Devil Doings August 2023 Newsletter


Hello there, Blue Devils. Happy August! We can officially say that it is "Back-to-School" time, as classes start this week in the brand new Campus of Wickliffe! What an exciting time in Wickliffe City Schools history.


I had the honor of attending the Grand Opening and Open House Ceremony for the new campus on Saturday, August 26, 2023. Students, teachers, staff, administrators, board members, alumni, local representatives, governmental officials, local business owners, and members of the general public gathered to celebrate this momentous occasion.

Leah Reese, Alumni Director

The Wickliffe Band played the alma mater, the cheerleaders waved their pop-poms, and the majorettes twirled in the Community Hub of the new campus. The crowd snapped photos and recorded the speeches that were made to thank the various individuals and organizations involved in making the new campus a reality.


At last, the ribbon was cut, and self-guided tours then commenced! Themes of blue and gold can be found all throughout the new campus, which will accommodate Wickliffe preschool students through grade 12. There are several playgrounds, a beautiful auditorium, lots of natural light, outdoor courtyards, and several group spaces which will allow for student collaboration...just to name a few of the features! Learn more about the Campus of Wickliffe by clicking the link below.


https://www.wickliffeschools.org/TheNewWickliffeCampus.aspx


While it is certainly a bittersweet time as we see the old schools come down, it was inspiring to see the future generations of Wickliffe graduates so eager to see their brand new building and all of the educational opportunities it has to offer them...and hopefully to create lasting friendships and memories, as so many have before them.

Love the craziness of March Madness?

Want to have fun and help the WSAA?


The WSAA is looking for an enthusiastic alum to run a March Madness fundraiser in 2024. Please contact us at

[email protected] 

if you are interested!


Growing up North of the Tracks

by Susan Skufca Bell '82

with memories from Tom Abate ’66, Karen Zadravec Sadlik ’79, Karen Fielding Nejedlik ’82, Linda Kelly Bachmann ’82


While Wickliffe has always been considered a city with a small town feel, it has very distinct sections, and depending on the section you grew up in, a very different childhood experience. 

 

Often the section we grew up in was referred to as “below the tracks” which has such a negative connotation. I often wondered how that term came to be when we actually lived north of the tracks, so weren’t we “above” the tracks? Sounds like the start of a Jerry Seinfeld monologue.

 

Tom Abate ’66, who grew up on Phillips, gave us a perfect picture of the boundaries of this particular section of Wickliffe. “First let me define north side of the tracks. The railroad tracks divide Wickliffe almost in half. Lloyd Road to the west, Grand Blvd to the north, and ‘Big Rock’ to the east. Only old timers would remember the mysterious ‘Big Rock’ located somewhere near the end of Phillips and Roberts. Another landmark was Gutherie’s Pond on the corner of Lloyd and Lakeland Blvd. across form Lubrizol.”

 

Tom commented that there were kids everywhere – in almost every house. This abundance of kids meant there were “no shortage of activities, Little League baseball, and football in the street..”  

 

Moving west of Phillips, we come to Franklin Blvd. where Linda Kelly Bachmann ’82 and I were neighbors and friends. Like Tom, our street was full of kids. In fact, it seemed that almost every house had at least three kids. Every day in the summer we would trudge down the street with our siblings and neighbors to Jindra Pool. We would swim from 1:00 until 5:00 when the pool closed for an hour break. We would head home for dinner and be back at the pool at 6:00 until the pool closed. Karen Zadravec Sadlik ’79 grew up on Shaker Dr. and also has special memories at Jindra Pool. “Swimming lessons in the morning, going home for lunch and then returning to the pool until dinner time.” Living on Homewood Dr., contributor Karen Fielding Nejedlik ’82, grew up the furthest from Jindra Pool, so she had to ride her bike there. Karen recalls “riding bikes to Jindra Pool every day, riding home for a quick dinner, then back again for more fun at the pool. I remember the summer Cindy Geither fell off her bike and had a concussion. She had to be careful not to be bumped in the pool, so she was allowed to swim during rest periods and could pick a friend to join her…I loved being able to swim all day long and not have to rest!”

 

North of the tracks we were very close to Shoregate Shopping Center. From Franklin, Linda and I were only one mile from Shoregate. Linda commented, “We loved walking down to Shoregate to watch a movie at the cinema or to go window shopping. I loved visiting Uncle Bill’s and Kresge’s.” Though a bit further away, Karen Zadravec said, “If we really wanted an adventure, we would walk up to Shoregate Shopping Center.” Both Linda and Karen mentioned walking the whole Shoregate strip and having lunch at the Woolworth’s food counter. I also remember walking to the cinema to see blockbuster movies like Halloween and Jaws.

 

Most of our parents let us have free reign in wandering the neighborhood. However, after a tragic train accident took the life a boy on my street, Jimmy Lanese, my mom forbade us from crossing the tracks until the underpass was constructed on Worden Rd. 

 

All contributors mentioned playing outside every day. Karen Zadravec reflected, “I remember playing softball and kickball in the street…” Karen Fielding remembers playing Kick the Can with all the neighborhood kids on Homewood Dr. Linda and I and the Franklin Blvd. kids played Freeze Tag, Ghost in Graveyard and Flashlight Tag. Tom and his friends, “The Worden Road Boys,” spent a lot of time playing on all the land behind Worden School and staying out after dark until the street lights came on. Tom said, “Really I don’t remember a boring day growing up.”


Almost every kid growing up north of the tracks remembers two famous landmarks – the two “corner stores”. Tom said, “This area had two stores, one next to Halifax and the other on the corner of Worden and Grand.” Tom remembers buying penny candies and pop by the bottle. Karen Zadravec added, “After elementary school let out, we would walk across the street to go to the corner store to buy our favorite candy for the walk home. Oh what fun times!” Linda remembers going to the stores with her siblings to buy candy to take to the pool, and even recalls bringing a signed note to the store to be able to buy cigarettes for her mom.  

Front and center of our world north of the tracks was Worden Elementary School. I think we can all recite every one of our teachers' names.  I specifically remember Mr. Srail having us memorize all the U.S. Presidents (Washy, Ad, Jeffy, Maddy, Monroe…) I also remember that most of us walked to school, except those who lived the furthest west. I can still hear the afternoon announcements saying, “the Homewood, Weber, Norman, Fuller bus is here.” Linda remembers being able to walk home for lunch and getting back in time for the next class. Linda discussed, “At that time, we were allowed to bring a friend home for lunch if their parents wrote a signed permission slip.” Karen Fielding recollected performing in the Jefferson play and learning to do a Colonial dance, then going to Williamsburg on a class trip. She also remembers the giant mural we made to celebrate the bicentennial. 

 

Tom summed it up wonderfully, “I guess it was like many small cities in the 50s and 60s, but North of the tracks was kind of special. The friends we made so young are still many of the friends we have today.”

 

Tom Abate and his "Worden Road Boys" - still friends through the decades. Tim Hennies (Elgin Rd.), Joe Burnette (Roberst St.), John Sebulski (Roberst St.), Tom Abate (Phillips Ave.), Ron Geller(Lloyd Rd), Milan Doparik (Worden Rd.), Jerry Lane (Roberts St.).  Not Pictured- Dave Hamilton and Paul Calavita (Roberts St.)

2023 Donors


Gold Donor

William Bares '59



Levels of Giving

Gold Donor - $500 and above

Blue Donor - $100 - $499

Valued Donor - $1-$99


Click HERE to donate today.


You can even give a gift in honor or memory of a favorite teacher or classmate.


Want to donate the old fashioned way? Just send a check to:

WSAA

P.O. Box 195

Wickliffe OH 44092

Far from Home

by Nancy Krihwan Perlic '66

Teri DiMattia Shine '72


Laura White Metzger

Recently two questions were posed on the WSAA Facebook page: "What state do you now call home, and what do you miss most about Wickliffe”? 


California was the furthest away from the responses that were received. Laura White Metzger from the Class of 1971 moved to the San Diego area over 45 years ago. After college, she and her husband ventured west to pursue their careers in the computer field. 

Not surprisingly, missing family was the number one answer for what was missed the most, and seeing old Wickliffe friends was next on the list. Even though Laura lives so far away, she has been able to attend a few reunions throughout the years. The most recent was her 50th class reunion. She does keep in touch with her school friends through Facebook but wished she could join Wickliffe Walks a few of her classmates take.

 

So, just what is Wickliffe Walks? Rose Zaller Dufault, also from the Class of 1971, had the answer to this question.  Wickliffe Walks was formed two years ago as a means of staying connected with friends from Wickliffe and for those living in this family-oriented community. Rose formed this organization on Facebook and relayed to the WSAA that

"our group is open to the public and for anyone wanting to make new friends. Our goal is to exercise by walking the trails of Ohio Metro Parks followed by socializing at a nearby restaurants. We sometimes get carried away with our conversations which may last hours and with lots of smiles and laughter."


Visit and "like" the Wickliffe Walks page on Facebook to receive notifications on their upcoming events and to join them for the fun!

Where are They Now? Dan D'Amore

by Scott Tennant '88


No one at the time could have known it, but Baldwin Wallace College (now University) in the late 1960s and early 1970s was a training ground for a group of men who would go on to influence at least two generations of Wickliffe students.


Dan D’Amore was there and saw it firsthand. He was, in fact, one of those men whose work as a teacher and coach would have a profound impact on many junior high/middle school and high school students in Wickliffe over the ensuing three decades.

 

D’Amore, Greg Nackley, Tom Rosneck and Bob Smith were all BW student-athletes during those formative years. Smith, in particular, was a close friend of D’Amore, as the two spent several years playing football and baseball together at Cleveland’s West High School.

Many Wickliffe football alumni remember the coaching staff of (back row) Dan D’Amore, Tom Rosneck, Pete Wolfgram, Greg Nackley, and (front row) Skip Kowalski and Bob Smith.

Baldwin Wallace had a lot of great coaches who knew how to get the most out of young athletes,” says D’Amore. “That rubbed off on all of us.”

 

D’Amore arrived at Baldwin Wallace in the fall of 1969 having been a successful three-sport athlete and a trumpet player in the band and orchestra at West (which would later merge with Lincoln to form the current Lincoln-West High School). He played baseball at BW while majoring in education.

 

D’Amore spent a year after graduation teaching middle school science for the Columbia Local Schools in Lorain County. In college he had met Dale Morse, the son of Wickliffe school administrator Lloyd Morse, and was interested in coming to Wickliffe, but there were no teaching openings at the time.

 

The following year (1974), however, D’Amore received a call from Lloyd Morse about a science teacher position at Wickliffe Junior High. He was eventually offered and accepted the job, recalling that on one of his first trips to the school, the city was preparing a parade to celebrate its 1974 high school state champion baseball team.

 

D’Amore ended up teaching 8th-grade science for his entire 30-year career. He attributes that long run of consistency simply to it being the right fit.

 

“Certain people are meant to be at certain levels,” he says. “I couldn’t have been with first-graders. That wasn’t for me. I had opportunities later to go up to the high school and teach, since I was already coaching there, but I was happy doing what I was doing. I felt I could make a difference with kids at that (eighth-grade) level.”

Dan D’Amore (middle) taught eighth-grade science for 30 years, many of which were spent teaching alongside this group of eighth-grade educators: (from left) Ken Mazer, Jim Thomas, Dee Ackerman and Peggy Feltham.

D’Amore’s coaching career began at the tender age of 16, when he served as a Class F baseball coach through the City of Cleveland Recreation Department. He spent two summers coaching Class F, noting that it “wet his whistle” to work with kids.

 

After a year coaching middle school football and assisting for high school baseball at Columbia, he jumped in as the head baseball coach his first year at Wickliffe Junior High. In subsequent years he would serve in a variety of coaching capacities for football, baseball and basketball, as well as serving as Wickliffe’s junior high – later middle school – athletic director for nine years.

 

A turning point came when Rosneck asked him to join his football staff at the high school. That helped to form the “classic” and highly successful coaching group of Rosneck, D’Amore, Smith, Nackley, Pete Wolfgram, Skip Kowalski and Pete Humphrey. Together, the men built Wickliffe into a local football powerhouse, including earning the school’s first few state playoff berths in the 1980s and early 90s.

 

“We had some successful teams and Tom Rosneck really was the glue,” said D’Amore, who coached defensive ends and wingbacks. “He had a way of bringing it all together. That staff stayed together for the most part.”

 

When Rosneck became the head boys basketball coach, he asked D’Amore to be his assistant. D’Amore and his family would later move to Perry, where he first had the chance to coach his own daughters. He became the girls basketball coach at Perry in 1998 and also coached softball for the Pirates.

 

D’Amore credits much of his success to his wife Nancy, who he met in his old neighborhood while a freshman at Baldwin Wallace. The couple have three daughters – Deanna, Danielle and Nicole – who have given them nine grandchildren.


D’Amore retired from the Wickliffe schools in 2003, though he continued coaching for a number of years as a men’s basketball assistant to his Perry colleague Cliff Hunt at Lake Erie College.

Nowadays, the D’Amores live in Middleburg Heights, where they try to keep up with their grandchildren and enjoy traveling. With two of those grandchildren living in Wickliffe, he stays apprised of events in the district and cherishes his time as a Blue Devil.

 

“There were always good people in Wickliffe,” says D’Amore, a Wickliffe Community Hall of Fame inductee. “I was lucky to end up there and be a part of it.”


2023 Alumni & Friends Golf Outing

by Teri DiMattia Shine '72


It was a beautiful day in Wickliffe on Friday, August 4th when 13 groups of gentlemen played 18 holes of golf at Pine Ridge Country Club. The weather was perfect with a blue sky, wisps of clouds and a cool 78 degrees.


Tim Reid, class of 1962 arranged this event with help from Cookie LoSchiavo and Teri Shine. The Severino group won the bragging rights and the trophy until next year’s event. That foursome consisted of Dom Severino, Mike Vitantonio, Pete Vitantonio and George Plataz.


Door prizes were provided by Don Marn and the school administration, Ron Bixel, Tony Marano, and Tim Reid. Prizes were award at a luncheon held in the Grille Room at the country club. Several other alumni joined us for the picnic lunch.


There are plans to have another event next year. We are looking for women golfers to participate too. More information to follow. Proceeds from this event go towards WSAA Scholarships for seniors from Wickliffe High School. 

The Worldwide Blue Devil Network (WBDN), is presented by the Wickliffe Schools Alumni Association, and will be webcasting all home games on our Facebook Page as well as on our Alumni YouTube Channel.


Frank Foti '74 and Mark Tennant '75) will be back for Season #20 and will be providing all the exciting action and play-by-play.


Pre-game starts at 6:30 pm with kickoff coverage at 7:00 pm


Wickliffe Blue Devils 2023 Varsity Football Schedule

Friday, 8/18 - 7p - Southeast - Home

Friday, 8/25 - 7p - St. John (Ashtabula) - Home

Friday, 9/1- 7p - Orange - Home

Friday, 9/8 - 7p - Crestwood (Mantua) - Home

Friday, 9/15 - 7p - Grand Valley (Orwell) - Away

Friday, 9/22 - 7p - Trinity (Garfield Hts) - Home*

Friday, 9/29 - 7p - Cuyahoga Hts - Away*

Friday, 10/6 - 7p - Independence - Home*

Friday, 10/13 - 7p - Brooklyn - Away*

Friday, 10/20 - 7p - Beachwood - Away*

* Conference Game

Homecoming Game October 6th

Class of 1983 - 40th Reunion


Yes! You read that correctly. It has been 40 years since we last walked the halls as seniors at WHS.


Save the date!

DATE: September 8, 2023

PLACE: Lino's

TIME: 6:30 pm


For more information contact Bernadette Nicoletti Martens at

[email protected]

or

Click HERE to visit our Facebook page!


$20 per person - RSVP & payment due by August 10th

We will no longer be selling tickets at the door

Payment includes appetizers and one drink ticket

Venmo your payment to WHS-class1983


More details will be provided as the date approaches.

Can't wait to see everybody!

50th Class Reunion


Save the Date

Friday, July 26, 2024

LaVera Party Center

Willoughby Hills


1974 Classmates can send their information

(address, phone and email) to: 

[email protected]

Reunion Central

Speaking of reunions, is your class starting to plan a reunion?

Did you know most graduating classes have a Facebook page?

Need more information about your graduating class?


Click HERE to visit our Class Representative Page


We are still looking for representatives for the Classes of

1961-62, 1964-65, 1967, 1976, 1979, 1981,

1990-1999, 2001-05, 2007, 2009-10, 2013-2022


If you would like to volunteer to be your class representative, please contact Susan Skufca Bell at [email protected]

Jesse Sidhu Class of 2017: Air Force Academy Graduate, Aspiring Military Pilot, and Budding Entrepreneur


by Scott Tennant '88

Long before he was a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force, Jesse Sidhu built his celebrated work ethic the hard way – running mile after mile around Wickliffe in the most brutal weather and excelling to an all-around level that helped him become one of the few Wickliffe students ever to be appointed to a military service academy.


Sidhu, a member of the Wickliffe High School Class of 2017, graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2021 and is now working toward his dream of becoming a military pilot. That’s not to mention his side hustle as an Instagram content creator, and the fact that he was able to marry his middle school sweetheart.

Jesse Sidhu in his days as a Wickliffe cross country runner.

He has accomplished as much or more than many people twice his age.


“Sometimes I forget I’m 24,” he says. “I feel like I’ve lived three lives already.”


Sidhu’s story is one of ambition, focus and old-fashioned grit. He sets lofty goals and meets them, starting with his appointment to the Air Force Academy.


As far back as sixth grade, he researched the best way to become a pilot. He discovered that many top American pilots came from the Air Force Academy, so he set his sights on becoming an USAFA cadet.


“They’re not looking for people who are only book smart,” Sidhu says. “They want book-smart people who are also athletic, critical thinkers and leaders. They want a well-rounded person.”


Sidhu began molding himself into a well-rounded applicant, largely through the two school extracurriculars for which he had particular passion: running and music.


His running career began as a sixth-grade Junior Olympian for Wickliffe, but he says it wasn’t until indoor track season during his freshman year of high school that his dedication to the sport took off.


“Coach (Logan) Moritz said to me, ‘If you don’t show up every single day and do what you need to do, you might as well not even come,’” Sidhu recalls. “‘This isn’t the kind of sport where you can do a little bit at a time here and there and see results.’ As soon as I heard that, the light came on.”


Sidhu became obsessed with training and competing. He insisted on running his workouts outdoors regardless of the conditions. In one instance, he made an excuse to leave indoor track practice so he could do his assigned hill sprint workout on the steep incline of Lincoln Road – with the winter temperature outside touching minus-26 degrees.


By the time he graduated from Wickliffe, Sidhu shared or held six different school running records. For a time he had the 5K record until teammate Dylan Barnes, whom Sidhu helped to train, broke it.


As for music, Sidhu served as a percussionist in Wickliffe bands from 4th through 11th grades. As a boy, he had been inspired by watching the drummers in the Wickliffe Swing Band, particularly when they performed their legendary “Aquarius” routine.


He would eventually have the chance to play both snare and bass drums for the Swing Band. Even though he did not participate in band as a senior, before he left the group he authored a manual for Blue Devil percussionists explaining what it takes to be a drummer at Wickliffe.


“To me it just didn’t feel right to leave a group like that without helping to pass along some knowledge,” Sidhu says.


The first step in securing an appointment to a U.S. military service academy is being nominated by a congressperson. Sidhu found out in the fall of his senior year that he had been nominated by both Representative Dave Joyce and Senator Rob Portman.


Still, a nomination does not guarantee entrance into an academy. The academy itself must judge a nominee worthy for admission. Sidhu also passed that test, finding out a few months later that he had been appointed to the Air Force Academy in a personal phone call from Senator Portman.


Sidhu says basic training the summer before his freshman year at the Academy was every bit as physically, mentally and emotionally taxing as one would expect. That was followed by four years of hard work and study, culminating in Sidhu earning a degree in computer science and being commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force.


Air Force First Lieutenant Jesse Sidhu, from the Wickliffe High School Class of 2017, poses on the day he took a solo flight in the Diamond DA-20 aircraft.

Graduation also meant that Sidhu could marry his longtime girlfriend, Leah Overberger, a fellow Wickliffe 2017 grad whom he had dated since the two were in eighth grade. Cadets are not permitted to marry while at the Academy, but Sidhu and Overberger wasted no time tying the knot shortly after he graduated.

Jesse Sidhu and his wife (and fellow Blue Devil) Leah Overberger on their wedding day.

“I don’t think I would be sitting where I’m sitting today without her,” Sidhu says of his wife. “She’s amazing and she holds me accountable.”


Sidhu’s first assignment took him to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, where he completed a Master of Applied Science in Cyber Systems program.


Then it was off to initial flight training in Pueblo, Colorado, before beginning flight school at Columbus (Mississippi) Air Force Base this past June. Sidhu is unsure whether he will eventually be assigned to fly fighter jets or large C-17 transport-type aircraft.


While he waits to see where his military career will take him, Sidhu also indulges in building cars, a hobby he got into while still in college. He and some friends reworked a 1970 Datsun 240Z Series 1, and now Sidhu has more than 39,000 followers (and over 35 million video views) on his car-themed Instagram account @theoldladyz.


“We sell merchandise related to cars, a lot of funny stuff, and people just love it,” Sidhu laughs. “Our biggest product is our content, and we reach out to sponsors to fund those projects, so it has gone very well.”

 

Sidhu is on schedule to finish undergraduate pilot training in early 2024. From there, he will advance to more specialized training to prepare him for his operational airframe. The Old Lady Z business has plans to keep producing content and expanding its sale of merchandise through both its website (theoldladyz.com) and on Etsy.

 

If Sidhu’s time at Wickliffe is indicative of his future, he is bound to do many more great things.


That '70s Reunion


The classes of the 1970s celebrated their annual combined reunion at All Aboard in Mentor on Saturday, July 29, 2023. The event was well attended with well over 200 alumni laughing, reminiscing, and enjoying each other's company. Each of the 70s graduation classes was represented.

Memorabilia Donations?

Cleaning out the

basement or garage?

Do you have any

Wickliffe Schools' memorabilia?

 

The WSAA is accepting donations

for our memorabilia collection.



If you have items to donate,

please contact Teri Shine at [email protected]

HELP WANTED


The WSAA is looking for enthusiastic alumni with fresh ideas for all committees. 

Sports fanatic? Fundraising guru? Twitter happy? We have a place for you! Contact us at [email protected] 

to let us know what areas/committees you would like to learn more about

and explore.


WSAA Board Members
  • Susan Skufca Bell '82 - Secretary, Newsletter, Fundraising
  • Gail Shindly Bencina '81 - Fundraising
  • Mark Cline '75 - Scholarship Committee
  • Frank Foti '74 - WWBD Network, School Connection
  • Dave Hintz '82 - Chairman, Achievement Hall of Fame
  • Dave Krych '71 - Achievement Hall of Fame, Scholarship Committee
  • Gloria Whitmer Majeski '74, Scholarship Committee
  • Nancy Krihwan Perlic '66 - Newsletter, Class Rep Administrator, Teacher Connection, Social Media
  • Connie Kosanovich Powall '83 - Legal Counsel
  • Leah Reese - Executive Director
  • Teri DiMattia Shine '72 - Memorabilia, Hall of Fame & Scholarship Committees
  • Bob Smith - Honorary Board Member
If you are interested in getting involved with the WSAA, have any questions, or want to get in contact with any of our board members, please email us at [email protected]

Newsletter Editors:

Susan Skufca Bell '82

Nancy Krihwan Perlic '66


Ideas for future articles? Questions? Comments?

We would love to hear from you. Please email us at

[email protected]


WSAA

 P.O. Box 195

Wickliffe, Ohio 44092

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