SHSAA Scholarships Totaled $334,860.00
The Salem High School Alumni Association awarded 97 scholarships totaling $334,860 and honored one of its board members, Peter Apicella, M.D., as the honored alumnus Saturday night.
Apicella, a 1982 Salem High School (SHS) graduate, is chairman of the Department of Medical Imaging at the Salem Regional Medical Center. “I am so proud to be the recipient of the Salem High School Alumni Association’s Honored Alumnus Award this year. Sitting in this very cafeteria some 35 years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be receiving this honor today,” he said.
The 137th Annual Reunion and Banquet was a big night for the SHS Class of 1968, which as part of its fiftieth anniversary celebration, awarded the first Class of 1968 Scholarship to an SHS graduate who plans to become a teacher. Katelin Chilton, a 2018 SHS graduate, received the $5,000 scholarship, and posed for pictures afterward with 21 members of the class who were among the 390 people in attendance at the banquet in Salem High School.
Members of the Class of 1968 began their scholarship fundraising campaign ten years ago at their 40-year class reunion. In addition to asking classmates to contribute, Rick Berg, Chuck Straub, and B.J. Cooper Abrams organized bake sales, shirt sales, benefit performances at the Salem Community Theatre, and other activities to generate contributions.
“Thank you, 1968 classmates, for a job well done,” Rick Berg said from the podium.
The class reached its goal in 2017 to qualify for the $50,000 matching contribution from David Roberts, Ph.D., and Kathleen Scahill Roberts. Berg thanked the Robertses for setting “the monumental goal” and mentioned Gene Tullis, M.D., who gave $8,700, and Lois Lottman Pennell, who gave $5,500, for helping the class exceed the $100,000 needed to create a named scholarship with the alumni association.
“It is a significantly monumental task to coordinate contributions from an entire graduating class to raise the funds for a named scholarship. Tonight we applaud the members of the Class of 1968 who have done that. What an accomplishment!” said Daniel T. Moore, who completed his term as treasurer and was elected as president of the alumni association on Saturday.
Joe Shivers, superintendent of the Salem City School District, congratulated the members of Class of 1968 and said it was particularly noteworthy that they chose to devote their scholarship to people entering the teaching profession “because education stands as the most important of causes. Pick your cause: peace, justice, equality, world health, an end to hunger. They all start with and are sustained by education.”
In addition to creating the new scholarship, the Class of 1968 generously gave $9,154 to the alumni association as its 50-year class gift and contributed toward the funding of the Virginia E. Snyder Scholarship that will be awarded for the first time in 2019.
Moore reported that on May 18 the Salem High School Alumni Association’s investment portfolio was $10,589,375. Income from the association’s investment portfolio funds its scholarships and operating expenses. With its newest round of scholarships, which ranged from a $500 Pardee Band Camp Scholarship to $6,000 for new graduates with the highest grade point averages, the association has awarded $7.2 million in scholarships since 1908.
The tradition of giving that has made the association’s numerous scholarships possible continued Saturday evening with gifts of $1,000 from the Class of 1948, $2,000 from the Class of 1953, and $2,018 from the Class of 2018.
As part of their 55-year class reunion, members of the Class of 1963 are refurbishing the Salem High School signs at the end of F.E. Cope Drive that the class gave as a graduation gift to the school district in 1963.
In his speech Apicella, who is known to many as Dr. Pete, urged the new SHS graduates “to try to make a difference in all that you do.”
Seventeen years ago Apicella started the Salem Rotary Club’s Career Day as part of his effort to make a difference for the youth of Salem. He coordinates the annual event where SHS juniors attend presentations by dozens of people from various occupations who explain their career paths and their day-to-day work.
He reminded the students that he began their Career Day in 2017 by making a distinction between a job and a career. “That day, I invited you to think about a career—a calling—a vocation. Something you really might enjoy doing for the next forty years. I told you to put yourselves in the shoes of the professionals speaking with you and see if they might fit,” he said.
He related that he was fortunate to have found a career in medicine that combines his knowledge of computers and science with patient care. He built his first computer while in seventh grade with his father, Frank Apicella, M.D., and in college and medical school designed award-winning artificial intelligence software.
After graduating as one of the top-ten students in the Class of 1982 and receiving a $5,000 scholarship from the Salem High School Alumni Association, Apicella earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from John Carroll University in biochemistry and computer science. He earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and then completed a diagnostic radiology residency program at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology there.
In 1994, Apicella returned to Salem and joined his father and his uncle, Salvatore Apicella, M.D., at Salem Radiologists, Inc., a private medical practice that provides radiology services at Salem Community Hospital, now known as Salem Regional Medical Center.
“When you recognize your passion, follow it where it leads, and you too can find success. Try to use that success to make a difference,” he said, explaining that he finds it particularly gratifying to use the most advanced imaging technology available to diagnose early-stage cancers.
Apicella also encouraged the students, who will graduate from SHS next weekend, to volunteer at the college they attend and as they pursue their careers. “When you start that career, remember your family, friends, and community. Join a local organization like Rotary, Kiwanis, or other not-for-profits; volunteer at your church; help family, friends and strangers.”
Since returning to Salem with his wife Sherri to raise their two daughters, Julianna and Alexandra, in a safe, quiet place, Apicella has served on the boards of several local, nonprofit organizations. He has donated his computer expertise to them and other organizations including the Rotary Club of Salem, Salem Community Center, the Salem Community Foundation, and Salem Public Library.
For the Salem High School Alumni Association he chairs the technology committee and maintains the current salemohioalumni.org website, which he designed to have an archive of yearbooks and students newspapers dating to 1893; a database of scholarship recipient information; sections for alumni remembrances and military service recognition; and high-fidelity recordings of band concerts from the 1950s and 1960s.
“Consider coming back to Salem. We would welcome you with open arms,” he said before offering a final piece of advice: “Work hard in every aspect of your life, and you will be rewarded every day as I am.”
Please join us for the next banquet in May 2019.
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