Salem High School Alumni Association 2022 Honored alumnus Todd Olson, SHS Class of 1981, speaks words of wisdom to the Class of 2022 before Saturday night’s scholarship awards ceremony in the high
SALEM — Honored alumnus Todd Olson encouraged members of Salem High School’s Class of 2022 to give back, share their gifts and talents with their community.
He gave that advice Saturday night when the Salem High School Alumni Association announced the awarding of a record $533,050 in scholarships to 80 Class of 2022 members and 31 SHS alumni.
As valedictorian of the SHS class of 1981, Olson once sat where those students sat, preparing to embark on his life story. He shared with them three life lessons that have served him well, noting that the path forward is a function of their choices in education, where they live and who they live.
“I encourage you to take these choices seriously,” he said.
Lesson number one: “Be flexible and be prepared to adapt a plan.”
When Olson went to the United States Naval Academy, his plan was to be a Navy aviator. Unfortunately, he learned his eyesight wasn’t up to the task, so that plan was scrapped. Instead, he focused on nuclear power, which served him well during his time in the Navy.
Lesson number two: “Take risks, don’t go with the flow.”
After being honorably discharged to enter the private sector, Olson earned a master’s degree in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. He took a job with telecommunications giant MCI in strategic planning in Washington, D.C.
He and his wife Julie had two children, they were living the dream, but he decided to go against the grain. In 1996 he called his father, Don, told him he had quit his job and they were coming home so he could work with him at BOC Water Hydraulics.
Don said he couldn’t afford it, but gradually the business started growing enough for him to have a small salary. Olson said it was probably the best decision he could have made. He was back with his home community and the people he grew up with, as well as his family, which included his father and mother Bea.
In 2005, he became owner and president of the expanded business, located at the corner of state roads 45 and 165.
Lesson number three: “Be courteous and never stop giving back.” Olson called this most important lesson, “the secret sauce for life.”
He told the students it wasn’t just about them, prompting a quick lesson in the lesson, using the Dead Sea as an illustration of how not to be. With the Dead Sea, everything goes in and nothing comes out, life can no longer be endured. By giving back and focusing on others, life becomes joyful.
Outgoing SHSAA President Frank Zamarelli was unable to attend due to COVID-19, but his daughter, School Board President Brittany Maniscalco, accepted his award as an outgoing Alumni Council member. and gave his comments.
After graduating from SHS in 1982, he decided to pay back the $1,500 scholarship he received from the alumni association. He advised graduates not to have to pay back the money they receive, but if life treats them well, pay it. Olson referenced this message when he spoke.
Since returning to the area, Olson has followed his advice to give back, supporting technical trades at Salem High School and hiring Salem graduates at BOC Water Hydraulics.
He is also active in the community, supporting the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and serving on several boards including SHSAA, Salem Regional Medical Center and the Sustainable Opportunity Development Center.
SHSAA Executive Director Audrey Cleveland Null, Class of 1976, said the scholarship breakdown included 28 named scholarships and 72 academic merit scholarships for the Class of 2022. The record dollar figure included 31 post-secondary scholarships granted to former SHS graduates.
“It was an exceptional class this year and a much bigger class. We are proud and excited to award scholarships to 80 members of the Class of 2022,” she says.
This was the 141st annual meeting of SHSAA, which first met in 1882 and awarded the first $60 scholarship in 1908. The first investment was a $1,000 bond and has since reached a portfolio of over $12 million. Since 1908, more than $8.3 million has been awarded to nearly 2,500 SHS graduates.
During a brief business meeting, the association re-elected board members Shane Harding (2003), Tim Harrington (1984), Nate Mullen (2004), Wendy Storey Saltsman (1977), and Mickey Cope Weaver (1960) for further three-year terms. and elected new board members, Dr. Peter Apicella (1982) and Karli Utt Dennison (2012), to three-year terms.
In addition to honoring Zamarelli, the association also honored outgoing board member Maggie Berthold Fearn (1999). Thanks were offered to outgoing Secretary Madeline Patton Shivers (1977).
The list of officers for 2022-23 includes President Mary Winch Korff (1991), 1st Vice President Jean Kiliman Esposito (1971), 2nd Vice President Mickey Cope Weaver (1960), Secretary Tim Harrington (1984), and Treasurer Wendy Storey Saltsman (1977).
Following the awards ceremony, an open house was held in the high school cafeteria where the class of 1972 was recognized in their 50th year. The Class of 1972 will celebrate with a July 22 golf outing at Salem Hills Golf Club, a Trolley Tour Down Memory Lane at 10 a.m. July 23 past the still-standing elementary schools, Sebo Stadium and SHS, followed by the meeting from 5 p.m. July 23 at the Salem American Italian Club.
To learn more about SHSAA and upcoming class reunions, visit www.salemohioalumni.org.