What do you currently do for a living?
Retired Army Military Officer; Currently working as a Senior Contract Analyst for Scientific Application International Corporation (SAIC), in support of NASA’s Integrated Communication System (NICS). Essentially my team and I are responsible for all of the electronic acquisitions that enable communication between the ground, space shuttle, and space center.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Staying married and raising four children, Billy (18); Avery (16); Hudson (7); and Aviana (5). A mentor of mine once defined a successful military career in terms of working through the stress, anxiety, and the trials & tribulations which are thrust upon your family while serving your country, and not getting divorced. Being in a marriage and also having the privilege of being a parent requires immense hard work and sacrifice. I was fortunate that my wife (Christina Parone ‘97) was strong willed. She was primarily responsible for raising four compassionate, bright, high achieving kids while I served on six deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan; multiple trips to Africa; and in military exercises throughout the world. Not to mention we moved a total of nine times in 18 years, to include living in Italy and Alaska. Christina ensured that we all capitalized on every opportunity that was presented to us. She always made the best of every situation, and she enabled us to grow as individuals, as well as a family.
How did OLSH prepare you for what you’re doing today?
OLSH provided stability for me in a world of chaos. My home life was not well, I did not have positive individuals around me until I began my days in high school. The institution, albeit largely unknown to myself at the time, developed my communication skills, introduced me to organized activities, created a base of professionals that I could count on for mentorship, built my confidence, provided a solid foundation in God, introduced positive people in my life who later became good friends, and of course… I met and began dating Christina here. It is important to note that I was ignorant to the significance of everything I just mentioned, I was oblivious to my personal growth during the four years I was there. My academic career was abysmal, I graduated second from the bottom of my class, and a few trees were cut down to provide paper for all of the demerits I received. But through the opportunities that I was afforded by OLSH, and because I amassed a lifetime of experiences, and most of all because God looks out for me, I have an amazing family; completed a stellar military career; finished my doctorate degree in education leadership; and work for NASA.
What’s your favorite memory of OLSH?
I often reflect on my high school days, and many memories pop into my mind that I am fond of. However, my best memory was seeing my wife for the first time in the commons, I knew we were meant to be together.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Thank you. I did not like school as a teenager, nor did I understand the significance of hard work and sacrifice. I always looked for the easiest way to accomplish something, even if it ended up being harder than the original task. I learned through suffering, and this education began for me at OLSH. I specifically remember a time at the end of my sophomore year in which I had received over 100 demerits. Mr. Finnegan (Tony) and whoever else was behind the scenes, were considering not welcoming me back for my junior year. He, or they, decided to give me one more chance and I was able to turn it around. I think of that often, and I would like to say thank you.