bluegold crest

Tradition of Excellence

2015 Award Recipients

bluegold crest

        Established by the Class of 1982, the annual Tradition of Excellence Awards recognizes OPRFHS alumni who have made outstanding contributions to society through their personal and professional pursuits. Nominations may be made by using the nomination form linked below.  Awards are presented annually in November.  Honorees are invited to a reception and dinner with key school and community leaders, followed the next day by the Honoree’s presentations to students at a school-wide Assembly.
        Alumni who have graduated 10 years prior to the date of the current graduating year and earlier are eligible for consideration – e.g. Class of 2005 graduates and earlier would be eligible in the 2014-15 school year.
Follow this link for Nomination form and instructions.                              To view  Past Award Recipients

 Welcome, 2015 Tradition of Excellence Honorees - Nov 13, 2015

  Anne Sweeney

Anne Sweeney has spent her career dedicated to finding durable solutions for refugees displaced by war.  After living in Tanzania working to resettle refugees on behalf of the United Nations and the US Department of State, Anne decided to design a new kind of program, one focused on restoring hope and safety to the world’s most vulnerable population: refugee women and children.  From 2007 to 2014, she co-founded and later led Heshima Kenya, an international nonprofit based in Nairobi, Kenya, that protects and empowers girls and young women whose lives have been uprooted by conflict and who have lost their families while fleeing their countries for safety.  Heshima Kenya’s holistic model has received widespread recognition from the international human rights community.  Anne has been featured in the Chicago Tribune’s series on Remarkable Women and was honored as 100 Women of Inspiration by Today’s Chicago Woman.    She has spoken about refugee issues on local and national television and radio news programs and at numerous forums on human rights and girl empowerment. Anne holds a MA from American University’s School of International Service, a BS from the University of Minnesota, and a Certificate in Forced Migration from Oxford University.
           Heshima Kenya.                         Heshima Highlights            Chicago Tribune : Remarkable Woman--Anne Sweeney


Michael Powell
 Coach/Motivational Speaker

In 1994, Michael won the AA 171lb IHSA State Wrestling  championship and went on to wrestle at Indiana University.  After becoming an NCAA All-American at Indiana University, Michael returned to OPRFHS in 2004 as a teacher and later began his coaching career in 1999. In March of 2009 just after coaching his wrestling team to win the IHSA AAA State Dual Team Wrestling Championship and just before being honored as the IHSA AAA Coach of the year, Mike was stricken and diagnosed with a rare disease called polymyositis. Mike has faced his physical challenge with the same courage and ferocity that he uses on the mat, in the classroom or in the coach’s chair.  His battle with this rare disease and his commitment to education and coaching was a feature story in Sports Illustrated and to be chronicled in documentaries on NBC as well as ESPN. It is Mike’s philosophy is that maximizing one’s potential as a high school student/athlete is difficult, therefore having a plan on how to do it is essential. Mike assists his students with their life plans even into adulthood; he has been a father figure to many, including 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman. Not only has Mike encouraged young men to become better athletes and positive members of the community, he has succeeded in creating a “Huskies Wrestling Family” of parents, alums, siblings and fans of the team who support the wrestlers each year in fundraising and cheering at local and state tournaments. The Huskies Wrestling Family, as directed by Mike, raised almost $40,000 for Ellis Coleman’s family in his quest for a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. No question or request is off-limits to his wrestlers and wrestling alums, and even in his times of health challenges, he serves as a role model for hundreds of athletes who look to him for advice, inspiration and help.
           The-Battles-Of-Mike-Powell                           Sports Illustrated Article: Mike Powell -- Man-in-Full


  David Shurna
  Philanthropist/Public Servant

On an excursion through South Africa, David began crafting his personal visions for changing the world.  Years later, he created an organization called “No Barriers” that is built on the belief that transformative experiences, delivered to participants who are ready to receive them, could change the trajectory of one’s life forever.  “No Barriers” provides tools, inspiration and experiences that empower people to break through barriers, find their inner purpose and contribute their very best to the world.   David has spent more than 15 years building strong nonprofit organizations. A passionate educator, he has worked with such diverse organizations as: The World Wildlife Fund; Duke University; Island Press; The Nature Conservancy and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.  David earned a master’s degree from Duke University in Environmental Policy and Economics and a B.S in Biology from Xavier University.  He also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke.  Prior to his work with “No Barriers”, David served as executive director of The Catamount Institute.
              No Barriers. Executive Director :David Shurna                No Barriers: About Us

  Dr. Franklin Lemkey 

Frank Lemkey, a metallurgical and chemical engineering graduate from University of Michigan would later receive his doctorate in metal physics at University of Oxford in 1974.  His principal research areas were controlled solidification and mechanical behavior of eutectic alloys and superalloys.  He is the author/editor of five books, has 25 patents and has received the Grossman best paper Award of the American Society for Materials and the Citation Classic award from “Current Contents”.    As Adjunct Professor and Visiting Professor he taught materials processing courses and served on graduate student committees respectively at Dartmouth College and the University of Connecticut.  He is a Fellow of American Society of Materials and was elected to the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering in 1983. He was appointed a White House Executive Fellow in 1988-1989 serving as Director of the Microgravity Division of NASA and later on the National Research Council, Space Studies Board as Chairman of the Committee on Microgravity Research.  Dr. Lemkey founded several joint venture companies for United Technologies with Russian and Ukrainian Institutes. The largest company was Pratt and Whitney-Paton in Kiev, Ukraine which manufactures electron beam coating equipment and coats gas turbine engine components.  After retirement, Dr. Lemkey was appointed Director of Technology Commercialization for the United States Industry Coalition in Washington D.C.  Today he continues research as a consulting scientist at the International Center for Electron Beam Technologies of the Ukraine Academy of Science.  
            Scientific Articles by Frank Lemkey

 Home Page                                                                                                         Previous Honorees