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Dayton Schools Induct First Class for New Wall of Distinction

The Dayton Independent School District has decided to initiate a Wall of Distinction for graduates of Dayton HIgh School.  

There was a celebration on Friday afternoon at the high school to announce the first class of inductees.    

Five people who graduated in or before 1960 and five people who graduated from 1961 and after were chosen by a committee of alumni to be part of the first class for the Wall of Distinction.

"It is a basic concept, and other schools do it," said Dayton Superintendent Jay Brewer. "It is kind of like taking the concept from the sports Hall of Fame, and praising the all-around achievements of students who have accomplished a lot. Some students are very good at dribbling a basketball, and others might find a cure for cancer. Kids need heroes to aspire to in all achievements."

Dr. William P. Linss graduated in 1937, and is the only inductee to get the award posthumously. Dr. Linss went on to become a doctor, and opened his offices on Sixth Street in Dayton, and later on Seventh Street in Newport, taking care of patients his entire career. His family was present to accept his award and share in the honor.

Ron Gunning graduated in 1949, and was an important part of Dayton activities for decades. He served on the board of education, as well as city council, and was active in establishing peewee Football and Little League baseball for the youth in Dayton. Gunning was also an active member of the Dayton Boosters during the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

James Boothe was part of the graduating class of 1953. Dr. Boothe served as a teacher, coach, and finally superintendent. Once he retired, Dr. Boothe began a second career at Xavier University where he passed on all the knowledge and experience he accumulated in his first career to future teachers. He also served on city council in the city of Evendale, Ohio, where he is well known and respected.

Naomi Drew graduated in 1955, and she was very introducing girls to sports in Northern Kentucky. She graduated from Union College in 1960, and her teaching career includes Dayton, Bellevue, Newport, and Dayton, Ohio schools.

In 1960, William T. Riley, known as "Billy", was part of the graduating class. He was a drummer in the DHS band, and graduated with honors from high school and college. He returned to Dayton High and taught math, was the guidance counselor, and the assistant superintendent. He followed in the footsteps of his dad and dedicated his life to the people of Dayton. Riley excelled at writing grant applications, and during his tenure Dayton became known as the richest little poor school.  He was the man behind the curtain in the district until his retirement in 1997.

Dr. Kenneth Moore graduated in 1961 and went on to develop the commercial airline business simulation model while he was at General Electric in Evendale. He also developed the Executive Jet engine maintenance forecast system. He was in computer sciences when he moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he developed the Nuclear Deployment System for the National Military Command Center, Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has been senior vice president at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio, for business, Information and security services. He led an $8 million project for library renovation at the College.

Oliver E. Dittus, known as "Buddy", graduated in the class of 1965. He taught at Tichenor Middle School in Erlanger for twelve years, also coaching basketball for grades 5 and 6, and football at Lloyd High school. He coached cross county at Lloyd, and was named coach of the year in 1980. In 1994 he moved to Conner Middle School in Hebron where he continued to coach cross county and shotput. Dittus was inducted into the Dayton High School Hall of Fame in 2016.

Gail Myers graduated in 1969 and after graduating from Morehead State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism, and from Xavier with a master's of business and administration, she now owns a public relations office. She has been a past-president of the Cincinnati Editors Association, handled public relations for Health of Southwest Ohio, and also for the Ohio Society for Hospital Public Relations.

Dr. Kevin Miller is a native of Dayton, and graduated in 1981. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in chemistry, and graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School as valedictorian in 1989. Miller was a leader in bringing innovative cardiovascular technology and procedures to Northern Kentucky, which has saved lives and improved the quality of life for many others.

Dr. Kathy McCormick graduated from DHS in 1989, and went on to earn honors in college and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics. She is currently a physical scientist with the Department of Homeland Security. In 2008 McCormick was sent to the Laboratories and Scientific Services Directorate of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She is a subject matter expert in the area of radiological and nuclear detection and interdiction, and received the Department of Homeland Security Secretary's Award of Excellence in 2015 for work in optimizing Customs and Border Patrol's radiation detection capabilities.

"We are hopeful that presenting this group and their accomplishments as graduates of DHS will inspire the students of DHS to continue in their footsteps and pursue their dreams," said Alumni Association President Oliver Dittus.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor