Martins Ferry High hosts career day

MARTINS FERRY High School hosted a career day today in which more than a dozen successful alumni professionals in a wide range of fields returned to their alma mater and shared advice and experiences with the student body.

Vicki Falcone, guidance counselor and student council advisor, said the career day was a gift to the school and students from the 1962 alumni, who originated the plan and approached the district last summer.

The visiting alumni were paired with teachers in their related areas. Students had the opportunity to speak with professionals about their prospective career paths. Falcone said the students were excited at the opportunity.

Rick Witton, an aerospace engineer whose accomplishments include real time support for the Apollo 13 mission, first proposed the career day during an alumni association board meeting.

“The more we talked, the more we thought that this might be of value to students,” he said.

He said one of the factors that helped him in his career was the support of trailblazers willing to share their hard-won experience. He said wished to offer students at his home school district who plan to enter his field a chance to engage and learn about the education, skills and planning needed to get them where they want to go.

While they initially thought to offer the career day to late-year sophomores, it quickly gained support and was opened to freshman through senior grade levels. In addition, students were able to attend classes that were not normally part of their daily schedule if they wanted to hear a particular professional.

The evening before the career day, professionals and teachers met and toured the building.

Witton thanked the professional alumni for donating their time to give back to the school system.

“The breadth and depth that you all represent in your trades, fields and professions,” he said.

Witton recognized district employees Falcone, Susan Tolbert and Linda Talasis for their help in making the career day possible.

“The students are really excited about this,” said Jeff Oberdick, high school principal, noting the many successful alumni in the field of sciences.

He said the district hopes to hold the career day annually.

“We’re very excited for this wealth of knowledge to come visit our students,” said Dirk Fitch, superintendent, adding that the students are eager to call on their experience. “They’re happy to be here, and we’re even happier to have them here.”

Professional alumni were Dr. Robert Shemenski, metallurgical engineering; James Everson, banking; Bill Thomas; attorney; Evert Briggs, photographer; Larry Green, owner of SCA Inc.; Barbara Morris, operating room nurse; Richard Bernardo, pharmacist; Suzanne Armstrong, nurse anesthetist; Berry Lou Edmundson, mental health counselor; Patrick Wiseman, corporate finance; Jean Ritter, teacher; Dr. Terry Williams, dermatologist; Susan Tolbert, certified public accountant; Jennifer Fietz, DJFS adoption and child protective services; Guy Jones, corporate finance; Jim Sall, rehabilitation; corrections officer; Jim Everson, banking; Russ Armstrong, music; Shauna Hershberger, editor; Brian Dawes, Dawes welding and supply; John Bisbocci, chemistry professor; Mary Maguire, regional director, Mended Hearts; Susan Criswell, teacher; Dr. John Markis, Harvard School of Medicine professor; David Rose, chef; Linda Talasis, med tech/microbiology.

DeFrank can be reached at