The Exeter Township School District celebrated the achievements of students this past Saturday as 56 juniors and seniors were inducted into the Claude W. Dundore chapter of the National Honor Society and four notable alumni, educators or community members were inducted into the Exeter Alumni Association’s Academic Hall of Fame.
Those inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame were Kevin DeAcosta ‘84, president and CEO of the Highlands of Wyomissing; Robert Jordan, retired Exeter Township Fire Chief; Dr. Andrea Smith ‘97, a maxillofacial prosthodontist; and Peggy Fleck, a retired school counselor.
Inductees are chosen for their contributions to society and their impact and credit they’ve brought to the Exeter Township School District through their achievements, volunteerism and/or work.
Mr. DeAcosta remarked during his speech that he was surprised to have been selected into the Academic Hall of Fame as he did not consider himself an exemplary student while at Exeter.
In fact, he said, he read his first book in high school. “It wasn’t that I couldn’t read,” he said. “I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading. Said differently, I could recognize words but I didn’t understand their meaning… I was just instructed to go to the ‘special’ reading room. Think of the stigma associated with this,” he said to the hushed audience.
Continuing, he recounted how an Exeter Reading Specialist, Mrs. Peggy Hart, patiently taught him how to comprehend the words he was reading, which, he said, changed the course of his life. “I believe as I get older and think back, she will be the teacher that I think of the most because reading and communicating are so important in business, life and relationships.”
Mr. Jordan lived and raised his family in Exeter after he married, joining the Reiffton Fire Company in 1978, eventually becoming Chief of the company in 1996. In 2009, he became the first Fire Chief of the newly merged Exeter Township Fire Department when the Reiffton and Stonersville Fire Companies joined together. During his professional career, Mr. Jordan led numerous educational efforts of fire safety for students in Exeter schools.
Dr. Smith is one of only 350 maxillofacial prosthodontists worldwide. She was valedictorian from both Penn State University’s Eberly College of Science and Columbia University’s College of Dental of Medicine. She completed her residency in advanced prosthodontics and her fellowship in maxillofacial prosthetics at UCLA. Upon her return to Pennsylvania, Dr. Smith became the first female clinical director of the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic until she joined Berks Prosthodontics.
Mrs. Fleck was selected as Pennsylvania’s Elementary School Counselor of the Year in 1991. At Exeter, she was responsible for introducing elementary developmental guidance programs to the district, where she also coached students and supported students outside of the classroom.
The Academic Hall of Fame began in 2005 as a project of the Exeter Community Education Foundation and typically selects four to six inductees each year. This year’s class brings the number of honorees to 74, who are presented with a plaque, as well as their names added to a display in the Senior High’s main office.
During the second part of the ceremony, the current members of the National Honor Society presented and inducted 56 new members from the Class of 2023 and 2024 into its chapter through its candle-lighting ceremony that represents the Society’s four pillars: character, leadership, scholarship and service.
To be considered for membership, students must be sophomores or juniors with a weighted cumulative GPA of at least 92.000, involvement in at least one school activity or club and completion of at least five community service hours.
This year’s inductees are: Hayden Adams, Sofia Beggs, Miriam Bosler, Sydney Burke, Rebecca Cherry, Daisy Cortes, Chase Cupitt, Robert Dang, Owen Davis, Charlotte Dolena, Ashley Doll, Breckyn Donate, Matthew Dorn, Elizabeth Dougherty, Ashton Fasig, Macy Feathers, Faith Feldman, Noah Gates, Lukas Giering, Kyle Goodman, Landen Goughler, Alexis Grogesky, Grace Holleran, Selma Imkhaoun, Sophia Jones, Zachary Kauffman, Donghu Kim, Christina Kopecky, Hansika Kunduru, Ian Lubenow, Gavin Marr, Cassandra Miller, Logan Miller, Tanner Moore, Alex Nerney, Justin Nester, Jason Nester, Leahnessa Ortiz, Brody Oswald, Fallyne Oswalt, Anakin Reinbold, Charlotte Rismiller, Abigail Rothharpt, Jack Sahaida, Leah Schmid, Malena Schneider, Maya Sing, Abigail Smith, Alexis Speece, Ava Strauss, Patricia Tran, Rachel Tschudy, Robert Tufariello, Amber Urena, Ayannah Watson, Hanna Winslow.