Original Release: 3/17/2020
The 2019 Wall of Achievement Induction Dinner was held on November 14, 2019 at Acacia Reservation Clubhouse in Lyndhurst.
Four Brush graduates and two retired teachers were inducted for their accomplishments. The top Brush seniors were honored for six semesters of academic excellence.
Deb DiLillo Betz '76 and Joe Cicero '76 were co-chairmen. A wonderful evening was had by all.
Constantina Tsolainou - Class of 1977
University in Montreal, and Oregon State University. Constantina has served as artistic director for many organizations.
As the pre-eminent authority on diction for choirs and one of the leading proponents of Group Vocal Technique in this country, Constantina is recognized as a consummate professional.
In 2018 she retired from her position as director of choral activites in the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. Her most recent retirement was from her position as artistic director and principal conductor of the Arts District Chorale in Dallas, Texas. Trained as a singer, Constantina has prepared choruses and conducted collaborative performances for orchestras located in Oklahoma, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, New Jersey and many more.
Donald P. Lewis, Jr., DDS - Class of 1968
Donald P. Lewis, Jr., DDS, CFE is a Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and is currently in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio. He received his undergraduate degree from Valparaiso University with a major in chemistry. Don received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Case Western Reserve University and did his post-graduate residency in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland.
He is an assistant professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery at CWRU School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Lewis is the chairman and originator of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Committee on Software Development and Computer Technology, which developed and produced OMSVision®. This practice management software is recommended by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Dr. Lewis is the originator of Practice Safequard®, the first and only computer software for the detection of errors and potential fraud in the dental profession. In 1996, he became the second dentist in the world to earn the designation of "Certified Fraud Examiner" from the Board of Regents of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Dr. Lewis is a respected lecturer on the subject of white-collar crime.
Mark Agrast - Class of 1974
Mark Agrast is executive director and executive vice president of the American Society of International Law. He previously served as deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Legislative Affairs from 2009—2014. Mark was a senior vice president and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress from 2003—2009 and held senior staff positions with the U.S. House of Representatives from 1992—2009. He practiced international law with the Washington, D.C. office of Jones Day from 1985—1992.
During his years on Capitol Hill, Mark played a prominent role in shaping laws on civil and constitional rights, terrorism, civil liberties, criminal justice, patent and copyright law, antitrust and other matters within the jurisdiction of the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Mark graduated summa cum laude from Case Western Reserve University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He pursued his post-graduate studies as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, and he received his JD in 1985 from Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of International Law.
His brother Bob states, "Mark has spent his entire life dedicated to making a difference in our world community".
The Poni Tails - Class of 1957
Toni Cistone, Karen Topinka and Patti McCabe from the Brush Class of 1957 performed at "The Brown and Gold Review" and various school functions. A local attorney introduced them to music publisher Tom Illius. He liked their soft style and took them to the local Point Records, which issued their first single, Your Wild Heart, in January of 1957. Mr. Illius had connections with ABC Paramount Records and the trio signed a three year contract. After graduation, Karen decided to attend college, therefore leaving the group. LaVerne Novak, a Regina High School graduate, was her replacement.
Their most successful record was Born Too Late, which is still widely played on the radio and for which they are still receiving royalities fifty-nine years later. Their success led the group to international travel and they spent time at the home of a young soldier by the name of Elvis Presley. The group also performed on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. In 1960, the trio decided not to continue their career.
The girls made a total of ten records during their career from 1957 until 1960. The Poni Tails got their name because of their hair style. Toni Cistone Costabile attended the Wall of Achievement Induction Dinner.
Seymour (Sy) Levine - Retired Brush Language Arts Teacher - (Inducted Posthumously)
Sy Levine was born in 1928 and joined the Army after graduating from John Adams High School. He served our nation as a staff sergeant in Japan and received the World War II Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal in 1948-1949. Following the Army, Sy received his Bachelor's Degree in journalism from Ohio University. He furthered his education with a Bachelor's Degree in education and a Master's Degree in guidance counseling from John Carroll University.
Sy began his career in the SEL school district as an English teacher at Greenview Junior High School. He then went to Brush in 1968, where he taught English and journalism for thirty-one years, retiring in 1998. Sy spent countless hours working behind the scenes at Brush. He sang at homecoming, was advisor for the Brown and Gold Review, and was advisor for the Arc-Lite. He was not only a friend, but also an advocate and support system for all Brush students.
Sy was an equity actor, who entertained for decades at Chagrin Valley Little Theater, the JCC, and several other community theaters. Seymour Levine passed away in 2019.
Sheila Murphy Crawford
Sheila Murphy Crawford faces the world each day with little sleep and lots of determination. Most people are satisfied doing one challenging thing right. Sheila never settles for less than two.
She earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Dayton and her Master's Degree from Cleveland State University. She taught English/Language Arts at Brush for twenty—nine years. Teaching students to write and interpret the printed word requires knowledge, skill, and patience.
The high school experience can be more than passing academic courses and Sheila devoted hundreds of hours to making extracurricular activities possible. She coached the majorettes for nineteen years. She helped them develop their skills and prepare for performances. Twirling a baton and synchronizing movements with other majorettes was an accomplishment, but Sheila carried it farther. At some football games the girls used fire batons, which held the attention of the fans and the fire marshal. Sheila was also the choreographer for Brush musicals such as Oklahoma and No No Nanette. After she retired from Brush, she taught at Beaumont for several years.
Forty years ago, Sheila opened her own Irish dancing school, Murphy Irish Arts. Its enrollment grew and the skills of the dancers developed. Soon her dancers were regional, national, and international competitors. When they arrived at the world championships, they represented North America. The high point of Sheila's success was when her dancers became the world champions in the category of dance drama. Sheila directed and choreographed the production, which was presented in Ireland.