHS band in numerous community events. In addition, he was an assistant coach to the school's track and swimming programs. Murdza is active with the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Edgewood. An annual scholarship was established in his name by the EHS Music Department to honor an outstanding senior to continue in music studies. Murdza organized and continues to direct the annual Alumni Jazz Band Concert which brings together five decades of former EHS students to perform. Recently, he was awarded the Good Samaritan Citation by the Harford County Sheriff's Office for aiding a family stranded on the highway and was inducted into the Harford County Public School Educator Hall of Fame earlier this school year. He volunteered for five years with Meals on Wheels and was awarded the Archdiocesan Medal of Honor for service by the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2009. Murdza and his wife, Janice, have been married for 40 years. They have six children and four grandchildren.
ROSELLEN GOODRICH RICHARDSON, Alumni/Former Staff, Class of 1962 – Rosellen Richardson was an outstanding student at Edgewood High, a member of the National Honor Society and a consistent honor roll student as well as an active member of the drama department; who returned to the school a decade after her 1962 graduation to be a secretary for more than 25 years. Subsequently, she was named lead secretary in the school office, serving four principals until she was forced into retirement in 1997 by declining health.
While a staff member, she showed her love for students and staff by volunteering in many student events, including dramatic performances, carnivals, sporting events and many others. Marrying her high school sweetheart – John "Skip" Richardson, Class of 1961 – the couple had two sons, Scott and Todd, both of whom attended EHS and were active in school programs, including interscholastic sports. Mrs. Richardson was a member of the EHS Ram Booster Club and remained active in the organization even after her sons graduated. She preached the values of honesty, integrity and love of education in all aspects of life and was a valued member of the Edgewood community as well as having served her EHS Class of 1962 organizing reunions and other activities. She volunteered countless hours to the Lord of Life Lutheran Church where she taught Vacation Bible School for many summers. After her untimely death on New Year's Eve in 1999, her former colleagues formed the "Richardson Rams" Relay for Life team to benefit the American Cancer Society; and her former classmates organized an annual Rosellen Richardson Scholarship Fund to be awarded to the graduating EHS senior who best exemplified the qualities of loyalty and behind-the-scenes service that marked Mrs. Richardson's life.
DR. PATRICIA PROCELL WILKINS, Alumni, Class of 1975 – Patty Wilkins, 55, Associate Director of Laboratory Science/Supervisory Research Microbiologist for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga., demonstrated early her penchant for leadership, scholarship and service. A member of the National Honor Society, a four-year member of the school band, an active member of the Student Council and Varsity Club, she was also on the yearbook staff, was Varsity wrestling team manger and was a JV cheerleader. She graduated fourth in her class and earned a bachelor of science degree in microbiology at the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Wilkins conducts research to develop improved laboratory tools for diagnosis, surveillance and control/prevention of infectious diseases.
In 2005, she was presented the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service for her role as a member of the Anthrax Vaccine Research Team. In 2004, she received the DHHS Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service for extraordinary teamwork, productivity and scientific excellence to control the spread of SARS and monkey pox. Dr. Wilkins participates in "Success Saturdays" at Atlanta-area Title 9 middle schools (schools with high rates of children in poverty) by providing breakfast and lunch for students, who receive coaching to improve academic performance. She also serves in various local and international mission efforts, including The Kenya Project. Dr. Wilkins is a member of the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club which manages, maintains and protects the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Georgia. Dr. Wilkins and her husband, Tony, have been married for 24 years. They enjoy hiking, fishing and boating in the Florida Keys.
STEPHEN R. WILLIAMS, FORMER STAFF – Steve Williams, 66, had two stints of service at Edgewood High, serving first as school counselor and basketball/baseball coach (1973-'91) and then as principal (1999-2001). While a counselor, he often met in late afternoons/evenings with parents who needed that flexibility because of their work schedules. In 1977, he secured state funding and established the first Career Resource Center in Harford County Public Schools, offering an integrated series of materials to guide students/parents in the choice of careers.
Williams established a ski club at the school, receiving financial support to take students on bus trips six Wednesdays during the winter season. He was assistant varsity boys basketball coach from 1973-77 during which EHS won a state title and finished second and third in the state on two other occasions. He was assistant baseball coach and head JV baseball coach from 1974-81, taking over as head varsity coach from 1981 to 1991, piloting Edgewood to the state title in his first year at the helm. He was twice named Baltimore Metro Coach of the Year (1981/1990) and had a career 107-57 (.652) winning percentage. Williams used his "people skills" to guide students through difficult situations as counselor/coach/administrator, receiving several commendations from area health/human agencies for his contributions to student success. As a "ham" radio operator since 1971, Williams has been involved with the Harford County Emergency Services since 1973, often providing communication assistance during times of crisis. He also holds a private pilot's license and was president of the Havre de Grace Rotary Club for two years. Williams and his wife, Cynthia, have been married 12 years. They have four daughters and five grandchildren.
Those interested in nominating someone for consideration during the 2014 cycle may do so by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org to request a form. Nominations are due by Feb. 28, 2014.