The Highland Illinois Area Schools Alumni Association (HIASAA) has announced its list of candidates for this year’s Hall of Fame consideration. Voting will take place throughout May.
There are 15 nominees among four categories.
Arts and Sciences
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Bruce Case graduated from St. Paul High School in 1952. He attended Louisiana State University and earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering, graduating first in his class of 60 engineers in 1961. He served in the Air Force Security Service in the ’50s.
From 1962 to 1991, Case spent his career with DuPont. Case was a widely recognized international technical expert on magnetic recording tape and discs. He invented the DuPont Mylar 92DB polyester film for the new 3480 IBM Data Cartridge. He also invented the DuPont Mylar 50KB polyester film for music audio cassettes and worked with major tape producers around the world (Capital Records, RCA, Philips, 3M, Memorex, BASF, Fuji, Sony, Hitachi-Maxell and TDK).
Another invention of his was DuPont Mylar 300 PB polyester film for micro floppy discs, working with IBM, Verbatim Fuji, Sony, BASF and others to insure DuPont sole supplier position for early years in the life of the product. He was awarded two patents for process improvements in the manufacturing of polyester film and one patent for improved shotgun shell primer while assigned to Remington Arms, a DuPont subsidiary. As technical adviser to Technicolor Corporation of Hollywood, he solved serious quality problems they were having with their VHS movie tape.
Bruce was awarded the DuPont Marketing Excellence Award in 1987 and the Chuck Yeager Aerospace Education Award for providing plane rides for high school students as part of “Young Eagles” education program.
Bruce retired as a DuPont Fellow, the highest science and engineering level in the company. Less than 0.1 percent of DuPont scientists and engineers are awarded this high level of accomplishment.
Bruce received his private pilot’s license and has been a Search and Rescue pilot for the Civil Air Patrol. Just recently Bruce can add “author” to his many achievements, publishing a novel entitled Ladybug.
Pat Jacoby graduated from Highland High School in 1971. She opened Patty-Cakes in May of 1981. She moved her business to the Square in 1982 because her business grew so fast.
She has been trained by two of the most famous sugar artists of our time. As a certified teacher with the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES), she has been invited to teach classes coast to coast. She was on the board of directors for the Culinary School at St. Louis Community College.
She has been recognized in several sugar artist trade magazines and has won many awards for her cake designs. One of her achievements was winning first place on the TLC (The Learning Channel) series The Ultimate Cake Off taped in Los Angeles. The cake was a 6 feet tall Uncle Sam at a barbecue. The cake was displayed at the Reagan Library for the Fourth of July. She won the competition the next year with a vintage wedding cake for an NFL football player and his bride. She was the first winner of the ICES Cake Challenge. (This cake is displayed in her shop.) For two years, she had a bi weekly spot on KMOV’s Great Day in St. Louis.
She has donated several cakes for charities including the Cardinals, “Icing Smiles” (cakes for children with debilitating diseases and their siblings), children living in homeless shelters, and many other causes and organizations in our area. In 35 years of business, she has produced over 7,000 wedding cakes and 21,000 all-occasion cakes for her customers.
Larry Mueller attended Highland High School from 1940-1944 and then joined the Navy serving during World War II. He started writing at a young age by publishing a neighborhood newsletter covering neighborhood, as well as national events. He was also an avid hunter and a lover of outdoor activities all his life. He combined these activities into a lifelong career of being an author of 16 books on hunting, fishing, and related subjects. He has also been featured in several books by other authors.
He wrote a column titled “Hunting & Fishing with Larry Mueller” in the Highland News Leader and Belleville News-Democrat for 24 years. He also spent 24 years as editor and author writing the “Hunting Dogs” column, as well as featured articles for Outdoor Life magazine. He authored numerous articles in various other magazines such as Field and Stream and Sports Afield. His articles have been included in books and national publications, such as Gun Digest.
He was awarded the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels by the state of Kentucky. Kentucky colonelships are commissioned for an individual’s contributions to his community, state or nation, and for special achievements.
Sara Jatcko attended St. Paul Grade School from 1988-1996. She received her B.A. degree, summa cum laude, from St. Louis University and her M.A. degree from University of Delaware.
She is currently a program associate for education grants and initiatives for The Terra Foundation for American Art in Chicago.
In the past 12 years, she has dedicated her career to engaging audiences with American art, history, and material culture, and preserving these cultural resources for future generations. She provides project coordination and support to education grants and initiatives. She has worked as an educator in museums, and supports continuing art education for Chicago Public School teachers.
She has been curator of several projects and exhibitions during her career. She curated exhibitions at the Winterthur Museum, and contributed to research for collaborative exhibitions at The National Museum of Korea and Daejeon Museum of Art and The Newberry Library, among others.
She has co-authored several articles on art and was coordinator of other art articles.
She has managed several functions of museum collection care and development. This includes coordinating exhibit rotations, collection numbering, cataloging items, digitizing images of collections, etc.
She is active in many professional organizations, such as Grantmakers in the Arts, National Art Education Association, and Society of Winterthur Fellows to name a few.
Tom Ulmet graduated from Highland High School in 1960. He received his B.A. from Monmouth College, an M.A. from Middlebury College and an master’s of education from St. Lawrence University. He has made significant contributions to international education during his career.
Ulmet began his career in international education as director of the St. Lawrence University Study Abroad program in Vienna in 1973. He served as director of guidance in the American School in London and as principal of the International School of Zurich in Switzerland. He returned to the U.S. to serve as director of educational programs at the Duke University Talent Identification Program.
In 2001, Ulmet moved to China becoming superintendent of Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS). Finishing a 14-year tenure there, he had supported the development of YCIS in several cities in China, where each was part of the Cambridge Award for Excellence in Education. He led these schools through joint school accreditation. During his distinguished career he created international programs in Austria, Costa Rica, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Peoples’ Republic of China, Scotland, and Wales.
He currently serves as executive director of the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools, which are serving educational needs of 70 schools with 57,000 international students, and 7,000 teachers from around the world. He also serves as inspector of international schools for the Ministry of Education in Dubai.
He has served on several boards for international schools and organizations, received several awards, and has spoken at several conferences. He and his family have been involved in several charitable activities. Among these are communication between government and ex-patriot community in Shanghai during the SARS epidemic; point of contact for missing persons in the Thailand tsunami; launched first relief efforts for the Sichan earthquake and the tsunami in Japan.
Everett Rogier graduated from Highland High School in 1952. He served in the Army for six months (active) and six years (Reserves).
Rogier has been a farmer all his life and was the Outstanding Young Farmer for Community Service in 1970. During his farming career, he was involved with 4-H. He was leader for the Good Producers 4-H club for many years. He also served on the 4-H Youth Council (president for three years) and served two years on the Illinois Ag Committee.
Rogier was the superintendent for both poultry and beef for 4-H at the Madison County Fair for many years. He also served on the 4-H Livestock Committee and Auction Committee. The culmination of is 4-H career was being nominated into the 4-H Hall of Fame for the state of Illinois in 2015.
He has also been active with his church, First Baptist Church of Highland. He has delivered Meals on Wheels for the last 20 years. He served on the Highland Area Christian Service Ministry (HACSM) food pantry board for 13 years, as well as on the committee for the building of the present HASM building. He’s worked at the food pantry one day a week for the last 12 years.
Jim Burgett received his B.A. degree at the University of Illinois and his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin.
He was superintendent of Highland School District No. 5 from 1992-2004. During his career as an educator, he achieved many accomplishments, awards and honors, as well as serving the community.
Burgett was active in many state education organizations and was keynote speaker for many seminars and meetings around the country. He was a strategic planning facilitator for several organizations.
He was chairman/president of various educational and community organizations, including NW Special Education Cooperative, Madison County Regional Office Oversight Board, and the Highland Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Burgett received several awards during his career, including Illinois State Superintendent of the Year, Illinois Education Association Administrator of the Year, Highland Citizen of the Year (Bob Hardy Award), among many others. He was also named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club.
Burgett has authored several books on education, as well as many professional organization articles.
He has been active in many civic organizations, as well as serving on the board of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Len Daiber graduated from St. Paul High School in 1958. He completed studies at the Diocesan Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Ill. He then served in the Army as an aviation crew chief.
While Daiber was in top management of construction, communication and banking during most of his career, he was also a dedicated volunteer to his community and church.
He founded Missions International in 1987 and served as its president/CEO until his death on June 27, 2015, at age 74. This organization has been performing missionary work for almost 30 years in the Caribbean, Central America, and Latin America.
Daiber was involved in founding HACSM and the food pantry in 1995 and served as its volunteer director for eight years. He worked with the Highland Area Ministerial Alliance for more than eight years.
He was active with the Boy Scouts and served on various committees and district activities. He was involved in United Way as allocation chairman and helped establish the Come Share Program.
Daiber was very active in his church, St. Paul Parish, serving on the council for many years, president for 10 years, and on many of the committees. He helped organize ministry to nursing homes and shut-ins. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, attaining the 4th Degree.
He was also name a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary.
Jim Koch graduated from Highland High School in 1953. He attended Greenville College and graduated in 1957.
Koch played on Highland’s Sweet 16 team in 1953. At Greenville College, he was a four-year varsity letterman in basketball and baseball.
After college, Koch coached in Illinois for seven years before accepting a job coaching in Putnam City, Okla. He was named head basketball coach in 1966, and in 1972, his team won the Class 4A State Championship, finishing the season with a perfect 26-0 record.
A debilitating stroke in 1977 brought an end to his basketball coaching career. In 1991, he was inducted into the Oklahoma High School Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted in the Oklahoma High School Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame and served as that hall’s secretary/treasurer for three years.
His overall record in Oklahoma included 226 wins and 94 losses, one state championship, seven regional championships and four area titles. Koch coached eight All-Staters, among them Alvan Adams, who went on to play for the University of Oklahoma and the Phoenix Suns.
Greenville College named a classroom “The Jim Koch Room” in its physical education building.
Koch died on May 12, 2005, at age 70.
Jake Odorizzi graduated from Highland High School in 2008. His senior year, he led the HHS baseball team to the 2008 state championship. As a pitcher, he was 14-0 with a 0.08 ERA. His senior year, he batted .422 with 15 homeruns. He holds numerous Highland High School baseball records.
In 2008, Odorizzi was the Gatorade Player of the Year, USA Today National Player of the Year, and received the Louisville Slugger Award. He was also named an All-State pitcher and shortstop and was the Prep Baseball Player of the Year. He was named All-State in football as well.
Odorizzi was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers with the 32nd overall pick in the 2008 Major League Baseball draft. He made his major league debut in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals.
As of 2015, his MLB stats were 20 wins and 24 losses with a 3.77 ERA and 350 strikeouts. His WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) was 1.22.
Odorizzi is currently a starting pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Joel Hawkins graduated from Central Michigan University in 1985.
He began his teaching career at Highland Community School District No. 5 in August 1985 with the middle school, where he would teach for eight years. He coached the middle school baseball team from 1986 to 1991.
He was also the assistant football coach for Highland High School from 1987 to 2008.
He began as HHS varsity baseball coach in 1992. He coached the baseball teams that won the state titles in 2008 and 2015. He was elected to the Illinois Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.
He helped initiate the HHS hockey program and was head coach from 1999 to 2003.
Hawkins has been a sponsor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 1987.
Erwin H. Weder
Erwin H. Weder was born on Deck’s Prairie in 1904 and attended Highland High School. During World War II, Weder served as a captain in the Illinois Militia Air Corps, where he was a flight instructor.
He worked at several jobs in the 1920s and early ’30s, gaining valuable skills that would later serve him in his business endeavors.
In 1937, Weder founded Highland Supply Corp. The company started as a wholesale floral supply company, but moved to manufacturing. He developed more than 8,000 products and held more than 400 patents. Highland Supply Corp. is recognized as the premier supplier of floral packaging in the floral industry. The Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association posthumously awarded Edwin the Leland T. Kintzele Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the industry.
Through the efforts of Weder and his son, Don, the company pioneered the use of water-based inks, replacing solvent inks. They received numerous awards, including the Illinois Governor’s Award and awards from the Environmental Protection Agency for this work.
Erwin Weder was also responsible for founding numerous other business entities, including Highland Manufacturing and Sales Co., which produces Easter grass for baskets. He established a cattle, horse, and buffalo ranch in Montana that became home to more than 650 head of bison. He founded a 90-acre business park in California, where buildings are leased to a variety of tenants. He formed a company to farm rural properties in Illinois. Today, production and/or warehousing entities resulting from his endeavors operate in Illinois, California, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Montana, Texas, Canada, and Mexico. Headquarters for the diverse group of companies remains in Highland.
Erwin Weder was also a preservationist and an environmentalist. He is responsible for planting more than 100,000 trees and preserved thousands of acres of timberland. He and his wife, Louise, restored the one-room country Giger School to its original condition and the Deck Cemetery. In 1987, Erwin founded the Erwin H. Weder Family Deck’s Prairie Historical, Educational and Research Foundation, which established a museum in the historic Schott Brewery Building. In Hobart, Okla., a facility housing the Great Plains Youth and Family Services Inc. is named the Erwin H. Weder Building in his honor.
He was a founding member of the Highland Manufacturers Association.
Erwin Weder died on Nov. 1, 1987 at age 82.
Jeff Hebrank graduated from St. Paul High School in 1975. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and his law degree from St. Louis University.
Hebrank is a partner in the law firm of HeplerBroom LLC in Edwardsville, which specializes in litigation defense. His areas of specialization are asbestos and toxic tort.
He has been involved in asbestos litigation since 1988 and has tried asbestos cases to verdict for several corporations throughout the country. He has represented clients before the Illinois Supreme Court.
Hebrank is involved with several professional organizations, including the Illinois State Bar Association, Defense Research Institute, and Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, among others.
He received several awards and distinctions in his field, including the Distinguished Member Award from Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois for 2010, and has been an advisory board member for Leading Lawyers Network since 2005.
William L. “Bill” Basler
Bill Basler was born in Highland and graduated from St. Paul High School in 1962. He received his bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College in 1967.
Basler, an Eagle Scout, started working summers in the family business. He started working as a sales assistant, moving through the ranks to production control manager, manufacturing manager, and administrative assistant to the executive vice president. He is currently chairman of the board and CEO.
Basler Electric is a multi-faceted electrical manufacturing company with facilities in Highland, Mexico, France, and several other states.
Basler has served the community on the Friends of the St. Joseph Hospital Board, the Advisory Board, and the Strategic Planning Board of the hospital. He is a member of Highland and Illinois Manufacturers Associations.
He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and served as the education chair for two terms. He belongs to the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce.
He is a strong supporter of SIUE, McKendree University, Hillsdale College, and Lincoln College. He has also given support to many local organizations in Highland.
Clinton H. Rogier
Clinton Rogier graduated from Highland High School in 1937. (He was in the first graduating class at the new school on Lindenthal Avenue.)
Rogier owned and operated Rogier Insurance Agency from 1940-1979. (The firm was started by his father in 1930). In 1979, he became president and eventually chairman of the board for Madison Mutual Insurance Co. in Edwardsville, retiring in 2004.
Rogier served on many boards of organizations, such as TheBANK of Edwardsville, Shurtleff Fund Corp., and Tri Ford Inc., among others.
He volunteered his time on other boards, such as the SIUE Foundation, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the Greater Edwardsville Area Community Foundation, and others.
He was active in his church, serving Hudelson Baptist Children’s Home, and he was a past president of the Illinois Baptist Convention.
He was a lifelong Rotarian, with many awards locally, statewide, and internationally. He had 53-plus years of perfect Rotary attendance.
Rogier died on April 17, 2012, at age 92.
HIASAA Hall of Fame Voting Procedures
When is voting? Voting will take place from May 1-31. All ballots must by in the hands of HIASAA by May 31.
Who can vote? Any alumni of any school within the boundaries of the Highland School District or any employees of these schools. You need not have graduated from school, just attended. To be able to vote, alumni or employees must be a paid member of the Highland Illinois Area Schools Alumni Association (HIASAA).
How to I become a member? Go to the association website at highlandilalumni.com. There is a place to register online and an option to use PayPal to pay your dues. Or, you can send the application and a check to HIASAA, 400 Broadway, Highland, IL 62249.
Membership dues are $10 per year, $40 for a 5-year membership, or $100 for a lifetime membership. All memberships are from January 1 to December 31 of each year.
How do I vote? From May 1-31, you can obtain a downloadable ballot on the website. Ballots must be completed and mailed to HIASAA, 400 Broadway, Highland, IL 62249. All ballots must be received by May 31. The Board of Directors will count the ballots in early June and letters will be sent informing all nominees of the results.
What if I don’t have a computer? If anyone needs a ballot or wants to join the association, but does not have computer access, they contact board secretary Maxine Johnson at 654-1101 for a ballot or membership application. You can contact Johnson at the above phone number with any other questions.