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Alumni Spotlight

 

Andrew Kennedy
BHS Class of 2007

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Education: 
Purdue University. B.S. in Computer Graphics Technology (2012); Purdue University. M.S. in Computer Graphics Technology (2014)

 

Extracurricular activities/accomplishments:
I was a committee member of the Purdue SIGGRAPH Student Chapter, an international organization for the animation and visual effects industry.

Career:  Since graduating from Purdue, I’ve worked in animation, visual effects, game development, and online education.

I currently work as a Technical Director for Stereo D in Burbank, CA where we create stereoscopic 3D conversions of 2D movies. In layman’s terms: I’m half-artist, half-programmer. I spend most of my days solving problems where art and technology intersect. Since starting at Stereo D two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some of my favorite film franchises including Star Wars, Terminator, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s been an incredibly fulfilling and humbling experience! Most recently, I just completed work on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Family info:  My sister, Rachel LaJeunesse, is also a graduate of BHS (and Purdue). She lives in Greenwood, IN. My parents, Mark and Rosena, live in Batesville.

Activities while at BHS: Batesville Singers, Marching Band, Drama Club, Ski Club, Academic Team, Destination Imagination, Spanish Club, and National Honor Society.

Best education-related memory: 
I had a great relationship with most of my teachers and each one of them was uniquely responsible for shaping my education in some way.

Mr. Jerry Stanbrough and Mrs. Donna Hoeing were two of the best teachers I had (Calculus and Pre-Calculus, respectively). I had never been very great at math, but their approach to teaching it made it click for the first time in my life. It’s one of the reasons I was able to enter such a highly technical field of work.

Mrs. Catherine Zwink was my choir teacher (and Batesville Singers director) for the majority of my 12 years at Batesville. She always inspired my love of music and performing arts. It’s still a big passion of mine!

Personal quote about education: “I think everyone should absorb as much information as they can in every class. Especially since you have no idea what job you’ll be doing or challenges you’ll be facing five years from now! You’ll have so many more opportunities available to you if you’ve got a strong interdisciplinary skill set.”

Ben Kick
BHS Class of 2014

BenKickEducation: Purdue University, majoring in biochemistry, minoring in aerospace studies, and graduating in May 2018. Also part of the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

Extracurricular activities/accomplishments: I’m part of an Olympic weightlifting team at Crossfit Uncommon, and I fly as much as possible in my spare time. I’m also a Purdue Admissions Ambassador (tour guide), and do undergraduate research in a biochemistry lab.

Post-graduation plans: After graduating, I’ll commission as a second lieutenant, and then go on to serve a 10-year commitment as a pilot in the USAF. Pilot training lasts around two years depending on airframe, and from there I’ll serve in an active squadron. As for airframe, that is dependent on how I rank in my graduating class from pilot training, but I would like to fly fighters. I’m extremely humbled and excited to be given this opportunity to serve our nation while representing Batesville.

Family info: Dr. Kimberly Kick and Michael Kick are my parents, and Anna Kick (also attending Purdue!) is my sister.

Activities while at BHS: Football, golf, National Honor Society, Student Council, and Kiwanis Student Leadership Academy.

Best education-related memory: “My favorite teacher is Mr. Aaron Garrett at BMS. He instilled my passion for history and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams in regards to serving our country. I’d also like to thank Mrs. Rose Lacey for teaching my English classes. It’s important to remember we are officers first, and her help with speech in particular has allowed me to excel in leadership positions and in speaking with confidence. Finally, thank you to Mr. Charlie Raab for introducing me to chemistry, with which I have a love-hate relationship — thanks to him.”

Personal quote about education: “Knowledge comes in many forms, whether it be in school, in a book you’re reading, or out in the world with other people. Never give up on the fire that drives you to learn new things.”

Roberta “Bobbie” Brandes
BHS Class of 1948

Career summary:  While Bobbie was a senior in high school, she began working after school at Walsman Furniture and Hardware Store as an accountant, secretary, and clerk and continued doing this for 13 years. After the birth of her two sons, she worked part-time at Kile’s Motor Express, Metzler’s, and Bernie Fields Buick Motors and also at Steward’s Dress Shop. She then went to work at BHS as secretary and extra-curricular treasurer, where she worked at the same position for 39-1/2 years!

Family info: Bobbie and and her husband, Rodney, have been married for 62 years and have two sons. Randy (BHS ’74) graduated from Hanover College and went on to receive his Ph.D. in English at Emory University.  He has taught college-level English for the last 28 years.  Tim (BHS ’78) received his degree from Ball State in Educational Science (Chemistry and Biology) and owns a business, Bed Techs, Inc., with a friend.  Both sons are married, and Bobbie and Rodney have one grandchild.

Personal accomplishments: While she was working at BHS, she ran for Batesville City Council and served two terms.  The day she retired from BHS, then-Mayor Bill Aplanalp attended a convocation for the entire student body, faculty, and personnel, presenting her with the Proclamation naming Friday, November 1, 2002,  as “Bobbie Brandes Appreciation Day.”  Her thoughts about that day?  “It was awesome!” she says.

Bobbie was inducted into the Ripley County Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014, receiving their Meritorious Service Award. She also accomplished the rare feat of obtaining a hole-in-one on #2 at Hillcrest when she was 72 years old.

Best education-related memory:  “Miss Nora Wonning was my favorite teacher in high school. She taught U.S. History and World HIstory, which were my two favorite classes. Even today, books, movies, and television series that contain any historical themes are what I like best.”

Personal quote about education:  “I have always thought that college is not for everyone and that those who want to pursue a different course should be encouraged to do so.  Remember:  Be the best that you can at what you do and be happy!”

 

Jason (BHS Class of 1994)
and Kirsten (BHS Class of 1995) Koch

Education:  Jason studied Automotive Technology and Kirsten studied Dental Assisting.

Career summary:  Jason has worked at Koch Auto for 30 years. He started as an Automotive Technician and is now owner. Kirsten worked for Paul Weber, DDS, here in Batesville for 16 years. They took over ownership of Koch Auto a year and a half ago and Kirsten joined the family business at that time.

Family info: Jason and Kirsten have two sons. Jacob is 22 years old and studied Automotive Technology and works full-time as an Automotive Technician at Koch Auto. Sam is 16 years old and is a junior at BHS.

Best education-related memory:

Jason: “A teacher who has inspired me is Mr. Ferguson, not only as a teacher, but as my wrestling coach for seven years. He taught me to push harder if you want to make a difference.”

Kirsten: “I was inspired by Mr. Zimmerman.  He was always motivational, making you think outside the box. Always had a positive attitude. Being friends with him on Facebook as an adult, I am still learning from him!”

Personal quote about education:

Jason:  “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”

Kirsten: “All of life is a constant education.”

She adds in reference to their taking over the family business, “How true these quotes have become this last year and a half!”

Ben Baumer
BHS Class of 2009

Chicago Cubs, Groundskeeper 1

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BHS activities:  During high school, I participated in basketball for 2 years and baseball for 4 years.

Life after BHS:
Education: After graduating from Batesville High School in 2009, I attended Purdue University where I majored in Turfgrass Science. I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Professional: During college, I worked for the Purdue University Intercollegiate Athletic Department. I worked as a student worker in the Sports Turf department where I helped maintain all of the athletic fields/facilities. During the fall, my duties mostly consisted of assisting in painting the football and soccer fields for games, and in the spring, most of my time was spent at the baseball and softball facilities. I would also drive down to Indianapolis early every school year to work with the game crew at Victory Field, the home of the Indianapolis Indians (triple A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates). During my junior year, I spent a summer in Washington, DC completing an internship with the Washington Nationals. Before I graduated from college, I was offered a full-time job working for the Brownsburg Community School Corporation. I assisted in maintaining all of the athletic facilities and grounds there. I worked there for a year a half before I was offered a full-time Groundskeeper 1 position with the Chicago Cubs. I am currently in my third season working with the organization. This past season they were lucky enough to win the World Series, and along with the players all receiving World Series rings, the front office with the Cubs, including me, also received a World Series ring. I also got to hold the Commissioner’s Trophy (the one given to the World Series champion) on the day for the World Series parade. During my time in Chicago, I have appeared in the movie “Landline,” where I had a speaking part with Tom Arnold and Jim O’Heir. The movie just came out this spring and was written and directed by Mathew Aaron. This past winter, I went to Florida to help open up a brand new spring training facility in West Palm Beach for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.

Best memory from BHS:  The teacher that made the biggest impression on me during my time at BHS was Mr. Zimmerman, who is now retired. He confirmed my love for science, especially botany. Not only did I learn a lot of science from him, but more importantly I took away a lot of life lessons that can be applied outside of a classroom setting. He preached “peace, man” — to love everyone and treat everyone as you would want to be treated. I also took away from him how important it is to be good environmental stewards of the planet and to try to leave the world a better place than the way you found it. I also took away from him that no matter what it is, find your passion in life and go out and pursue it.

Thoughts on education:  “The more you know, the less you think you know.” Mr Z often said this and I took a liking to it. You can study and study some more on one subject matter and think you are an expert on the subject matter but come to find out there are things along the way that you didn’t know. That reason alone means you should always strive to find out more, which could lead to something else in your life.

Rep. Randy Frye
BHS Class of 1973

Indiana State Representative, House District 67

randyfrye

BHS activities:  I was on the track team and ran the mile and two mile.

Life after BHS:  Education: Cincinnati Christian University – AA in Christian Vocation; Florida State Fire Academy – Professional Firefighter; South Tech Education Center, Boynton Beach, FL – EMT; Palm Beach Community College – Paramedic Professional: Retired Professional Firefighter City of Indianapolis after 26 years; former owner of Blue River Telecom (an IT business telephone company.); Legislator of the Year Indiana Fire Chief’s Association 2012; Legislator of the Year 2013 Indiana Clean Cities Coalition; Legislator of the Year 2014 Indiana Volunteer Firefighter’s Association; 2016 Outstanding Public Servant Award Indiana Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). I also received multiple awards throughout my firefighting career.

Best memory from BHS:  I enjoyed biology with Mr. Yarber.

Thoughts on education:  Education is the tool of opportunity. For those not prepared with the tools for an opportunity, it’s no opportunity at all, and for those prepared but not looking for an opportunity, it becomes an opportunity for someone else.

 

Jay Gehring
BHS Class of 1976

BHS Activities:  National Honor Society, Ranked 3rd in class, 4-year varsity letter in cross-country and baseball, 2-year varsity letter in track, 3-year drama club member (played the lead in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”)

Education:  Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Life after BHS and college:  After graduation from college, I worked for Procter and Gamble for two years as a Plant Project Engineer. For the remainder of my career, I worked for PepsiCo in a wide variety of positions across both Engineering and Research & Development, including positions as Vice President in the North American Snack business section and in global packaging development across 90+ countries. I retired in January of 2017.

Best memory from BHS:   I have a lot of great memories and had some very good teachers, but probably the person who had the greatest impact/influence on me was Mr. Ron Raver in his role as our cross-country coach. He was an amazing individual who was a terrific coach who got you to perform beyond what you thought possible.  What influenced me the most was all he overcame and how he dealt with his own physical challenges without complaint. What a great role model for life lessons: taking your situation and making the most of it.  He’s still a great example to me of dealing with life’s adversities in a positive, constructive way.

Thoughts on education:  A good education is so valuable, especially in today’s global economy where good jobs are getting increasingly difficult to get.  It’s something that becomes a solid foundation for building the rest of your life.

 

Know a BHS alum we can feature here?  Email BCEF Executive Director Anne Wilson at awilson@batesville.k12.in.us with the information.