2019 Outstanding Alumni Hall of Fame

  • Kirkwood High School Alumni Hall of Fame: Committee Announces Class of 2019

    Career Day Connecting Alumni with Students Held Prior to Induction Ceremony

    The Kirkwood High School (KHS) Alumni Hall of Fame Selection Committee proudly announces the Class of 2019. The purpose of the Alumni Hall of Fame is to honor men and women who have achieved success in some recognized field of endeavor and who would serve as appropriate role models for future Kirkwood High students. Selections will be based on the following criteria: high achievement in one or more recognized fields of cultural endeavor such as the arts, music, theater, dance, literature; extraordinary success in trade, business or industry; unusual contribution to the nation of one’s state or community through good works or charitable beneficence; excellence in service to a recognized profession such as the law, education, medicine, science, or journalism.

    Nominations were accepted in two categories: KHS Alumni and the Pioneer Award.

    The Hall of Fame Committee has planned a weekend of events to celebrate the KHS Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

    On Friday, October 18, inductees are invited to KHS to connect with current students. The inductees will share their stories and professional journeys with students in classes from the field with which is appropriate to their field of study.

    On Saturday, October 19, the 2019 Class will officially be inducted into the KHS Alumni Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. in the Keating Theatre. Light refreshments will be served beginning at 2 p.m.

    The KHS 2019 Outstanding Alumni Hall of Fame Inductees are:

    (full bios on each inductee are at the end)


    Sterling Coleman, 1988; Dr. Reates Curry, 1980; Dr. Tricia Ashton Derges, MD, 1975

    Colin Donnell, 2001; Jane E. Drichta, 1987; Bill Freivogel, 1967; Margaret Freivogel, 1967; Blaine Hammond, 1969; *Dr. Nancy Edmunds Kline Cogan, 1977; Jennifer Ouellette, 1989; Mark Sparks, 1978; Dr. Timothy Taft, 1960; Lyle W. Waggoner, 1953; and Adam J. York, 1993


    *Ernie Baker, 1949; Barb Byerly; *Robert O. Piening; Judy Roberts, 1953; Rick Stream, 1967; *Michael E. Swoboda; and Wallace Ward, 1971.

    *honored posthumously

    Career Day Connecting Alumni with Students Held Prior to Induction Ceremony
    Friday, October 18
    Kirkwood High School
    801 West Essex
    Alumni will meet within classes from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 pm.

    On Friday, KHS is welcoming back 11 Hall of Fame alumni who will share their professional journeys with students in classes from their field of experience. The intention for the day is to connect students with these high achieving alumni. Alumni will learn about what students are currently learning and share out how this learning applies in a real-world application setting. Alumni will also connect with students for lunch.

    The 11 alumni participating on the Friday Career Day include:

    Sterling Coleman, Business Leader and Entrepreneur CEO and President of SJAC Food Groups Holdings

    Reates Curry, Ph.D., Engineer Henry Ford Technology Award, Two Time Winner Business Insider's 43 Most Powerful Women Engineers

    Tricia Ashton Derges, M.D., Physician and Entrepreneur, Founder of Lift Up Medical Mission, Recipient of National Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award

    Jane E. Drichta, MS, CPM, PGDip, Midwife, Author, and Global Health Professional, Founder - Global Motherhood Initiative

    Bill Freivogel, Journalist and Lawyer, Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Recipient of Benjamin Franklin Award and National Press Club's Washington Correspondence Award

    Margaret (Wolf) Freivogel, Journalist, Founding Editor of St. Louis Beacon and recipient of St. Louis Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award

    Jennifer Ouellette, Milliner, CEO and Designer- Jennifer Ouellette, Inc.

    Timothy N. Taft, MD, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Director of Sports Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Medical School and Team Physician for numerous USA Teams recipient of Congressional Gold Medal as part of the 1980 USA Olympic Team

    Eric "Rick" Stream, Community Volunteer, MO House of Representatives 2006-2014 and recipient of Kirkwood Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award

    Wallace W. Ward, Community Volunteer, served on the Kirkwood Park Board, Kirkwood Arts Foundation, Kirkwood Budget, and Finance Commission, and Stages Theater Company.

    Induction events for Saturday, October 19
    Kirkwood High School
    801 West Essex
    2 p.m.-3 p.m. Pre-event reception
    3 p.m.-5 pm. Induction ceremony 

    On Saturday, October 19, the 2019 Class will officially be inducted into the KHS Alumni Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. in the Keating Theatre. Light refreshments will be served to begin at 2 p.m.

    Listed alphabetically, the Outstanding Alumni are:
    Sterling L. Coleman is the Chief Executive Officer and President of SJAC Food Groups Holdings the largest Zaxby's licensee group with the franchise's number one grossing location.  Sterling founded SJAC Food Groups Holdings in 2001 to operate first-class brands, deliver an outstanding guest experience, and achieve great results while positioning the company for continued growth. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, SJAC, is an experienced concession operator with more than seventeen stores in twelve cities, with exclusive rights to build twenty-eight locations in Oklahoma. As the largest African American Zaxby's franchisee, Sterling, grew SJAC from the first location in Atlanta with annual sales of $1.5 million to seventeen locations with annual sales of over $30 million.   

    Reates Curry, Ph.D., Class of 1980 
    Reates Curry is a Technical Supervisor and Human Factors Expert at Ford Motor Company’s Research and Innovation Center.  She joined Ford in 1995 and leads projects that focus on making driving safer. As the project leader for the Virtual Test Track Experiment (VIRTTEX) Lab, Reates researches driver-vehicle interaction issues to develop technologies that either prevent accidents or at least lessen their severity. The team she manages collects driver response data that might include driver intervention response time, eye gaze information, and physiological measures like heart rate. Her team also studies how humans interact with autonomous systems and other advanced technology systems to enhance the driver and rider experience.    

    Tricia Ashton Derges, M.D., Class of 1975 
    Dr. Tricia Derges has had two successful, and very different, professional journeys. Both are worthy of induction into the Kirkwood High School Alumni Hall of Fame.  In the early 1990s, Tricia founded a manufacturing company in the attic of her home called "Mostly Memories." Her business sold bath and body care products, and candles. In the first three years, the annual sales reached over $6 million. The company grew to an international level. As President and CEO, she was named Missouri Entrepreneur of the Year, Manufacturer of the Year and Woman of the Year in Ozark, MO. After 20 successful years and at the age of 52, Derges decided to sell her company and enrolled in medical school. During her clinical training in Springfield, she observed patients who were unable to afford medical services despite access to clinics with sliding-scale fees. After participating in a medical mission trip to Nicaragua, she created a similar service for residents of the Ozarks. Derges established Lift Up Someone Today intending to provide medical, dental and mental health care to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The Lift Up Springfield clinic opened its doors in January 2016. The mission also operates low-fee clinics in Ozark and Branson, MO and has provided services to more than 18,000 individuals.    For her efforts in serving the underserved, Tricia won both the National Jefferson Award for Southwest Missouri and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award. Both of these awards recognize individuals for their public service. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award is only awarded to five individuals per year across the United States. She was also named the 2018 Humanitarian Award recipient for her work with Lift Up Someone Today.

    Colin Donnell, Class of 2001 
    Colin Donnell is a well-known actor on stage and screen. He recently portrayed Dr. Connor Rhodes on the hit show Chicago Med on NBC. Fans also remember him as Tommy Merlyn in the television series Arrow, and The Affair on Showtime.  He performed on Broadway in Violet, Jersey Boys, and Anything Goes. His portrayal of Billy Crocker in Anything Goes earned him a Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.  

    Jane E. Drichta, MS, CPM, PGDip Class of 1987 
    Jane Drichta is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), author, and birth and postpartum doula.  Her research interests include preserving maternal health gains in under-resourced countries during times of natural disasters, using the 2015 West African Ebola crisis as a case study.    Jane is the founder of Global Motherhood Initiative (GMI) a grassroots organization pioneering a new and innovative model of maternity care for women in conflict zones, under-resourced areas, or victims of a natural disaster.  GMI provides integrated services for its patients, combining gentle, compassionate care with mental health therapy. Jane travels to Iraq frequently, working with Yezidi escapees from ISIS. She partners with midwives and psychologists to provide gentle, mother-centered maternity care with mental health therapy, providing supported recovery from trauma and reproductive violence. She also served as Country Director of the Free Yezidi Foundation in Iraq as well as consulting for several other non-governmental organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan.           

    Bill Freivogel Class of 1967 
    Bill Freivogel serves as a professor for the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts at Southern Illinois University. He is also a legal commentator on St. Louis Public Radio.   His journalism career began in 1971 with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch serving as a journalist, assistant bureau chief and deputy editorial page editor. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his writing and editing. His recognitions include selection as a finalist in the 2002 Pulitzer Prize competition, Sidney Hillman Award recipient, Benjamin Franklin Award, National Press Club's Washington Correspondence Award, and three Connie Rosenbaum Awards.     

    Margaret Wolf Freivogel Class of 1967 
    Margaret Wolf Freivogel was the founding editor of the St. Louis Beacon, an online, non-profit regional news organization that began publishing in 2008. In 2013, she oversaw the merger of the Beacon with St. Louis Public Radio, and she subsequently served as editor of the combined newsroom. Before that, she spent 34 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, working as a reporter, assistant Washington bureau chief and assistant managing editor.   She received numerous awards, including the St. Louis Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award, the University of Missouri School of Journalism Medal of Honor and induction into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. She also shares awards with her husband, William Freivogel, including the ACLU Civil Libertarian of the Year in 1991 and the President’s Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1989.     

    L. Blaine Hammond Class of 1969
    Col. Hammond received his pilot wings at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in 1975, and was awarded the Commander’s Trophy as the Outstanding Graduate in his class. He was assigned to the Hahn Air Base in Germany. He also served on air bases in Arizona (Williams Air Force Base), the Empire Test Pilot School (ETPS) at A&AEE Boscombe Down, United Kingdom, and Edwards Air Force Base, in California. In 1984, Col. Hammond was selected to NASA’s Astronaut Group #10, consisting of 7 Pilots and 10 Mission Specialists.  During his NASA career, Col. Hammond served in a variety of duties, including Senior Ascent & Entry CAPCOM (Mission Control communicator to the Space Shuttle during training and missions), Astronaut Support (crew support during launch and landing), direct liaison with the Commander, USAF Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO, and Chief of Safety for the Astronaut Office. A veteran of two space flights (STS-39 and STS-64), Col. Hammond has logged over 462 hours (19 days), and traveled 310 Orbits and over 8.0 million miles in space. He flew as Pilot (PLT) of “Discovery” on STS-39, the first unclassified Department of Defense mission (April 28 to May 6, 1991). The seven-man crew performed numerous scientific experiments to collect data on atmospheric Infrared (IR) and Ultraviolet (UV) phenomena including a satellite deploy and rendezvous in support of the Strategic Defense Initiative Office (SDIO).  Mission duration was 8 days, 7 hours, 23 minutes, traveling 134 orbits and 3.5 million miles. He also was the PLT on STS-64, again aboard the Space Shuttle “Discovery” (September 9 to September 20, 1994). Mission highlights included: the first use of Lasers for environmental research; deployment and retrieval of a solar science satellite; robotic processing of semiconductors; use of the RMS boom for jet thruster research; and the first untethered space walk in 10 years to test a portable, self-rescue jetpack.     

    *Nancy Edmunds Kline (Cogan), Ph.D., RN, CPNP, FAAN Class of 1977 
    Nancy Edmunds Kline (Cogan) was an author, educator, nurse scientist, mentor and tireless advocate for children with life-threatening illnesses. Nancy began her career as a pediatric emergency room nurse at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. She later accepted a position at Texas Children’s Hospital focusing on children with brain tumors. After earning her doctorate, she shifted her clinical focus to children suffering from HIV/AIDS. This work took her to 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe. She became Director of Nursing Research at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and later was offered a position to develop and lead a new program focusing on her nursing research as well as training a team of nurses to develop and carry out their research studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.       

    Jennifer Ouellette Class of 1989 
    Jennifer Ouellette is the CEO and designer of Jennifer Ouellette Inc. studio located in the Manhattan garment district and a second studio in Santiago, Dominican Republic. At her milliner studios, she responsibly produces eco-friendly hats and hair accessories for men and women.  Jennifer’s sense of design began during childhood days spent in her mother’s vintage clothing store in St. Louis. She continues to combine her passion for vintage fashion with her modern New York City style. Using her needle and thread as an artist uses pencil and paint, she applies her manual sewing techniques to her millinery sculptures with loving detail.     

    Mark Sparks Class of 1978 
    Mark Sparks is Principal Flute of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO). He is a frequent soloist with the SLSO and other orchestras and has performed in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, South America, and Asia. He has appeared as Guest Principal Flutist with many ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and the Bergen (Norway) Philharmonic. Before his appointment in St. Louis, Mark was Associate Principal Flute with the Baltimore Symphony under David Zinman, and Principal Flute of the San Antonio Symphony and the Memphis Symphony. He began his career as Principal in the Canton Ohio Symphony and in Venezuela with the Caracas Philharmonic.   

    Timothy N. Taft, M.D., Class of 1960 
    Tim Taft is the Max M. Novich Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Orthopaedics and Director of Sports Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Medical School. Taft was a team physician for the 1979 USA Pan American Games Team, the 1980 USA Olympic Team and head physician for the 1981 USA World University Games Team. He served as a staff physician for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and was the medical director for the Special Olympic World Games in 1999. He has been the team physician for numerous USA national teams including the USA basketball teams which won the 1986 Men’s and the 1990 Women’s World Championships. He is recognized for many accomplishments and advancements in medicine. One, in particular, was his contributions to advancing arthroscopic knee surgery. He was the pioneer of the surgery and helped to design the surgical technique currently used to reconstruct the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).   

    Lyle Waggoner Class of 1953 
    Lyle Waggoner is a beloved actor from successful shows in the 1960-70s including The Carol Burnett Show and Wonder Woman. On The Carol Burnett Show, Lyle was the announcer and a performer for eight seasons. He played Steve Trevor in the Wonder Woman series. In 1979, Waggoner founded Star Waggons, the largest supplier of studio location rental trailers in the entertainment industry. Waggoner retired from full-time acting to run Star Waggons, but makes occasional appearances, often parodying his earlier image.        

    Adam J. York Class of 1993 
    Adam York is the Senior Animator at Riot Games, an American video game developer, and esports tournament organizer.   His extensive career in animation involves projects with production companies such as Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Sony Entertainment, and Walt Disney Pictures. He was an artist and/or animator for movies such as The Prince of Egypt, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron, and Minority Report (Dreamworks); The Tigger Movie and Atlantis: The Lost Empire (Walt Disney Feature Animation), and Enchanted (Walt Disney Pictures).                 

    The Pioneer Award was established to honor individuals who may not have graduated from Kirkwood High School, but who have made significant contributions to the Kirkwood School District. Listed alphabetically, the recipients of the Pioneer Award are:   

    *Ernie "Bud" Baker, Class of 1949 
    Ernie was a Community Volunteer, serving on the KHS Beautification Committee, KHS Wilderness Club, Pioneer Boosters, Inc., and the Glendale Bicentennial Chairman. He served as a KSD volunteer for more than 44 years. One of the biggest projects he organized was to lead a group of students in building 65 concrete benches that were placed throughout the KHS campus. This became known as the KHS Beautification Committee.  Ernie also established the KHS Wilderness Club which would plan and carry out hiking and camping trips. Ernie was a huge fan of Pioneer athletics and is remembered for his support of Pioneer Boosters, Inc., along with being an avid sideline fan at many KHS events.   

    Barb Byerly 
    Barb Byerly became involved with KSD schools when her children attended, and she continues to support the District. Barb authored the KSD and City of Kirkwood 125th anniversary book. Barb helped raise funds for the Walker Science Center and was a key public relations contributor to several bond issues. Barb has been honored by the Kirkwood-Des Peres Chamber of Commerce with Kirkwood Citizen of the Year and Kirkwood Lifetime Achievement awards. She has served the community in dozens of capacities, including serving on the boards of STAGES St. Louis, Manor Grove, Parents as Teachers, SSM St. Clare Medical Center, the Kirkwood School District Foundation, and the Historic Kirkwood Train Station Foundation. Byerly has been a member of the St. Louis County and State of Missouri Municipal Leagues, Kirkwood Rotary Club, Kirkwood-Des Peres Chamber, First Presbyterian Church and a SSM St. Joseph Hospital of Kirkwood. Recently, she was honored in serving as Grand Marshal in the Greentree Parade.

    *Robert Piening 
    Robert “Bob” Piening served on the KSD Board of Education for 10 years, four as president. He was also one of the founding members of the Kirkwood School District Foundation. He and his wife, Lynne, also sponsored a monetary award to the annual KSD Teacher of the Year. The Piening Family continues to provide this award. For the KSD community at large, Bob served on the board for KirkCare and Habitat for Humanity.     

    Judy Long Roberts, Class of 1953 
    Judy generously supports a variety of organizations in and around Kirkwood. She and her husband, Tom Roberts (KHS '53), co-founded the Association for Instrumental Music (A.I.M.) Community Band. The group supports and encourages KSD’s instrumental music program, its students and outreach into the community. Roberts continues to play the flute in the 60-plus member band.  Among the other organizations benefiting from her active volunteerism are the Kirkwood Arts Commission and the Kirkwood Arts Foundation. 

    Rick Stream, Class of 1967 
    Rick Stream is a lifetime resident of Kirkwood. Rick has been a volunteer in the Kirkwood Community for 50 years, including 38 years for the Kirkwood School District, serving on and leading many committees. He served on the Kirkwood School Board, chaired the 2005 Prop i campaign which resulted in the new science building and gymnasium at Kirkwood High and served on the District’s Budget and Finance Committee. Rick started the Veterans Day program at KHS in 1992 and has run it for most of the 26 ensuing years.   

    *Michael E. Swoboda 
    Michael Swoboda was a beloved member of the Kirkwood community. As a parent of two children in the Kirkwood School District, Mike became very involved in serving KSD schools. He was a founding member of the Kirkwood School District Foundation, Pioneer Boosters, Inc., and a tutor at Robinson Elementary School, where he talked to students about history and citizenship. He was honored in 2008 with an honorary degree from Kirkwood High School, complete with a diploma, cap and gown. Swoboda is a graduate of Normandy High School.     

    Wallace Ward, Class of 1971 
    Wallace Wade is a life-long resident in the Kirkwood School District. As a KSD parent, Wallace became actively involved in Robinson Elementary School's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Wallace also served on the KSD Board of Education. In 1991, he was the first African American elected President of the Kirkwood Board of Education. While on the KSD School Board, Wallace provided leadership to ensure excellence in education for all children in KSD. After serving as a KSD board member, Wallace went on to help establish the Kirkwood School District Foundation in 1989 and serving as a founding board member.

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