Sophomore Harley LaRue featured as student columnist in Citizens’ Voice

Where Are They Now?

Harley LaRue, Student Writer



In “The Allegory of the Cave,” Plato argues that those who have achieved enlightenment have a certain obligation to help those who have not yet attained such wisdom. If one applies Plato’s concept to the field of education, it becomes apparent that a responsibility exists for those who have achieved academic success in the classroom and accomplishment in vocation. At Greater Nanticoke Area, the cyclical nature of education is displayed through the output of the “Where Are They Now?” section of our high school newspaper, The GNA Insider.

The GNA Insider highlights the happenings within Greater Nanticoke Area High School and gives students, teachers, and community members a unique inside glimpse into life at GNA. From academic achievement to athletic accomplishment, The GNA Insider covers all aspects of student life. The “Where Are They Now?” section, however, was created in order to give GNA Alumni a chance to inspire current students to believe that dreams can come true. With the continued success of our graduates, there is plenty of opportunity to reach out to accomplished alumni who are always eager to reciprocate the favor.

“Where Are They Now?” is published in every edition of The GNA Insider. Student journalists research the whereabouts of successful alumni and later conduct interviews with them. In the interview, former graduates discuss their current occupation and then explain how they attained success in their given profession. Though each interview is vastly different, they all possess a commonality: each graduate gives credit to the people of GNA who helped make their dreams become reality.

Dr. Stanley J. Dudrick, a 1953 graduate of Nanticoke, former surgeon, and former professor at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Yale University, and Misericordia University, among others, is best known for a device he invented that successfully fed people through I.V. This specialized central venous feeding technique is called Intravenous Hyperalimentation (IVH), which has been acknowledged as one of the three most important advancements in surgery during the past century along with open-heart surgery and organ transplantation. The GNA Insider interviewed Dr. Dudrick, asking him questions about his education, work, and life. He provided much insight, gave students advice on many levels, and discussed the importance of participation in GNA’ s extracurricular activities. “We were blessed with a wide assortment and variety of extracurricular activities to supplement our formal education in a manner which allowed all of us to pursue interests and challenges outside of the curriculum,” he said. He went on to praise the climate at Nanticoke. “The entire culture of the Nanticoke High School community was friendly, congenial, educational, helpful, supportive, and dedicated to our best interests, starting with the faculty and administration and pervading throughout the entire student body.” Dr. Dudrick left students with some final words of wisdom. “Prudently establish your goals and then focus on achieving them by working as hard, conscientiously and consistently as you can toward achieving them. Never give up. Finally, remember that if you always do good, you will do well.”

The GNA Insider was also able to speak with Michael Bukosky, a 1971 graduate of GNA, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of USMD Holdings and President of Physician Practices Management. He has served as Chief Executive Officer of University of Louisville Physicians and also as the Chairman of the Board for American Medical Group Association (AMGA), whose member organizations employ over 175,000 physicians and provide healthcare to 1 in 3 Americans. Mr. Bukosky stated, “GNA was a caring family in a safe and positive environment. From the superintendent to the teachers, to students, we all cared for each other. The community of the school along with the entire city of Nanticoke prepared us well as to how we should treat others in our entire adult life.” His advice to students is quite simple. “Follow your heart, be thankful for your health, your family, and all who have supported you in school, in your faith and those close to you. As an American, there are no limits, the opportunities are endless, and in the end, and most importantly, be happy in what you decide to pursue.”

Natalie Thimm, a 1987 graduate who recently won a Grammy, spends her days busy as a makeup artist. Her work has been featured in many movies and television shows and she has worked with numerous celebrities, including Alice Cooper. When The GNA Insider spoke with her, she told students, “There is always someone who wants your job, but the key is to have a positive attitude, no matter how bad your day is going. Having a strong will and loving what you do is important.”

State Senator John Yudichak, a 1988 graduate, told The GNA Insider that he had “many great teachers” and offered students this piece of advice: “Study hard, work hard, and put forth effort. Enjoy your classmates because high school goes by quickly.” State Representative Gerald Mullery, also a 1988 graduate of GNA, expressed a similar sentiment regarding GNA. He accredits much of his success to his teachers whom he described as, “encouraging and always saying you could accomplish whatever you put your mind to.”

Michael Hofherr, who graduated in 1995, worked his way from the hallways of GNA into the upper echelons of one of the largest and most influential universities in the United States. He currently holds the title of Vice President and Chief Information Officer at The Ohio State University. His success has been an inspiration to many students and his advice to GNA is simple… “Read. Ask. Be brave, be humble, and be accepting. Simplify.” He explained to students that they should be proud of their school and community. “I am never so proud as when I talk about where I came from and giving back is such an honor.”

Michael Height, a 2001 graduate, has held multiple positions with Disney, including working as the general manager for the Disney Theatrical Group and as the associate company manager for The Lion King and Mary Poppins North American Tours. Michael explained how GNA was a place “where individual differences melted away, and the focus was on celebrating ourselves as a whole school.” He explained to students the importance of extracurricular activities and involvement in the arts. “Participating in these groups prepared me tremendously for life after high school. The most important things I learned were to stay organized and to keep your promises. The arts have played a major role in my overall character development.”

Abby Gesecki Holt, a 2006 graduate of GNA and an alumna of the United States Naval Academy, was among the Navy’s first female officers to serve aboard submarines. Abby accredits many of her achievements in her naval career to GNA, especially athletics, which helped her with overall character development. “I believe playing team sports was one of the most significant experiences that ultimately prepared me to become an officer in the Navy. I learned that being a leader is so much more than just being a good athlete. It’s about how you perform when the game is over. It’s about representing your school by carrying yourself with pride and respect and setting a good example for those who look up to you.”

Other GNA graduates featured in the “Where Are They Now?” section of The GNA Insider include Harry Hamilton (GNA ‘80), member of the 1982 Penn State National Championship football team, former NFL safety, and federal government attorney. Jimmy “Mac” McDermott (GNA ‘88), local hall of fame inductee and semi-professional baseball player who is currently a Senior Oncology Accountant Manager for Exlixis. Daryle Cardone (GNA ‘89), a 21 a year veteran and current Prospective Executive Officer of the Navy, graduate of the Navy Weapons Fighter School (TOPGUN), who has flown over 120 combat missions. Ellen Bartuska (GNA ‘90), member of the 1990 Trojanette State Championship team and current Zookeeper at the Philadelphia Zoo. Lynette Paczkowski (GNA ‘97), Notre Dame graduate (‘01) and lawyer who made her way onto the Worcester Business Journal list of “40 Under 40” in the Boston area. Petrina Mashala (‘98), a United States Secret Service Uniform Division Officer. Robert Oltra (GNA ‘00), Field/Segment and Associate Producer on Dancing With The Stars for 8 seasons and has worked on the sets of many popular movies and T. V. shows. Michael Bernatovich (GNA ‘03), a NASA employee who spends his days designing spaceships.

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger once said, “The most powerful thing you can give someone is hope. Giving your spirit to other people and giving them the feeling of, ‘you know, it was worth it, all of this hard work.’” Every day in the Greater Nanticoke Area school system, students bear witness to certain elements of this institution that truly complete it as the perfect environment for budding bright minds to live, learn, and dream. A special bond is shared among us who “ever praise the white and blue.” Though our graduates may find themselves hundreds of miles from the school they once called home, they never forget their roots and are always willing and eager to return to their Alma mater and give back.