The Salem High School Alumni Association awarded $326,125 in scholarships-the most it has ever given-to 96 individuals at its 133rd annual reunion and banquet on May 24.
The scholarship recipients include 55 new Salem High School graduates, 37 alumni enrolled in undergraduate programs or healthcare-related graduate programs, and four current students, who were awarded Pardee Band Camp Scholarships. The income from the association's $9.5 million investment portfolio funds the scholarships and the association's operating expenses.
Treasurer Daniel T. Moore thanked all the association's donors. "Your contributions are an investment in every award recipient's future. Ninety-six students this evening will have a jumpstart on life because of your contributions to the alumni association. Investing in someone's education is a start to their future success," he said. He offered special thanks to the Hickey and Peters families for creating the Lois A. Peters Memorial Business Scholarship in 2013.
Salem High School Alumni Association Second Vice President Frank Zamarelli, left, and President Shelley Miller Wilson congratulate Dr. Randy L. Hanzlick on receiving the association's 2014 Honored Alumnus Award. As chief medical examiner for Fulton County, Georgia, which includes Atlanta, Hanzlick has led national efforts to improve forensic pathology practices and death investigation systems.
(Photo courtesy Salem High School Alumni Association)
This year's honored alumnus, Dr. Randy Hanzlick, was the featured speaker for the audience of 400 people that included members of the classes of 1944, 1949, 1954, and 1964. The Class of 1954 gave $1,000 and the Class of 1964 gave $6,785 to the association.
As he praised Salem, Hanzlick urged the scholarship winners to pursue their dreams bravely. "Many students in this country are not so lucky to have the opportunities you had in Salem ... You learned good principles and values here. Be thankful for that and put them to good use in your life."
Hanzlick is a physician who since 1998 has been the chief medical examiner for the county that includes Atlanta, Georgia. A 1970 Salem High School graduate, Hanzlick has received numerous professional awards for his national efforts to improve medicolegal death investigation systems, the guidelines and standards of forensic pathology practices, and the education of forensic pathologists.
"I have spent my life dealing with death almost every day, figuring out why and how people die. I have seen much sadness, violence, and misfortune. But that makes me realize and appreciate how kind, caring, and loving people can be, and that the positive things in this world far outweigh the negative things. Always look at the bright side," he advised.
Calling Salem "the center of my universe," Hanzlick expressed gratitude to specific teachers, friends, and relatives, especially his parents. Hanzlick's 94-year-old mother, Betty Hanzlick, attended the banquet with him and his wife, Mary. His father was Walter Hanzlick.
"My mother worked at Deming and processed orders for pumps. My dad was a carpenter and then a janitor at E.W. Bliss. We lived in a small house and did not have a lot of money. But my parents taught me a strong work and study ethic which helped me to study, work, and make my dream come true," he said.
Directing his remarks to the 2014 graduates, he told them their dreams can come true too: "You should learn from this that anything you want to do is possible, because you went to school here. Never forget that."
A murmur of laughter rippled through the audience when Hanzlick told the graduates that even though they are graduating from high school they do not know everything. He estimated they might not have a reasonable understanding of the world until they are 40. And then offered a brief distillation of what he has learned.
"Here is what I have figured out and would like to share to help you along in life and in this world:
- Don't rush into things.
- Think before you act.
- Learn as much as you can.
- Be patient.
- Set out on a course and follow it through to completion.
- Don't give up.
- Treat other people well, especially your parents.
- Forgive people.
- Avoid anger.
- Be thankful.
- Go to church.
- Separate what you want from what you really need, and be practical.
- Save some money.
- Donate some money and give of your time.
- And most important right now, pick a college major or vocation that will give you multiple career options and qualify you to get a job, and a good job.
"Even if you face hardships or setbacks, have hope. If you do these things, you will be successful."
- Courtesy Salem High School Alumni Association