2017 Hall of Honor/ April 22, 2017

  • Robert McWethy, Class of 1937, graduated with distinction from the Naval Academy in 1941. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered for submarine duty and joined the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco in the South Pacific.  After finishing intense training at submarine school, he chose duty assignment with the newly constructed USS POGY.  After sea trials in 1943, the submarine made 6 war patrols from Pearl Harbor and Midway Island, sinking or damaging 23 enemy ships, for which McWethy earned the Silver Star.  At the age of 24, he was given the first of his 5 commands.  Post war, Lieutenant Commander McWethy’s posts included the submarines USS PICUDA, the SKATE (a target ship for the Pacific A-bomb tests), and the USS ENTEMEDOR.  In 1949, he was assigned to the icebreaker USS BURTON ISLAND, and from there McWethy developed the groundbreaking plans for submarines to operate under the Arctic ice pack, for which he was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal in 1958. In 1965, he was named Commodore of Oceanographic System Atantic, the secret sound surveillance system for tracking subs which led to his 1969 major command. The final assignment, was the USS PROVIDENCE, a guided missile cruiser with a crew of 1400+. Retired from active duty, McWethy continued to teach sailing to midshipmen.

    Thomas Ochsenschlager, Class of 1962 had, for 8 consecutive years, been named to the Top 100 Most Influential People by the national magazine, Accounting Today.  He has been sought after by venues such as ABC, NBC, Fox, CNN, PBS, Wall Street Journal and other main stream media to explain the technical aspects of tax policy.  Throughout his career, first as Principal for Arthur Young where he was responsible for their Washington DC tax department to his partnership with Grant Thornton LLP where he tracked legislative tax developments and, finally, as Vice President of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants where he interacted with the IRS, Treasury, and Congress in his DC post, Mr. Ochsenschlager impacted US tax policy.  After his retirement from the AICPA in 2010, he taught at George Washington University and he continues to serve as a consultant on technical tax topics.

    Dennis R. Olden, Class of 1957, began his career as a pilot for Northwest Airlines, after leaving service as a US Army First Lieutenant serving as a Psychological Operations officer at Ft. Chaffee, AK, Fort Jackson, SC, and Ft Devens, MA.  As a pilot for Northwest he flew sic aircraft types retiring as a Senior Captain on the Boeing  747-400 flying international routes.  He also served as an instructor on the Boeing 757.  While a pilot he served as Chairman of the Retirement and Insurance committees for Northwest pilots and also the National Airline Pilots Association.  He chaired the Finance and Insurance Committee for the International Pilots Association in London, England where he was awarded the Scroll of Merit, the highest award an airline pilot can receive worldwide.  He is one of only 50 airline pilots from the US to have received this award.  As a Certified Senior Advisor he saved the healthcare and pension benefits for the retirees of Northwest, US Air, and Delta Air Lines  when those airlines were in bankruptcy.  He has served on the National Board of Trustees of the Arthritis Foundation and also served for eight years as Chairman for the Florida Chapter.

    2017 Friend of A+ Foundation Award Recipient

    The Dunham Fund, Established by John C. Dunham in 1996, the Dunham Fund was funded in 2007 in accordance with the provisions of Mr. Dunham’s trust.  The fund continues to be nurtured during the intervening years by Mr. Dunham and a board of personally appointed advisors.  The Dunham Fund honors Mr. Dunham’s life and philanthropy through grants to Aurora, Illinois area organizations that have the vision and programs to help fulfill Mr. Dunham’s dream of “making the world a more comfortable, safer place for mankind to live and prosper.”  The Dunham fund is a self-sustaining money maker as well as a gifting organization. It seeks grant applications from organizations that — like Mr. Dunham — encourage innovation and collaboration in educational and community development programs and projects to effect positive change in the Dunham Fund service area.  (information from dunhamfund.org)

Hall of Honor

  • The Hall of Honor, which began in 2006, recognizes those alumni who have distinguished themselves beyond their high school years through their significant accomplishments or service. The distinguished alumni are feted on both Friday and Saturday of the Hall of Honor weekend. Friday, the honorees meet with students at the high school, tour the building, speak to a number of classes, are served lunch by the Culinary Academy in the Blackhawk Cafe, and are presented with their plaques which are prominently displayed in the high school auditorium foyer. Saturday, the honorees are feted at a banquet in their honor at the Aurora Country Club and are presented with replicas of their Hall of Honor plaques.

    The Hall of Honor program’s goals are to honor distinguished alumni for their achievements and national / international impact and to raise the self-expectations of West Aurora students with the realization that the distinguished alumni grew up in their neighborhoods and attended their schools.

    The A+ Foundation continues to seek distinguished alumni to add to its Hall of Honor. If you would like to nominate someone, please fill out the online nomination form or contact Ingrid Roney, ingridroney@sd129.org.