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Alumni News Archives

John DeGroatAlumnus and professional basketball player John DeGroat visits students, shares stories of struggles and success

On Monday, May 20, John DeGroat (Class of 2002) returned to the place that he credits with helping him get back on track, set goals for himself and become a successful basketball star – Monticello High School.

Not shy about sharing his academic struggles, DeGroat encouraged students to never give up on their dreams. He spoke about the supports he took advantage of when he came to Monticello. Reading and math were not strong subjects, he explained, but staying after school and working with teachers to improve made the difference. MORE

Christopher NgClass of 2005 Graduate Christopher Ng joins local law firm

Monticello High School alumnus (Class of 2005) Christopher Peter Ng passed both the Massachusetts and New York Bar exams this past summer.

He is a 2009 graduate of Boston University and a 2012 graduate of Suffolk Law School.

Christopher was recently admitted to the Massachusetts Bar Association and New York Bar Association and is presently employed at the law firm of Willis and Ng in Monticello where he specializes in criminal law.

Former White Lake resident wins Chef Challenge at World Food Championship

MHS AlumnusStory and photo courtesy the Times Herald-Record 01/09/13 - WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Monticello High School graduate Travis Brust, currently executive chef of the Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, recently took first place in the Chef Challenge category at the inaugural World Food Championships in Las Vegas.

Brust grew up in White Lake, where his mother, Tara Brust, still resides. His winning dish was an ode to the Chesapeake region: fennel dusted rockfish with sauteed bitter greens, oyster mushroom and fresh oyster ragout, roasted pearl potatoes, orange-scented beurre blanc and fresh carrot-cardamom gel. FULL STORY

J BlumenfeldClass of 1970 Alumnus Jeff Blumenfeld recounts his Woodstock Experience

"By the Time They Got to Woodstock, I was Already There" by Jeff Blumenfeld

Max Yasgur was a customer of my father’s clothing store in Monticello, just 10 miles from the site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel. Two years after the festival, when I was a student reporter for the Syracuse New Times, I prevailed upon my fellow Monticello High School graduate to tell me how the festival came about despite fierce local opposition. MORE

Photo of Stephanie Blythe in high schoolSinging Sensation, Stephanie Blythe (Class of 1987) is a superstar of the Metropolitan Opera

From Monticello High School's humble theatre, where she was the lead in "Annie Get Your Gun" in 1987, to the role of noble Jocasta in Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Stephanie Blythe has certainly come a long way. 

Blythe's passion for music started at Monticello when she was 16, seeing her first live opera at the Met with her high school music class. "I was completely blown away," Blythe recalled. MORE

Lee KarasikMonticello Schools Alumnus Reminds us What is Really Important

Twenty-one year-old Lee Karasik has one of those smiles that spans from ear to ear. His engaging, friendly manner and happy-to-see-you demeanor reflect the underlying nature of a person without a care in the world. Although Lee Karasik has had cerebral palsy since birth, he will not let it define who he is or put limitations on his dreams. A graduate of Monticello High School Class of 2005, Karasik has pushed beyond his disabilities to create a life for himself filled with the normalcy that many people take for granted. MORE

Photo of Sonia Pressman in 1940s1946 Graduate Significant to Feminist Movement

Sonia Pressman Fuentes was born in Berlin, Germany, and came to the United States in 1934 with her family to escape the Holocaust. She settled in the Bronx, then Woodridge, then Monticello.

She graduated as valedictorian from Monticello High School in 1946. According to Sonia, while at Monticello High School, she had a number of excellent teachers, one of whom taught her Latin. Although she already spoke German, Yiddish, Flemish and English, she left the class with a lifelong love of language – that which ultimately shaped her career and influenced the direction of her life. MORE

1997 MHS Graduate Inducted into USA Honor Society

Robert J. Carnell, a paramedic for American Medical Response, has been recognized by USA Honor Society for his talents and achievements in healthcare. As a paramedic for American Medical Response, Mr. Carnell is responsible for responding to emergency calls and assessing what care is needed for patients. He attributes his success thus far to his experience, his co-workers and his mentors.

Class of 1961 Alumna receiving recognition as a professional artist

Bonnie Chernick Epstein's art work was included in the prestigious Pulp Function exhibition of contemporary works made of paper. MORE

Bonnie (MHS Class of 1961) lives and works on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her work has also been included in exhibitions at the Hewitt Gallery of Art, NYC, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, The Main Street Gallery, Groton, NY, The Museum of Art and Design, NYC, and The New York State Museum, Albany, NY.

Monticello High School Alumna Judith Kaye leaves her legacy as a judge in New York State's highest court

Chief Judge Is Retiring, Leaving Trail of Successes for Women on the Bench (12/27/08 - NY Times) CLICK HERE to view the NY Times archived stories about Judge Kaye.

Judge Kaye's Judicial Legacy is Assured (2/17/08 - SC Democrat)

Duncan inducted into Hall of Fame

On Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, Andre Duncan a Monticello High School Class of 1994 graduate was inducted into the SUNY Albany Athletic Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Monticello High School, Andre went on to SUNY Albany, where he played basketball. He is currently a teacher in NYC. 

Photo of Chef Alan LazarMonticello graduate becomes award-winning chef

Monticello High School alumnus Alan Lazar, Class of 1971, has gone on to make a scrumptious name for himself as a professional chef. Alan got the taste for fine foods while working at the Concord Hotel during his junior and senior years of high school. After graduation, he continued his education and obtained his Bachelors degree at Monmouth College in New Jersey, while working at Lazars Kosher Meats & Poultry in South Fallsburg. From there he began his trek south working as a manager at a chicken farm in Maryland and then as a USDA Meat Certification Specialist in Miami, Florida. Alan is employed as an instructor at the Johnson & Wales University in North Miami where he teaches the techniques of meat cutting. He is very active in the American Culinary Federation. Some of the awards he’s received are as follows: Albertsons Founder Day Award; Sea-pak Best of Show - Culinary; Taste of the Nation; ACF Greater Miami Achievement Award; Boca Latkemania - Best Latkes; Chef of the Year - Greater Miami Chapter ACF and the Faculty Vollrath Award.

Photo of Steven MeyerA sad loss of one of Monticello's own

Steven “Pudge” Meyer, 48, an attorney with the Erie County DA’s office, passed away on November 17, 2007. He was an outstanding student and 1977 graduate of Monticello High School where he was also a standout tennis player. Steve went on to SUNY Binghamton and attended law school at the University of Buffalo.“Pudge” was an active member of the Monti High Interact Club and worked locally at the Raleigh Hotel for many years during and after high school. He will always be remembered by those who knew him as a loyal friend, loving husband, father, son and brother, as well as possessing the best sense of humor and infectious laugh.

Photo of museumMonticello High School alumni create historical paintings for Sullivan County Museum

The Sullivan County Museum features eight  murals reflecting Sullivan County's history thanks to Monticello High School alumnae Laurie Kilgore and Tobi Magnetico.

The works of art are painted on the window panes on the front and right side of the former Hurleyville school building on Frances Curry Boulevard.  

1979 graduate dedicating her life to fighting cancer

Photo of Carolyn HalbertAfter losing her husband and father to cancer, Monticello High School graduate Carolyn Halbert is on a "personal mission to help others with the prevention and control of this set of diseases." Carolyn currently works as the Statistical Analysis Coordinator for the Virginia Cancer Registry. Some of her work consists of analyzing and presenting data and creating reports for researchers, legislators and community members. According to Carolyn, "The work of such central cancer registries has been influential in legislation and funding for the increased use of mammograms and colonoscopies to prevent and detect colon and breast cancers earlier, which of course results in better outcomes and quality of life for survivors." Carolyn decided to change careers and enter the cancer field after spending 15 years as a Speech Language Pathologist, who specialized in voice and swallowing disorders in stroke and head injury patients. Ten years ago, she founded the David Goy Memorial Fund, a non-profit corporation which help funds a school for literacy and self advocacy in Haiti.

Monticello graduate inducted into college Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball

In October 2006, Sheryl Ferguson Nichols, a 1994 Monticello graduate, visited with RJK Middle School Principal Deborah Wood, and shared her experiences since leaving high school. At SUNY Oneonta, Ms. Nichols was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball for being the first woman in the school’s history to score 1,000 points. She still holds the record for the most leading points (1,449) scored for both men and women. Also, she was the assists leader, the steals leader, and in 1998 she was named Player of the Year in the SUNYAC Conference and SUNY Oneonta Athlete of the Year when Oneonta had an NCAA bid for the first time in the school’s history.

Photo of Alex Cabrero with EmmyAlumnus wins Emmy for broadcasting

Alex Cabrero, a Monticello alumnus, was awarded a national Emmy for his work as a television news reporter. Cabrero won a regional Emmy while working in Nashville, Tennessee and was entered into the national contest, where he was declared a winner. Cabrero won in the category of best local news reporter in spot news. He is now a reporter for KSL-5, the NBC News affiliate in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Singing sensation Stephanie Blythe (Class of 1987) is a superstar of the Metropolitan Opera (9/29/09)

Monticello Schools Alumnus Reminds us What is Really Important: Lee Karasik (6/10/09)

1946 Graduate Significant to Feminist Movement: Sonia Pressman Fuentes (11/2/08)