Calhoun's alumni association announces Hall of Fame inductees


When people think about a Hall of Fame, oftentimes they think of musicians or athletic stars. But to the Calhoun Alumni Association, a Hall of Fame is for anyone who’s made a difference, and achieved great success.

The alumni association has been together for about 30 years, picking up more momentum in the last 15.

“The people that support us are very passionate about Calhoun,” Donovan Berthoud, a board member for the association previously told the Herald. “When I went there, that was my day, going to Calhoun, going to class, being in that building. I was very excited to be there, and I am very excited to be part of the alumni association.”

Berthoud graduated from Calhoun in 1975, and works in the information technology department of Hewlett High School. He’s also a freelance photographer for the Herald.

Denise McGraw, a fellow board member who graduated from Calhoun in 1985, and runs a government relations firm in Albany, said what the association hopes to do is give back to future generations and honor past graduates. Throughout the year, the association looks forward to a few annual events, including its Friday After Thanksgiving Party, more commonly referred to as the F.A.T Party, and its Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Berthoud told the Herald last year that the association’s Hall of Fame, which accepted applications for 2023 through last December, is meant for virtually anyone who graduated from Calhoun.

“It’s for all graduates, not just athletes,” he said. “A lot of times when we see awards at high schools, people are thinking athletes — they’re not think that there’s doctors, lawyers, entertainers out there that have done something over the last 20 years, and that they deserve to be in the hall of fame.”

“I think that really what’s so special about it is that there’s a lot of untold stories in our community,” McGraw added. “People have become very, very successful, based on their experiences in our community, growing up and going to Calhoun.  

“I think it serves as an inspiration for current students, and it gets more people engaged and it celebrates our community,” she went on. “I think at the end of the day, what we really always hope to do is be able to celebrate Calhoun.” 

A committee was established to vet all applications, McGraw said. In addition to graduates, retired staff are honored as well.

The association announced its inductees on Jan. 7. They are as follows:

- Joseph Baker, class of 1967

- Donovan Berthoud, class of 1975

- Edward Chang, class of 1981

- Linda and Richard DeMott, retired counselor and retired district administrator

- Sally Dwarak-Fisher, class of 1985

- Megan Vasquez-Gordon

- Marcia Laskin Gould, deceased, class of 1961

- Richard Kessel, class of 1967

- Charles Langone, retired chairman of Calhoun’s Fine Arts Department

- Harold “Billy” Murphy, class of 1989

- Col. John Anthony O’Grady, class of 1985

- John Pinto, class of 1981

- James Pooley, class of 1971

Each inductee will receive a commemorative award, according to an alumni association release, and a plaque listing each name will be hung in the school following a ceremony.

"Narrowing down the dozens of nominees to a mere few was no easy task and I thank the selection committee members who dedicated their time and effort to determining the 2023 Hall of Fame class,” McGraw stated in the release.

“The well-deserved selection of each alum — as well as the educators and administrators who have helped make Calhoun the special place it is — indicates the educational and co-curricular experiences at Calhoun have served our inductees well throughout their very successful lives,” McGraw added. “I look forward to honoring each of these special people.”

The ceremony is set to take place on April 28 at The Bayview in Freeport. For more about the ceremony, the association, and the Hall of Fame, email