Sarah Dolan - MHS '11Posted by Dr. David Zerbe on 11/20/2023
Joseph “J.J.” Gambone - MHS '11 & Tom Gambone - MHS '14Posted by Dr. David Zerbe on 10/30/2023
Dr. Emily (Harris) Ammazzaorsi - MHS '14Posted by Dr. David Zerbe on 9/21/2023
Chris Drummond - MHS '86Posted by Methacton School District on 5/25/2023
Joe Michetti - MHS '10Posted by Methacton School District on 4/28/2023
We recognize alumni, but it is always an AWESOME opportunity to recognize an alum who has decided on a career path in public education. Hence, we are proud to feature 2010 Methacton High School graduate and current West Chester Area School District School Counselor - Joe Michetti.
Following graduation from Methacton High School, Joe attended Bloomsburg University and found himself teaching middle school history at Collegium Charter School in Exton, PA. During his time at Collegium, he shares that he was able to find his professional path. “While I greatly enjoyed teaching, I wanted to further my impact and focus on the mental health of students.”With that ambition, Joe began working towards earning his master’s degree in school counseling at West Chester University (Yeah – the Golden Rams). He earned his master’s degree in May 2021, which led him to his current position as a school counselor at West Chester East High School. Some of his roles include coordinating scholarship offerings, serving as an equity advocate for East High School, serving as an advisor for the Black Student Union, and coaching the Fugett Middle School football team. “I am so proud to work alongside such amazing students and colleagues that help keep me motivated and determined.”
When Joe was asked about his favorite Methacton memory, he shared that it was football training camp going into his sophomore year. “We had a fun group of players who bonded really well. We were on a mission to break a lengthy losing streak and won our first game of the season.”
In terms of high school accomplishments, Joe says that earning playing time on the varsity team as a sophomore was a big deal for him. Then, he got injured. While this was a huge setback for Joe, the life-changing event offered him a silver lining. “I was not a very motivated student in high school but that experience allowed me to get to where I am today and experience failure. That failure helped me understand myself and what I needed to do to get better. I never let it define me.
When asked about influences, Joe said he could name several. However, Mr. Brad Dale was the first who came to mind. “Mr. Dale was my 3rd grade teacher at Woodland. He was the first teacher I had that I felt believed in me and helped me love school.” Joe also had a profound appreciation for Mr. Fred Stoudt at Arcola. “[He] was another teacher who inspired me to be myself even if that means being goofy and loud.” Lastly, Joe shares that Mr. Eric Ranieri was a motivational force. “ Mr. Ranieri was someone I looked up to growing up as he was my neighbor for most of my childhood. I remember watching him push his car up the street, positioned on a steep hill, for fun as a workout and thinking, ‘This guy is a little crazy!’”
Joe recommends students lean into all of the positive experiences that high school life offers. "Try as many things as possible to find what you are good at and go for it! Stop comparing yourself to everybody else. The hardest thing at your age is to be you and to not let other people's voices into your head.”
Joe currently lives in Phoenixville with his girlfriend, Jen, his dog, Lilly, and cat, Cheche. When he’s not at work, he loves going for walks into town and hanging out with his sister, Monica, her husband, Ryan, and their children, Tyler and Talia. He also enjoys visits with his brother Bob, and his wife, Laura, and their children, Marco and Avelina. Although Joe is no longer a resident in the district, he still feels closely connected to the community. “While I now live a small ways away from Methacton, it will always have a special place in my heart!”
Robert Childress - MHS '65Posted by Methacton School District on 3/16/2023
Robert Childress, a Methacton High School alumnus from the Class of 1965, was a remarkable student who excelled in multiple sports including baseball, wrestling, and football.
Sadly, his promising future was cut short. Robert was killed on July 26, 1968 while serving our country during the Vietnam War.
But his story doesn’t end here. Robert’s courageous sacrifice in defense of our freedoms has made him an American hero, forever remembered and honored.
Pictured (L-R): Dick Custer, Chip Kreiger, Denis Rees, Mary Ethel Migan, Joe Natalini, Spike Christman, and Bob Jones.
Today, we have the opportunity to hear from those who knew Robert and to learn more about his remarkable life and legacy.
MARY ETHEL MIGAN – HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART
Bob and I were couple when he was drafted and later killed.
I remember at his funeral, I couldn't bring myself to go up to the front with the family, and his dad came and got me from the back and had me come to the front with the family. I will never forget that. His dad was a very nice man. Bob's mom introduced me to people as her daughter-in-law, and that meant so much to me.
He was the love of my life and is still the love of my life today.
SPIKE CHRISTMAN - CHILDHOOD FRIEND & TEAMMATE
I first met Bobby when we were about 12 years old. Bobby lived on Hollywood Avenue, and I lived on Clearfield. Now I want to tell you, I was a coach at North Penn for 35 years coaching high school football, and I have been around many athletes, and he was maybe one of two of the best I have ever seen. Bobby had an arm like a flat-out cannon. He was an excellent, excellent baseball player. He was not only a great baseball player but a great wrestler also. He played on the football team as well. He was the whole package. He had balance, strength, and ability, just the perfect athlete.
Again, he was just a special athlete and a special person, and myself being around athletes my whole life…well, I just wonder what he would have become if he wasn’t killed.
Our childhood was great. As soon as you came out of your house back then, you had an automatic baseball team with all the other neighbors. There were kids everywhere. We played all day until our parents called us back in to eat.
We used to hang out at the local bowling alley on Ridge Pike. One time I showed up, and I see Bobby outside the bowling alley, shimmying up the column outside backwards. You can just imagine the strength it takes to do that.
Bobby was very smart and very fluent in German. It was just a special time at Methacton. Our athletics was one of the things that put Methacton on the map.
The draft was something that was just a part of growing up. We all knew about it. You just never heard or felt the pain of losing a friend who was killed in Vietnam. You always heard of them being drafted, but not killed.
The funeral was like something I had never seen before in my life. There was the motorcade of course, but all of South Trooper turned out. Roads were closed. Just nothing I have ever seen in my life.
CHIP KREIGER - CHILDHOOD FRIEND & TEAMMATE
So, I lived on Oakdale Avenue and Bobby lived on Hollywood Avenue. Well, the first thing I can say is that no one ever threw a baseball harder than he did. He was an excellent all-around athlete but an amazing baseball player. Once, I saw him hit the hardest hit baseball ever. The player on the other team caught the ball, but that’s because the ball got to the player before he even knew the ball was coming. He just didn’t even see it coming to him. Bobby just looked at him and couldn’t believe he caught it. He just turned and walked back to the bench with a small grin on his face and a look on his face thinking to himself, ‘How did he catch that ball.’ It was the hardest ball I have ever seen hit. Bobby could have been a starting pitcher, but he was so afraid he was going to hit someone. I don’t know if you know it, but he was a great wrestler too. I think he was undefeated one year in wrestling and went to the finals I believe.
I think of him often. I often wonder where he would be today after going to LA if he wasn’t drafted and sent to Vietnam.
JOE NATALINI - CHILDHOOD FRIEND AND TEAMMATE
Well, I played baseball with Bobby for years. We played for the Perkiomen Twilight League. It was a league for years 18 and above. I said to our coach and manager, ‘You really have to see this kid play’. They started warming up and then Bobby was told to go full speed ahead and show what he really had. Well, he showed what he had, and after one hit and throw, the coach said, ‘Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?’ I mean his throw from 3rd base to 1st was like a rocket. Soon after that, scouts were coming out, and the rest is history…he was off with the LA Dodgers and went to spring training.
What I would say about Bobby is that he was a ‘Diamond in Disguise’. Bob was a person and a player who didn’t know just how good he was. He just didn’t know.
I’m just getting emotional just thinking about it right now. I remember the day he was killed like it was yesterday. I learned he was killed while I was at working at McCoy’s in Norristown. A co-worker of mine went home for lunch, and came back and said: "You won’t believe it, someone from Methacton was killed in Vietnam." We went down the list of guys who we knew were over there and we got to Bobby’s name, and my co-worker said yes, Childress, that’s him. I was in just shock.
JIM COSTELLO - CHILDHOOD FRIEND & TEAMMATE
Bobby was a great athlete. What was so amazing about Bobby was that he read the actual books on wrestling and learned how to do different holds and techniques. He showed his coach, and his coach had him demonstrate to all of us other wrestlers. He taught us the holds and maneuvers, not the coach. The coach was so impressed with him.
Bobby and I climbed the gym rope backwards. I hope you can picture what that looked like. Our heads were towards the floor and our feet were toward the ceiling. When we got to the top we also used the ceiling beam to cross over to the other rope to come back down. He was really strong.
Bobby was just a great guy. He was a quiet guy. Great athlete. He would have been great at whatever he did. He was always fun. Never unhappy, always smiling. This is just so unfair what happened to him.
DENIS REES - CHILDHOOD FRIEND
We were all neighbors on Hollywood Avenue. What I can say about Bobby is that he was a natural athlete. He was the whole package. He had the leadership qualities, the athleticism, and the intelligence. We lived in a time when all of the houses on the street were little but there could be 5-6 kids to a house. Every day was a day to just go outside and play and you instantly had a full team of kids to put together a game. Sports were so important to us all growing up.
It was a time when we would come out and play all day and wait for our parents to call us back in for lunch or dinner or whatever. It was a great childhood. We had so many kids on that street, so we always had something to do and someone to do it with.
LINDA HOOD - CLASSMATE & FRIEND
Well first, what I can say is that Bobby was an extremely great athlete, an extremely great athlete! Bobby was a very pleasant guy. A very quiet guy. He always had the biggest smile. Bobby… how can I put this; he was just a genuinely nice person. A good man.
One memory that I have is that he loved The Rolling Stones. Whenever he was in the car, he would look for them on the radio. He loved listening to them.
I was so happy for him when he went to LA. It is just not that easy to get into the majors you know. I think of him frequently.
I remember the day he was killed like it was yesterday. I remember my husband at the time, coming home and telling me that Bobby was killed. We were just devastated, just devastated. It was such a shame, you know?
BOBBY JONES - CHILDHOOD FRIEND & TEAMMATE
I played baseball with Bobby in Little League, the Kneehigh League, for Methacton High School, and the Perkiomen Twilight League for guys 18 and above. I pitched and played short stop for Methacton and Bobby played third base. Now, I was a Senior and Bobby was a Junior, me graduating in 1964 and he 1965. After high school, Art Bustard the coach/manager of the Perkiomen Twilight League, recruited Bobby to come and play for the team. If I recall correctly, Bobby played for the Perkiomen Twilight League for about 6 months until he was drafted by the LA Dodgers.
Bobby was a great teammate. He had all the tools you needed. He could hit, run, throw, and he had the God-given ability to get to the Major Leagues. If I recall, he was an excellent wrestler.
Bobby was a quiet guy and a very nice guy. He was an excellent athlete. He was extremely strong. Nothing really seemed to bother him. He was just a happy-go-lucky, nonchalant type of guy. He was a good wholesome individual. Guys like Bobby who are that good of an athlete tend to not know just how good they really are, and I don’t know if he knew he was that good.
I had heard Bobby was killed through the grapevine, and it was a shock. A shame. We will never know how things would have turned out if he had gotten the chance to play in the Major Leagues.
DICK CUSTER - CHILDHOOD FRIEND
Living across the street from Bobby since he was 3 years old built a friendship for me that lasts a lifetime. Bobby, his brother Bruce, and Den were the closest thing to brothers that I had over the years growing up. With an average of 4-5 kids in almost every house on a block of over 50 houses his childhood always had the capacity to fill the field at the end of the block for a baseball or football game. Bobby’s natural skills for the games we played were amazing. We looked up to him as a role model.
The last time I talked with Bobby, we were sitting under a tree in my front yard after he returned from advanced infantry training two days before he was to report back for a flight to Vietnam. He wanted me to talk him out of going back. I think he knew it would be a one-way trip. That was the last time I saw him. We got the word of his death while we were in Army Bootcamp. It was a scary time for young men.
Bobby would probably be embarrassed with this recognition. Hopefully, this spotlight will serve as inspiration for the kids that play sports and study at Methacton to achieve beyond what they thought possible. I can’t speak for him, but I would want [the] legacy of his short life to be one of humility, achievement, and most of all, sacrifice for our community and nation as we live our free way of life. Yes, some gave all…
Alexa Hoover - MHS '14Posted by Methacton School District on 2/16/2023 4:00:00 PM
Alexa Hoover (now Conway) is a 2014 graduate of Methacton High School. Having amassed an impressive academic and athletic career at Methacton that included being a 4-year varsity starter, 2013 team captain, and 2013 Times Herald Player of the Year with 96 career goals and 24 career assists, Alexa was and always will be "A True Warrior.”
Her high school academic and athletic prowess placed her on a path of future success at the University of Pennsylvania. As a member of the Penn Field Hockey team, she earned many achievements. She was named the 2014 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, named 2nd Team All-American twice, and set six Penn School Records (68 Career Goals, 163 Career Points, 27 Single Season Goals, 63 Single Season Points, 5 Single Game Goals, 10 Single Game Points).
Alexa was the first athlete in Penn Field Hockey history to be a four-time First-Team All-Ivy Honoree. She was 4th in the Ivy League Field Hockey record book for career goals, career points, single season goals, and single season points, and 15th in the NCAA Field Hockey record book for goals per game and points per game. She also received Penn’s nomination for NCAA Woman of the Year in 2018. Alexa is destined to be inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame.
Alexa’s athletic journey also took her on several international tours with the US Women’s Indoor National Field Hockey Team from 2012-2014. Her team won a bronze medal at the 2014 Indoor Pan-American Cup in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Alexa is now serving in her second season as the Division 1 Field Hockey Coach at Saint Joseph's University. Prior to that she had served as Director of Operations at Penn and as an Assistant Coach at La Salle University.
During her time at Saint Joe’s, Alexa led the Hawks to back-to-back seasons as Atlantic 10 Field Hockey Champions. In addition, the team reached their highest national rankings in program history and made their first ever NCAA Elite 8 appearance.
Looking back on her experience at Methacton, Alexa shared that she always loved learning. While reserved early on in her high school career, she credits English teacher Michael Chapin as someone who helped shift her mindset. “He encouraged me to speak up in class, ask for help, and before I knew it, I was doing the same in my all my other classes. You can only get so far in school doing things on your own and his influence laid the groundwork that enabled me to further my academic growth, eventually graduating from an Ivy League university.”
Alexa says one of her fondest Methacton memories was watching her little sister’s field hockey successes. In her sister Olivia’s senior year, the Field Hockey team went 20-0 and won the PAC 10 Championship.
When asked what advice she would have for current students: “For anyone involved in group activities, whether it’s sports, music, theater, etcetera. When things get tough, remember why you started in the first place. You can choose to let obstacles set you back or you can use it to fuel your fire. Use your love for what you do to keep you moving forward, even if the steps are small. Small steps are still steps.”
On a personal note, Alexa and her husband Jack Conway wed on December 30, 2022. While Jack currently serves in the Army and recently returned from a deployment in the Middle East for the wedding, the couple lives locally and looks forward to a bright future together.
David Cemini - MHS '83Posted by Methacton School District on 1/19/2023 8:00:00 AM
David Cemini, a 1983 graduate of Methacton High School, comes from a family with strong Methacton roots. His mother was in the first graduating class. David’s wife Carol is a 1985 graduate of Methacton and they are proud parents to three children who are also Methacton graduates. He even has a grandson attending elementary school in Methacton.
While David and his family are forever Methacton Warriors, he has also been a significant force in our community that goes beyond the school. David is recognized as one of the area’s foremost youth program leaders through his work with the Boy Scouts of America. David has been laser focused on character development and values-based leadership training for youth for more than 12 years. He recalls getting involved when his son became a scout and later took on a leadership role within the organization.
“When they needed a leader, I stepped in. I served as an assistant Scoutmaster from 2010-11, and I’m currently serving as Scoutmaster of Scout Troop 313 of Audubon.”
(Photo credit: Lower Providence Township, 2019)
David finds his work as a mentor and positive role model fulfilling. “I enjoy helping the scouts achieve their goals.” He is credited with helping 44 scouts reach the highest rank in scouting, Eagle Scout! In 2019, David was named Volunteer of the Year by Lower Providence Township. The award recognizes the inspiring efforts of an individual who continually gives of their time to support the Lower Providence community.
Thinking back on his time as a student, David shares that one of his fondest Methacton memories was his time in Band. He played saxophone and served as band manager in his senior year. “Band kept me in school. It was something I enjoyed and it gave me a social life. There were 130 students in band at the time and it was a year round program so we spent a lot of time together.”
David also received the John Philip Sousa award -- the highest honor in a high school band – which recognizes students with superior musicianship and outstanding dedication. He cited Jeffrey Twiford, teacher and Band Director, and Principal Aldo Benoni as his greatest influences because of the respect they showed to students. “They both treated you as an adult and not as a kid. When Mr. Benoni would see me in the hallway, he would always address me by name and shake my hand. He would talk to you like a regular person.”
Upon graduation, David recalled his participation in a time-honored tradition. “I was selected to sign the honor book. I’m not sure why I was picked to do this, but it’s a lasting memory from my time at Methacton.”
Today, David’s career in construction has led him to become a senior Project Manager for Gen3 Construction. He injects this simple, but direct advice into all that he does – “Work hard and play hard. You are only going to get out of life what you put into it. Do what you have to do to finish your day so tomorrow is not as difficult.”
Lisa Larkin (Robbins) - MHS '95Posted by Methacton School District on 12/22/2022 4:00:00 PM
“Always be kind, always work hard and always have fun” is the recommendation to the Class of 2023 from Lisa Larkin (Robbins) – a Class of 1995 alumna who returned to her roots and never looked back.
Once selected to sign the Methacton Honor Book, a long-standing tradition based on service and commitment to the graduating class, Ms. Larkin now upholds another long-standing tradition -- excellence in teaching at Methacton and commitment to all our students.
She returned to Methacton after graduating from the University of Delaware in May of 1999 as a double major in Elementary Education and Special Education and took a position as an 8th grade learning support teacher. While Ms. Larkin has held several other positions, including 1st grade teacher, 6th grade teacher, and high school special education teacher. She is currently one of three Math Instructional Coaches in the district. Lisa focuses on K-4.
“My current mission is to create and deliver a math teaching and learning experience that supports growth and understanding for all students. Through the implementation of instructional best practices, I will seek to expand teacher capacity and engage students in mathematical thinking and skill development.”
Ms. Larkin also holds a Master’s degree in Reading with a Reading Specialist Certification from Arcadia University and was awarded the prestigious Dr. Adeline W. Gomberg Scholarship in Reading.
Lisa shares that homecoming was her favorite Methacton memory. “Grade level classes would decorate the school halls. Each class would be assigned a stretch of hallway, which was transformed into a thematic scene. A huge student pep rally would occur on Friday followed by a bonfire on school grounds to kick off the weekend. The homecoming football game was truly that - a homecoming of alumni and the community to crown the homecoming king and queen. The homecoming court would ride in convertibles around the track prior to the crowning. The football game would follow and then the dance in the gym. It was just a fun weekend filled with lasting memories”.
Lisa credits Methacton Spanish teacher Peggy Nixon (now Swope) with being her greatest influence. “Thank you, Senora, for the impact you have had on my life.” She says Ms. Nixon encouraged her to continue studying Spanish into her college years and recalls what it was like to be in her class. “Senora always had a smile on her face and welcomed her students into her room each day ready to share her passion with enthusiasm and positivity. Senora took the time to know her students and would discover ways to facilitate learning to meet the needs of all of her students. She made learning fun and created a safe environment for students to be vulnerable. Learning a second language can be a challenge - different letters and sounds, unfamiliar dialogue, strange grammatical rules...everything!”
Today, Lisa describes herself as a mom to two beautiful children, wife to a supportive husband, and educator who works full-time in a career that she loves. When reflecting on the people and things in her life, she wants others not to take these moments for granted and to recognize that time is a gift. “Life passes us by so quickly. Take the time to rediscover yourself and be present.”
Ryann Hierholzer (Krais) - MHS '08Posted by Methacton School District on 11/21/2022
Ryann Hierholzer (Krais) is a 2008 graduate of Methacton High School. She is one of the most widely recognized and highly celebrated student-athletes in Methacton School District history. “Eye of the Tiger” was her favorite song back then as it resonated with the strength of her work ethic and desire to win. And winning is exactly what she has done and has continued to do far beyond this windy hill.
Having achieved national recognition as a high school sophomore in the Heptathlon event, Ryann found her way to UCLA and then to Kansas State on an athletic scholarship, where she continued to earn recognition and find success on and off the track.
As a high school athlete, Ryann placed fifth in Track & Field News Athlete of the Year voting; was a Track & Field News All-American in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, and heptathlon; was a three-time USA Today All-American; competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 400m hurdles; was a nine-time outdoor state champion; a five-time indoor state champion; a three-time Pennsylvania Outdoor Athlete of the Year; was the 2007 Pennsylvania Gatorade Athlete of the Year; and earned gold at the sprint medley relay and bronze in the 400m hurdles at the World Youth Championships.
In addition, she competed at the World Junior Championships in 2008; set a state record in the 300m hurdles (41.2) and national class records in the heptathlon (sophomore/junior); ranked second all-time in the U.S. for the indoor pentathlon (3823); and ranked eighth all-time in the U.S Prep 400m hurdles (with a best of 57.2). In the 2008 prep rankings, Ryann was No. 1 in the heptathlon (5522), third in the U.S. in the 300m hurdles (41.20), and fifth in the 400m hurdles (58.96). In all, she was a 14-time state champion.
As a collegiate hurdler and heptathlete, Ryann won the NCAA meet in the heptathlon and took 3rd in the hurdles, placed 2nd in 2011 for the heptathlon at the USA national championship, won the Elite 89 award for highest GPA at the NCAA meet in 2012, and finished 7th in the 2012 Olympic Trials.
“Just like [on] social media, a collection of accolades can paint a more glorious picture of someone's life than reality,” Ryann said. “I remember looking up to my high school heroes and imagining that they had it all figured out. If I have the honor of being anyone's role model, I think it's important that they know my path was absolutely not without struggle. I didn't escape the self-doubt, fear of failure, heartbreaks, and loneliness that often accompanies the high school years (and I especially didn't escape it throughout college). I think what I really want any reader to know is that life doesn't have to be perfect to be meaningful. You don't need medals to have a platform. You don't even need a platform to make a difference. You are loved no matter what! Be good to others and give yourself grace."
Ryann says many Methacton teachers have influenced her but one person stands out for helping to nurture her talents. “Mr. Ronzano is a special person to me because of the time and energy he spent helping me reach my goals, but there have been many moments of impact from countless people that I still appreciate today.” She credits Mr. Merscher, Mr. McCann, Mr. Rice, and Mr. Ryan as some of the people who influenced her winning ways in the classroom, hallways, and on the track.
One of those influential teachers had this to say about Ryann: “She truly is a special kid (who may no longer be a kid, but always will be to me),” said Mr. Ronzano. “Ryann was never one that enjoyed the spotlight. When she would receive a State Medal (often times a "Gold"), she would come off the podium, wrap the ribbon around the medal and hand it to her parents. Although an incredibly gifted athlete, that is not what defines Ryann. Methacton has always had the good fortune of having phenomenal student-athletes. Ryann was an exceptional student [and] one of the most decorated athletes in school history, but above everything else, she had the ability to bring out the best in everyone around her. In 2008, Ryann's senior year, the Girl's Track and Field Team won the PIAA State Championship. Throughout the meet and her entire high school career, the spotlight was on Ryann. When asked by the press, all she wanted to talk about was her teammates and what THEY had accomplished. She would be the last one to take the credit, but SHE is the one that elevated others to perform at a higher level than ever imagined. That's just who Ryann Krais Hierholzer has always been. She has been an inspiration to so many young women over the years.”
Some of Ryann’s favorite memories are from when she was running relays with her high school track team and going to school dances. “I always felt very supported at Methacton, and that is thanks to the whole community.”
She has taken her winning ways toward helping others. Ryann currently works as a certified health and wellness coach and is preparing to begin graduate school this winter to become a professional counselor. She also holds a master’s degree in Kinesiology.
When asked what advice she would give to current Methacton students, Ryann emphatically said, “Be confident in the education you are receiving. When I first started at UCLA, I was concerned about the academic expectations. I soon discovered that Methacton had really prepared me for the next level of education.”
Ryann said that she is thankful for her high school experience. “I love getting the opportunity to visit home and reconnect with friends.”
These days, Ryann can be found in Austin, Texas caring for her two children and reveling in the great joy that her marriage and children bring. While she has retired from track, she remains an athlete in competitive soccer.