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6 Alumni Chosen for ESM Wall of Distinction

photo of each honoreeThe East Syracuse Minoa Education Foundation (ESMEF) will honor six alumni as the 2020 inductees for the ESM Wall of Distinction at a special ceremony at 6 p.m. Feb. 29 prior to the Foundation’s dinner dance at Traditions. The 2020 East Syracuse Minoa Wall of Distinction inductees are Kathleen Alaimo, Class of 1978; Lauren Barnello, Class of 1987; Nancy Edwards, Class of 1989; Kathleen Crossett Garver, Class of 1997; Lauren Kochian, Class of 1996; and Danny Liedka, Class of 1986. The ESM Education Foundation will honor the alum on Feb. 29. More information on dinner-dance.

The Wall of Distinction was created to recognize distinguished alumni, staff and community members of the ESM School District who serve as role models for today’s students and demonstrate the importance of making a contribution to our society, our community or their field of work. An induction ceremony is held biennially. 

Kathleen Alaimo, ’78 is the president of Syracuse Label and Surround Printing in Syracuse. She has served in the business for 38 years and is one of the only women in a leadership role in this field.
Kathy has worked in many capacities in the company, which is 100% employee-owned. She currently serves on the Manufacturer’s Association of CNY Board of Directors and is also a member of the ESM School to College and Career Advisory Board. Kathy has been active in the Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute for 25 years, serving on its board of directors from 2011-14 and again 2015-17.
She serves on the Vera House Foundation Board of Trustees and volunteers for the annual Ronald McDonald House fashion show.
“Her leadership and knowledge does not go unnoticed by her peers and others in the business,” her Wall of Distinction nomination reads.
“As one of thousands of successful ESM alumni, I am humbled and honored to be selected for induction to the Wall of Distinction. I feel fortunate to have received the well-rounded education that ESM provided to me,” Kathy said.

Lauren Barnello, ’87 is an editor for CBS Sunday Morning in New York City. She has won numerous awards in her field.
“I am incredibly honored to be selected for the ESM Wall of Distinction. I loved my years at ESM and treasure the opportunity I was afforded – the teachers that I had and the courses that prepared me for my future. I caught the televison “bug” at ESM signing up for the first TV production class that the school offered and well, the rest is history,” Lauren said.
She began her career at “Inside Edition.” She has worked for New York Times Television, Lightworks Producing and for HDNet as an editor for "Dan Rather Reports."
She won the 2010 News and Documentary Emmy Award and Daytime Emmy Award (2013, 2015 and 2016). Lauren also received the 2016 ESM Video Achievement Award, 2017 National Assoc. of Black Journalists Award for General Assignment News and a 2018 Gracie Award for a profile on Billie Jean King. She has also received numerous other honors. 

Nancy (Wassel) Edwards, ’89 has counseled and supported scores of families through her volunteer work with the Army's Family Readiness Group (FRG), which provides soldiers and their families with information and emotional support during deployments and training periods.
“I am honored to be selected for the ESM Wall of Distinction; it is giving me the opportunity to thank my high school for giving me a foundation on the importance of volunteering.  It was through DECA and the Principal’s Cabinet that I learned of service to my community, building leadership skills and working with others in order to reach a goal,” Nancy said.
Nancy has given well over 1,000 hours of volunteer service to the FRGs in the battalions in which her husband, Colonel Dennis Edwards (ESM ’86), has served. Nancy has also spent her career working as a legal assistant.
Among her honors, she received a 2-Star General's coin for outstanding service. Nancy also received the Dept. of the Army Patriotic Civilian Service Award in 2008 and in 2010 received the Congress of the U.S. House of Representatives Military Spouse Award.

Kathleen Crossett Garver, ’97 graduated from West Point in a class that was only about 10% female. She served five years in the Army in leadership roles. After caring for her children, Kathy re-entered the workforce by training for and earning a position as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Through her case work, she holds elected and appointed officials accountable, which upholds the public's trust in our institutions,” her nomination reads. She was honored for her efforts, expertise and successful leadership on the "Buffalo Billion" case, which involved a multi-million dollar bid-rigging scheme by developers.
A three-sport athlete at ESM, Kathy is currently a volunteer youth soccer coach. She also coaches an elementary "Girls on the Run" team.
 “I am extremely honored and humbled to be selected for the ESM Wall of Distinction.  The dedicated staff, faculty, and coaches of ESM served as the foundation for whatever successes I have had, and I am proud to be able to give back to the community,” Kathy said.

Lauren Kochian, ’96 is President of the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) in Syracuse.
Currently, Lauren serves on the Board of Directors for GiGi's Playhouse, a local organization that provides support and resources for individuals with Down's Syndrome and their families. She volunteers with Arc of Onondaga. Lauren also serves on the advisory council of Golisano Children’s Hospital, Syracuse Stage Board and the Armory Square Association Board.
“ESM is where I grew and learned and chose the path that I am on today. My success is attributed to the incredible teachers I had at the high school—they not only gave me robust knowledge in various subjects and helped me select my college and major—but they taught me about my humanity and the importance of giving back to the community that has given me and my family so much,” Lauren said.
Her previous roles include executive vice president of the MOST, marketing and development for Arc of Onondaga and Syracuse Stage, and public relations for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League.

Danny Liedka, ’86 has worked for several television and radio stations as a sports broadcaster. He entered local politics and then served at the county level before his current position as President and CEO of Visit Syracuse, which is Onondaga County’s official tourism promotion agency.
“It is an absolute honor and privilege to receive this recognition from my alma mater. I would not be in this position if I wasn’t part of a great community that motivated me to do my very best every day. The foundation that ESM provided me shaped my entire future,” Danny said of the honor.
Danny has called games for ESPN, Yankees Entertainment Network, Big East Network, NHL Network, and Time Warner. In 2003, he received the Cable TV Ace Award (cable’s “Emmy”).
He served as Trustee of the Village of East Syracuse and residents elected him as Mayor. Next, Danny served three terms as an Onondaga County Legislator.
Danny is Vice President on the ESM Little League Board. He volunteers countless hours for the organization through youth clinics, coaching, field maintenance and more.