Distinguished Alumni Class of 2011
Pictured from left are members of the Oxford Area High School Distinguished Alumni Class of 2011: Monica Russo, Denise Draper Chandler and Dean Cheek, representing his sister Donna Cheek White. James Goss was unable to attend the ceremony. Inductees were presented with handmade wooden bowls created by former teacher Scott Gold.
James Goss, Class of 1966
When James Goss retired from the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2010, he received a prestigious national honor, the Secretary’s Hearts and Hands Award that is given to VA employees who “exhibit characteristics that best exemplify the finest in patient care.” Mr. Goss, a registered nurse who has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, was Director of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder program at Coatesville. He used his own experiences as a combat medic in Vietnam and emergency room director at Jennersville Regional Hospital to plan the best care for the many veterans who returned from action in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan with PTSD.
Donna Cheek White, Class of 1971
As a fourth grader in Oxford, Donna Cheek White developed a burning desire to live in Alaska some day. That dream became a reality in her junior year of college when Ms. White moved north to the “Last Frontier” and soon found employment in the state’s prison system.
As her career progressed, Ms. White advanced within Alaska’s Department of Corrections until she was named Director of the Division of Probation and Parole for the 49th state. In this position she supervises more than 140 parole officers, administers services for victims of crime, directs Alaska’s sex offender program, and performs other duties important to public safety.
Denise Draper Chandler, Class of 1976
Denise Draper Chandler has a boundless reserve of energy that she has channeled into scores of essential community service projects everywhere she has lived. Currently Director of Diversity for State Farm Insurance Company, Ms. Chandler was extremely active in extracurriculars both in high school and at Millersville University, where she studied psychology.
Ms. Chandler took leadership roles in numerous organizations over the years, including Girl Scouts, the NAACP, Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Reading is Fundamental Program. She is currently active in youth sports, girls’ self-esteem programs, the Lighthouse Youth Center, her church and many other causes.
Monica Russo, Class of 1982
President of the SEIU Florida Healthcare Union, Monica Russo is a tireless advocate for more than 10,000 nurses and caregivers in the Sunshine State. She leads the effort to unite health care workers with the goal of raising professional and workplace standards, and was instrumental in achieving the first safe staffing law for nursing homes in the United States.
A graduate of Georgetown University, Ms. Russo has devoted her career to improving the lives of working families. She was a founder of the Immigrant Family Partnership, which includes Mi Familia Vota, a group which encourages civic participation in the Hispanic community.
Ms. Russo has lectured across America and in Germany, Brazil, and Haiti. She has co-authored several professional publications and she has provided expert testimony before the Florida State Legislature and the U.S. Congress.