Great Oaks seeks nominations of distinguished alumni for awards

September 17th, 2009    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: Community

Nominations for the 2009 Great Oaks Distinguished Alumni award are now being accepted.

Chances are that everyone has contact with a Great Oaks graduate regularly; it may be a local business owner, banker, mechanic, attorney, co-worker, son or daughter, or mother or father. Nomination forms are available at or by calling Andrea Earick at (513) 612-3645. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 2.

To be eligible for the Distinguished Alumni Award, nominees must have attended a Great Oaks full-time career program as an adult, high school or satellite student, and have graduated at least 10 years ago.

Since 2006, Great Oaks has honored those alumni who have distinguished themselves personally and professionally, and who have had an impact on their world. Past honorees include business and community leaders, teachers, and craft professionals, as well as an inventor, a state representative, an Olympic gold medalist, and an Emmy Award nominee.

Distinguished Alumni from 2008 are:

Thomas Cornwell

Commercial and Residential Electricity, 1978, Clermont Northeastern High School

Having perfect attendance throughout his time at Laurel Oaks was an example of Thomas Cornwell's dedication to his education. The son of a Clermont County farmer, Thomas chose Commercial and Residential Electricity as a vocational student in order to learn skills that he would not learn on the farm.

In the 1980s, Thomas began operating Cornwell Electric as a full-time business. Over the past 20 years, Cornwell Electric became well known and Thomas Cornwell has become a prominent and well-respected member of his community. As the electrician for the Clermont County Fairgrounds, he has made significant improvements to the Fairgrounds.

He is quick to share stories with young students about his time at Laurel Oaks and the path which led to a successful career. He and his family continue to donate their time and talents to benefit their community.

Paula Losey

Secondary Instructional Aide, 1973, Princeton High School

Paula Losey was among the first students of the newly-created joint vocational school district in 1971. After graduating in 1973, she began work at the brand new Scarlet Oaks campus as a switchboard operator and key punch operator.

She began college-an unusual step for vocational graduates in the 1970s-and earned a Bachelor's degree from Campbellsville University. Paula then became a Trust Department Officer for PNC Bank where she managed employees, facilities, and accounting operations.

In 1999, Losey returned to Great Oaks as the Accounting Manager and later became Benefits Coordinator in the Human Resources office. She continues to make an impact on both her colleagues and her community. She was the keynote speaker at the Ohio Vocational Legislative Day, and is active in her church where she established an active youth group.

Russell Wayne

Carpentry, 1976

Oak Hills High School

Just two years after completing the Carpentry program at Diamond Oaks, Russell "Rusty" Wayne founded Wayne Buildings, Inc. In the thirty years since then, he has led the company to become recognized as a leader in constructing post frame buildings. He provides jobs for more than 20 people, including other Great Oaks graduates, and more than 1,000 buildings in the Cincinnati area were built by Russell and his employees.

Wayne has also become known throughout the area as a leader in other ways. He serves on the Board of the Western Hamilton County Economic Council, and is devoted to the vitality and beautification of his community. He is a member of the Miami Township Planning Commission, and was previously President of the Miamitown Business Association.

He also continues to support education and youth. He serves on the Construction Advisory Council at Diamond Oaks, regularly provides co-op opportunities for Great Oaks students, and was named a Diamond Oaks Employer of the Month. For many years he was also a 4-H advisor.

Russell Wayne and his wife Pattie have two children, Shannon and Garrett.

Janice Zoladz Allison

Cosmetology, 1985

Greenhills High School

Janice Zoladz' cosmetology career began as soon as she graduated in 1985, and her drive, determination, and talent enabled her to move forward quickly. She became licensed in Ohio and Kentucky, and worked in upscale salons in both states.

In 1996 she moved to California to pursue a dream of working in the entertainment industry.

Janice's work has been seen on Disney, Fox, HBO, Warner Brothers, MTV, VH1, and numerous other production companies' films and television shows. She recently received her first Emmy nomination for her work on the show Two and a Half Men, and has been named Department Head on an upcoming Biography Channel series. Her drive to excel is seen in other activities as well. A marathon runner, she set a new cross-country course record in high school.
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One Response to “Great Oaks seeks nominations of distinguished alumni for awards”

  1. Mark Calitri says:

    The Clermont County CVB actively supports Great Oaks and the direct impact it has on our county. They offer so many courses that provide a wealth of information.

    Mark A. Calitri

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