Edgewood High to induct six new members into Hall of Fame on Oct. 4
Sep 30, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Six new members - five alumni and one former staff member - will be inducted Oct. 4 into the Edgewood High School Hall of Fame.
The event will feature a day-long series of activities on Homecoming Day honoring the six inductees who will join the 62 individuals and one family inducted during the first eight years of the program.
The activities will begin with a morning induction ceremony, followed by tours of the Edgewood High building, a luncheon honoring all Hall of Fame members, introduction of 2019 HOF members at the school’s fall pep rally, participation of the new inductees in the Homecoming Parade, “tailgate” activities sponsored by the EHS Alumni Association, and concluding with introduction of all Hall of Famers present prior to that night’s homecoming football game versus Havre de Grace.
This year’s inductees are alumni – Alfred D. ‘Al’ Calabria (Class of 1965), Gina Austin Abate (Class of 1973), Raymond W. “Chick” Hamm Jr. (Class of 1978), Patrick A. “Pat” Pollard (Class of 1983) and John Schaech (Class of 1987); along with Joseph A. “Joe” Schmitz, former EHS teacher, assistant principal and principal.
Sponsored jointly by the Edgewood High School Administration and the EHS Alumni Association, the EHS HOF includes alumni, former staff and community supporters.
“The Hall of Fame is an ideal partnership between the school and the community it serves,” Edgewood High Principal Kilo C. Mack said. “As a school, we are so proud of each of those who have been inducted over the past eight years; and the six that will be inducted this year provide additional outstanding role models for our students, staff and the community.”
The quality of the 2019 inductees, their achievements and their service to the communities they represent “is striking,” he said.
“From a former staff member who gave up a career in law to be a teacher and later an administrator, to alumni who left Edgewood High to make their mark in the military, in business, in the academic world and on stage and screen – these are remarkable people,” the third-year EHS principal said.
Chosen by vote of members of the Hall of Fame and by a committee composed of school administrators, alumni, the community and student leaders, this year’s six honorees were selected from among the 34 who had been nominated.
Plaques honoring the six new inductees will be added to those depicting existing members on the Hall of Fame wall in the school’s main lobby. The inductees will be introduced by student leaders during the morning ceremony to be held in the school auditorium while a series of photos displayed on the large screen above the stage will show them in various stages of their lives. The new Hall of Famers will receive awards from government leaders, the Alumni Association, school officials and the community.
“The EHS Alumni Association is thrilled to partner with our alma mater to both honor those who have accomplished so much and given back so freely, and to provide examples to the current generation of the outstanding individuals who have been associated with the school in the 65 years it has existed,” Helen E. Morrison, president of the EHS Alumni Association, a member of the EHS Class of 1961 and a charter Hall of Fame honoree, said. “Having the 2019 Hall of Fame induction ceremony and related activities on Homecoming Day is the perfect occasion to honor these remarkable alumni and the former staff member.”
EHS Hall of Fame Class of 2019 prospective members include:
Alfred D. 'Al’ Calabria, Class of ’65
Calabria parlayed an outstanding record as a student-athlete at Edgewood High and Drexel University into a vocational career, where he was in executive management at four major multi-national companies. Along the way, he was involved in a variety of volunteer work with community, church and charitable organizations.
At EHS, he was president of the National Honor Society and the junior class and was chosen to attend the University of Bridgeport to study physics between his junior and senior years on scholarship from the National Science Foundation.
Calabria played varsity baseball, football and basketball. He was a member of the first Harford All-Star baseball team; and was awarded the National Football Foundation & Hall of Fame award as a senior, representing EHS at the state convocation.
At Drexel, Calabria earned a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and played varsity baseball and served as class president for four years. He subsequently earned a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
From 1990 through 2012 he was a senior leader with major corporations in the United States and abroad, earning prestigious achievement awards for himself and the companies for which he worked. He also spent six years as a strategy consultant to Fortune 500 and other for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
Calabria has served as adjunct professor of leadership and management at Miami University (Ohio) and the University of Houston. Among his charitable associations, he has worked with the American Cancer Society, Junior Achievement and Meals on Wheels and is active in church leadership and youth and high school sports in Houston and Oregon. In semi-retirement, Calabria has become more involved with non-profit boards and public service including city government at his Lake Oswego, Ore., home. Calabria, 71, and his wife of 48 years, Cyndi, have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Gina Austin Abate, Class of ’73
Recently named one of “Maryland’s Most Influential,” “Most Admired CEOs” and “Woman of Influence” by respected regional publications in recognition of her vision and leadership in the field of cybersecurity, Abate continues a career that has her at the top of her field nationally.
She began her record of achievement at Edgewood High, where she was a “Top Ten Senior,” member of the National Honor Society and standout field hockey player and senior class vice president. She earned a pre-law/history/political science bachelor of arts from Texas Lutheran University and a paralegal Masters Certification from Southwest Texas State University.
She served 20 years in the Department of Veterans Affairs, rising to director of management support staff where she led the activities of two central data processing centers and three system development centers.
Abate then spent 15 years as vice president/senior vice president with private firms offering business consulting and software services to federal government clients, before joining Edwards Performance Solutions in 2013, where she has progressed from senior vice president and president to her current position of CEO. Setting overall company strategy and direction, she has led the firm to an 83 percent revenue growth, and the company has been honored during the past four years as a “top workplace.” It also received the Business Philanthropy Award.
Serving on the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. board, where she has been chairperson since January 2018, Abate championed the Cybersecurity Incentive Tax Credit Bill (SB228) – signed into law by Gov. Hogan in May 2018 – which makes Maryland the first state to give incentives to businesses to purchase cybersecurity protections locally and investors to invest in Maryland cybersecurity companies. She recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, urging legislators to implement security incentives nationwide.
Abate partners with local colleges and tech councils to encourage aspiring students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. Among her support of several foundations/churches is her work with the Trinity Lutheran School and Child Care Center in Joppa. She and her husband, Darrell, have two grown sons and five grandchildren.
Raymond W. ‘Chick’ Hamm Jr., Class of 1978
Hamm, 58, has been in the banking industry for 42 years, serving as executive vice president and market leader for PNC Bank.
A consistent honor student and member of the National Honor Society while a student at Edgewood High, he played basketball and golf and was in the chorus, vocal jazz ensemble and a school musical. Hamm did not miss single day of school from first grade through his high school graduation and as a senior, he was awarded a Maryland State Senatorial Scholarship.
Hamm earned a cum laude bachelor of arts and a master’s from Loyola College. He began his career in banking as a summer employee after his sophomore year in high school, rising through the ranks to become a director, president and CEO of Mercantile County Bank, where he managed a community bank with assets of more than $1 billion.
Hamm has led many system-wide projects, often recognized for growth in market share, solid financial performance, excellent regulatory compliance and exceptional corporate citizenship. He and his wife, Anne, have been active as coaches and key supporters of the Challenger League in Cecil County, providing sports opportunities for children with emotional/physical challenges. He has also coached his children in organized sports leagues.
Hamm has been an active leader in dozens of governmental, school and volunteer organizations including the Susquehanna Workforce Network, Maryland’s Tomorrow (anti-dropout program), the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission, Del-Mar-VA Boy Scouts of America, Cecil County Public Library Foundation, Cecil County Paramedic Foundation, Cecil County Economic Development Commission, YMCA of Cecil County and many others. Hamm is a Trustee of Cecil College and chairman of the board of Union Hospital in Elkton. He was also an instructor in the Edgewood High School Junior Achievement program. He and Anne have two children and a granddaughter.
Patrick 'Pat’ Pollard, Class of 1983
Pollard compiled one of Edgewood High’s all-time top student-athlete records, then served his country as a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He earned qualification from the U.S. Army Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault Schools and ultimately achieved the rank of captain.
Since leaving the military, he has put together a sterling career as a leader in the field of financial services and as a community activist for more than a quarter century.
At Edgewood High, he graduated fifth in his class with a 3.9 GPA, earning membership in the National Honor Society. He was a three-year starter at quarterback on the Ram varsity football team during which the school compiled a 24-5 record. As a sophomore, he led the county in passing and took the team to a county championship. As a senior, he led the Rams to the only undefeated football season in the 64-year history of the program. Pollard was named All-County and first team All-Metro, receiving the Eastern Region National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award for the Baltimore Football Chapter.
He was a three-year letterman in varsity baseball and was a member of the 1981 Ram state championship team, earning second-team All-County recognition as a senior.
In the military, Pollard served primarily as a fire support officer in the 101st Airborne Division. He is now senior vice president at Merrill Lynch in Bel Air and has been senior resident director at the office since 2002.
Pollard is on the board of the Edgewood High Academy of Finance and is a founding member of the “Rams4Others” Community Foundation, which raises money to benefit worthwhile causes in the Edgewood area. In addition, he is a member of the Bel Air Rotary Club, has been chairman of the Greater Harford Committee since 2014 and is on the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation. Pollard, 54, and his wife of 25 years, Kristin, have two sons and a daughter.
John Schaech, Class of 1987
Schaech has appeared in more than 160 Hollywood productions, highlighted by as being the lead singer of The Wonders in Tom Hanks’ directorial debut in “That Thing You Do." Most recently, he appeared in Showtime’s’ Ray Donovan, Chicago PD, BlueBloods and DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” as comic book legend Jonah Hex.
Schaech has teamed with his childhood friend and EHS Hall of Fame member Richard Chizmar to write numerous screenplays and TV scripts including Showtime’s “Master of Horror” series. He is directing and producing a documentary with Mark Wahlberg about Rick Dempsey’s Little League “bank robbing” coach.
While at Edgewood High, Schaech was a founding member of the school’s Arts Club and a member of the varsity lacrosse team. He attended the University of Maryland/Baltimore County, where he took one acting class that led him to his career in film and television. He has studied acting under the renowned Roy London in Los Angeles at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England and the Actors Studio in New York.
Schaech has spoken to Congress about the cognitive importance of keeping arts in the public schools and helped launch the non-profit “Adopt the Arts” organization along with Guns and Roses drummer Matt Sorum. Schaech is an outspoken sexual abuse survivor, a leader in the #Me Too and TimesUp movements and a spokesman for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Schaech was the Edgewood High commencement speaker in 2000 and was emcee for the inaugural of the new EHS athletic stadium on Sept. 3, 2010. Among the local causes he has supported is the “Homeruns for the Homeless,” which raises more than $20,000 annually to support homeless families in the Route 40 corridor of Harford County. Schaech lives in Nashville with his wife, Julie Solomon. They have a 5-year-old son, Camden.
Joseph A. ‘Joe’ Schmitz, former staff
Schmitz left a successful career as an attorney to become a teacher, landing a position in 1992 at Edgewood High, where he was a highly respected social studies teacher and speech/debate and mock trial teams sponsor or co-sponsor. Under his leadership, the mock trial team reached heights in the state tournament they had not previously achieved. He also supervised four student teachers and was an original member of the School-Based Instructional Decision team.
His success in those areas led to being named an assistant principal at the school and then principal, serving in the latter role for six years, bringing stability to a position which had seen a turnover of four principals in the previous eight years. Schmitz is the only person to have served in all three capacities at EHS, spending 15 years at the school.
While principal, he supported the newly founded Academy of Finance and worked for the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program. Before his reassignment to be principal at Fallston High School in 2007, he was involved with the planning for the new EHS building which opened in 2010. Schmitz was subsequently promoted to the position of executive director of secondary education, overseeing all 19 of the Harford County public middle and high schools - he retired in July.
As an educator, he became interested in scripture study, leading to his commitment to prison ministry. As part of his faith, he has begun a master of arts in catechesis and evangelization with hopes of moving into a role in faith formation at the parish level. A graduate of UMBC, Schmitz received his JD from the University of Maryland Law School in 1984 and later completed graduate studies in connection with his role as an educator. He is an enthusiastic painter of land and seascapes. Schmitz, 62, and his wife of 38 years, Katie, have three grown children.