WVHS has been a source of strength and pride for our community since 1975.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was created as a permanent way of recognizing and continuing the rich history of our school. This award honors and celebrates the achievements of our alumni who have walked the halls of Waubonsie Valley and continue to make outstanding contributions to their communities and our society.
Debbie (Barlow) West~ Class of 1982
A graduate of the Class of 1982, Debbie West is our 2017 inductee as a Distinguished Alumna at Waubonsie Valley High School. While at WVHS, Debbie played basketball and was the co-captain of track and cross country. She served on the student council for several years and was Vice President of her senior class. She also was a member of the National Honor Society and gave a closing speech at the senior commencement.
After high school, Debbie continued her education at Arizona State University and obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Business. She is married to Dr. William West, a Technologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Their son, Matthew, graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from California Polytechnic University; and their daughter, Claire, graduated with a degree in Physics from University of California, Santa Barbara. Debbie has held many positions within IT while being active in her community and leading women’s development. While working and raising children, Debbie and William took turns being home with their children and volunteering at school. She was also very active in Girl Scouts for nine years including helping the girls learn how to develop and execute plans for their Gold Award projects. Throughout her career, she has promoted the advancement of women.
Debbie is now an executive at Toyota Motor North America. She created a metrics program at Toyota that was highlighted in the nationally-distributed CIO Magazine. Now she directs teams and helps build processes to ensure success of multi-million dollar programs for Toyota. Further, Debbie was a founding team member of the Toyota Motor Sales women’s business partnering group (TORQUE) in 2006 and helped it grow to more than 750 members today. The vision of TORQUE is that Toyota women are recognized at all levels of leadership as key contributors to Toyota’s success. As the leader of TORQUE, Debbie also co-founded Toyota North America Women’s Conference (NAWC) in 2011 with 70 attendees. The NAWC now has more than 250 attendees with a goal of building relationships among Toyota women while gathering insights from joint thinking. Most recently, Debbie spent two years in Japan developing the Global IT Strategy for Toyota, requiring travel and interaction with CIOs from around the world. While in Japan, Debbie extended the Innovation Fair she co-founded at Toyota Motor Sales in 2007 to the first Global Toyota Innovation Fair in Japan. She was invited to present a seminar at Nagoya University and to mentor a group of graduate and post-doctoral students.
Debbie’s key message is “Do what you love and be the change you want to see in the world.” Through Debbie’s accomplishments, you can see she lives this message and has helped change the world around her.
Martin Schaefer ~ Class of 1987
A graduate of the class of 1987, Martin Schaefer is our 2016 inductee as a Distinguished Alumni at Waubonsie Valley High School. Martin’s allegiance to the armed forces, devotion, dedication and perseverance as an active community leader and outstanding humanitarian make him a one of a kind person.
After high school, Martin attended Suomi College in Hancock, Michigan. He entered the Army in 1990 and was stationed in Hawaii and then in Georgia. After leaving the active Army in 1996, he remained as a Reservist as a Military Police Soldier. While in the Army and Army Reserves, he traveled to Egypt, Guatemala, Kenya, Kuwait and Qatar for training and humanitarian missions. Additionally, he answered our nation’s call deploying twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.
Martin joined North East Multi-Regional Training (NEMRT) as the Basic Training Program Manager in 2002. He now serves as a Training Coordinator, facilitating the delivery of over 250,000 man hours of certified law enforcement training annually. He strives to ensure that area police officers receive the highest level training to enhance the safety, service and community relations in their communities.
Martin is active in the community. He has been involved as a Girl Scout leader and is an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor. He also volunteers with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, DuPage County VETCENTER, Homeless Veteran Stand Downs, and he is the Commander of the Darien Memorial Post 2838 VFW. Martin is active with his homeowner’s association, his church mission trips and service projects as well as the WVHS Choir Parent’s Association and the WHVS Dance team.
Martin attributes success in all facets of his life to his wife, Donna who has sacrificed and supported him throughout all of his endeavors. He is also the proud parent of Maria – WVHS Class of 2016, and Morgan – WVHS Class of 2018.
Michael King, M.D. ~ Class of 2003
Michael’s spirited quest for knowledge, determination to excel, and passion for assisting others in all that he pursues have allowed him to forge a path in the medical field that is truly one of a kind.
During his senior year at Waubonsie Valley High School, Michael received the Science Departmental award due to his distinguished work ethic and his desire to serve others. He also realized that involvement in variety of experiences enhanced his academic drive. He was involved in many activities and clubs including jazz ensemble, student council, scholastic bowl, and pit orchestra. His exemplary skills as a guitarist afforded him with the opportunity to be the recipient of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. This pursuit for excellence opened many doors for his future.
After his graduation in 2003, Michael continued his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology, graduating Magna Cum Laude. While attending the U of I, Michael earned distinctions including Phi Beta Kappa and Bronze Tablet honors, which led him to the medical school at University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. As a medical student, Michael’s continued academic prowess allowed him to graduate in the top 25% of his class and he was awarded the Dean’s Promise Scholarship.
Upon his graduation from medical school, Michael completed an internship at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. He is currently an anesthesiology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Michael stays active in research and has authored over 20 papers, book chapters, and abstracts. Amongst his busy schedule, true to his visible passion, he volunteers his time and talents on many mission’s trips around the world, from Peru to the Philippines, in his tireless efforts of positively impacting the world.
Elizabeth (Sherman) Krotser ~ Class of 1998
While at WVHS, Elizabeth served on the Student Council for four years, acting as the chair for the Community Service committee for two years and as the Student Council President her senior year. Elizabeth also took a part in National Honor Society REACH (a drug prevention outreach group), and started a “Respect Week,” dedicated to respecting diversity within the school. Soccer was a passion of Elizabeth’s, playing all four years and serving as the team captain her senior year.
After high school, Elizabeth continued her education at the University of Wisconsin graduating with Bachelors of Social Work and went on to get her Masters from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago. During her studies at UW, Elizabeth spent a semester studying Spanish at La Catolica in Quito, Ecuador.
Elizabeth started her career in Cicero, Illinois, where she served as the bilingual social worker for a school of 1,400 early elementary students. In the eight years she spent in Cicero, Elizabeth taught social skills, parenting classes, managed school crises, facilitated special education and school improvement teams, and served as the chair for parent involvement on the Town’s Youth Gang Task Force. She formed the first Parent Participation Committee in the school district which grew to 160 members during her tenure.
Elizabeth went on to work as a school social worker in Skokie, Illinois. She currently works in the Crystal Lake School District where she is the social worker and behavioral specialist for the self-contained autism program. She teaches social and emotional regulation skills to students and parents and serves as a liaison to parents of children with special needs.
Elizabeth resides in West Dundee, Illinois, with her husband and three children. She continues to be passionate about connecting families with their children’s education and social-emotional development.
Curt Bradshaw ~ Class of 1990
During his years as a student at Waubonsie Valley, Curt was a member of the Cross Country and Track teams.
After high school, Curt continued his education at the University of Illinois earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. At the University of Illinois, Curt was a member of Mortar Board and served as President of both the Agribusiness Association and Sigma Pi Fraternity. In addition, Curt earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, graduating first in his class with concentrations in both Finance and Strategic Management.
Curt began his career at the Chicago Board of Trade where he eventually served as Manager of Market Surveillance and was responsible for detecting and preventing manipulations of the Exchange’s agricultural and equity products. Curt then served as Executive Director of Product Strategy and Development at both Invesco and Morgan Stanley. He currently is a Senior Vice President at Nuveen Investments and is responsible for leading the product development efforts of the firm’s U.S. and global product lines.
Curt served on the Indian Prairie School District 204 Board of Education from 2005-12, holding the office of President from 2009-12. During Curt’s tenure on the board, District 204’s ACT score grew by 1.4 points – seven times the U.S. growth rate. In addition, the percentage of residents grading the District an "A" or "B" increased from 76% to 87%.
In 2012, Curt was appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education by Governor Quinn.
Gene DiMonte ~ Class of 1984
During his years as a student at Waubonsie Valley, Gene was President of Thespian Society and active in theater and drama by building sets and helping with the back stage support. He was also a member of National Honor Society and was listed in “Who’s Who of American High School Students.”
After high school, Gene continued his education at Northern Illinois University and graduated with honors with a Bachelors of Science degree in Engineering Design. Remaining active during his college years, Gene was a member of Epsilon Pi Tau National Honors Fraternity and served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee.
Gene’s professional career includes work at Del Monte Canning Company and Packard Instrument Company. Gene is the founder and owner of DiMonte Group, Inc. which is a full service product development outsourcing firm that provides industrial design and engineering design services. The company has successfully completed over 1,300 development and engineering projects for its growing client base.
Gene is very active in the community. He serves on the Advisory Committee for the College of Engineering and Technology at Northern Illinois University, and serves as a design advisor for the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University. For the Indian Prairie School District, Gene serves as an advisor on the Technology Engineering Education Advisory Committee, provides internships for students, and has donated drafting hardware, computer equipment and CADD software to Waubonsie Valley High School.
Bert Belasco ~ Class of 2001
As a student at Waubonsie Valley, Bert Belasco was a member of the varsity basketball team and a popular student with staff and peers because of his vibrant personality and charm. Bert leads the cast for the first original scripted romantic comedy for the BET network entitled Let's Stay Together
; and he scored the #1 spot for the Super Bowl Snickers Commercial with Betty White.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina, but raised in Allentown, PA and New York City, Bert moved to Naperville and became a Waubonsie Valley Warrior in 1997. During his junior year at WV, he was asked to be Will Smith for an impersonation assembly---the performance was a hit---it was after this that he found his true calling and decided to become an actor. After graduation, Bert attended Southern Illinois University as a theater major and he earned his theatre degree from SIUC in 2005. This same year, he starred in Home and had the lead in other plays including The Greenbird and Parade. Bert also worked in Chicago's famed Second City and participated in the TVI Actors Studio Summer Institute in Los Angeles.
Bert moved to Los Angeles two days after he graduated from college and within two months, he landed his first paying job at the age of 21 when he appeared in a commercial for the reality series Gilligan’s Island. He has since followed his success with guest-starring roles on such hit shows as Justified and House, along with appearances in pilots for Starting Under and Dash 4 Cash.
Parvesh Cheena ~ Class of 1997
While a student at Waubonsie Valley, Parvesh "Parv" Cheena was very involved in theater, drama and numerous activities. Within the theater program he was cast in many plays and musicals. Additionally, he was a member of Thespians, The Voice, Orchesis, Group Interp, Speech Team, Swing Choir and Student Council. After high school, Parv attended the University of Illinois and then continued his actor training at Steppenwolf theater, Second City, the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and the Lou Conte Dance Studios.
Parv's extensive training and passion for acting has landed him roles in Film, Television, Theater, Commercials and Comedy. A few of these include the films Barbershop, Barbershop 2, Because I said So, and The Watcher. His television appearances includes roles in My Name is Earl, Brothers and Sisters, 'Til Death, Crossing Jordan, West Wing, ER, and many more. On stage, Parv has been cast in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Around the World in 80 Days, and other productions. Parv has also performed in sketch comedy and Improv at Second City, and he is a founding member of the White House Theater and Rasaka Theater in Chicago.
Parv's talents and skill sets include proficiency in many sports, stage combat training, dance, improvisation, singing, horseback riding, circus skills, sign language, and he can speak in many dialects and several languages.
Mark Pankuch, Ph.D. ~ Class of 1987
Medical Physicist, Dr. Mark Pankuch, was a member of National Honor Society at Waubonsie Valley and was enrolled in various honors and Advanced Placement classes. He was a member of both the football and basketball teams during his years at WVHS. Mark received a Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois Benedictine University. He earned his Ph.D. in Medical Physics from Rush University in Chicago where he earned the prestigious Doctoral Fellowship Award and was also named the winner of the "Young Investigators in Biomedical Engineering and Research".
Dr. Pankuch has served as a college professor in the medical area at National Louis Univesity, the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, and the University of Wisconsin. He has several published works and started a medical physics consulting firm "Computer Physics Solutions, LLC".
His motto is "service above self". He and his wife regularly give back to the community.
Robert J. Millar, M.D. ~ Class of 1977
Dr. Millar was a member of National Honor Society and was a National Merit Scholar at Waubonsie. He was quarterback and captain of the football team for the first two years of Waubonsie's existence, played basketball, and was All-Conference in baseball. Dr. Millar attended Drake University and received his B.A. in Biology with Cum Laude honors. He continued his education at Loyola University School of Medicine and University of Iowa, completing his doctorial education in 1985. Dr. Millar completed his internship and residency at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. By 1998 he was Board Certified in Family Practice.
Since becoming Board Certified Dr. Millar has been an instructor for Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, a Medical Director of Dover-New Philadelphia Emergency Room, formed a solo practice in Moline, Illinois, and ventured into a family care group practice utilizing a “without walls” concept. In 1991, Dr. Millar joined the John Deere Medical Group of the Quad Cities as a charter member. He was featured in the New York Times for the innovative HMO concept the group developed that caters to quality care.
Dr. Millar ventured back to the Naperville area in 2002, joining Hobson Family Medical Associates and currently with the Lakeside Family Practice. He has also been involved with the Aurora-Naperville Rotary, NCO Youth and Family Services Board, Heritage National Healthplan Pharmacy and Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Committees, and the Western Illinois IPA Budget Committee. Dr. Millar is a member of the AMA, AAFP, Rock Island County Medical Society,
American Geriatric Society, and American Society of Addition Medicine.
Kristy (Anderson) Glass ~ Class of 1997
Kristy was a member of National Honor Society and International Thespian Society. She was a member of the Drama Club, Student Council, Swing Choir, Varsity Singers, Musicals, IHSA Competitions, and Choir. Kristy was an active student leader as President of Student Council in 1997, All-State Theatre in 1996, and All-State Chorus in 1997.
She attended DePaul University, graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor of Music. Kristy has sung at the Chicago Theatre, National Theatre, Kennedy Center, Secondstage Theatre, Folger Theatre, and Studio Theatre in Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York City. She has performed for ABC’s Primetime Live, anchored by Diane Sawyer and starred in the infant video series Eebee’s Adventures. Kristy has appeared in numerous print advertisements and is one of the 20 models featured in the Discovery Health Channel series: Runway Moms. She is currently a spokeswoman for Nuvaring. Kristy’s latest project has been her debut album, Picture a Christmas. Her current teaching also includes music teachers of small children and women 18 years and older. Kristy also performs for the Mt. Sinai Children’s Hospital in Manhattan on their closed circuit Kidzone television station. Kristy and her family currently reside in Long Island City.
Derke Price ~ Class of 1981
The 1981 Salutatorian was a member of NHS, a conference champion on the Math Team, and specialized in Extemporaneous Speech as a member of the Speech Team. Derke was President of the Student Council, was a member of the newspaper staff and performed in nine theatre productions. He played tennis, was a founding member of the WV Hockey team and was the 1980 Homecoming King.
Derke graduated from Wheaton College in 1985 and earned his law degree in 1988 from Harvard University. His is a partner at the law firm of Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, representing municipalities in northern Illinois in the areas of Municipal Law, Special Districts, Real Estate Law, and Land & Economic Development.
He serves as the attorney for several villages and park districts and is Chairman of the Naperville Plan Commission and is an active supporter of many organizations in Naperville.
Cynthia (Curry) Bell ~ Class of 1986
Cindy was Student Council Vice-President, Pom squad captain, and Homecoming and Prom Queen. She earned her Bachelor's degree at Cedarville University and her Masters in Educational Administration from Wright State University.
Cindy is a recipient of the prestigious Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching. She was also honored as the Math & Science "Teacher of the Year" in the state of Ohio and has been honored by Who's Who of American Educators. She currently teaches in the Indian Prairie School District where she is a perennial recipient of the "Most Influential Educator Award" and is an Adjunct Professor for Rockford College.
Stathis Poulakidas ~ Class of 1988
Stathis was President of his Senior class, President of NHS, and a member of Student Council. He also served as a tutor throughout his years at WV. In Basketball, he earned an All-Conference Honorable Mention award. He attended Illinois Benedictine College, earning his degree in Biochemistry and then his M.D. at Chicago Medical School where he earned numerous academic awards.His residency was at Loyola University Medical Center.
He was a Burn Surgery Fellow at the Shriner's Hospital at the University of California and then at UC-Davis in a Trauma/Critical Care Fellowship. Stathis is actively involved in a number of medical associations and societies and is a Board Certified Surgeon as well as being Board Certified in Critical Care.
Fabien Bownes ~ Class of 1990
A late bloomer, Fabien did not play Football until his Senior year, but he was named All-Conference Honorable Mention. A standout sprinter, Fabien medaled in the Indoor State Track meet in 1990 in the 200 Dash. He attended Western Illinois University Where he was a two-time Conference Champion in both the 100 and 200 as well as a four-time letter winner in both Football and Track. He was the National Champion in the 200 Dash in 1991 and also qualified for Nationals in the 100 and 4 X 100 Relay. He was also a two-time Olympic Tryout Qualifier. Fabien earned his degree in Communications at WIU and was on the Dean's List.
After college, Fabien played for the Chicago Bears from 1995-99 and then with the Seattle Seahawks from 1999-2002, earning numerous accolades. He volunteered for the United Way and upon his retirement, came back to WV and coached football and track.
Stephen C. Jumper ~ Class of 1980
Steve was Senior Class President and a member of the National Honor Society. He played Football, Basketball and Baseball. He pitched two "no-hitters" in baseball and is on the top-ten list of all-time scorers in basketball. Steve earned his Bachelors in Geological Sciences at University of Texas at Austin and advanced his education at Graduate School at the University of Texas, Permian Basin.
As a Geophysicist, Steve is the President, Chief Operating Officer & Director of Dawson Geophysical in Midland, Texas. He is a member of various Geophysical and Geological Societies and has co-authored several professional and technical papers. Steve also volunteers his time for youth in Little League, Boy Scouts and church.
Kevin Broihier ~ Class of 1987
Kevin was Co-Valedictorian, a National Merit Scholar, an NHS member, Editor for the school newspaper and winner of departmental awards in science, foreign language and social studies. He was active in four sports, helping to set a school track record in the 1600 Relay and serving as Captain of the first WVHS soccer team.
Kevin majored in Psychology at the University of Chicago where his studies included speech perception and artificial intelligence. He the earned his PH. D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cognitive Science, focusing on models of human language acquisition. He has an active career in quantitative research, computer programming and trading securities in Asian markets.
Dawn (Shuneman) DeSart ~ Class of 1981
While a student at WVHS, Dawn was active in the arts and related extracurricular activities. She was in various choral groups, competed on the Speech team, and acted in and directed Waubonsie theater productions. She graduated from Mankato State in Minnesota with a degree in Mass Communications and Minors in Speech and Psychology. She worked for Public Radio affiliates while in college and after graduation. She also volunteered her time at a homeless shelter and crisis intervention center.
Dawn's Emmy Award winning career focused on broadcasting in numerous venues, notably in the Chicago area where she did traffic and news for a number of radio stations and then traffic and human interest stories for WMAQ-TV. Dawn's real love is writing. She has been published in various magazines and newspapers and continues to write fiction and non-fiction.
Dawn Marie Schaible ~ Class of 1983
At WV, Dawn was in National Honor Society and was a member of the Volleyball and Tennis teams, as well as Flag Corps and Math Team. Dawn attended Bradley University, earning a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She then earned a Masters degree in Space Systems Operation from Florida Institute of Technology.
Dawn works for NASA and has been the Lead Engineer for Environmental Control and Life Support Systems on the Orbiter Endeavor, the Lead Test Engineer for the International Space Station's first US launched element and was a member of the Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center to deploy the first element. She speaks on behalf of NASA at schools across the country and has authored various articles. She has been awarded the Space Flight Awareness Program's highest award along with multiple Certificates of Commendation.
Paul Konrad ~ Class of 1983
Paul was active in the Arts and Student Council. He was Drum Major for the Marching Band, a member of the Concert and Swing choir, and was cast in numerous theatrical productions at Waubonsie. Paul graduated from DePaul Goodman School of Drama and went on to complete his masters in Speech, Radio, Television, and Film from Northwestern University. He studied meteorology at Mississippi State University.
Paul joined the WGN-TV Morning News team as a weathercaster/reporter in 1996. He was previously a weathercaster in Tampa, Florida as well as Montgomery, Alabama and also in Chicago with CLTV. He has won seven Emmy Awards for his broadcast work.
Dr. Kurt Warkenthien ~ Class of 1980
The inaugural inductee to the "club" of Distinguished Alumni was involved in all aspects of high school life. He was the 1980 Valedictorian, earning departmental awards in physics and history. He was a three-sport athlete, involved in drama, and was President of the Student Council. After high school, he attended University of Illinois, getting his degree in Biology. He then moved on to Loyola Strich School of Medicine.
He set up his first practice in Monticello, IL, then went to South Carolina and then returned to Naperville where he is a Family Practitioner at Naperville Medical Associates. Throughout his life he has been involved with community service efforts as an advocate for childhood and academic health. He has sponsored athletic teams, volunteered his time as a physician in shortage areas, served as an instructor/advisor for medical students, provided physicals as a fundraising efforts for local schools, etc. (As a fun fact, he was also a contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire".)