Alumni Patriot Voices Ringing
Alumni in the News
Musical, Interactive Plant Sculpture Sprouts Up along Great Miami River
By Zoe Kalen Hill, Dayton.com Staff Writer
April 22, 2023
Photo by Marshall Gorby: The side pieces of Michael Bashaw's latest sculpture assembled in his studio. The side fiddlehead ferns stand at 7 feet tall and the center piece is over 18 feet tall.
A new sculpture stands in Dayton at the end of the bridge at West Monument Avenue near the Dayton Masonic Center.
Set to debut Monday, April 24, the installment, titled “Wind in the Garden,” is the latest interactive and musical work of art created by sculptor and multi-instrumentalist Michael Bashaw (1967 Carroll Graduate). Commissioned by the Garden Club of Dayton, Bashaw combined aluminum and stainless steel to create an art deco-style fiddlehead fern that stands at over 18 feet tall on the edge of the Great Miami River.
A ring of metal on the center pillar is inscribed with “Centennial Overlook,” “The Garden Club of Dayton” and “1922-2022″ in celebration of the organization’s recent centennial birthday. The Centennial Overlook is a part of the redevelopment of Sunrise Park in the Riverfront Plan the Garden Club is working in conjunction with Fiver Rivers MetroParks.
“I’ve wanted to do a piece somewhere along the river for years,” Bashaw said. “This was a great opportunity for me, so I really appreciate the chance to make something happen. It’s a very prominent site that overlooks the river at a really dramatic spot.”
The river plays a role in the installation by creating wind gusts that interact with the sculpture. Depending on the strength of the gusts, adjustable pipes in the center of the sculpture will create different harmonics akin to the sound of a flute by capturing the wind and splitting the tone.
By using perforated aluminum in the project, Bashaw was also able to integrate a moiré effect into the sculpture. The aluminum sheets can create mind-bending patterns when overlaying grids, causing the effect.
“When you’re moving closer to it, all of a sudden — and this is perfect for the Garden Club — you’ll see this almost mandala-like floral pattern, like a chrysanthemum almost, in sections throughout the piece,” Bashaw said.
The sculpture is fit with lights on the inside, which Bashaw said makes the piece a sight to see even at night. Each side section of the fiddlehead fern includes musical elements that can be activated by a knob on the side of the sculpture as well.
Michael Bashaw was inducted into the Archbishop Carroll High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009.
Since its opening in January of 1988, more than 6,500 artists have delighted 20 million theatergoers throughout 13,981 performances of The Phantom of the Opera during its 35 year run. Kyle Anderson ‘07 played in the pit orchestra for the show’s final six weeks, including the historic closing night of the longest running production in Broadway history.
Anderson’s involvement with the legendary Broadway musical began in August of 2022 when he became the french horn substitute for the show. He had played off and on before taking a long-term substitute position for the show’s final six weeks, including the curtain call on April 16, 2023. It was during that six week stay that Anderson became very close with his fellow pit orchestra colleagues, 11 of whom had been playing with the show since the beginning of the production, years before Anderson was even born. “It didn’t matter how long you had been there,” Kyle said, “Everyone was close, especially with all of the emotions about the close (of the show).”
“Bittersweet” was a common feeling for Anderson and the rest of the cast and crew during those final six weeks, as some orchestra members were moving on to other gigs and others were retiring after making The Phantom of the Opera their lifelong career. “It was bittersweet for me too because I had just started bonding with everyone and had had six full weeks there (with eight shows per week),” he said.
Anderson had the pleasure of playing under the show’s music supervisor and conductor, David Caddick, who had been with the show since its initial workshop days prior to its Broadway run. As standard practice for musicians entering a Broadway show, Anderson was given a video of Caddick conducting to rehearse with at home, and he was able to sit in the pit orchestra during one of the shows to read through the orchestral score. Unlike other Broadway gigs, however, Kyle had three rehearsals with the full pit, as new music was added to the show’s closing for when the show’s creator, Andrew Lloyd Webber, its producers, and the original cast members joined the final cast members onstage at the end of the show.
He recalled the electricity buzzing throughout the Majestic Theatre on closing night. “I had never heard (an audience) reception like that. Every time somebody came onstage, the audience went wild, and it was just crazy,” he remembered.
Though his experience with Phantom was an incredible moment in his career, it was not his Broadway debut, nor was it the first time he had played in a pit orchestra. Kyle started playing the piano at age five and then switched to the french horn when he was ten. It was then that he knew that he wanted to make a career out of playing the horn, hoping to someday play in a symphony orchestra.
During his time at Archbishop Carroll High School, Kyle was very involved in the music program, and he recalls the valuable lessons he learned from current Music Department chair Mr. Carl Soucek and the other directors involved with the program during Kyle’s time playing in the concert band, musical pit orchestras, and the marching band. “I just remember it being a fun time – that it never felt like work… I carry that positive, fun, competitive attitude to what I do today,” Anderson said. He also fondly recalled his involvement in the pit orchestras for the Muse Machine musicals as well.
After graduating from high school, Kyle continued his french horn studies at Julliard, and he has been involved with several ensembles and symphonies since. His involvement with the American Symphony Orchestra led Kyle to work with the principal horn player for Phantom, and an opportunity arose. Having worked with additional Broadway pit orchestra professionals, Anderson had networking connections that allowed him to first audition for a horn substitute seat on his first Broadway show, The Lion King, in September of 2019. He will play his 100th show there this May.
In addition to The Lion King, he is currently the french horn seat substitute for four additional Broadway productions. He plays horn for Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Camelot, and he accompanies Josh Groban in the new revival of Sweeny Todd. This May, he will add more Broadway history to his resume when he started playing as the substitute french horn player for New York, New York, -the new adaptation of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb’s score with additional lyrics from Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Channeling the positive energy and fun he learned from his Patriot music ensembles, Kyle says he is enjoying turning his everyday job into a passion and hobby. “It’s fun to play these new shows,” Anderson said. He feels like he is at the top of his game and that he has “made it.” In the future, he hopes to secure a more permanent chair position in a Broadway musical, like many of his colleagues had while playing for The Phantom of the Opera. That experience, for Anderson, “was probably one of the largest moments in my career so far, and I think it’s going to be hard to top that."
Wright State names new men’s soccer coach
FAIRBORN — Alex Van Der Sluijs gave up a successful stint as Wilmington College’s soccer coach to become a Wright State assistant last year. And though the jump to Division I was a sound career move, he didn’t do it for professional reasons.
“It was a family decision. I didn’t have a full-time assistant at Wilmington, and the hours were a bit insane,” said Van Der Sluijs, who has two children under age 5.
“I wanted to be closer. We live in Beavercreek, and I was home at 8 or 9 o’clock. And with two young kids, I missed a lot of quality time.”
The 38-year-old Dayton native will get to keep that short commute home and have his family nearby after being named the Wright State men’s coach Tuesday.
And his one season on the staff was a factor in being named to replace Jake Slemker.
Van Der Sluijs — it’s pronounced Van Der Slice, and he’s known as coach Slice — had a multitude of duties on the staff, but his main focus was building bonds with the players and exhibiting his passion for the game.
“Coaching is a calling. That’s what draws you to it,” said Van Der Sluijs, who spent four years at Wilmington, seven at Defiance College and three at Chaminade Julienne.
“Ultimately, I want to love and care for our guys … I want them to play for each other. I think that’s the way to sustain winning and build something great that lasts.”
Slemker, who was let go March 30, led the Raiders to their first Horizon League regular-season title in is first year in 2018 and had them ranked as high as 11th nationally.
They won their first league tourney crown in 2019 and beat Notre Dame in a first-round NCAA game.
But they dropped off offensively the last three seasons while going a combined 14-20-8.
After scoring 44 and 46 goals his first two seasons, they tallied a combined 55 the last three.
“I was a forward in my day, and I want us to play creative, free soccer,” said Van Der Sluijs, who was a three-time all-conference pick at Wilmington.
“I want us to attack and bring a swag to our game. Soccer is just so beautiful, and I want to keep it artful. When guys are playing with joy, it leads to winning.”
But Van Der Sluijs admitted the move has been bittersweet because of his friendship with Slemker.
“There’s some conflicting emotions with it. What he did here was great,” he said.
“But ultimately, the opportunity here was so great. It felt like the right thing when this came open and the administration put their faith in me. Our visions aligned.”
Congratulations to Megan Caldwell, 2020 Archbishop Carroll High School Graduate!
Ohio Military Kids Award Winner:
Military Youth of the Year - Megan Caldwell
Megan was recognized April 19th by Brigadier General Woodruff and State 4-H Leader Dr. Kirk Bloir. Thanks to Megan for the commitment, time, and volunteering she has given to Ohio Military Kids.
Megan is a junior biology major at Otterbein University.
Wealth is Women’s Work: How Women Can Make a Long-Term Impact with a Career in Wealth Management
More women than ever before are the primary financial decision-makers in their households, but the number of women in wealth management careers continues to lag. In Wealth is Women’s Work, 1967 Carroll Graduate Peggy (Miller) Ruhlin combines stories and statistics to dispel the myths, hesitations, and beliefs that keep women from pursuing careers as financial planners. Ruhlin argues for the benefits of a career in wealth management― including work-life balance, excellent pay, and rewarding relationships―and highlights the unique skills and talents that women bring to the field.
In these pages, Ruhlin speaks to women of all ages, inviting them to consider careers as financial planners, showing them the transferable skills that they already possess, and offering advice on how to pursue internships, jobs, and formal certification. In conjunction with her efforts to recruit women to the profession, Ruhlin directly addressed industry gatekeepers, at once admonishing and encouraging them to hire and mentor more women.
Peggy Ruhlin is the retired Chair of the Board of Directors of Budros, Ruhlin & Roe, the Columbus, Ohio-based wealth management firm. She was its Chief Executive Officer from 2000 to 2019, and under her leadership, the company won the 2011 Charles Schwab Best in Business IMPACT Award. Peggy is one of America’s most distinguished women in wealth management, receiving the Alexandra Armstrong Award for Lifetime Achievement. She is a Certified Public Accountant (Retired) with a Personal Financial Specialist accreditation, and a Certified Financial Planner certificant.
Peggy was inducted into the Archbishop Carroll High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2009.
VOICES: Local journalism needs our support
By Dr. Richard Campbell '67
Published in Dayton Daily News, IDEAS & VOICES, April 7, 2023
Growing up, my brothers and I were all Dayton Daily News paperboys – our first jobs. Three of us later worked as reporters at various times in our lives. In 2019, our mom, Molly Campbell, won a contest as the oldest continuous reader the DDN could find. She has been reading the paper since 1932, when as a 6-year-old, she and her sisters – daughters of Croatian immigrants — used the paper to help them learn English. During World War II she served editor of her high school paper at Wilbur Wright. Mom is nearly 97 and still reads the paper every day … and still writes the occasional letter-to-the-editor.
Before retiring in 2019, I chaired the journalism and media studies programs at Miami University, and for several years met with various DDN editors to try to create a partnership that would benefit both our journalism students and Cox’s Oxford Press (now a 4-page insert in the Sunday’s Journal-News, the paper that serves Hamilton and Middletown). These efforts always seemed to fall apart – usually because Cox was undergoing a round of downsizing or an ownership change. In 2018, when Oxford was in danger of becoming what we now call a “news desert” – a community or town that has little or no access to local news — I helped our department start the Oxford Observer. An online paper, the Observer is supported by Miami and the Oxford Community Foundation.
Back in 2017, a landmark University of North Carolina study identified 1,300 U.S. communities as news deserts. By 2020, that figure had jumped to 1,800. In the last 20+ years, the U.S. has lost more than half the workforce of daily newspaper reporters — from 56,000 in 2001 to fewer than 27,000 today. Some 2,500 daily and weekly papers have stopped publishing since 2005. Today, an average of two papers shut down every week. A generation of promising young reporters have chosen other career paths.
While national polls show that local TV and newspaper journalism remains, by far, the most trusted news source, citizens in many rural and suburban communities are left with nothing but a cacophony of cable talking heads, radio windbags, partisan tweeters, and Facebook fomenters. In these news deserts, communities lack the local news stories that once served as a shared foundation of information – that “first draft of history”–often the starting point from which a community could address its concerns and problems.
With more than 85 percent of adults today owning smartphones, we indeed have easy access to all sorts of national news and entertainment stories, but also fervent misinformation. And in this age of the internet, many of us tend to seek information that affirms our own values and beliefs. According to a 2019 Brookings Institution study, millions of Americans today see only national stories, and many of those “focus heavily on partisan conflict.” More alarming still, Brookings found the decline in local reporting has been accompanied by “a diminished capacity to hold elected officials and other local leaders accountable and a general disengagement from local politics.” (We are all familiar with elected politicians who fabricate their resumes, knowing it is unlikely local reporters will be vetting them.)
A major problem facing local journalism initiatives is that most philanthropic funding for journalism today goes to national initiatives such as ProPublica. One national effort, however, Report for America (RFA) is specifically devoted to recruiting and adding reporters to understaffed newsrooms through salary matches. Some of our best journalism students at Miami started their careers in RFA jobs in Columbus and Cincinnati. RFA support allows newspapers to report on rural areas that many “downsized” papers had stopped covering. Still, the top national news outlets, based chiefly in New York and Washington, D.C., do not see news deserts as a national problem, paying only occasional attention to the crisis.
More than 20 years ago, the Boston Globe spotlighted a regional problem of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The regional Globe, at that time owned by the New York Times, was better positioned to circulate its stories nationally to other papers through the Times wire service. Within a short time, as other local papers investigated the crisis in their regional archdioceses, this was no longer just a story about a few local “bad apple” priests here and there, but a systemic global problem in the Catholic Church. But 20 years ago, we had a larger network of journalists who were able to report on the scope and impact of the abuse. Similarly, the story of local news deserts is not about the closing of one paper here and another paper there. It is the story of an entire network, critical to a nation’s welfare, that has lost its moorings. Still, many pundits with the power to reach mass audiences are not connecting the dots, not even recognizing that the loss of local journalism is a major national story.
When we face national crises such as race relations, wealth disparity, or our partisan divide, pundits—especially on cable TV—call for a “national conversation.” In fact, the conversations that foster real change are, almost by definition, local. Yet in places where there are no reporters to interview citizens, vet candidates, and cover town meetings, these stories and those conversations that happen during local cafe lunches or at breakfasts at MacDonald’s are never covered.
Since the internet emerged, newspaper advertising has plummeted. Many newsrooms still operate under a dysfunctional business model in which “middlemen” — Google and Facebook — rake in roughly 70 percent of digital newspaper ad revenue, although they gather no news themselves. Newspapers today still make most of their money from subscribers and print ads. While the digital behemoths support various news projects, including RFA, they could do more to share revenue with local journalism. More states could do what New Jersey did with its Civic Information Bill, putting serious money toward helping local journalism. Universities, especially wealthy ones, also need to do more. Vartan Gregorian, former Brown University president, once called journalism “the quintessential knowledge profession,” and called on universities to better support it. “Our democracy,” he wrote, “depends on journalism to keep its institutions challenged and responsive to the public’s needs, and the quality of the profession demands the best a university can offer.”
Individually, we can all do more to insure we are getting the news that keeps us well informed. We can ask our local community foundation to start newspaper funds, like we have in Oxford. We can form a consortium to start up a local news outlet, supported by businesses and colleges. That partnership between Cox and Miami had a breakthrough this year, with Miami journalism students now contributing weekly to Cox’s Oxford Press.
National initiatives such as RFA are doing much to reverse the disastrous trends in local journalism. But the national news media–-often reluctant to cover journalism itself as a news story—must do a better job. Individually, we can also write our elected representatives and ask what they are doing. Back when our newest Ohio senator, J.D. Vance, was on the college speaking circuit, he visited Miami, where his cousin (who later worked as a DDN reporter) was a journalism student. At the time, Vance seemed interested in building bridges to help heal our partisan divide and in improving that state of local journalism in Ohio. Back then, he said he might be interested in helping. Now Senator Vance has a real chance. Write to him.
In the 1780s – before he was president — Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to a delegate to the Continental Congress about the importance of a free press as a watchdog on government. He famously said if he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Our Constitution singles out only one business enterprise by name for protection in the Bill of Rights – “the press.” Since colonial America, newspapers have helped us make choices on everything from the food we eat to the representatives we elect. Local journalism has long been at the center of democracy, telling our stories and documenting a community’s life, and now it needs our support.
Richard Campbell is professor emeritus and founding chair of the Media, Journalism & Film department at Miami University. Campbell is also proud graduate of Carroll High School, Class of ‘67, where he wrote his first news story.
This article is tied to a short course class Dr. Campbell is teaching for Miami's Institute of Learning in Retirement (ILR).
THE DECLINE OF JOURNALISM IN THE NEW PARTISAN ERA (Miami University Course Description)
Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has lost more than half the workforce of daily newspaper reporters. A University of North Carolina initiative has now labeled more than 1,800 U.S. towns and communities as “news deserts” with no local print or digital reporting. More than 2,100 daily and weekly papers have stopped publishing since 2004. According to a 2019 Brookings Institution study, millions of Americans today see mainly national TV stories, many of which “focus heavily on partisan conflict.” Brookings also found the decline in local reporting has been accompanied by “a diminished capacity to hold elected officials and other local leaders accountable and a general disengagement from local
politics.” In spotlighting the history of journalism in the U.S. through six significant eras, this course traces the early partisan press through to our new partisan era and the simultaneous rise of the internet and decline of local journalism.
Instructor: Richard Campbell is Professor Emeritus and Founding Chair of the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Miami University. He is author and co-author of five books, including 60 Minutes and the News: A Mythology for Middle America. He helped found the digital Oxford Observer in 2018 and served as Executive Producer of Training for Freedom, a documentary on Oxford’s role in the historic events of Freedom Summer. In 2019, Campbell received Miami’s Benjamin Harrison Medallion Award.
5 Mondays: March 27–April 24; 10:45 am–noon
Format: In person
Location: Oxford, The Knolls of Oxford, Auditorium
Dayton comedian performs at legendary Apollo Theater
By Jessica Graue, Contributing Writer, Dayton.com
Feb 17, 2023
Four years ago 21-year-old Jerrel Beamon graduated from Carroll High School in Riverside. Two weeks ago he performed at the iconic Apollo Theater in New York City. For someone who’s known he’s wanted to do comedy since he was 10, he seems to be on the right track.
While Beamon has been performing since 2019, his first foray into trying comedy was at a talent show in high school when he was 16. But according to him, that might not be the best way to start a comedy career.
“The show was in front of 300 people and I got third place,” Beamon recalled. “I wouldn’t advise that be your first time. I went to not just a school but a private Catholic school. People were laughing thinking this could go somewhere.”
His first open mic was at Wiley’s Comedy Club where he’s met many comedians that have helped him on his journey. Over the years he has honed his skills and style.
“I’m very thought-provoking about silly stuff,” he said. “I trick people into thinking I’m going to be deep and then it’s silly. It’s total misdirection.”
Beamon has traveled to many places to do comedy. During a show in Akron two years ago, Beamon was interrupted on stage by Bob Sumner, one of the co-creators of HBO’s Russell Simmon’s Def Comedy Jam. Sumner proclaimed that he “found his guy.”
“He had me fly out to the East Coast for a 30-minute special,” Beamon said. “He booked the night at the Apollo. It was a great honor. I had only been performing for three years. My first thought was ‘I made it.’”
As Beamon was walking up to the Apollo Comedy Club with his dad on Thursday, Feb. 2, he saw his name across the marquee. Beamon said that the show was sold out, and the whole night was surreal.
“I’m not usually too sappy but that was the most memorable thing right before (the show),” he said. “It was a little emotional. You go through so much in this journey and now I see the results come out of it at a historic place.”
Beamon took the stage after the host and stuck to his tried-and-true material. Although Beamon was performing in New York City, he made sure to give some love back to Dayton. He made sure the audience knew where he was from.
“Some people get to New York and want to talk about New York but I didn’t care,” he said.”I talked about Dayton. It was transcendent and they found it relatable. Some people who like your act want to know where you’re from and Dayton is who I am.”
Beamon made sure to shout out to Dayton comedians who have shown him love throughout his career. He currently hosts a podcast with Dayton comedian Ray Jackson called the “Unk & Nephew” podcast. Beamon wants to produce more of his own shows and promote local talent.
“I want to make comedy for the people,” he said. “I want to carve something out in the Midwest for the talent we have here. I want to give some shine to all the unsung people. I want to stay humble and professional. It’s gotten me this far.”
While he’s only been doing stand-up a short time, Beamon has a special in the works as well as numerous sold-out shows on the books. He stressed that getting into stand-up isn’t easy and being able to ignore some of the social media chatter is necessary.
“Don’t care about what people say about you failing,” he said. “You’ll be stronger and better. The audience didn’t see all the times that I failed but those moments have helped me get to where I am now.”
For the complete article, go here: https://www.dayton.com/what-to-know/dayton-comedian-performs-at-legendary-apollo-theater/DU4RILR56VD7RFETYBOBF6TWUI/
Brownsville’s Schlater surpasses 100,000-mile milestone
Posted 10/26/22 by Edward Severn, Staff Writer, The Brownsville Herald
BROWNSVILLE — Brownsville’s Michael Schlater saved a half-mile — two laps — of the Brownsville St. Joseph’s track Friday evening. The cross country team joined its assistant cross country coach for the first lap, while motivational music blared through the speakers.
Schlater continued without the team for the last quarter mile — the final lap — and received a standing ovation from the fans waiting for a football game to start. Schlater’s stride began to match the rhythm of the music and as he crossed the finish line, family, friends and the cross country team gathered to celebrate the dedicated runner.
The 55-year-old global strategy manager accomplished a feat 41 years in the making: completing his 100,000th mile throughout his running career.
“A lifelong dream came to reality in less than four minutes,” Schlater said. “Unbelievable. I shared it with all the kids, my mom, my brother, living legend track coaches. It could not have been better on such a beautiful night here.”
Schlater began tracking his miles at age 14 when his parents gave him a Runner’s World Log Book. He began logging his miles Feb. 23, 1981. By the end of that year, he had trekked more than 1,000 miles.
It took Slater 24 years to reach the halfway mark of 50,000 miles, doing so Oct. 12, 2005. The achievement put the 100,000-mile goal in his brain, he said.
St. Joseph’s brought Schlater on as an assistant coach in after his first son enrolled at the school. He credits the school for helping reaching the milestone.
“Quite honestly, having the ability to run in the afternoon, two times a day, has been very instrumental in me being able to get to where I am now,” Schlater said. “Having the motivation from the kids to be their coach and the whole support staff, truthfully, I would not be here today without them.”
Having a cross country coach that has 100,000 miles under their belt is “insane,” St. Joseph’s senior Alejandro Ramirez said.
“There are very few people in this world that will do that, and he is one of them,” Ramirez said. “I am very proud to be one of his athletes. He made me the runner who I am today. All the victories and championships we have won is because of him.”
Schlater hit 75,000 miles March 12, 2015, and the dream was starting to become a reality.
“What he has done has touched every single one of us, all of the coaches, even the coaches that he has looked up to are touched by what he has done and the kids admire him so much,” St. Joseph’s head cross country coach Teddy Lopez said. “He has touched a lot of lives here and it is very much appreciated.”
Junior Cesar Silguero and sophomore Jimena Herrera are two more of Schlater’s athletes who are inspired by the milestone.
“I started cross country my freshman year and I was not the best, and I am still not the best, but he is just so uplifting and such a nice person to be around,” Herrera said. “He is always reminding us that we can do it. I am so grateful he is my cross country coach.”
Silguero echoed similar compliments.
“He has been an inspiration to me and all of my teammates,” Silguero said. “My parents are amazed by all the things he does. They are very proud of having me be coached by someone like him, who is a living legend in the Valley and the rest of the world.”
Schlater will submit his accomplishment to a blog maintained by 1968 Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot. The blog tracks athletes who have achieved the milestone. Schlater has been in touch with Burfoot, he said.
Burfoot chronicles the runners on the website 100klifetimemiles.com and has 115 runners listed who have achieved the milestone.
Schlater works for a company called Aptiv, a global technology company across the border in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. The job at times requires the 55-yearold to travel, allowing Schlater to trek miles in other countries such as Portugal, Spain, Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
Several thousand of the miles occurred in Mexico. The day after Schlater wrapped up his 100,000mile goal, he ran a 5 kilometer- race in Matamoros.
Schlater has ran numerous 5k and 10k events. Two of his longest races were the Bobby Crim 10 miles in Flint, Michigan, and the River Corridor Classic a half marathon and 5k in Schlater’s Dayton, Ohio, hometown.
The 55-year-old runner also has another prestigious running achievement. Schlater is on a 7,712-day running streak, currently ranked 105th overall in the world. He hasn’t missed a day of running since Sept. 11, 2001.
There are 4,098 streaks being tracked by Streak Runners International and the United States Running Streak Association.
“Running embodies everything about me,” Schlater said. “It embodies dedication, discipline, it is a physical manifestation of that. It is something that I thoroughly enjoy to relieve stress and to have my own time for myself. It is something that has grown on me for years and years that aligns with me and my personality.”
Maybe 150,000 miles is the next goal for the cross country coach, but for now Schlater will be up and running at 4:45 a.m. around Brownsville.
To see another article about Mike, go to Valley Central News Website.
VOICES: In difficult times, veteran educator a model for the profession
Dayton Daily News article by Jim Brooks, 10/11/2022
Photo contributed by Mike Unger
One of the most disturbing trends in contemporary education is the rate at which teachers are leaving the profession. No doubt, COVID has exacerbated a problem that existed before 2020, but it will always be the case that kids need stable and caring adults in their classrooms and in their lives. Thankfully, there are veteran educators who serve as models for others, especially in our urban schools.
Meet Michael D. Unger, Dayton Public School teacher par excellence at Stivers School for the Arts. I am proud to call him a friend and tennis coaching colleague for many years. A graduate of Carroll High School (1966) and Ohio University, Mike took a detour — or tour of duty — on his way to the classroom. He was drafted by the army and got shipped off to Vietnam, where he fought in a controversial war that tested his mettle and survival skills. It was there that he learned the deeper meaning of serving alongside others, some of whom gave up their lives. When teachers at a faculty in-service last year were asked why they do what they do professionally, Mike’s response was “Because of those men and women who died next to me in combat.” There was silence in the room.
When Mike returned to the U.S. in 1972, he knew he wanted to teach in an inner city public school, and what better place than in his hometown? After starting to teach social studies at the sixth grade level, he married Yolanda, the love of his life, herself a fine teacher and tutor for decades.
Not only did Mike endure injury and heartache in Vietnam, he survived a gunshot wound from a would-be car-jacker on his way to school in the 1980s. This did not deter his will to teach, as he had long stints at Eastmont and Whittier elementary schools before moving to Stivers in 2000. His subject of choice? U.S. Government. Not only does he engage his students in the power of the Constitution and the various branches of government, he connects this material to current events and issues which affect students’ lives. Their passing rate on state exams may be as high as any in the Dayton system, and his honors students have had notable success on the AP exam, a much sterner test of their knowledge and thinking skills. I had the privilege of teaching with Mike at Stivers in 2018-19. I would stop by his classroom and was always impressed with how he welcomed his students and held their attention once class began.
Mike Unger has touched thousands of lives over his 50-year career, an incredible number. When Yolanda was dying of cancer a few years ago, she encouraged him to write a book about students who have since done great things in various fields. After thinking it over, he moved forward on this project and has produced a collection of writings about 27 memorable students and 14 teaching colleagues from the Dayton system. The title is simply Teach. It will be available later this fall and proceeds will go toward a college scholarship fund. In typical Mike Unger fashion, Teach is not about him, but this book indicates the kind of man he is and continues to be for Dayton Public School students. He is a model of stability and perseverance for all teachers.
Jim Brooks is a retired high school English teacher who writes, coaches tennis, and tutors immigrants.