Before sending its latest class of graduates to college, the
workforce, and the Military, the Windsor Central School District honored the
2019 Knights of Distinction: Donald Doolittle, Stephen Herz. Clem Bowman, and
Dr. Darlene Unger.
Doolittle was a Windsor Central High School graduate from
the class of 1948. Don, with his wife of 68 years, JoAnn, chose to remain
in Kirkwood on the Doolittle Farm where they raised their 7 children. Don
served on the school board from 1970-1979. During that time he was instrumental
in the site selection of the current high school. Mr. Doolittle was an
active member of the Kirkwood Lions Club for over 40 years, as well as the
Windsor Alumni Association, where he was a driving force in giving back to the
community and pushing to provide scholarships for Windsor graduates. In
1988, Don retired as the Broome County Executive Director of the Agricultural
Stabilization Conservation Service of the USDA. For decades Don could be found
at athletic events, music concerts and scholastic ceremonies supporting his
children, grandchildren, & great grandchildren, as well as the greater
Windsor community he devoted a lifetime to.
“He’d be honored by this. He loved this school,” said his son Jon Doolittle, a teacher at Windsor Central High School. “He had seven kids attend here and most of his grandchildren. He was a mainstay and an old-school Windsor guy. This is really neat.”
Herz, a 1965 graduate of WCHS, earned his undergraduate education at SUNY Oswego. He returned to the family farm with his wife Christine, raised two children and taught technology, wood shop, graphic arts, metal working, design & drafting, driver’s education, and more in Windsor.
“This is humbling, really humbling. I’ve lived in Windsor my whole life, and taught here for 33 years. To be on that wall with some of those people, it’s astonishing,” said Herz.
Herz retired in 2002 and went on to serve as president of the Board of Cornell Cooperative Extension and the New York Morgan Horse Society, and in 2006 he began the first of 3 terms as Broome County Legislator for the 9th District. He was a founding member of the Windsor Community Revitalization Organization, which has brought Windsor the Window on the Arts Festival, First Night and the annual Corn Festival. He created the Agricultural Task Force while serving as legislator. He served on the board of the Broome County Farm Bureau and most recently has been asked to serve on US Congressman Anthony Brandisi’s Agricultural Advisory Team.
“I am looking forward to seeing my old students, my old friends, and my old colleagues. If I’m being honored, it’s because of them,” said Herz.
Bowman, a 1965 Windsor graduate, was a renowned underwater photographer, with his photographs being showcased in various publications. In 1974 Clem opened his own airline business, “Coral Reef Flying Services”, which offered services throughout the Caribbean and Florida. Staying true to his high school nickname, “Renaissance Man”, Clem returned to school and earned his medical degree from the University of Miami.
“I’m very pleased, of course (about his being named a Knight of Distinction),” said Dr. Bowman’s mother, “Midge” Bowman. “He had many careers.”
Dr. Bowman returned to Florida and was eventually charged
with running the Emergency Services in Miami. Meanwhile, Dr. Bowman continued
to pursue his passions of underwater exploration and flying. In 1981,
Clem served as the resident surgeon for the undersea Hydrolab mission of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 1997, he was named to
the United States Soaring Team, competing in the World Championships in Turkey.
Dr. Clem Bowman died while training for the World Championships in 1999.
“He loved to learn,” said Mrs. Bowman.
Dr. Unger, a former student of Mr. Herz, is a Windsor
Central High School graduate from the class of 1983 who went on to earn a doctoral
degree in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked
with Youngstown State University as the director of autism studies, DePaul
University as the director of the doctoral program, Cornell University in the
School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Employment and Disability Institute,
Virginia Commonwealth University in the School of Education and Kent State
University as a full-time professor in the College of Education and Special
Education Program. Currently, she is a research professor of special
education at Kent State University.
“It’s very humbling. It’s been a long time since I’ve been back,” said Dr. Unger. “I remember my class being very close knit. I remember the successes and failures on the athletic fields. When I think of my career, it’s helped me deal with the challenges and adversity I’ve faced.”
Dr. Unger has coordinated federally-funded research and training projects to improve the transition of youth with disabilities to college and careers, supported employment, and the efficacy of business and rehabilitation partnerships. Her publications include book chapters and journal articles on the use of mobile technology for teaching and learning, employer experiences with individuals with disabilities, disability-employment discrimination, and supported employment. She is past-president of the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division of Career Development and Transition.
She will deliver the commencement address on graduation
“My message focuses on what it means to be a Black Knight and working to be the best you can be. I’ll speak to a sense of community, having gratitude, and being mindful,” said Dr. Unger.
The Knights of Distinction Program was established in the
spring of 2012 to honor special individuals that have made outstanding
contributions to the Windsor Central School District or Graduates who have
attained outstanding High School or life time achievement.