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MCSD announces 2017 Hall of Distinction Inductees

Ceremony honoring inductees to take place on Nov. 3

The Monticello Central School District is proud to announce this year’s inductees to its Hall of Distinction. Seven outstanding individuals will be honored at a special ceremony in the Arnold Packer Hughs Auditorium in Monticello High School on Friday, Nov. 3 at noon.

This year’s inductees are:

• George L. Cooke, Class of 1895

County Judge George L. Cooke, like many others to the Hall of Distinction, is an outstanding example of a self-made man. He was a member of Monticello High School’s first graduating class. Judge Cooke was well-liked and respected and is the namesake of the district’s George L. Cooke Elementary School. His namesake and character also live on through The Knights of Columbus’ Officers of the 4th Degree Honorable George L. Cooke. He was director of the National Union Bank and was a member of the State Bar Association and State Committee on Children’s Court. He was also a teacher and took part in a variety of community organizations, including the Boy Scouts, Monticello Fire Department and Child’s Aid Society.

• James Culligan, Class of 1949

Throughout his life, James (Jim) Culligan has been guided by his heart to serve his country, his community, his family and his friends. He is a Korean War veteran, served as President of the Monticello Board of Education and was instrumental in passing Dean’s Law, which addresses legislation about animal abuse as a criminal act. Described as a “Monticello man through and through,” "the face of Monticello,” and “honest to a fault,” James is an athlete, mentor and leader. He was recognized as a Sullivan County Elks Sportsman and played on a demo team with the Hall of Fame coaches for Indiana and Illinois.

• Robert Kapito, Class of 1975

Robert Kapito is President and a Director of BlackRock, a member of BlackRock’s Global Executive Committee and Chairman of the Global Operating Committee. He is responsible for day-to-day oversight of all BlackRock’s key operating units including Investment Strategies, Client Businesses, Technology and Operations, and Risk & Quantitative Analysis. Mr. Kapito is also a Director of iShares Inc.

• Marvin Rappaport, Class of 1965

Marvin has spent his life committed to our nation’s democratic values by continuously giving to others who need assistant to confront bigotry, hatred and injustice. He spent over 30 years working for the Anti-Defamation League. Marvin is a Sullivan County native who grew up in the hey-day of the Catskills at the Delano Hotel, a family owned business where his parents and relatives worked. Following college, he was an active member of the Sullivan County legal community. He later served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Matthew McHugh before moving onto the ADL.

• Jean Rosenheck, Class of 1946

A member of Sullivan County for nearly 80 years, Jean was a success businesswoman and advocate for the school community. She served her community as a school board member and president. She was also a member of the Temple Sholom Board of Directions and was listed as a “Who’s Who of American Women,” among other accolades. A role model to the youth, Jean founded and ran a successful advertising business.

• Gary Schmidt, Class of 1966

Schmidt is the chairman of Schmidt's Wholesale Inc., a plumbing, heating, electrical, waterworks and HVAC supply house in Monticello, N.Y., with branch locations in Newburgh, N.Y., and Florida. Schmidt has been active in the business community and wholesale industry for many years serving on the board and as president of New York State Plumbing and Heating Wholesalers, the board of American Supply Association and on the board and as president of Wit & Company. In 1990, Schmidt, along with a group of local business people, started Community Bank of Sullivan County, today the Catskill Hudson Bank, which opened in 1993. He is a founding member and serves on the board of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development. In 2002, he was honored with their highest award, the Walter A. Rhulen Award for Service to Business, Community and Humanity. Schmidt has dedicated much time to the Boy Scouts of America. He is an Eagle Scout, God and Country Award holder and a Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow.

• Barbara Pinto, Class of 1982

Barbara Pinto is an ABC News correspondent based in the network's Chicago bureau. She files reports for "World News with Diane Sawyer," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," and other broadcasts and platforms. She is also the founder and CEO of Pinto Productions, Inc. Her work has earned recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, NY Broadcasters Association and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The Hall of Distinction was established in 2012 by the Monticello Board of Education to honor highly successful graduates, former students and former employees who have achieved distinction, outstanding accomplishment, or have made a significant contribution within their school, family, career, community and/or personal lives. Inductees are selected by a committee consisting of community stakeholders, Board of Education members, faculty and alumni. The Hall of Distinction is located in the lobby of the Arnold Packer Hughs Auditorium in Monticello High School.

The induction ceremony is open to the public. There will be an open community reception following the ceremony from 7-9 p.m. at Bernie’s Holiday Restaurant in Rock Hill for the public to attend.