Alumni Hall of Fame
The Port Jervis
School District established the Alumni Hall of Fame to recognize
individuals who were educated and inspired by our school system.
Those selected for this honor have achieved personal success and
have made a significant contribution to society. They will serve
as role models to inspire current and future generations of
OF 2012 -
Pictured at the Oct. 7, 2012 Hall of Fame banquet
at the Erie Trackside Manor: (from left) Gay Trovei,'78; Frank
Bell, '50; Hugh Spangenberg,'59; Dr. Daniel Decker,'70; Edward Polanis and Meg Polanis Roa, who accepted the award on behalf of
the late Betty Jane Polanis,'50; Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, '72; and
Sen. Brian Bushweller,'63.
Class of 1950
community servant, the late Betty Jane (Gray) Polanis was one of
Port Jervis’ most admired civic leaders and educators. Prior to
her sudden death in 1989, Polanis left an indelible mark on Port
Jervis by starting the Port Jervis Recreation Commission and
several of the area’s major youth organizations.
The mother of eight, Polanis worked tirelessly as an advocate
for all of the children of Port Jervis. In addition to being a
well-respected English teacher at Port Jervis Middle School for
two decades, Polanis was instrumental in organizing numerous key
youth programs, including the Youth Action Committee, Community
Awareness Task Organization, Orange County Youth Bureau, Safe
Homes Program, Project TEAM and the Port Jervis High School
chapter of Students Against Drunk Driving (known today as
Students Against Destructive Decisions).
A charter member of the Port Jervis Heritage Commission, Polanis
served as co-chairwoman of the City’s annual Heritage Day’s
festival and was instrumental in organizing Port Jervis’ 75th
Diamond Jubilee. Polanis was also actively involved in St.
Mary’s Catholic Church as a religious education teacher and
member of St. Mary’s Catholic Daughters of the Americas. She was
also a member of the Port Jervis Democratic Committee, Port
Jervis Teachers Association and the New York State Teachers
In 1984, the Tri-State Gazette recognized Polanis’
distinguished community service by naming her Citizen of the
Year. After her death, several local organizations honored the
civic leader, and the impact she had on area youth, by
establishing awards in her name. The Betty Jane Polanis Award
for Outstanding Leadership is presented annually by the Orange
County Youth Bureau to adult volunteers who epitomize Polanis’
selfless service. The Betty Jane Polanis College Incentive Award
is presented annually to a Port Jervis High School student based
on his or her involvement in community service and
extracurricular activities while enrolled at the Middle School.
Additionally, the conference room at the Port Jervis Recreation
Center was dedicated in 1995 to Polanis in recognition of her
dedication to Port Jervis youth.
Polanis joins her brother the late Senator Arthur Gray,’43, in
the Alumni Hall of Fame. Senator Gray was inducted posthumously
coach and esteemed educator Hugh Spangenberg will go down in the
annuals of Raider sports history as the father of girls varsity
softball. The New Jersey Herald 1977 Softball Coach of
the Year served as Port's first varsity softball coach from 1974
to 1981. Under his direction, the Raiders won five Orange County
Conference titles, two Orange County League titles and the
Section 9 championship in 1976. Over the years, he compiled an
amazing record of 128-31.
The 1959 charter member of the Neversink Chapter of the National
Honor Society entered the field of education after graduating
from Harpur College (SUNY Binghamton). After teaching at Eldred
High School for one year, he returned to his alma mater in 1964
to teach social studies. Over the next 34 years, he taught
classes ranging from world geography and global studies to Asian
and African Studies. Spangenberg, who holds a master’s degree in
educational administration from SUNY New Paltz, also served as
the head dean of students at Port Jervis High School for four
Spangenberg’s love of sports led him to coach teams – at Port
Jervis High School and in the community as a volunteer
throughout his teaching career. In addition to coaching girls
softball, he guided the boys varsity golf team to win the former
DUSO League Championship in 1966; and coached the boys junior
varsity basketball team in the 1960s and the girls junior
varsity softball team 30 years later.
Outside of school, he coached two local ASA (Amateur Softball
Association) teams, winning the New York State championship in
1978 and placing third in two separate Mid Atlantic Regional
championships. He also served as an assistant coach for Port
Jervis Little League and Pop Warner teams, and worked with the
Summer Recreation Program.
After retiring from the Port Jervis School District in 1998,
Spangenberg went on to become an adjunct professor at SUNY
Oneonta where he served for 10 years as the supervisor of
student teachers for Orange and Sullivan Counties. He also
worked as a volunteer for several years at GAIT Therapeutic
Horseback Riding Center in Milford, helping children with
In 2010, the Port Jervis School District recognized Spangenberg
and George Rollman, who succeeded him as varsity softball coach,
for their contributions to Raider athletics by officially naming
the new softball field at Port Jervis High School the
Spangenberg-Rollman Softball Field.
Spagenberg and his wife Candace have two sons, both of whom are
graduates of the Port Jervis School District.
Class of 1960
A dedicated community leader, Frank Bell has spent his life
serving the people of Port Jervis – as an elected official,
volunteer fireman, coach and stalwart leader of Little League.
The Port Jervis councilman is currently serving his fifth term
as the Fourth Ward Councilman. He also served for two years at
the City’s councilman-at-large. During his years in office, Bell
was instrumental in two projects that greatly enhanced his
beloved West End: the construction of the new West End Bridge
and the beautiful West End Memorial Park. He has also served as
chairman of the Department of Public Works, Finance and the Code
Prior to his retirement, Bell, who holds an associate’s degree
from Dutchess County Community College, served New York State as
a supervisor of the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center in
New Hampton for 34 years.
Throughout his career, Bell always found time to give back to
his community, serving as a mentor and coach to two generations
of Port Jervis youth in Little League and Pop Warner Football.
Bell’s association with hometown baseball began back in 1953 as
a player on Port’s first Little League team, which was coached
by his dad. Eleven years later, he followed in his dad’s
footsteps, coaching his sons and countless other players over
the past five decades. Over the years, he was also instrumental
in the growth of Little League, serving as the local president
for six years and assistant district commissioner for 12 years.
Bell also coached Pop Warner Football for 20 years and served as
a member of the Port Jervis Fire Department for 50 years.
Bell and his wife, Jean Belcher Bell, have three sons who are
Port Jervis graduates.
Class of 1963
leader Sen. Brian Bushweller is completing his first term as
state senator of Delaware’s 17th District.
He is running, unopposed, for re-election in November.
In the past four years, Bushweller was appointed to serve on the
most powerful committee in the Delaware State Legislature – the
Joint Finance Committee. He was also appointed as the Senate
representative on the Council on Development Finance, which
oversees expenditures from Delaware’s Strategic Fund.
Bushweller holds a bachelor’s degree in music, and master’s
degrees in education and management and supervision. He started
his career as a music teacher and later joined the staff of the
teachers’ union, first in Florida and then in New York. A job
with the Delaware State Education Association took him and his
family to Dover.
The Senator got his start in politics in 1993 when he left the
teachers union to become then-Governor Tom Carper’s legislative
liaison. For the next six sessions of the Delaware General
Assembly, he worked closely with members of the House and Senate
on important issues including job creation, education reform and
improving the emergency medical response system.
In 1998, the Governor nominated Bushweller to serve as Secretary
of the Department of Public Safety (now called the Department of
Safety and Homeland Security). As Secretary, he led efforts to
reform the quality of service and response time of first
responders. In recognition of this and other public safety
reforms, he was awarded the State of Delaware’s highest award –
the Order of the First State.
When Carper was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, Bushweller
accompanied him as State Director, where he was responsible for
the senator’s three offices in Delaware. As State Director, he
further developed his understanding of the needs and aspirations
of Delaware’s citizens.
Bushweller won a highly-contested campaign for the State Senate
in 2008. Initially, he served as Chair of the Senate Public
Safety Committee. Later, he was appointed Chair of the Senate
Insurance Committee. He has also served as chairman of the State
Emergency Response Commission and is a three-time honorary
commander of Dover Air Force Base.
He continues to remain involved in community activities that
support the quality of life and the educational and economic
vitality in Central Kent County where he resides with his wife
Rocky. The Bushwellers have five grown children and 10
Class of 70
recognized researcher and educator in wildlife management, Dan
Decker left Port Jervis not long after the first Earth Day when
he was 18 to attend Cornell University, where he subsequently
earned bachelor, master’s and doctorate degrees. He never left
Cornell, and currently is a professor of natural resources.
As director of the Human Dimensions Research Unit at Cornell, he
leads a group of faculty, staff and graduate students studying
the socio-cultural aspects of a variety of natural resource and
environmental management issues of importance to state and
federal policy makers and natural resource professionals. His
primary area of expertise is in the human dimensions of wildlife
management. He has written extensively on the subject, including
several authored or edited books. He also served for many years
as an advisor to the National Park Service and several other
federal and state agencies, and taught wildlife professionals
about management through training programs.
Decker’s research interests have both kept him close to and
taken him far from Port Jervis. He has worked on a range of
wildlife issues including: white-tailed deer, black bear,
beaver, Canada goose, coyote and other species in New York; wolf
and grizzly bear management in Alaska; elk management in
Colorado; mountain lion management in Montana; mouflon
conservation on the Island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea,
and forest conservation in Madagascar.
Additionally, Decker has served in several administrative and
leadership posts at Cornell, including department chair in
natural resources, associate director of research in the College
of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), director of the Cornell
University Agricultural Experiment Station, associate dean of
CALS and director of the CALS Office of Land Grant Affairs. He
also held national-elected leadership offices in the wildlife
profession, including president of The Wildlife Society. He has
served on a variety of natural resource boards, currently
including the Great Lakes Fishery Commission Board of Technical
Experts and the NY Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
Decker is the recipient of numerous awards, culminating this
year with the highest award made by The Wildlife Society, the
2012 Aldo Leopold Award and Medal, for career contributions to
the wildlife profession. Decker has one son. He also has a
stepson with his wife Christine.
Class of 72
Nationally-renowned urologist Dr. Jeffrey Cohen is one of the
leaders in the advanced treatment of prostate cancer. A pioneer
of Cryosurgery to treat prostate and kidney cancer, Cohen
participated in the development of laser lithotripsy and
Cohen graduated from Syracuse University, Summa Cum Laude and
received his medical degree from the State University of New
York Upstate Medical Center at Syracuse in 1979. He did his
surgical internship and urologic residency at Case Western
Reserve University Hospital of Cleveland. Cohen completed a
urologic oncology fellowship at the University of Texas M.D.,
Anderson Cancer Institute in 1985.
Certified by the American Board of Urology, Cohen has been
selected as one of The Best Doctors in America for over 10
years. He currently serves as the director of the Division of
Urology at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh; president
of Triangle Urological Group in Pittsburgh; associate professor
of Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine; director of
the Division of Urology at Allegheny and General Hospital in
In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Cohen is the chief
medical officer, and director for ChemImage Corporation, a
Hyperspectral Imaging company founded in 1994. Headquartered in
Pittsburgh, ChemImage produces instrumentation and software for
multiple industries, including Forensics, DOD (threat
detection), pharmaceutical identification and anatomic
Cohen is also very involved in advancing the field of urology.
He is active in hospital committees, medical research, teaching
and publishing. He has published numerous articles in peer
reviewed medical journals including the Journal of Urology,
British Journal of Urology and Urology. He is a
reviewer for the Journal of Urology and Urology.
Additionally, he holds over 30 patents and maintains memberships
in several medical societies, including the American Urological
Association (AUA) and the American Medical Association (AMA).
Cohen and his wife, Ellen, reside in Pittsburg with their four
children. He is following his father into the Alumni Hall of
Fame. Jerome Cohen.'44, who served as the first elected
full-time District Attorney for Orange County, was inducted last
Class of 78
engineer Gay Trovei is the director of the Environmental, Health
and Safety Department of Ashland Inc., a Fortune 500 company
that provides specialty chemical products, services and
solutions to customers around the globe.
Trovei is responsible for the reorganization of the safety,
health, environmental product and regulatory department, and the
organizational transitional and integration of the recently
acquired company- International Specialty Products. For the past
four years, she has served as director of Responsible Care,
providing global direction and oversight for the company’s
management system and integral processes, including Ashland’s
Zero Incident Culture safety process.
Previously, Trovei served as the global Director of Safety,
Health and Environment for Hercules Incorporated, headquartered
in Wilmington, DE. Ashland Inc. acquired Hercules in November
2008. Trovei’s career began with Hercules in the early 1980's as
a chemical engineer. She shifted into environmental management
in the early 1990's, which expanded to include safety in 2005.
In her successful 30-year career, Trovei has been promoted eight
times, traveled to over 30 countries and has spoken at numerous
venues to audiences of over 500 attendees. She has also always
made time to volunteer in her community. Her volunteerism
includes Adopt-a-Highway, Habitat for Humanity, the Food Bank of
Delaware, and Canine Partners for Life.
The Port Jervis High School Class of 1978 valedictorian holds a
Master of Engineering (Chemical) degree and a Bachelor of
Chemical Engineering degree from Manhattan College. She is also
a graduate of the Penn State Executive Management Program.
She meet her husband, Michael, who is the director of sales for
Ashland, when they both worked for Hercules.
2012 Hall of Fame Committee
The district wants to thank the
following alumni, teachers, staff, school board member, and
community members for serving on the Hall of Fame Committee:
Christine Addy,'89 Tom Hoppey,
Frank Bell, '60 Jared Kahmar,
John Bell, '85 Lori Lawrence,
Kevin Birmingham, '71 Tom Leek,
Luann McCarthy, '76
Deb Cassara, '76 Mike McCarthy,
Phil Chase, '50 Deb Meerdink,
Mike Cordisco, '78 Richard Roberts,
Kelly Decker, '85
John Faggione, '90
Bill Smith, '78
Chris Farlekas, '47
Lynn Hendershot, 83
Superintendent John Xanthis
Jim Hendry, '95
Tell us who you think
should be in the 2013 Alumni Hall of Fame
If you would like to join the Hall of Fame committee or want to submit alumni names for consideration,
please submit the name, graduation year, contact information and
reasons for consideration to:
Thomas Bongiovi, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction
Port Jervis City School District
9 Thompson Street,
Port Jervis, NY 12771
(845) 858-3100, Ext. 15521
Pictured at the Oct. 9, 2011 banquet are
(from left) Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, '72; who accepted the
award for his father Jerome Cohen, '44; Thomas Hoppey, '49; Albert Glinton and Gwendolyn Glinton,'76,
who accepted the award
for the late Roberta Glinton, '51;
Michael McCarthy, '52; and Donald Simon, '71.
for 2011 Hall of Fame Banquet Photos.
2010 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees were honored October 10,
the second annual induction banquet. Pictured (from left) are
Chris Farlekas, '47; Perrie Whitten who accepted the award for
her father Chuck Salmon, '47; Anita Pahmahmie Evans, '76; Linda
Dunn Brown who along with her brother Bo accepted the award for
their father Eddie Dunn,’35;
Gib Romaine, '62; Bo Dunn;
Steven Dutkus, '83; Col. (Ret) Steve Banach, '77; and
(Ret) Farace, '77.
more about the eight distinguished alumni.
Photos of 2010 Hall of Fame Banquet
2009 Hall of Fame
- Inaugural Class
The first class of inductees were honored October 11, 2009 at the
inaugural Alumni Hall of Fame banquet at the Erie Trackside Manor. Pictured (left to right) are
Ed Banach. '78;
Marion Rohner, '35; Brigid
Gray,'78, who accepted the award for her father
Senator E. Arthur Gray, '43; Dr. Sam Levinson, '47,
who accepted the award for his brother
Harry Levinson, '39;
General William Norris, '45;
Lou Banach, '78.
Click here for the 2009 Hall of Fame Page to learn
more about the seven distinguished alumni.
Click here to see more photos of the Hall of
Fame Banquet & to watch the
Channel 6 news segment about the
inaugural induction ceremony.