MMI Hosts Annual Wall of Fame Awards Dinner

MMI Wall of Fame Group Photo

From left to right: Director of Advancement Kim McNulty, William L. Spear R.Ph ’79, Edward A. Kushma ‘62, Emmett J. Thomas, Andrea A. Kosko ’74 (set forward), Michael P. Scarlato, Head of School Theresa Long, Cindy Jarus and Richard Abrams ’88 (accepting on behalf of Irving Abrams ’30), Grant Cusat ’95 and Marc Cusat ’03 (accepting on behalf of Anthony R. Cusat).

MMI Preparatory School hosted their Wall of Fame dinner as a part of their annual Alumni Weekend festivities. Friends and family, as well as MMI alumni and faculty and staff, were invited to MMI’s campus to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s Wall of Fame recipients. This year, seven members were inducted into the Wall of Fame.

Andrea A. Kosko ‘74, the CFO of Fellin’s Jewelers, was chosen for her community service. As a freshman, Andrea was part of the first group of girls to be accepted at MMI. She credits MMI with helping her develop the tools to succeed, saying, “My MMI education is the foundation on which I have built my life. At MMI, I learned the importance of persevering in order to achieve success.” Andrea was selected for her dedication to improving her community. She has held multiple positions on the MMI Board of Directors, while also serving on the board for the Hazleton Area Public Library, the Hazleton chapter of the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels of Greater Halzeton, and countless others.

William L. Spear R.Ph ‘79, the CEO and Pharmacist at Hazle Drugs was honored for community service. Bill graduated from MMI, obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, and his two-year post-graduate degree from the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. He is the CEO and Pharmacist at Hazle Drug, America’s Oldest Compounding Pharmacy, most known for their natural and holistic approach. Bill lectures across the country to many health service organizations and serves on multiple committee boards, such as the Downtown Hazleton Alliance.

Anthony R. Cusat, former math teacher at MMI, was selected for his service to MMI for teaching nearly 50 years and coaching for 13. Anthony earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from King’s College. He began teaching at MMI on September 1, 1972 and, at the time of his retirement, was MMI’s longest-tenured faculty member. In addition to teaching math, Anthony also served as the Dean of Students for 19 years from 1987-2006. He was the advisor for various classes, as well as the Science Countdown team, Scholarship Bowl, Board Games Club, Hiking Club, Computer Science and Electronics Club, and Student Council. He won Schuylkill League Coach of the Year during the ‘89-’90 season and was instrumental in creating the girls’ basketball program at MMI.

Edward A. Kushma ‘62, former MMI Board Member was inducted for his service to MMI. MMI was made a better place because Ed chose to devote most of his time to improving the school and inspiring the next generation of Preppers. For over 20 years, Ed volunteered as a member of MMI’s Board of Directors and he was instrumental in helping to form the Wall of Fame. Ed’s many years of service on the MMI Board quantifies his dedication to MMI, but it’s his intangible selfless devotion he has for the school that truly shows his love for the community. He serves as a role model for current and future Preppers who wish to give back for the betterment of MMI.

Michael P. Scarlato, former history teacher at MMI was honored for service to MMI. For more than three decades, MMI has been a second home for Michael Scarlato who taught American History to students from 7th through 12th grades. He is still engaged with the school, serving as a substitute teacher during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years. As a teacher, Michael organized class trips, guest speakers, and advised many clubs, such as the Prep Talk newspaper. He also oversaw Act 48 Professional Development classes for the faculty at MMI and was the initial developer of the Summer Camp Program and Summer Concert Series.

Emmett J Thomas, former MMl Boys Baseball Team coach, was chosen for service to MMI. Emmett Thomas served as coach of the MMl Boys Baseball Team from 2000 until 2015, leading them to a district title in 2014. His tough, but caring personality helped mold his players into successful people while still encouraging them to have fun playing the “kids’ game” while they had the chance. He’s famous for his ”Emmett-isms,” such as “Ducks on the Pond” and “Be the pig, not the chicken.” Emmett’s outgoing personality has made him a popular figure in the MMI community and Freeland Borough. As a member of the Freeland Sons of Erin, he has made countless contributions to the community — even being named Irishman of the Year. In his spare time during the winter months, Emmett also served as a scorekeeper for the MMI Boys Basketball Team. If you ask anyone in the MMI community who knows him, it’s likely they would say that he helped make MMI a better institution during his tenure. The impact that he has within the MMI community is something that will stick with those he’s inspired for a lifetime.

Irving G. Abrams ‘30, former operator of Freeland Overall, Freeland Manufacturing and Freeland Shirt Company, was posthumously inducted for professional achievement. Irving graduated from MMI in 1930 and four years later, received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce Degree from NYU. During the 1950s and 60s, Irving was a prominent business and civic leader in Hazleton and Freeland. He along with his brother, Simon ’30, and father operated three garment companies: Freeland Overall, Freeland Manufacturing and Freeland Shirt Company. The former Freeland Manufacturing Company site is now the MMI Tennis Courts. Outside of work, Irving volunteered his time to his community by serving as president of the Rotary Club, a member of MMI’s Board of Directors, a member of Hazleton’s Jewish Community Center Board of Directors, and a member of Pinemere Camp’s Board of Directors. Throughout his life, he was a strong ally to MMI. Irving passed away on January 6, 1970 and was nominated by his children.

The MMI Wall of Fame was created to honor and recognize alumni, past faculty or staff, and board members who have seen great success in athletics, business, the sciences, education, government, public service, the arts, or the humanities. These successes are represented in the following areas of the Wall of Fame: Athletic Achievement, Community Service, Service to MMI, and Professional Achievement. So far, over 100 recipients have been inducted.

The next Wall of Fame class will be announced in spring of 2025.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.