Since the mid-1980s, North Central has been honoring successful school graduates with its “Distinguished Alumni” awards. There are two criteria for receiving the award. First, the recipient must have made an outstanding contribution to North Central or have achieved recognition in his/her field either nationally or regionally. Second, the honoree must be a positive role model for North Central students.
North Central choir director Mike Caldwell created the award in 1985. One of his former choral students, Karen Beardsley, had made a name for herself in the New York City music scene, and Mike was searching for a way that North Central could honor her accomplishments. He came up with the North Central “Distinguished Alumni Award.” A plaque made by a N.C. wood shop student was mounted on the wall outside the theatre with Karen’s name listed on it as the award’s first recipient. Two years later, the name of Ryne Sandberg, an all-star major league baseball player, was added to the plaque.
For nearly a decade no other graduate received the award. Then in 1996, the school’s Leadership Class revived the award as a class project. A committee selected five more recipients, and in the spring of 1997 they were invited to the school to be honored at a student convocation. The “Distinguished Alumni Award” has been presented in the same fashion nearly every year since, with from one to three N.C. graduates being honored annually.
In 2006 individual plaques for all past winners of the award were mounted along the walls of the school building’s west entrance hallway. As part of North Central’s 100th year celebration in 2008, the Alumni Association took over the financing and maintenance of the individual plaques.
To view of list of those honored as Distinguished Alumni of North Central H.S., select the link below. To nominate a N.C. graduate for the award, click on the box above. Print out the nomination form, complete it, and send it to the address on the bottom of the form.