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Three former staff, four alumni to join 57 Edgewood High Hall of Famers on Homecoming Day

The seven new members who will be inducted into the Edgewood High School Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 5 during the school’s homecoming were announced recently.

A day-long series of activities for the seven, who will join 57 inducted during the first seven years of the program, will begin with a morning induction ceremony and be followed by tours of the Edgewood High building, a luncheon honoring existing and newly inducted members, introduction of HOF members at the school’s fall pep rally, participation by the new inductees in the homecoming parade, tailgate activities sponsored by the Alumni Association and introduction of all hall of famers prior to that night’s homecoming football game against North Harford High.

Sponsored jointly by Edgewood High School and the EHS Alumni Association, the Hall of Fame this year will feature the induction of three former staff members – one of whom is also an alumnus – and four alumni, bringing to 64 those who will have been enshrined since the program began in 2011.

Due to be inducted are alumni – Dr. Kenny W. Messman (Class of 1961); Frank C. Ogens (Class of 1967), Robert G. Bruch Sr. (Class of 1967/former staff), Linda A. (Foster) Dousa (Class of 1976) and Richard Chizmar (Class of 1983); and former staff – Frank P. Mezzanotte and Marva Ringgold Choates.

“The Hall of Fame is an ideal partnership between the school and the community it serves,” EHS Principal Kilo C. Mack said. “The quality of those individuals who have been inducted in the past seven years, along with the seven to be added this year, provides a series of prime examples to our students, staff and community of the greatness that has been associated with Edgewood High School through the years.”

Mack added that, as impressed as he is with the achievements of the prospective inductees, he was even more struck by their selfless contributions.

“From a doctor who spent a quarter century as a missionary serving impoverished people while his own life was in danger, to a successful businessman who gave up his lucrative career to teach and coach high school students, to a record setting emergency medical technician, to a best selling author who never forgot his home community, to a trio of teachers who became legends for their ‘tough love’ and excellence in the classroom, athletic fields and musical venues at our school — they all have shown what it’s like to live to serve,” the second-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 seven honorees were selected from among 35 who had been nominated.

Plaques honoring the seven new inductees will be added to those depicting existing members on the Hall of Fame wall in the school’s main lobby. The prospective inductees will be introduced by student leaders during the morning ceremony to be held in the school auditorium while slide shows outlining their lives are shown on the large screen above the stage. The new Hall of Famers will receive awards from government leaders, the Alumni Association, school officials and the community.

“The EHS Alumni Association is delighted to partner with our alma mater to both honor those who have accomplished so much and given back so freely, and to provide role models for the current generation,” Helen E. Morrison, president of the EHS Alumni Association, a member of the Class of 1961 and a Charter Hall of Fame honoree, said. “We are excited about the induction ceremony and related activities taking place on the 2018 Homecoming Day – an ideal occasion to honor these outstanding alumni and former staff members.”

The first seven Hall of Fame induction ceremonies had taken place on the school’s commencement day when graduations were held in the EHS gymnasium. With the 2018 EHS commencement moved to Harford Community College, the decision was made to shift the induction to homecoming this year and in subsequent years.

EHS Hall of Fame Class of 2018 prospective members include:

Dr. Kenny W. Messman, Class of 1961

Messman, 75, spent 23 years – from 1971 through 1994 — as a medical missionary with the Batonga Christian Mission in Southeast Africa, providing vital medical services to impoverished area residents. He earned his pilot’s license and flew into remote areas bringing not only health care but the Christian message of hope to those he served, logging more than 4,000 air hours distributing food to remote villages. During the 10-year Rhodesian/Zimbabwe civil war, Messman provided medical care to both rebels and government forces, enduring indescribable personal hardship and danger during the conflict. As a student at Edgewood High, he was Student Council President during his senior year, was a member of the National Honor Society, received the Outstanding Student Award and lettered in basketball. He earned his bachelor of arts in religion in 1965 from Milligan College, where he was valedictorian and was ordained as a minister. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1969, earning his medical doctor degree, studied abroad for six months and did his residency in general medicine before signing on to be a missionary. In Rhodesia, he served as general medical officer of a 51-bed hospital in Zambezi Valley, his work including general surgery, 4,000 cataract surgeries and supervision outreach at well-baby clinics. In post-war Zimbabwe, he helped the remote Batonga tribe gain political recognition, recruited doctors to serve the Batonga people and solicited assistance from charitable organizations to upgrade dental and ophthalmological services there. His work was recognized by CBS Evening News and People Magazine. After returning to the U.S., he was a physician in Lemoyne Family Practice and with Kaiser Permanente, retiring in 2014. Messman is in the final stages of writing a book about his missionary work with the title, “All Things to All People – Physician, Preacher, Pilot, Dentist & Linguist.” He has four children and one grandchild.

Frank C. Ogens, Class of 1967

Ogens, 69, was a standout student-athlete at Edgewood High and, later, at Washington College. At EHS he was captain and MVP of the 1967 varsity basketball team, earning All-Metro Honorable Mention and All County first team honors that year, after having helped the 1965-66 Rams to their first ever state tournament appearance. He also lettered in track, football and baseball, earning the Best All Around Athlete award in his senior year. In addition, he was president of the school’s National Honor Society chapter. At Washington College, he was the only student-athlete in school history to receive four varsity letters in one academic year; earning conference all star status in baseball and soccer. In recognition of his extraordinary athletic achievements, he was named to the Washington College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. After college, for more than 20 years, Ogens was successful in a series of business ventures, but felt the call to change careers, earning his teaching certification and becoming a business and law teacher at Kent County High School, where he was named Fannie Mae New Teacher of the Year and Kent County “Technology Using Teacher of the Year.” In addition, after inaugurating girls soccer at the school, he was named Bayside Conference Coach of the Year. Ogens was a supervising teacher for student teachers of business and School-to-Work coordinator, retiring seven years ago after 15 years in the classroom. He continued working with youngsters as the head varsity girls soccer coach at the Gunston School, a private high school in Centreville, earning recognition as ESIAC Coach of the Year. He has served as president of his community association, president of the Kent Island Youth Soccer League, president of the Stevensville Middle School PTA and president of the Symphony Village Advisory Board. He was elected to the Centreville Town Council twice and was its president for three years; and was president of the Eastern Shore Association of Municipalities, as well as Centreville’s representative on the Queen Anne’s County Council of Governments. Ogens has been married for 48 years to his high school sweetheart, Pam Oakley Ogens (EHS Class of 1967). The couple has two grown children and two grandchildren.

Robert G. Bruch Sr., Class of 1967

Bruch, 69, was a standout student-musician at Edgewood High who returned to teach the subject in the Harford County Public Schools for 36 years, 30 of those years in the Edgewood area, including 16 at his alma mater. A student leader of the Concert, Marching and Stage Bands all four years at EHS, he was a member of the Band Council and president of the organization in his senior year. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and was chosen as one of the top five graduating seniors in 1967. Bruch was an award-winning student-musician at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned his undergraduate degree from its College Conservatory of Music, later receiving a master’s from Towson State University. He began his employment in 1968 as a freelance trombonist, a vocation he continued through 2010, performing at some of the area’s top music venues, teaming with a number of the country’s leading jazz, comedy and R&B artists. In 1975, he joined the Harford school system where he was band director, at various times, for seven schools in the county, returning for a second stint at Edgewood High as teacher and jazz band director for the last six years of his career prior to retiring in 2011. While at EHS, Bruch initiated the Percussion Ensemble, Summer Band Camp and Pep Bands, in addition to leading the band in performances for athletic events, community parades, band showcases and at community events such as the Edgewood Area/APG Memorial Day Services. He was Music Department Chair and a member of numerous school/school system committees while assisting in EHS musicals from 1987-2011 in leading orchestra pit performances. Bruch taught private music lessons for more than 40 years and was interim director of the Bel Air Community Band in 1994-95; in addition to organizing, rehearsing and performing/conducting the Edgewood High Alumni Jazz Band programs in 2010/11. Bruch and his high school sweetheart, Gloria Montgomery Bruch (EHS Class of ’67), have been married for 46 years and have two children, “Rob” Bruch Jr. (EHS Class of ’95) and Sarah Bruch Dang (EHS Class of ’93), who taught music in Edgewood schools for 10 years before leaving to be a stay-at-home mother to the couple’s two children.

Linda A. (Foster) Dousa, Class of 1976

Dousa has spent much of her adult life in service to her community as one of the county’s first female firefighters and as a volunteer emergency medical services (EMS) provider. While a student at EHS, she was a two-year member of the National Honor Society and the yearbook staff. She was a President’s List graduate of Harford Community College, earning an AA degree with honors; and, in 1980, became a nationally registered histology technician. She worked in the histology departments at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Harford Memorial Hospital for 19 years until retiring from her “paying” job, but continues a 40-year dedication as a record-breaking EMS provider. Dousa joined Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company in 1978, completing her emergency medical technician/ambulance training and becoming a licensed Maryland Cardiac Rescue Technician. She has been an EMS officer for 19 years, serving as EMS assistant chief for 15 of those years; and was Abingdon fire company’s top EMS responder for 14 years while ranking in the top five responders for 26 years. She has responded to more than 10,000 EMS calls during her four decades as a volunteer. In 2002, she set the Abingdon fire company top responder record with 731 EMS calls. Dousa has served on numerous county level committees and has chaired the Harford County EMS Committee for more than 16 years while serving as an instructor and preceptor for county students. She is secretary of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association EMS Committee and sits on the State EMS Advisory Council. Among the fire service awards she has received is the Maryland State Fireman’s Association Josiah A. Hunt M.D. EMS Person of the Year Award in 2002 (Maryland’s highest award for an EMS provider); as well as recognition for outstanding service in a heroic fire rescue. In 2009, she was inducted into the Maryland State Fireman’s Association Hall of Fame and was named Paramedic of the Year by VFW Post 5337. In addition, Linda and her husband, Bill, were recognized as “Super Volunteers” in the April 1998 issue of Baltimore Magazine. In 2003, she became the first female life member of the Abingdon fire company. Dousa also has been an active parishioner of the Prince of Peace Catholic Church since its inception, serving as greeter, extraordinary minister of the eucharist and as a member of the Parish Council.

Richard Chizmar, Class of 1983

Chizmar, 52, is one of the world’s best known producers of horror-fiction journalism and film. The founder and owner of Cemetery Dance Publications in Forest Hill, he has won the Horror Writers Association’s Board of Trustees award, two World Fantasy Awards, four International Horror Guild Awards and the Bram Stoker Award. Chizmar’s story began at Edgewood High, where he was a member of the 1983 Ram state champion lacrosse team, garnering the Most Improved Player award. He was also a member of the National Honor Society. He played college lacrosse at Essex Community College, where he was named an All American before transferring to the University of Maryland/Baltimore County, serving as sports editor of the UMBC newspaper. Transferring to the University of Maryland/College Park, Chizmar majored in journalism while developing his interest in horror fiction stories. In 1988, he published the first edition of Cemetery Dance magazine, considered America’s longest running independent horror-themed magazine, still in publication today. Through his Cemetery Dance Publications business, Chizmar has edited and published for some of the world’s top horror fiction writers. He co-founded Chesapeake Films with fellow EHS grad Jonathon Schaech, writing screenplays for national television studios. He is a New York Times bestselling author, most recently writing A Long December, Widow’s Point (co-authored with his son, Billy, and soon to be a feature film) and Gwendy’s Button Box (co-authored with Stephen King). He has continued his devotion to Edgewood High as a consistent speaker and mentor to classes and individual students. In addition, he established the William V. Chizmar Memorial Scholarship, in honor of his late father. The $5,000 grant is presented annually to an Edgewood High graduate. In each of his films, Chizmar includes a reference to “Edgewood.” He volunteers his time as a youth lacrosse, basketball and soccer coach. Chizmar and his wife, Kara, have been married for 27 years and have two sons.

Frank P. Mezzanotte, former staff

Mezzanotte, 67, earned “legendary” status as the intense Edgewood High varsity lacrosse coach from 1978-1990, his teams winning six county championships while making four appearances in the state finals, winning three state titles during those 12 years. He was named Metro Lacrosse Coach of the Year in 1983. Mezzanotte was also a Rams assistant football coach. After four years as a physical education teacher at Magnolia Elementary School, he taught PE and health at EHS, where he was also the school’s “Maryland’s Tomorrow” (anti-dropout) program director. In 1990, he brought a men’s lacrosse program to Harford Community College and, after just three years, led the Owls to a berth in the Junior College National Championship game. He was named JUCO College Coach of the Year in 1994. The native of West Islip, N.Y., worked in the Harford County Public Schools for 40 years, serving in various administrative roles after leaving Edgewood High including assistant principal, supervisor of transportation, supervisor of career and technology education and coordinator of magnet programs prior to his retirement in 2013. In recognition of his groundbreaking work with magnet programs, he was honored with the “Change Agent Award.” After retiring from the school system, he was general manager at the Arena Club and head varsity lacrosse coach at John Carroll School. An outstanding high school and college athlete, Mezzanotte is a member of the West Islip High School and Towson University Athletic Halls of Fame. And, in 2012, he was inducted into the Maryland State Lacrosse Coaches Association Hall of Fame. At Towson, he was an All-American lacrosse player and member of the football team, earning a bachelor of science degree and, later, a master’s of school administration from Central Michigan University. Mezzanotte and his wife, Renie, together have four children and three grandchildren.

Marva Ringgold Choates, former staff

Choates, 75, spent all 37 years of her career as an educator – 1967 to 2004 – at Edgewood High School, serving as a business education teacher for 30 years before spending her final seven years as an assistant principal. During her time at Edgewood High, she worked with the first nine of the school’s principals. A native of York, Pa., Choates grew up one of six siblings in Harford County, graduating from the segregated Central Consolidated High School in Hickory, where she was involved in a number of school and extra-curricular activities, including cheerleading, chorus, band and several school clubs. Choates received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and, immediately after graduation, started her career at EHS. While at the school, she sponsored the Future Business Leaders of America and was a board member for the newly formed Academy of Finance. She exerted a unifying influence at Edgewood High, arriving just two years after total integration had been achieved. Choates was a key supporter of the Black Youth in Action (BYA) organization, which helped develop minority girls into mature and poised young women. For 25 years, she coached the EHS girls track team, leading them to several county and state championships. She also coached volleyball and cross country. Despite her busy schedule, Choates extended her influence with young people by teaching evening classes at Harford Community College and GED classes at her church. She earned her master’s degree from Morgan State University. Choates developed a reputation as a demanding yet caring teacher, holding her students to a high standard, an attitude she carried with her as assistant principal, requiring students “toe the line” while maturing into productive citizens. She is a longtime member of Zion Temple Apostolic Church in Edgewood, where she actively serves on the board of trustees, the Finance Committee and the church choir. Choates and her husband, Odell Choates, have been married 51 years, and have two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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