Aurora -- Four people were recognized by the Aurora High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame during the Homecoming football game Oct. 17.
Educators Andrew Kmetz and Eileen Kutinsky were honored. So were distinguished alumnus Tia Dionne Hodge-Jones and Athletic Hall of Fame member Jericka Duncan.
The honorees were recognized at an Oct. 17 luncheon and at halftime of the Homecoming football game against Perry later that evening.
The Hall of Fame committee consists of AHS graduates Matt and Jennifer Shanholtzer, Barb Kudley, Brian Brookhart and Barb Brookhart.
Honored Educator. Aurora City Schools science teacher, 1965 to 1985. Aurora Teacher of the Year. Coleman Lifetime Achievement Award .
Kutinsky began her illustrious and memorable career at Harmon School in 1965 as a sixth-grade science teacher, a position she held for many years. She also taught some eighth-grade science there.
Her outgoing, challenging and hands-on approach endeared her as a student favorite for several generations of Harmon School students.
She was a driving force in the establishment of the annual sixth-grade camp where her hands-on approach to nature and scientific topics were integrated into the learning experiences.
Certainly no one in the community or at Harmon will forget the year they shared the experience of keeping a cow at Harmon with help from students and their parents.
Kutinsky earned her bachelor's degree in science from Mount Union College and master's in guidance and counseling from Kent State University.
She began her teaching career in a one-room school house in Lexington followed by teaching third- and fourth-grade at Bolton School. Later, she taught kindergarten and first grade in the Streetsboro schools.
In addition to her Harmon career, she taught science and English at the college level and served as a student teaching supervisor.
She served on the Streetsboro Board of Education and as a Portage County Library Board member.
Honored Educator. Aurora City Schools art teacher, 1968 to 1985.
Kmetz initially came to the Aurora schools in 1968 as a high school English teacher. However, he was soon persuaded by Harmon School Principal Mike Lenzo to join the staff at Harmon as an art teacher, a position he held until his retirement in 1985.
Soon after coming to Harmon, he began a long-term collaboration in drama productions with Harmon English teacher Dan Dyer. They would produce countless shows together including the popular "Farewell to Harmon" productions.
In the early 1980s, Kmetz also directed musicals at the high school and served as choreographer with the Aurora Community Theatre.
Kmetz grew up in Akron. As a youth, he became an accomplished tap dancer. When he was 12 years old, he spent a year in Hollywood, Calif., working on the set of MGM Studios making short movies.
After high school graduation, he attended Illinois Benedictine Seminary where he earned a degree in philosophy and spent a year in the Benedictine Monastery.
In 1953, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and spent two years in the Signal Corps at Fort Bennings, Ga.
After his military service, Kmetz returned to college at Kent State University and earned a bachelor's degree in speech and English.
His first teaching position was in Ravenna Schools where he taught high school speech and English. While in Ravenna, he returned to college and earned a master's degree in theater arts with a minor in art. These new interests and degrees led to new teaching areas in Ravenna, and he began teaching middle school art and high school drama.
After his retirement in 1985, Kmetz taught art as a volunteer at St. Patrick School in Kent. Until recently, he also served as a volunteer in the emergency room of Robinson Memorial Hospital.
Class of 2001. Athletic Hall of Fame.
Duncan was a three-year letter winner in basketball and a four-year letter winner in track and field at Aurora High School. She was part of seven school track and field records and a three-time Ohio High School Athletic Association state champion in the 330-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter relay and the 4x200-meter relay.
Duncan established five school records that stand today including 100-meter high hurdles, 330-meter high hurdles, 4x100-meter relay, 4x200-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay.
Duncan was on the Chagrin Valley Conference all-second-place team in 1998 and was on the CVC first-place honors team in 1999, 2000 and 2001. As a senior, she was named to the CVC first team.
Upon graduation from AHS, she attended Ohio University on academic and athletic scholarships where she majored in communications and was the 2005 recipient of the NAACP Image Award of Athletics.
While there, she broke the 100-meter hurdle record that still stands today. In 2005, she was named team captain and was the team's MVP in 2004 and 2005.
After college, Duncan began her career as a correspondent and reporter at WETM-TV in Elmira, N.Y. In 2007, she began reporting at CBS affiliate WIVB-TV in Buffalo. In 2010, she joined CBS News at KYW-TV in Philadelphia as a news correspondent.
At KTW-TV, she earned a first-place award from the Associated Press, a local Emmy in the "Best Morning Show" category, 2007 "Best Spot News Coverage" from New York Broadcasters Association and an AP Emmy nomination for a special report on Social Security scam. In addition, the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists named her "Journalist of the Year."
In 2013, Duncan was elevated to her current position as a CBS News correspondent. She has covered the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Washington D.C. Navy yard shootings and was in France to cover the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
Duncan's community involvement includes the Black Leadership Commission on HIV/AIDs as well as a Boys and Girls Club and a Big Brothers-Big Sisters mentor.
Tia Dionne Hodge-Jones
Class of 1990. Distinguished Alumni.
Tia Dionne Hodge-Jones is an award-winning writer, actor, playwright, screenwriter and director/producer. She earned her MA and BA in English literature from Case Western Reserve University.
As an actress, she has appeared in numerous national and regional on-camera and voice-over/radio commercials, and has appeared on "666 Park Avenue" and in a number of the "Law & Order" TV series episodes as well as the pilot episode of "The Third Degree" for Fox, to name a few.
In 1998, she received a best actress nomination by the Independent Reviewers of New England for her performance as "Veronica" in New Repertory Theatre's production of Athol Fugard's "Valley Song."
She has appeared as the recurring characters "Angel Mel" and "Amelia Bennett" on the ABC-TV soap opera, "One Life to Live," and can currently be seen as a panelist on Cafemom.com's "Coffee Shop Confessions."
Hodge-Jones began her career behind the camera as assistant director to award-winning director/writer/playwright Dave Cockley.
She went on to write, produce and direct two short films for the inaugural NYC Midnight Movie Madness Filmmaking Competition (2002), and was awarded the first runner-up prize for "Once Upon A Once Upon."
She also directed and produced the pilot episode of "UnCorked: A Slightly Irreverent Look at Wine" for Wine Ventures which garnered her a director's citation from the Black Maria Film Festival.
She has since directed episodes for BN4REAL.TV and has produced/directed live events and video projects for America Scores and Veterans Across America. Her pilot, "The Whiskey," was an official selection at the Producers Guild of America Lab at the Sundance Film Festival (2009).
She is the inaugural recipient of the Adrienne Kennedy Society's Louis Kent-Hope Award for excellence in creative writing and poetry, is a former National Poetry Slam Team champion and her Cleveland Trilogy plays -- "Puddin'," "Love…," "Like Lemonade" and "A Spider in Wine" -- have all received early workshops by New Jersey Dramatists & Waterfront Ensemble.
She is a member of SAG-AFTRA, AEA, the Dramatists Guild of America, New York Women in Film and the National Association of Professional Women, is an acting and filmmaking instructor at Performers Theatre Workshop in Maplewood, N.J., and resides with her husband and daughter in Bloomfield, N.J.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187
Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC