Highlander Hall of Fame will gain four new members

Alana Eckels and Savannah Nguyen

Dr. Margret Shandor Miles, Class of 1955, went from walking the halls of Baldwin High School to being a national leader in pediatric nursing.

Miles will be one of four Baldwin graduates inducted into the Highlander Hall of Fame at a gala event on Saturday at the South Hills Country Club. The other honorees will be Joseph Kuklis, Edward Lutz, and the late Adriane Aul.

Miles was inducted in 2013 into the group Living Legends of Nursing, which is run by the American Academy of Nursing to honoring outstanding contributions to the nursing profession.

This included being one of the first pediatric clinical nurse specialists and through this role improving the psycho-social care of hospitalized children and their parents, she said. This work involved tending to the needs of grieving parents, as well as conducting pioneering research focused on the distress of parents of critically ill children and on mothers with HIV. She was founding president of the Society of Pediatric Nurses.

“Life is too short not to do something you love,”

— Brecht said

As a professor, she has taught new generations of nurses studying for a master’s or PhD in nursing. She published numerous papers and chapters and travelled to places such as Thailand, New Zealand, and London, to give speeches and provide research consultation to nurses.

Based on her own life experiences, Miles offered advice to current Baldwin students.

“Follow your heart, because I decided I wanted to be a nurse and I did that and more,” Miles said.

Kuklis, a member of the Class of 1989 and another Highlander Hall of Fame inductee, is the CEO and entrepreneur of Wellington Strategies, which helps companies and nonprofit organizations navigate the government marketplace.

“Whether it is helping a company add jobs or assisting a community with a grant to build a park, I can take pride in seeing my work come to fruition and help communities and companies grow,” Kuklis said.

Kuklis said he still looks back to his days at Baldwin High School and is grateful that it prepared him with the communication skills and political education he needed for his career. But his time at Baldwin meant more than career preparation.

“Baldwin made me some lifelong friends, and I am proud to say many of them are still in my life and are more ‘family’ these days. My life would be markedly different without those bonds of friendship,” Kuklis said.

Lutz, an honoree from the Class of 1959, said he worked with his teacher, Mr. Robins, to help create a new printing and typesetting department at Baldwin. This became very useful to Lutz as it helped him greatly in his career in the printing industry.

Lutz “remembers the teachers being all very positive, encouraging, and helpful.”

After high school, he attended tech school. In 1968, Lutz started the first computerized typesetting business in Pittsburgh. It serviced advertising agencies, design studios, printing companies, and corporations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Lutz said students should remember that there are plenty of good professions that do not require a college degree.

Aul, a hall of fame inductee from the Class of 1996, died in 2007 after a two-year fight with brain cancer.

Aul was a National Honor Society member at Baldwin, said her sister, Rachel Brecht. After college at the University of Maryland, Aul came back to Pittsburgh and joined the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group. She was a program manager there, and she helped to reclaim and rebuilt vacant properties within city neighborhoods like Lawrenceville, her sister said.

Aul later left to become a project coordinator for Pittsburgh’s “Weed and Seed” program. The program aimed to prevent, control, and reduce violent crime and drug abuse. It also helped to ensure a higher quality of life for residents through neighborhood revitalization. She was one of Pittsburgh’s 40 under 40 in 2006, recognizing her achievements in revitalizing Pittsburgh communities.

“Life is too short not to do something you love,” Brecht said, “always take the extra credit”.

The district’s gala event also will recognize the following Baldwin staff who were nominated for being Champions of Character: Mary Beth Koenig, main office secretary at the high school; Margret Bartolomucci, Harrison Middle School; Tamara Rellick, Paynter Elementary School; Dawn McPaul, McAnnulty Elementary School; Karen Suchy, Whitehall Elementary School; and Jim Slovenic, central administration.

Also, the district will honor the following school volunteers with the Above and Beyond Award: Jesse Siefert, Katie Beardsley, Sharon Voigt, Amy Kramer, Lisa Varon, Nadine Reed, Chris Rostek, Cristy Stipetic, Bob Opferman, and Kathy Opferman.