The Tippecanoe Valley Distinguished Alumni Class of 2017 has been named. The eight members of this year’s class join a noble group of Tippecanoe Valley graduates who have led successful lives while making substantial contributions to their chosen field of work or have provided outstanding service to their community, state, or country. The Class of 2017 stands as a vivid example for all current and future students of what is possible for Tippecanoe Valley graduates.
The Class of 2017 includes:
- Six graduates from Tippecanoe Valley High School: Mike Biddle (’96), Craig Brouyette (’93), Jose Jurado (’09), Ashley Lindenmier (“04), Dan Tucker (“91), and Teresa (Petrosky) Wallace (’78).
- One graduate from Beaver Dam High School: Wayne Cumberland (’58)
- One graduate from Mentone High School: Rodney Williams (’72)
A formal dinner – to which the public is invited – will be held in honor of these individuals on Thursday, September 7, at 6:30 p.m., in the Tippecanoe Valley Middle School Commons. In addition to the meal, local radio personality, Rita Price, will interview those being honored. Each honoree will also recognize an educator that made a significant impact in his/her life.
The Tippecanoe Valley Distinguished Alumni Class of 2017 will participate in Induction Day activities at Tippecanoe Valley High School on Friday, September 8. Induction Day will begin with a Welcome Breakfast, introductions, group pictures, and an orientation to the day ahead. The honorees will spend the morning meeting with students to share information about their lives and chosen careers. They will eat lunch with the students, providing opportunities for individual interactions. In the afternoon, RTCtv will record individual interviews with the inductees. Induction Day will conclude with the introduction of the inductees at halftime of the football game. At that time, a commemorative plaque will be presented to each member of the Tippecanoe Valley Distinguished Alumni Class of 2017.
Teachers Credit Union is the corporate sponsor of this year’s Tippecanoe Valley Distinguished Alumni Dinner and the Induction Day activities.
1996 Tippecanoe Valley High School graduate Mike Biddle is a Viking through and through. He coached football for years at Tippecanoe Valley and has since remained active in the Kosciusko County community.
Biddle is a Shriner, a Freemason with Pierceton Lodge #377 and even started his own business Biddle Auction Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bethel College and spent 10 years as a registered nurse before becoming a licensed auctioneer.
He credits much of his success to working hard and never giving up. Biddle says it wasn’t easy growing up poor and becoming a father while still a teenager, but says his story is proof anyone can make their own destiny in life and be successful. He’s thrilled to see his daughter follow in his footsteps by becoming an auctioneer and helping grow the family business.
Craig Brouyette is a familiar name in the Akron community. The 1993 Tippecanoe Valley graduate went on to Manchester University to earn a degree in business administration. He has since led a successful career with Pike Lumber Company as the current Executive Vice President. He also serves on the board of directors for Pike Lumber Company and the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association.
One nominator described Brouyette as a person who displays class, character, and compassion for the community. He helps to maintain the Akron Community Center and is a current member / past president of the Akron Lions Club.
He is married to his wife Michelle, a 1994 Tippecanoe Valley graduate, and has a son and three daughters. Brouyette enjoys spending time with his family, biking and working outside.
Jose Jurado became a role model for his two younger siblings by being the first person in his family to go to college. The 2009 Tippecanoe Valley graduate holds a computer engineering degree from Purdue University. His professional life has taken him from the Midwest all the way to Connecticut after landing a job with the sports network ESPN as an internal application developer.
Jurado started school without knowing a single word of the English language. He says as a young student, it was hard for him to fit in. He overcame this obstacle by never giving up on learning the necessary communication skills.
He volunteers his time at the Purdue Alumni Association of Connecticut to recruit prospective students to Purdue University. He also holds an advisory position through his fraternity Delta Pi Rho to help answer any questions young Latino students have, and is actively involved at ESPN helping develop a supportive work environment for Hispanics and Latinos.
One nominator described Ashley Lindenmier as an excellent role model for any young woman, and said her ambition and determination demonstrates that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Lindenmier graduated from Tippecanoe Valley in 2004 and went on to achieve great success at both Valparaiso University, where she studied Spanish and political science, and at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she graduated with honors and won various awards – all while working full time at a law firm.
As a practicing attorney, she obtained notable jury verdicts, received state and national recognition, and had successful arguments before state and federal courts. Lindenmier has since taken on a role as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation working to dismantle violent gangs and child predators.
Life beyond Tippecanoe Valley has taken 1978 graduate Teresa Petrosky Wallace all across the country. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Purdue and a master’s degree in family and child development at Kansas State. She then worked in suburban Chicago youth services before moving to Wyoming.
Wallace recently retired after 32 years as a helping professional; 26 of those at Casper College where she initially coordinated a special populations grant. She then moved into a counselor position and was later promoted to director of counseling. Her expertise regarding mental health/wellness-related issues has led to several accolades in her community. She has earned state recognition through the Wyoming Counseling Association, while her writing endeavors have gained national attention.
She is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and theatre and also volunteers with local branches of the American Cancer Society and the National MS Society. She has been described as an unsung hero for merely doing her daily job of caring for, listening to, and assisting individuals who are struggling mentally or emotionally.
Dan Tucker is known by many as a man who puts others before himself. The 1991 graduate went on to pursue a career as a physical therapist assistant after earning his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Ball State University and an associate degree in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis.
Tucker has spent almost 20 years working for two separate contract companies who provide Lutheran Health Network Kosciusko Community Hospital with inpatient and outpatient, physical, occupational and speech therapy services. One nominator described him as a true credit to his profession. He has also spent the past eight years as a director for Kosciusko REMC and continues to serve as vice chairman of the board.
Tucker has also had to overcome many obstacles in the past that have given him the opportunity to help others struggling with the grief of losing a loved one or having serious injuries. He is currently married to his wife Caren of 10 years. They have two children, Kaytlin and Konner.
In the years since graduating Mentone High School in 1972, Rodney Williams has advanced as a scientist and entrepreneur. He continued his education graduating Huntington College with a B.S. in the Sciences and pursued graduate studies at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Rod has been granted more than 15 patents for his work in synthetic organic chemistry, composites, and processes. His work is found in products we use today, such as electronic circuits, composite windows and decking, and lead free weights for fishing, ballistics, and transportation. In 1988, he and two colleagues founded Aspen Research Corporation to provide analytical, process, and product development services that became instrumental in the launch of novel medical, computer, food, and building material products. He has worked across the globe with many companies both large and small, and currently holds the position of Chief Scientist for Tundra Companies.
Rod is an active private pilot donating right seat time to Wings of Mercy. He and his wife Lisa, of 39 years, are also involved in their church and local fundraising events. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Wayne Cumberland is a familiar face to many people in the Tippecanoe Valley community. The 1958 Beaver Dam High School graduate went on to study mathematics and physics at Manchester College before studying mathematics at the University of Notre Dame. He then taught for 42 years, 40 of those years in the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, before retiring in 2004.
Aside from teaching, Cumberland volunteered for decades to keep the high school basketball scorebook, football statistics and being the swimming pool director. He even organized, started, and chaperoned the annual senior trips to Washington, D.C. up until his retirement.
During his time as a teacher, he became known for demanding and encouraging students to give their best effort. He truly wanted them to be successful in and out of the classroom.
Cumberland volunteers for several hours a week at the local United Methodist Church in various capacities. He also volunteers at the Wabash County jail each week tutoring inmates who are preparing for their GED.