Six graduates honored in Wall of Fame ceremony

Quakertown Community High School added six new members to its Wall of Fame. Three of the inductees are from 2020, and three from 2021.
Posted on 12/14/2021
Newly inducted members of the QCHS Wall of Fame, each holding their plaque, include, from left to right, Thomas Moll, Jonathan Landis, David Erwin, Jennifer Kunes Driscoll, and Samuel Lee Roberts.

By Gary Weckselblatt

Six Quakertown Community High School graduates were inducted into the Wall of Fame on Friday, December 10 in a ceremony held at the Trolley Barn Public Market.

Three of the new members, Jonathan Landis, Elizabeth Porter Mahaffey, and Samuel Lee Roberts, are 2020 winners. The pandemic, however, prevented them from being recognized last year. The 2021 inductees are Jennifer Kunes Driscoll, David Erwin, and Thomas Moll.

“I am so very impressed with what Quakertown has produced,” high school Principal Mattias van’t Hoenderdaal said. “Your accomplishments are extraordinary and outstanding examples for our current students to follow. Please know that you are always welcome to come back, visit your high school and take a look at your plaque on the Wall of Fame.”

Ray Fox, a retired school counselor in Quakertown Community School District and Wall of Fame Committee member, said “I can’t see how you’ve been able to accomplish all you have. It’s amazing to see what our graduates have done.”

Here’s a brief biography of each inductee, with information provided by their nominator:

Jonathan Landis, 1987
Jonathan Landis holds his plaque as he addresses the audience during the Wall of Fame ceremony.Jon graduated from Drexel University in 1992 with a degree in Physics and started his career in the Flight Dynamics Facility for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). He was a member of the team responsible for spacecraft attitude operations for the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE), the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), and the Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX). After his first year, Jon won the contract's “Outstanding Rookie Award." The highlight of Jon's time at GSFC was when he planned a series of attitude maneuvers for the EUVE spacecraft that safely pushed the spacecraft beyond its operationally planned limits, culminating in allowing the mission scientists to perform real-time observations of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy impact with Jupiter.

Later, when he became a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Jon became Project Manager in support of Fort Detrick’s Plague Vaccine development efforts. This is a $500 million project to develop a vaccine to protect the warfighter in the event of a directed biological attack from an adversary using aerosolized Yersinia pestis as the agent.

Jon is back at GSFC as the Software Development Lead for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Flight Dynamics Ground System, scheduled for launch this month. JWST will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in 2021. He called it “the world’s most powerful telescope.”

“My first two terms at Drexel were review,” Jon said. “My friends from other schools weren’t prepared. They struggled, but Quakertown prepared me.”

Elizabeth Porter Mehaffey, 2002
Dr. Beth Mehaffey holds a dog.Dr. Beth Mehaffey is a veterinarian at the Pennridge Animal Hospital in Sellersville. She attended Delaware Valley College for her undergraduate degree, and the University of Pennsylvania for her veterinary doctorate, graduating in 2010. She founded Harley's Haven dog rescue in 2011, and is an avid dog rescuer and advocate. She spends her free time with her family - husband Tom, son Connor, and two dogs: Croi and Killian.

Dr. Mehaffey has committed every effort to support the local community through her veterinarian practice while helping communities in the U.S. and abroad. She works with several channels in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama to rescue animals through Harley's Haven. In February 2016, she traveled to Big Corn Island, off the coast of Nicaragua. It’s an island of approximately 6,000 people, hundreds of pets, and no veterinary care. Her goal is to bring them veterinary medicine. She returned there in 2017 and 2018. She also runs free weekend clinics in Philadelphia. Her efforts have been publicized by Channel 69 news.

The doctor was out of town and unable to attend the Wall of Fame induction. In an email, she stated, “I am so honored to have been chosen this year to be inducted into the Wall of Fame! Quakertown Community School District is where I got my start, and the teachers and staff there helped to instill in me a love of learning, science, and hard work, that was a huge part of me continuing on to become the veterinarian and business owner I am today. Thank you all so much for this honor - I am truly humbled!”

Her dad, who attended in her absence, said that before Beth was allowed in the house as a child “either her mom or I had to search her because she would be hiding a bug, frog or mouse in her pocket. Her mother and I knew she was going to be a veterinarian “

Samuel Lee Roberts, 1995
Samuel Lee Roberts holds his plaque as he addresses the audience during the Wall of Fame ceremony.While in high school, Sam was a very good student known for his personality and grace. He was one of the founding members of the Quakertown Dance Team, which featured several outstanding dancers and quickly became well known throughout the region. Upon graduation, Sam attended The Julliard School. He went on to be featured in several outstanding performances around the world and has received the following accolades:

  • He performed in the first international show of Radio City's Christmas Spectacular in Mexico City and danced with the New York cast from 1999-2004.
  • Sam performed during the award ceremony at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, worked with Corbin Dances and Keigwin + Company, and was a founding member of Battleworks Dance Company.
  • In May 2006, Sam was named Dance Magazine's "On the Rise" dancer.
  • He performed several roles in Julie Taymor's film Across the Universe and the original opera Grendel.
  • Since 2009 he has been a member of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. This company is well-established as one of the very best dance troupes in the world. Sam has been a contributing and vital member for a significant amount of time, traveling the nation and world.

Sam described his Wall of Fame induction as a “monumental moment. I am just really grateful.”

Jennifer Kunes Driscoll, 2001
Jennifer Kunes Driscoll holds her plaque as he addresses the audience during the Wall of Fame ceremony.Jennifer has been a dedicated volunteer since a young age, according to Denise Fox, who nominated her. “I knew Jennifer as a young girl at church and she, along with her parents, taught Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, helped at the annual Peach Festival, the CROP Walk to help fight hunger and making Easter Baskets for children hospitalized on a cancer unit at a local hospital. Jennifer also sang in the children's choir. While a student at QCHS, Jennifer was a member of SADD, Future Business Leaders of America, Spanish Club and Color Guard.

Jennifer and her husband are the parents of two children, a daughter, and a son both of whom
were born prematurely. Lillian Hope and Aiden endured a lot in their early lives, but because of the medical care they received, they are doing well today. Jennifer and her husband saw a need to help parents and families of babies born prematurely and wanted to give back. Lily's Hope was started to provide support and resources to families of children born prematurely. To support Lily's Hope, Jennifer created a golf tournament, St. Patrick's Day Preemies Gala and Lily's Loop Walk/Run. In addition, Jennifer organizes an Easter Egg Hunt, Lily's Loop in
Philadelphia, Packing Parties and Holly Jolly Holiday Party and more.

In 2018, a New Jersey chapter of Lily's Hope was organized. She has grown the foundation to a National Foundation assisting more than 2,500 families with premature babies. Lily's Hope has shipped Packages of Hope to families in 46 states and donated needed equipment and furniture to four area hospitals. She has taken her vision from being a local foundation to a nationally recognized foundation and is partners with hospitals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina.

“I could not have done this without the educational and community support I received in Quakertown,” she said.

David Erwin, 1987
David Erwin holds his plaque as he addresses the audience during the Wall of Fame ceremony.David grew up in Quakertown, attending Neidig Elementary and Strayer Middle schools. He participated in the Marching and Jazz bands and was a member of the Rifle team. David is mostly known for his service to Quakertown Fire Company No. 1. His service began more than three decades ago at the age of 14, as he is a third-generation firefighter. During his career, he has run thousands of calls and volunteered countless hours for the benefit of the Quakertown community. He has demonstrated calm determination, skillful teamwork, and endless courage on all types of emergency calls.

One of David's true passions is sharing what he loves with the youth of Quakertown. David has been a mentor and role model for many young people starting out in the fire company. He started a Firefighter Explorer Post, which has allowed him to educate and inspire young people in our community. David's favorite week of the year revolves around Fire Prevention Week in October. Each year he plans and schedules all the visits to area elementary schools and shares his love and knowledge with children, regularly opening the firehouse for home-school groups, Scout troops, and Quakertown community groups to visit and learn.

David has held various types of leadership roles within the fire company, but he thrives on leading by example. He is honest, fair, and patient with new members. David also has a deep dedication for individuals with disabilities who want to join the firehouse. He teaches with patience and kindness and finds a way for everyone to feel they have a role in the fire company. David is currently the President of the fire company.

In 2010, David was elected to the Quakertown Borough Council where he worked endlessly for the residents of Quakertown. During his six years on Borough Council, he was a major supporter in the work on bringing new businesses to the downtown. David is currently the Superintendent of the Sewer Department for Quakertown Borough. He expands his volunteering into National Night Out events and Community Day in the Park.

“There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing our students doing great things for our community,” he said.

Thomas Moll, 1986
Thomas Moll holds his plaque as he addresses the audience during the Wall of Fame ceremony.From Dr. Robert Leight: “Tom has demonstrated a high level of competence as an educator, has contributed as a volunteer to the Richland Library Company, and is an accomplished historian. As a professor of education at Lehigh University I was Tom's advisor for his graduate program which led to a master's degree and teacher certification in French and social studies. He had previously completed his bachelor's degree in French and European Studies at American University.

“For several years he was a teacher in the middle schools of Souderton Area School District. But his interest in research led him to complete his second master's degree, in Library Science, at Kutztown State University. He served as a librarian in middle schools in the Souderton school district, then was transferred to Souderton High School. He has multiple responsibilities at the high school as a Librarian, instructor of advanced placement courses in European history, and as gifted facilitator. As the gifted facilitator, he helps gifted high school students to do individual research. During the summers he has traveled to Europe with his family, which will enrich his instruction of European history.

For many years he has been a volunteer at Richland Library Company on Main Street, during several years as Librarian. The library has become more sophisticated due to his involvement. He is available to help clients of the library with individual research projects. He has an extraordinary command of local history, genealogy, and geography. Mr. Moll and Dr. Leight created Tohickon Press, a publishing company that has published several of their books.

In conclusion of Friday’s event, Mr. Fox said “These individuals have shown outstanding leadership in their fields and accomplished outstanding things. I encourage people to nominate others. It’s well worth the effort.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].

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