Three Newton High School Alumni will be honored at a brunch on Saturday, May 13, 2017 and will also be recognized during the NHS commencement ceremony that evening. The inductees into the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame for 2017 are: Dr. Charles Craig, ’63, Sarah Morris Masem, ’96 and Vernon “Reid” Rickman (1929 – 2013), ’47.
The brunch will be held at 10 a.m. in the NHS Media Center and the community is invited. If you wish to attend please RSVP by Friday, May 5 by calling Joni Jantz at 284-6206.
Dr. Charles Craig, ’63, has dedicated his life and career to serving his own local community for almost 40 years. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Bethel College and his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Kansas School of Medicine before establishing his practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Newton in 1978. During that time Dr. Craig has taken care of thousands of patients in Newton and the surrounding communities. Starting in 1978 he also served as team physician for both Newton High School and Bethel College and began the tradition of accompanying the NHS football team on away games. Dr. Craig is the founder of Newton Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and, as the Chief Medical Officer for Newton Medical Center, is the highest-ranking physician at NMC. He has served as the President of the Kansas Medical Society and as both a physician and patient advocate with the American Orthopedic Association. He remains active in several local, state and national healthcare organizations. In 1997 Dr. Craig received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator’s Association.
Sarah Morris Masem, ’96, is an accomplished educator, nurse and student. After completing an Associate of Arts degree in psychology at Cowley Community College she earned her Associate of Arts degree in nursing from Hesston College, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Tabor College and her Master of Science in Nursing Education degree from Fort Hays State University before being awarded a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Graceland University in 2015. In her current role as Assistant Professor of Nursing at Bethel College, Sarah genuinely cares for the students she is teaching and considers their success a high priority. She is passionate about healthcare in the educational setting as well as the community, serving as a volunteer nurse for the Harvey County Health Department, as a health volunteer with Girl Scouts of America and as Camp Nurse with Camp Wood YMCA. Sarah continues to stay current in the nursing field by maintaining part time employment outside of the classroom as an infection control coordinator and mental health nurse. She has developed both a nurse residency program and nurse preceptor training program for Newton Medical Center.
Vernon “Reid” Rickman (1929 – 2013), ’47, was a talented artist whose stunning and unique works belied his quiet and solitary nature. His unusual artistic talent was obvious from an early age and following high school Vernon spent a year at the Cleveland School of Art before joining the army. His military service enabled him to enroll at the University of Kansas where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1957. The following year Vernon began graduate studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, but ultimately chose to "earn a living" and began working in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History as a technician in November 1958. When he retired in January 1981 he was working as a senior sculptor. Much of Vernon's Smithsonian work is unaccredited, but the Neanderthal figures he created for the "Ice Age Mammals and the Emergence of Man" permanent exhibit were mentioned at the exhibit’s 1974 opening and remain at the museum today. Until recently, full-sized mannequins of Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, and Rosalynn Carter that he created for the museum’s First Ladies Hall could still be viewed. After retiring back to Newton, Vernon continued the oil painting and sculpting he had done privately in his Washington D.C. apartment and he left behind over 300 oil paintings and numerous sculptures and reliefs at the time of his death. His artwork is now displayed in institutions as well as private homes and many of his pieces can be viewed and purchased locally at the Carriage Factory Gallery.