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Distinguished Alumni 2018

Jim Bonaminio

family smiling with graduate in graduation cap and gownJames Bonaminio is a 1967 graduate of Admiral King High School. Following graduation, Jim attended Miami University as a business major but did not graduate. Instead, he put his entrepreneurial abilities to work by selling produce from the back of a truck while he lived in an abandoned gas station. Over time he progressed to a fruit stand, then a farmer’s market, then a grocery store.                    

Today, he is the creator, CEO, and namesake of Jungle Jim’s International Market in southwest Ohio where he has two locations with more than 500,000 square feet of combined space that has become a destination for foodies, tourists, and weekly shoppers. In case anyone asked how he earned the name, “Jungle Jim”, it happened when a produce supplier dubbed him, “Jungle Jim” because he always dressed in shorts.

Jaclyn Bradley

young girl smiling wearing black turtle neck Jaclyn is a 1997 graduate of Lorain Catholic high school. During High School, she had a principal role in the musical, “Godspell”. The production was received so well that it sold out and was extended for another week—a first in school history. She also fondly recalls the yearly trips to New York City as part of the drama club where she was able to attend Broadway shows and tour Manhattan. While at LC, she was a member of the Drama Club, President of National Honor Society, Choir, and served as Secretary of Student Council.                    

Following graduation, Jaclyn attended Indiana University where she earned a Bachelor of Music with emphasis on Vocal Performance. She also completed post Baccalaureate work in Music Therapy at Cleveland State University and earned a Master's in Music Therapy from Colorado State University. 
                   
Jaclyn was a contestant on the 8th season of “The Voice of Holland” where she was the only American featured on the show. Jaclyn and her music have been featured on Bravo, TLC, VH1, MTV, HGTV, and Time Warner. She also was a regular cast member on VH1’s Breaking Bonaduce and has recorded four albums. 
                   
A board-certified music therapist, she conducted the largest music therapy study in history to use live music in the operating arena—this study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 

Patsie C. Campana Sr.

Patsie C. Campana, Sr., was a proud Italian immigrant who was born in Barrea, Italy, and at the age of three, immigrated to the United States. He would graduate from Lorain High’s 1940B class. Following graduation, he proudly served in the U.S. Navy as a deep-sea diver throughout the Pacific Campaign during World War II logging over 1,200 hours underwater.                    

Following his military service, he didn’t have the opportunity to attend college; however, he was able to absorb a great deal through conversations with knowledgeable people in his field. Consequently, at the age of 49, with six children at home, P.C. started his own company, P.C. Campana, Inc., which is the master provider for the steel, foundry supplies, and tube industries in North America and abroad. Today, P.C. Campana, Inc. has grown to a multi-million dollar conglomerate that is respected in its industry. 
                   
Despite all of his professional successes, Patsie’s greatest accomplishments were through his quiet philanthropic support for his community and those in need. He was forever grateful for the freedoms and opportunities granted to him as an American citizen. 

Leonard DeLuca

man in suitAfter graduation from high school, Leonard (Lenny) served in the U.S. Navy. During this time, he completed correspondence courses in order to graduate from trade school early. He then enrolled in baker’s school.                

Following in his father’s footsteps, he opened a bakery on 8th Street across from St. Mary’s Catholic Church when he finished baker’s school. He opened a store on Oberlin Ave. to sell his baked goods and continued to use the other facility for his new catering business. At first, he catered for the Moose Club, Elks, PACC, Slovak Home, and church halls. However, Lenny dreamed of opening a banquet center to cater more elegant events. In 1978, he was able to realize this dream when he opened DeLuca’s Place in the Park. He went on to establish the Rose Cafe in Lakeview Park in 2008 and the Orchid Room at Miller Preserve in 2012. 
                   
Besides his business acumen, Lenny was known for his community involvement by volunteering and serving on various boards and committees for the Community Foundation of Lorain County, Lorain City Schools Business Advisory, Lorain Catholic Advisory, Lorain YMCA, Lorain Palace Theatre, and many other organizations. He also sang in St. Peter’s Choir with his wife Sally. 
                   
Lenny grew up in Lorain and then continued to make it his home after the service and schooling. He and Sally raised their two children, Vince and Tracy, here. 
                   
He and his identical twin Leo cut the ribbon for the opening of the new 21st Street Bridge on the same day identical female twins cut the ribbon for the Bascule Bridge.  

Carmelene (Dimacchia) Januzzi

woman smiling in black and whiteCarmelene graduated from Lorain High School with the Class of 1947B. During her high school years, she participated in many activities: library aide, choir, newspaper and yearbook staff, and hall guard. She remembers walking to school 17 city blocks each way and never having a snow day! 
                   
Upon graduation, Carm worked full-time as a legal secretary and part-time in the family shoe business. All her training was on the job. She married Albert Januzzi in 1951. They have four children: Roland, Thomas, Paula, and Alan. 
                   
The amount of community service and volunteer work that Carm does could fill a book. Some of these are volunteering at the Lorain Historical Society, Lorain Public Library, St. Peter’s Parish where she sings in the choir, takes Communion to the homebound, and is a lector and a Eucharist minister. 
                   
Her involvement continues with participation in service-based organizations such as II Century Council, Lakeland Woman’s Club, Lo- rain Catholic Woman’s Club, and Italian American Veterans. She has served as an officer in these organizations. 
                   
She received the “Ruth Calta Community Service Award” from Mercy Hospital in 2015. 

Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda is a 1966 graduate of Admiral King High School. During High School, he worked for the school newspaper, was in charge of his class’s gift committee (which acquired the two anchors that used to be located at AKHS), and worked in the concession stands during football games. Academically, he excelled as evidenced by his being named a National Merit Semi-Finalist. 
                   
After graduating from AKHS, he attended Oberlin College where he graduated with Highest Honors in English. Following his time at Oberlin, he was awarded a prestigious Fulbright fellowship and spent a year teaching in Marseille, France. Ultimately, he earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature, with a concentration on medieval studies and European romanticism from Cornell University. 
                   
Since the late 1970s, Mr. Dirda has had an association with the Washington Post, most recently as a weekly book columnist for the Style section. He has also served as a visiting professor at several prominent colleges and universities in the United States. Additionally, he has written for a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and many others. In 1993 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished Criticism. He is the author of seven books: Readings, An Open Book, Bound to Please, Book by Book, Classics for Pleasure, On Conan Doyle, and Browsings. 

Kelman Fligner

Kelman “Kel” Fligner is a 1957B graduate of Lorain High School. In 1949, at the age of 10, he started working at the family business which was called the Lorain Cut-Rate Fruit Company until 1933 when it was changed to Fligner’s to reflect the wide selection of items offered. Following graduation, Kel enrolled at Baldwin-Wallace College at his parents’ request and earned a business degree. 
                   
In 1963 Kel purchased the business from his father Morris and grandfather Harry. Over the next 50 years, he would watch his grocery store evolve from 2,000 to over 35,000 square feet of shopping space. Today, with the help of his son Ben, he is the owner of one of the last independent grocers in the age of mega-supermarket chains. Today, Fligner’s is one of Lorain’s largest employers and is known for having the “Largest Custom Full Service Meat Counter in Ohio.” 
                   
In reflecting on achievements at his store, Kel said, “This store is my whole life. I don’t have any hobbies, I don’t do anything else. It’s just the store—that’s my hobby. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”  

Evangeline "Vanjee" Gomez

girl smilingVanjee is a 1993 graduate of Southview High School and continued her education at The Ohio State University and earned her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University. She now practices law and was named one of the top “40 attorneys under 40” by the New Jersey Law Journal. She appears on national television and print media as a legal and political analyst. 
                   
As a member of the Model UN at Southview, she placed first in the Jefferson Area Competition and third in the Kent State University International Competition. These early experiences have aided her in her public speaking and debate. Besides participating in Model UN, Vanjee was in Key Club, Student Alliance for Latino Stride and Acculturation (S.A.L.S.A.), yearbook staff, and Lorain County Urban League AIDS peer facilitator. 
                   
All her experiences both good and challenging while living in Lorain have contributed to making her a better person. 

Bob Gradisek

After graduating from Admiral King High School in 1969, Bob attended Ohio State University. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Physiologists Optics and then earned his Optometry Degree, with honors, from The Ohio State University of Optometry in 1975. 
                   
In high school, Bob was active in band, the golf team, booster club, and National Honor Society (President). He met his first and only wife Diane at King where they were classmates. He regularly meets with some fellow Admiral King classmates for poker games (therapy sessions). 
                   
Bob practiced optometry and served the vision needs of the Lorain community for 41 years with 7 of the years with his father, Dr. Frank Gradisek. He and Diane have two children — Amanda and Ben. 
                   
Since retiring in 2016, he volunteers at The Lighthouse Foundation. He organized the benefit concert last year for the Endowment Fund for the Lorain Lighthouse.  

Don Novello

man sitting in suitAs a 1961A graduate of Lorain High School, Don was active in the Scimitar staff, Acapella choir, and the Cavaliers. Finishing #101 of 150, he recalls telling his father, “I just missed the top two-thirds by one”, to which he responded, “I’m not impressed!”                    

Following graduation, Don earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton (1964). However, he quickly found success in the 1970s by writing the bestselling book, “The Lazlo Letters” which got him noticed by Lorne Michaels, producer of Saturday Night Live (SNL) where he wrote from 1978-86. In addition to writing, he gained worldwide notoriety for his creation and portrayal of the character, Father Guido Sarducci, the chain-smoking priest with tinted glasses who worked as a rock critic for the Vati- can newspaper. Don is also given credit for writing the Greek restaurant sketches (cheeseburger, cheeseburger, Pepsi), which was voted the best SNL sketch of the 1970s. 
                   
Don also has numerous writing credits in addition to SNL which include the Smothers Brothers Show (1975), Gilda Live (1980), and SCTV (1980). He also has acting credits from the Godfather Part III (1990), Married...with Children (1995), and two Disney animated films: Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Atlantis: Milo’s Return (2003). 

Ilche Nonevski

man kneeling on grass
A 1993 graduate of Southview High School, Dr. Nonevski had a learning disability that was recognized, embraced, and overcame with the help of math teacher, Vada Heberling, who challenged him academically. Additionally, Mr. Miller, like countless other Southview educators, challenged Ilche in History and international relations as if he were at an Ivy League University which helped to prepare him for future academic success. He ended his career at Southview as Salutatorian, Senior Class President, Key Club member, Model UN member, and participated in Varsity Soccer for three years. 
                   
Dr. Nonevski fondly recalled that he grew up during the “Golden Age of Hip-Hop Music” which greatly influenced his high school years. “It was diversity and inclusiveness of our schools and city that allowed any kid that could appreciate the transformative potential of this musical genre to connect with other kids on a deeper level. Music has a way of uniting those of us that love it, much like our favorite sports teams.” 
                   
Following graduation, Dr. Nonevski earned a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Biology with Honors from John Carol University (1997). He then earned an MD/MBA from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (2002) and completed a Residency in Internal Medicine from Case Western Reserve University (2005) and Fellowship in Gastroenterology & Hepatology from the Cleveland Clinic (2008). He holds the title of Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine-Rockford.          
    

Ramos Rivas II

Ramon is a 2003 graduate of Southview High School. During high school, he was Key Club President and was named “class clown” and earned the “most spirit” award. Following graduation, he attended Denison University and Lorain County Community College, but he realized that the traditional academic setting wasn’t the path for him. Instead, he drew upon his early experiences selling candy out of a briefcase to channel his inner hustler and started telling jokes to embark on a career in comedy.                    
Over time, he made a name for himself by building up the comedy scene in Cleveland through his founding of the “Accidental Comedy” production which is dedicated to enriching the arts in North East Ohio through comedy and other productions. 
                   
Professionally, his comedic talents have resulted in his appearances on Comedy Central’s “The Half Hour” (2016), @midnight (2016-17), and Broad City (2018). He also has appeared in HBO’s Crashing and has made numerous appearances on VICELAND. 

Tiffany Tarpley

woman in red dress sitting and smiling
Tiffany Tarpley is a 1997 graduate of Lorain Admiral King High School. During high school, Tiffany was extremely active. She participated in Chamber Choir, Senior Committee, Student Council, and Junior Achievement among other organizations. She was also active in the community and in her church, Friendship Baptist. However, during her senior year she was part of Unity Club’s black history month program where she recited Maya Angelou’s poem, ‘And Still I Rise’ in front of the entire school. Tiffany shared that this was a defining moment in her life as this experience reinforced that she wanted to make public speaking a key aspect of her life and career.                    

Following graduation, she attended Lorain County Community College and earned an associate’s degree in communications. She then transferred to Bowling Green State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and was honored as the Broadcast Journalist of the Year. 
                   
Following graduation, Tiffany began her career in broadcast journalism by working for news outlets in Milwaukee, WI; Lima, and Toledo, Ohio where her weekend team earned two regional Emmy awards. Tiffany joined Chanel 3 news in March 2014 where she currently reports on weekdays for the morning newscasts and hosts WKYC’s “We The People” community affairs show. 
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