Cole Helfrich – President – Class of 1970
John is a 1971 graduate of Wheaton North. John spent his career in the newspaper business and is currently employed by the Cantigny Foundation. John is married to Lisa and has two children, Sarah and Jacob.
Brian is a proud graduate of Wheaton North High School in 1979 and an award-winning and internationally recognized author, speaker, and coach. He’s the founder and president of B2b Interactive Marketing Inc., an award winning marketing consulting and production company in Aurora Illinois. B2b helps companies and non-profits, market their products and services through the effective use of on-line tools including; websites, blogs, email, social networking, Google, and more.
Brian’s career spans over 30 years. Since starting his first production company in 1979, he’s produced thousands of projects for companies ranging from solopreneurs to Fortune 100. Brian combines years of marketing experience, with technical expertise, to build on-line campaigns that produce measurable results. As a musician, technician, programmer, producer, and consultant, he has built a reputation for creativity, innovation, and translating “geek” into english. Brian is also an adjunct professor, trainer and author of many social networking and marketing blogs. He has been featured with articles in Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines.
I graduated from WNHS in 1983. While a student, I was involved in a number of activities including: speech team (individual events), student government, honor society, choir, and drama. I also somehow ended up on homecoming court (not sure how that happened)!
After WNHS I attended Taylor University in Indiana for 2 years, and then transferred to Wheaton College for my final two years. I went on to pursue a Masters and PhD in Education Administration at Loyola University Chicago. I have worked in higher education for over 20 years at a number of institutions and in a number of capacities. I met my husband Chad at Wheaton College and we’ve been married since 1988. We have two children who we adopted internationally. Our daughter is from Nepal (11 years old) and our son is from China (8 years old). We are older parents. 🙂
In addition to being a mom, I am still working in higher education but I scaled back to part-time work when we adopted our son in 2015. Right now I serve as a program manager at the University of Chicago working specifically in student health administration.
I am happy to be a part of the Board of the WNHS Alumni Association. I hope that I can recruit some of my classmates to become involved in our activities and fund raising.
Janis Michelic Hahn graduated from Wheaton North in 1968. She is a founding member of the Alumni Association and chairs the Scholarship Committee. One of her favorite jobs is reading the applications for scholarships and she is profoundly moved by the quality of students graduating from WNHS. As a Political Consultant Janis oversaw the passing of many successful school bonds and in her work with school districts grew to appreciate the excellent education she received as a student in Wheaton. I used to tell my clients that “today you can’t buy the caliber of education I received for free”.
After H.S. graduation Janis moved to Los Angeles where she met her husband Brian (deceased) and she worked as an award winning radio producer. In the 90’s she switched careers to politics and in 2004 she moved to Colorado where she continued to work on various political campaigns until she put her Masters in Clinical Counseling to good use counseling homeless adolescents, which she continues to do today. Janis has one son Jason who works in the tech field in Denver, and they both love to travel the country seeing their favorite blues and rock musicians.
Deb’s love for learning languages, nurtured at Wheaton North, led her to Michigan State University to study French and Russian and then to the University of Michigan, where she completed the PhD in Linguistics. She enjoyed a 33-year career in international education at the University of Toledo, Loyola University Chicago, and eventually Northern Illinois University. Although Deb and her husband Bob Fine have no children of their own, sometimes they count as their kids the many international students who have become important parts of their lives over the years.
After sailing Lake Michigan on both the Michigan and Wisconsin sides for many years, Deb and Bob recently retired to Florida, where they are very active in civic life. They also really enjoy being part of the growing community of Wheaton North grads who live on or near the Suncoast. Deb currently serves as the Treasurer of the Alumni Association; in that position her favorite task is writing the scholarship checks each spring for our outstanding scholarship winners.
I attended Wheaton schools from kindergarten through my Junior year at Wheaton North. Then my father’s company transferred him to Dallas and I spent my senior year there at Thomas Jefferson High School, graduating in a class of 653 students in 1968. The transfer made me appreciate the education I got in Wheaton. The Dallas curricula was a year behind WNHS – I even had many of the same textbooks I’d used the year before. Texas History was one of the few classes that wasn’t a repeat. Another shock was art class – WNHS provided all the art supplies for students – at TJ we had to pay for everything we used. PE was divided into 4 quarters – football, basketball, softball and volleyball – no gymnastics, dance, archery, field hockey, or any other of the many things WNHS offered. With such a short time spent with such a large class, I never formed a connection with any of the students at TJ. I consider the “Wheaton North class of 68” my class and hope I can contribute back by serving on the board.
In college at North Texas State U (now UNT) I got a BA in English with a minor in Library Science and then went back after graduating to get a teaching certificate. I married my husband Joe and moved to Alaska for a few years, then back to Texas to be near Joe’s parents and help them with their farm. I subbed a little and taught special ed for a year before quitting to raise our family (daughter Cary is a veterinarian in Farmers Branch and son Chad is a software developer in Austin). When the kids were grown I worked for a few years at a sign shop as a computer graphics designer, which I discovered to be my dream job and now continue to pursue that as a hobby. Joe retired from the Denton Fire Dept after 28 years as a paramedic and captain and we now enjoying traveling – mostly with a 5th wheel trailer -usually spending the summers in Alaska when Texas gets too hot.
Clif has spent his adult life in community service. He has been a Rotarian since 1975, serves on many community boards and committees, and established a charitable trust for the local Rotary Club. After graduation from Wheaton North, Clif went to Bradley University earning a BS degree in Civil Engineering. Later, he attended Aurora University and earned a MS degree in Management.
Following a career in construction and manufacturing, Clif retired to Idaho in 2003. After building a house and many years of volunteering, he was offered a retirement job assisting the development of public transportation. He helped communities in the establishment to two transit systems. He retired again in 2013. He still serves on one of the system’s Board of Directors.
Clif current lives in Sandpoint Idaho with his wife, Carol. The have one son who relocated to Sandpoint after many years in Arizona. Clif and Carol were also host parents to 17 foreign exchange students.
Clif believes everyone has the responsibility to leave the world in better condition that they found it. Clif and Carol, a former special education teacher, are particularly supportive of education.
I am a 1983 graduate of Wheaton North. During my student years I served as Class President. I was also varsity cheerleader, assistant editor of the Falcon Flyer, and member of Student Council. Homecoming activities like painting the class hallways and playing on the Powder Puff football team are some of my favorite memories from WNHS!
I graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana with a degree in business administration. I have done post-graduate work at Ball State University and Northern Illinois University. I have spent over 29 years of my career at Tyndale House Publishers in Carol Stream IL where I currently serve as Corporate Vice President for Sale and Operations.
My husband Paul and I live in Wheaton where we have raised our three children, all of whom are recent graduates of Wheaton North. We have spent many years cheering at football, basketball and volleyball games and supporting many other activities that our kids were involved in. The Wheaton North community has had a big influence on our family. I am excited to serve on the WNHS Alumni Association board as I have seen the impact their scholarships can have on students. I hope we can expand the participation of alumni in our programs so we can continue to support the graduates of this great school!
Roger Heaton was in WNHS’s first graduating class, 1967 (“Always First Class”). While still attending the only high school in Wheaton his freshman year, Roger and his classmates along with the WNHS Class of 1968 (then in 8th grade at Franklin Jr HS) selected the Falcon mascot and Blue and Gold colors.
He was a member of Student Council, its President and Vice President. Roger was an All Conference linebacker on the undefeated 1966 football team. He was a member of the wrestling team and an All Conference baseball player.
Roger was a member of the National Thespian Society and National Honor Society. He was the Outstanding Student — Athlete one year and President of the Letterman’s Club..
Roger graduated from Denison University in 1971 were he was captain of the baseball team.
He then returned to Wheaton where he taught at Holmes School (PE) and WNHS (Biology) where he coached football, wrestling and baseball. Roger loved teaching, hated cold and snow so he moved to Honolulu and later to San Diego where he graduated from law school in 1981.
Roger was a civil litigation (trial) attorney until retiring in 2015. Roger is enjoying retirement and has returned to coaching high school football.
Roger is divorced and has three adult sons.
Roger is very proud of being one of the founding members of the Wheaton North HS Alumni Association in 2008. After a very successful reunion of the Classes of 1967 – 1970 in 2007, many of those in attendance commented upon how fortunate they were to have attended WNHS and the opportunities it afforded as well as the life-long friendship that were made. They wanted to give something back, to “play it forward.” And thus the WNHSAA was born.
Roger is a past President of the Alumni Association.
I am a proud graduate of the class of ’71, growing up in Wheaton off of Jewell Rd and Electric Ave. I worked in the banking and computer industries before giving birth to twins in 1985. I have lived in Colorado for the last 20 years and retired in 2013.
My last position was as Race Director for Susan G. Komen in Denver, a position I held for nearly 10 years. Thank you for tapping me for a board position with the Alumni Association and giving me the opportunity to reconnect and honor fond memories, especially through the Gone But Not Forgotten pages.
Past Treasurer and Past Secretary
Debra Banzhaf York is a 1970 graduate of WNHS. Debra holds a BA in French from DePauw University and a MS in Human Resource Management and Development from Chapman University. As the wife of a US Marine, Debra has lived in 7 different states; however, she has always considered Wheaton “home”. During her career, Debra has worked in a gamut of different industries. For the last 10 years, she has served as the Talent Acquisition Manager for the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC. In August 2016, Debra plans to retire from the federal government and spend more time hanging out with her grandchildren and expanding her tiara collection.
Jeri has a degree in secondary education from The University of Iowa, has had several careers including being a successful entrepreneur and has volunteered for several organizations and nonprofits while raising a family in St. Charles, IL. She and her family moved to Colorado in 2004. Currently, she is the volunteer engagement coordinator at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail during the summer and is at the Beaver Creek Children’s Ski School in the winter.