The Ninth Annual Edgewood High School Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Friday, Oct. 4 — Homecoming Day — at the school. The event will feature a daylong series of activities honoring the six who will join the current 62 individuals and one family who have been inducted during the first eight years of the program.
The activities will begin with a morning induction ceremony, followed by tours of the Edgewood High building, a luncheon honoring existing and newly inducted members, introduction of the 2019 HOF members at the school’s Fall Pep Rally, participation of the new inductees in the Homecoming Parade, “tailgate” activities sponsored by the EHS Alumni Association, and concluding with introduction of all Hall of Famers present prior to that night’s Homecoming football game versus Havre de Grace.
Sponsored jointly by the Edgewood High School Administration and the EHS Alumni Association, the Hall of Fame this year will feature the induction of five alumni and one former staff member, bringing the total to 68 individuals and one family to have been enshrined since the program began in 2011. The EHS HOF includes alumni, former staff and community supporters.
Due to be inducted are alumni Alfred D. “Al” Calabria (Class of 1965), Gina Austin Abate (Class of 1973), Raymond W. “Chick” Hamm Jr. (Class of 1978), Patrick A. “Pat” Pollard (Class of 1983) and John Schaech (Class of 1987); along with Joseph A. “Joe’”Schmitz, former EHS teacher, assistant principal and principal.
“The Hall of Fame is an ideal partnership between the school and the community it serves,” said EHS Principal Kilo C. Mack. “As a school, we are so proud of each of those who have been inducted over the past eight years. And the six that will be inducted this year provide additional outstanding role models for our students, staff and the community.”
Mack added that the quality of the 2019 inductees, their achievements and their service to the communities they represent is striking. “From a former staff member who gave up a career in law to be a teacher and later an administrator, to alumni who left Edgewood High to make their mark in the military, in business, in the academic world, and on stage and screen — these are remarkable people,” the third-year EHS principal said.
Chosen by vote of members of the Hall of Fame and by a committee composed of school administrators, alumni, the community and student leaders, this year’s six honorees were selected from among the 34 who had been nominated. Plaques honoring the six new inductees will be added to those depicting existing members on the Hall of Fame wall in the school’s main lobby.
The prospective inductees will be introduced by student leaders during the morning ceremony to be held in the school auditorium while a series of photos displayed on the large screen above the stage will show them in various stages of their lives. The new Hall of Famers will receive awards from government leaders, the alumni association, school officials and the community.
“The EHS Alumni Association is thrilled to partner with our alma mater to both honor those who have accomplished so much and given back so freely, and to provide examples to the current generation of the outstanding individuals who have been associated with the school in the 65 years it has existed,” said Helen E. Morrison, president of the EHS Alumni Association, a member of the EHS Class of 1961 and a Charter Hall of Fame honoree. “Having the 2019 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and related activities on Homecoming Day is the perfect occasion to honor these remarkable alumni and the former staff member.”
EHS Hall of Fame Class of 2019 prospective members include:
Alfred D. “Al” Calabria, alumni, Class of 1965: Al Calabria parlayed an outstanding record as a student-athlete at Edgewood High and Drexel University into a vocational career where he was in executive management at four major multi-national companies. Along the way, he was involved in a variety of volunteer work with community/church/charitable organizations.
At EHS, he was president of the National Honor Society and the Junior Class and was chosen to attend the University of Bridgeport to study physics between his junior and senior years on scholarship from the National Science Foundation. Al played varsity baseball, where he was captain his senior year; football, where he was a two-year defensive captain; and basketball. He was a member of the first Harford All-Star baseball team, and was awarded the National Football Foundation & Hall of Fame award as a senior, representing EHS at the state convocation.
At Drexel, Calabria earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and played varsity baseball for four years, while serving as class president for four years there. He subsequently earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
From 1990 through 2012, he was a senior leader with major corporations in the United States and abroad, earning prestigious achievement awards for himself and the companies for which he worked. He also spent six years as a strategy consultant to Fortune 500 and other for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In addition, Calabria has served as adjunct professor of leadership and management at Miami University (Ohio) and the University of Houston.
Among his charitable associations, he has worked with the American Cancer Society, Junior Achievement and Meals on Wheels, as well as being active in church leadership and youth and high school sports in Houston and Oregon. In semi-retirement, Calabria has become more involved with nonprofit boards and public service including city government at his Lake Oswego, Oregon, home. Calabria, 71, and his wife of 48 years, Cyndi, have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Gina Austin Abate, alumni, Class of 1973: Recently named one of Maryland’s Most Influential, Most Admired CEOs and Woman of Influence by respected regional publications in recognition of her “vision and leadership” in the field of cybersecurity, Gina Abate continues a career that has her at the top of her field nationally.
She began her record of achievement at Edgewood High, where she was a Top Ten Senior, member of the National Honor Society, standout field hockey player and senior class vice president, before earning a pre-law/history/political science BA from Texas Lutheran University and a paralegal master’s certification from Southwest Texas State University.
She served 20 years in the Department of Veterans Affairs, rising to director of Management Support Staff where she led the activities of two central data processing centers and three system development centers. Abate then spent 15 years as vice president/senior vice president with private firms offering business consulting and software services to federal government clients, before joining Edwards Performance Solutions in 2013 where she has progressed from senior vice president and president to her current position of CEO. Setting overall company strategy and direction, she has led the firm to an 83 percent revenue growth; and the company has been honored during the past four years as a Top Workplace, as well as having received the Business Philanthropy Award.
Serving on the Cybersecurity Association of Maryland Inc. Board, where she has been chairperson since January 2018, Abate championed the Cybersecurity Incentive Tax Credit Bill (SB228) — signed into law by Gov. Hogan in May 2018 — which makes Maryland the first state to incentivize businesses to purchase cybersecurity protections locally and investors to invest in Maryland cybersecurity companies. She recently testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, urging legislators to implement security incentives nationwide.
Abate partners with local colleges and tech councils to encourage aspiring students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. Among her support of several foundations/churches is her work with the Trinity Lutheran School and Child Care Center (Joppa) where her father was original headmaster. She and her husband, Darrell, have two grown sons and five grandchildren.
Raymond W. “Chick” Hamm Jr., alumni, Class of 1978: “Chick” Hamm, 58, has been in the banking industry for 42 years, currently serving as executive vice president and market leader for PNC Bank.
A consistent honor student and member of the National Honor Society while a student at Edgewood High, he was active in both sports and the music program at EHS, playing basketball and lettering in golf, while being a member of the chorus, vocal jazz ensemble and performing in a school musical. He demonstrated his dedication by not missing a single day of school from first grade through his high school graduation. As a senior, he was awarded a Maryland State Senatorial Scholarship and received a cum laude BA degree and a master’s from Loyola College.
He began his career in banking as a summer employee after his sophomore year in high school, rising through the ranks to become a director, president and CEO of Mercantile County Bank where he managed a community bank with assets of more than $1 billion. Hamm has led many system-wide projects, often being recognized for growth in market share, solid financial performance, excellent regulatory compliance, and exceptional corporate citizenship.
He and his wife, Anne, have been active as coaches and key supporters of the Challenger League in Cecil County, providing sports opportunities for children with emotional/physical challenges. He has also coached his children in organized sports leagues. Hamm has been an active leader in dozens of governmental, school and volunteer organizations including the Susquehanna Workforce Network, Maryland’s Tomorrow (anti-dropout program), the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission, Del-Mar-VA Boy Scouts of America, Cecil County Public Library Foundation, Cecil County Paramedic Foundation, Cecil County Economic Development Commission, YMCA of Cecil County and many others. Hamm is a trustee of Cecil College and chairman of the board of Union Hospital in Elkton. He was also an instructor in the Edgewood High School Junior Achievement program. He and Anne have two children and a granddaughter.
Patrick A. “Pat” Pollard, alumni, Class of 1983: Pat Pollard compiled one of Edgewood High’s all-time top student/athlete records, then served his country as a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, subsequently earning qualification from the U.S. Army Ranger, Airborne and Air Assault Schools, ultimately achieving the rank of captain.
Since leaving the military, he has put together a sterling career as a leader in the field of financial services and as a community activist for more than a quarter century. At Edgewood High, he graduated fifth in his class with a 3.9 GPA, earning membership in the National Honor Society, and was named the top math student in his senior class. He was a three-year starter at quarterback on the Ram Varsity football team during which the school compiled a 24-5 record. He led the county in passing as a sophomore, piloting the team to a county championship. As a senior, he led the Rams to the only undefeated football season in the 64-year history of the program, pacing the county in passing again. Pat was named All-County and first team All-Metro, receiving the Eastern Region National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award for the Baltimore Football Chapter. In addition, he was a three-year letterman in varsity baseball and was a member of the 1981 Ram state championship team, earning second-team All-County recognition as a senior.
During his time in the military, Pollard served primarily as a Fire Support Officer in the 101st Airborne Division. He is now senior vice president at Merrill Lynch in Bel Air and has been senior resident director at the office since 2002. His organization is responsible for $1.6 billion in client assets. Pollard has been named to the Merrill Lynch Circle of Excellence each year since 2014. He has given back to his alma mater and to his community in many ways, including his continuing membership on the board of the Edgewood High Academy of Finance; and he is a founding member of the Rams4Others Community Foundation which raises money to benefit worthwhile causes in the Edgewood area.
In addition, he is a member of the Bel Air Rotary Club, having served as its president in 2002-03. He has been chairman of the Greater Harford Committee since 2014, along with his continuing membership on the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation. Pollard, 54, and his wife of 25 years, Kristin, have two sons and a daughter.
John Schaech, alumni, Class of 1987: John Schaech has appeared in more than 160 Hollywood productions, highlighted by having been the lead singer of The Wonders in Tom Hanks’ directorial debut in “That Thing You Do.” Most recently, he could have been seen in Showtime’s’ “Ray Donovan,” “Chicago PD,” “BlueBloods” or on DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” as comic book legend Jonah Hex.
Schaech has teamed with his childhood friend and EHS Hall of Fame member Richard Chizmar to write numerous screenplays and TV scripts including Showtime’s “Master of Horror” series. He is currently directing and producing a documentary with Mark Wahlberg about Rick Dempsey’s Little League ‘bank robbing’ coach.
While at Edgewood High, John was a founding member of the school’s Arts Club and a member of the varsity lacrosse team. He attended the University of Maryland/Baltimore County where he took one acting class, leading him to his career in film and television. He has studied acting under the renowned Roy London in Los Angeles, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England and the Actors Studio in New York. Schaech has spoken to Congress about the cognitive importance of keeping arts in the public schools and helped launch the nonprofit Adopt the Arts organization along with Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum.
Schaech is an outspoken sexual abuse survivor, a leader in the #Me Too and TimesUp movements, as well as being a spokesperson for RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
He was the Edgewood High Commencement speaker in 2000 and was emcee for the inaugural of the new EHS athletic stadium on Sept. 3, 2010. Among the local causes he has supported is the Homeruns for the Homeless project which raises more than $20,000 annually to support homeless families in the Rt. 40 corridor of Harford County. Schaech currently lives in Nashville with his wife, Julie Solomon. They have a 5-year-old son, Camden.
Joseph A. “Joe” Schmitz, former staff; teacher, assistant principal, principal: Joe Schmitz left a successful career as an attorney to become a teacher, landing a position at Edgewood High in 1992 where he was a highly respected social studies teacher and Speech/Debate and Mock Trial teams sponsor or co-sponsor, respectively. Under his leadership, the Mock Trial team reached heights in the state tournament they had not previously achieved. He also supervised four student teachers and was an original member of the School-Based Instructional Decision team. His success in those areas led to his being named an assistant principal at the school and then principal, serving in the latter role for six years, bringing stability to a position which had seen a turnover of four principals in the previous eight years. Schmitz is the only person to have served in all three capacities at EHS, spending 15 years at the school.
While principal, he supported the newly founded Academy of Finance and worked for the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program. Before his reassignment to be principal at Fallston High School in 2007, he was involved with the planning for the new EHS building which opened in 2010. Subsequently, Schmitz was promoted to the position of executive director of secondary education, overseeing all 19 of the Harford County Public Middle and High schools, a position from which he is retiring in July.
While involved as an educator, he became interested in Scripture study, leading to his commitment to prison ministry. As part of his faith, he has begun an M.A. in Catechesis and Evangelization with hopes of moving into a role in Faith Formation at the Parish level.
A graduate of UMBC, Schmitz received his JD from the University of Maryland Law School in 1984 and later completed graduate studies in connection with his role as an educator. He is an enthusiastic painter of land and seascapes. Schmitz, 62, and his wife of 38 years, Katie, have three grown children.