EGHS Wall of Honor inductee Bernice Pescosolido had to leave East Greenwich before she could understand the its power.
“The most important thing that EG High School and the Town of East Greenwich and – I have to say – the state of Rhode Island provides for people … is a sense of community and a sense of belonging,” said Pescosolido.
“I’m so proud to be from East Greenwich because we really were this working class community,” she said. “I had no idea that what we were was so special and so different. I’ve come to understand and believe that.”
John Chandler, Class of 1966, lived in East Greenwich a mere five years. He spent four of them at EGHS and it made its mark. He made his mark too, serving as class president for two years, among other distinctions.
Chandler, who had an illustrious career in information technology, almost didn’t finish high school in East Greenwich. His family, after moving to EG from California before his 8th grade year, moved to Oklahoma the summer before his senior year.
He ended up staying with the Forscht family for that final year of high school.
Chandler’s life has been elsewhere ever since 1966 but Chandler’s love of EGHS came through loud and clear Wednesday.
“I feel like I’ve come home,” he said before launching into his prepared remarks.
“I’ve been the fortunate beneficiary of an enormous amount of support from this community and love from my family for my entire life,” said Matt Plain, the youngest of the night’s honorees. He graduated in 1994.
Plain, a member of the EG School Committee, made his love of the EG schools clear, recalling all those who taught or guided him in elementary school, including the school custodian.
“Who could forget Bobby Taylor, keeping our school clean and safe for everybody to enjoy,” Plain said.
Plain started out as a teacher himself. A lawyer now, he continues to work on education issues.
Diane McDonald spoke about how she got to live out her childhood dream, riding horses and then owning her own stable (Dapper Dan). For McDonald, the daughter of teachers (her father, Norman Monks, taught and coached in East Greenwich for decades), being a horsewoman was not a given. But it was something she always wanted to do, she said.
If she could tell young people anything, she said, it would be to “follow your passion. Don’t settle for a job that’s just a job.”
Guy Asadorian, Class of 1982, spoke lovingly of this town he’s never left.
“It’s that whole deep sense of community that, really, gave me the foundation to try and be successful as an adult,” he said. Asadorian works in financial services.
“I’ve done a lot of volunteer work in this town and I’m 100 percent certain that it’s that connection that I have to the community that’s really motivated me to want to give back.”
John Chandler said before he was able to find a permanent home for his senior year (his family had moved out of state), Iannazzi actually took him in for six weeks.
Bernice Pescosolido recounted how she’d tried hard to stay off Iannazzi’s radar since her brothers were definitely ON his radar.
“I just thought if Mr. Iannazzi knew my name I would automatically be given detention,” she said.
Diane McDonald DID get detention.
She’d asked if she could take a day off school to compete in a horse show. Iannazzi said no, but she went anyway. When McDonald turned up at school the next day with a note, Iannazzi held up the newspaper announcing that she’d won a trophy at the horse show. He gave her two days detention.
If you know of someone from EGHS you think should be put on the Wall of Honor, contact Bruce Mastracchio at email@example.com.
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The 2018 East Greenwich High School Wall of Honor ceremony takes place Wednesday, April 11, and will honor five alumni of the school: John Chandler, Class of 1966; Diane McDonald, Class of 1969; Dr. Bernice Pescosolido, Class of 1970; Guy Asadorian, Class of 1982, and, Matt Plain, Class of 1994.
The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. and is held in the East Greenwich High School auditorium, with a reception immediately following in the cafeteria. Friends and family of the honorees are invited to attend, as well as current high school students and anyone with a love of East Greenwich. Former recipients – plaques for all those who have been named to the Wall of Honor line the hallway at the high school between the auditorium and the cafeteria – are encouraged to attend.
About the 2018 inductees:
Guy Asadorian moved to East Greenwich when he was two. He has been here ever since.
Along the way he attended three of the four elementary schools in town and graduated from East Greenwich Junior High and then East Greenwich High School in 1982.
He played in the local Little League and continued on to Senior League and then American Legion ball.
In the winter he played EG Rec league basketball, and at 12 he discovered football. In high school he played four years of football culminating in a selection as an All Division end as a senior.
He also played three years of baseball and one year of golf, and in the summer participated in Junior Golf and the RIGA Tournament.
After graduation from EG he matriculated at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. There he played played four years of baseball for the Golden Bears, and two years of football.
He graduated in 1986 with a degree in finance and economics.
Mr. Asadorian used his college training to start a career in financial services, starting out as a stockbroker for Janney Montgomery Scott. After two years he moved to Smith Barney, where he spent 12 years and was elevated to the position of first vice president.
In 2001 he left Smith Barney to form Tameracq Partners, which is a middle market mergers and acquisitions firm that advises buyers and sellers up and down the East Coast and beyond.
In 2013 Guy left Tamaracq and joined BNY Mellon Wealth Management as a Wealth Director in charge of new business.
A man who loves his community, he has always tried to give back with volunteer work.
He has coached Little League softball, served on the Town Planning Board, and currently sits on the board of the Quonset Development Corporation, representing the Town of East Greenwich.
Along with Jeff Santos, Mr. Asadorian is a prime mover on the committee that has revived the East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2015 that body inducted four nominees for the first time in 18 years.
Not stopping there, Guy has volunteered with the business community as well. He was formerly a committee member of the City of Cranston Police and Fire Pension Fund, President of the RI Association of Investment firms and a Board Member of the Pawtucket Country Club.
Currently he is a member of the Screening Committee for Cherrystone Angel Investment Group and Chairman of the Investment Committee for the Armenian Historical Association of Rhode Island.
For his commitment to his school, his town and his state Mr. Asadorian will be one of five people to be inducted into the East Greenwich High School Wall of Honor next April in the annual ceremony at the East Greenwich High School.
John Chandler was the second son of Jim and Marie Chandler. He was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, Dec. 2, 1948. The son of a U.S. navy pilot he lived mostly in California while growing up.
But in September 1961 his father was assigned to Quonset Point Naval Air Station. At first John was disappointed, moving from sunny California to what he envisioned as the “frozen north.”
“Little did I know,” he said recently, “that living in East Greenwich would become one of the great experiences of my life, and one for which I have been forever grateful.”
John finished 8th grade at Eldredge and then attended East Greenwich High, graduating in 1966.
At EGHS John served as class president for two years and also vice president of the student council. Though standing only 5 foot 6 inches, he was awarded seven varsity letters, earning three in football and two each in basketball and baseball. He co-captained the Avenger hoopsters and was awarded the school’s Athletic Award Sweater.
Upon graduation, John enrolled at Providence College. He graduated in June 1970, with a B.A. in mathematics and minors in computer science, philosophy and theology.
While at PC he played three years for the college’s club football team, a member of the National Club Football Association. He started two years at defensive back and was chosen second team club All-American. He finished second in the nation for the NCFA in punting averaging 43.2 yards per kick.
John then joined the working world as an information technology software developer, systems architect, project manager and consulting professional. He worked for a number of corporations, including, Price Waterhouse, Home Depot, Lockheed, AIG, NCR and Scripto.
He also took some time from his busy work schedule to attend Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta, where, in 1978, he graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctorate degree.
John eventually co-founded his own company, a consulting business, CompBasics Inc., where he served as CEO and president for 17 years. His list of clients there included: IBM, Bellsouth, Southern Company, Baxter Healthcare and Sun Trust Bank. Chandler had many notable achievements while dealing with these companies and handling thousands of stores and, in some cases, billions of dollars in store sales.
“I have often told people throughout my life that the most magical, impactful and significant period of time, was the time I spent in East Greenwich, and attending EGHS,” Chandler said. “I was very fortunate to be part of this very beautiful, warm and compassionate community that was blessed with the finest teaching staff anyone could hope for.
“I recall, in particular, how proud my classmates were to call themselves Avengers, as we participated in local charity and athletic events.
“I was recently blessed to attend our 50th class reunion, and I can assure all of you, that the love for, and spirit of, East Greenwich High School, endures to this day.”
Diane McDonald is a 1969 graduate of East Greenwich High School. But, way before that she started her lifelong involvement with horses. She started riding them 10 years before, at age 8, at Peter Pots Pottery in Kingston, R.I.
At age 10 she was competing in local shows, and, at age 12, for her Christmas present, she got her first pony, Dapper Dan. The next year she moved up to bigger shows at the Providence Auditorium, major shows around New England, and even at Madison Square Garden.
Along the way she received year end awards from the R.I. and New England Horsemen’s associations’ in Pony Hunter and Junior Hunter.
In 1966 the family moved to a small farm on Howland Road and Diane started teaching neighborhood children about horses and riding. Dapper Dan died in 1967 and Diane named her farm after him.
In 1972, Diane graduated from URI with a B.S. in mathematics. That same year she received the RI ASPCA Award. In 1973 she graduated from the Potomac Horse Center with a
British Horsemaster’s Degree. Along with teaching and coaching (cheerleaders) at EG Junior High, she started Dapper Dan Farm as a full operation.
She also won the Rhode Island and New England championships aboard, L’Hirondelle, in the Working Hunter Division. She was to ride him him to championships again, most notably at the Tampa (Fla.) Invitational Horse Show.
In 1974 Diane was named Young Professional Business Woman of the Year by the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce and was runner-up for the Rhode Island Award. However, she was voted to the board of the R.I. Horseman Association Directors. Later she was voted to the New England Welsh Association’s Board of Directors.
In 1975, Diane moved Dapper Dan Farms to Ives Road, its present location, where it continues to prosper and turn out top horses and riders.
She has gone on to be named President of the Rhode Island Horseman’s Associationand many other boards and councils both in Rhode Island and New England. She has also coached riders, including her sister, Bethany, to championships in riding and showing.
More than all her accomplishments in the World of Horses, is the pride she felt when her own daughter, Ashley, won the Rhode Island Horseman’s Association Mini Medals Finals title, and then, was named to the Rhode Island team at the New England Equitation Championships, which took the four top RI riders, to compete in the Challenge of the States.
Bernice Pescosolido graduated from East Greenwich High School in 1970. She was one of two valedictorians for her class, and, was the top female graduate. She received a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in 1974 and a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1982.
Currently she is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Indiana University. She is also the director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research, and Co-Director of the Indiana University Network Science Institute. Throughout her career she has focused on social issues in health, illness and healing.
Bernice’s research agenda addresses how social networks connect individuals to their communities and to institutional structures. This agenda encompasses three basic areas of health care services, stigma and suicide research. In the early 1990s, she developed the Network Episode Model, designed to help people recognize and respond to health problems and to use health services. She initiated the first major national study of the stigma of mental illness in the United States in over 40 years.
In 2005 she was presented with the American Sociological Association’s Leo G. Reeder Award for a career of distinguished scholarship in medical sociology. In 2009 her research into gene x environment interaction earned her the Eric Freidson Outstanding Publication Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Medical Sociology. In 2011 she won the Leonard I. Pearlin Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociological Study of Mental Health.
In 2013, Bernice was asked by actress Glenn Close to chair the Scientific Advisory Council for her nonprofit organization, Bring Change 2 Mind, which Close founded to address stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. one of their goals is to bring Change 2 Mind to college campuses.
Matt Plain attended East Greenwich schools from Grades K to 12, graduating from East Greenwich High in 1994.
Along the way he garnered many honors in both athletics and academics. He was quarterback on the football team, named captain in 1993. That same year he was All-Academic and All Division. A Kent County Player of the Year finalist, he topped that off by being named to the National Football Foundation’s Golden Dozen Award.
He played on the basketball team for four years. In baseball he was All Division and on the All Class B All Star team.
He was President of the National Junior Honor Society and then was named to the National Honor Society his senior year. He also served as a volunteer tutor at Eldredge School, was editor of the Crimson Yearbook one year and sports editor the next.
He belonged to the DECA program and was a State Champion in 1993.
Matt was EGHS’s representative for the Providence Journal Honor Roll Award in 1994, and was chosen Best All-Around Male Athlete that year, also winning the Uno Uustal Award for Most Valuable Athlete-Class of 1994.
He attended the University of North Carolina, where he was a Dean’s List student. He received his bachelor’s degree there while also working 30 hours a week. At Chapel Hill he served as a volunteer tutor, a youth basketball and baseball coach, and, a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
Upon graduation he taught math, science, social studies and english at a junior high school. He also coached football, wrestling and baseball. At nights he worked on and achieved a master of education degree.
Moving back to Rhode Island, he entered law school at Roger Williams University, where he was a member of the RWU Law Review, was an Honors Program participant, was a seven-time Cali Award winner for excellence in legal research and writing, received a Feinstein Grant, served as a legal intern at the R.I. governor’s office, was a member of the Association of Public Interest Law and a research assistant for a legal writing professor and a constitutional law professor.
Matt graduated from Roger Williams School of Law, fifth in his class and passed the bar exams in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
After serving a judicial clerkship he joined the law offices of Barton Gilman LLP and was elevated to partner in just six years.
Matt is a member of the East Greenwich School Committee. He also serves on the Advisory Board to the Roger Williams University School of Education and sits on 14 other boards and councils.
Among his professional honors, Matt is a five-time Rising Star honoree from “Super Lawyer” magazine, the Mortar Board Award from the Segue Institute of Learning and a recipient of the Providence Business News 40 Under Forty Award.
The EGHS Wall of Honor is sponsored by EGHS alumnus Allen Gammons of Berkshire Hathaway Gammons Realty.
If you have any questions concerning the event, please call committee co-chairs Bob Houghtaling at 230-2246 or Chris Cobain at 398-1562.