2023 Award of Excellence

2023 Award of Excellence
July 9, 2023 Joyce Garozzo

The Executive Committee of the SPHS Alumni Association is proud to announce the recipients of the Award of Excellence.
Banquet to be held November 18th 2023 at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148.

John Koskinen, Former SPHS teacher

John graduated from Temple University in June of 1962. During his senior year at Temple, he did part of his student teaching at South Philadelphia High School. Upon graduation from Temple, he took a teaching position at Penn Treaty Junior High (in Phila.) where he taught Health and Physical Education for two years. After taking the exam for teaching at the high school level in 1964 (where he placed first) he selected to teach at Southern High. At SPHS he taught Health and P.E. for the next 10 years (1964 to 1974).
During this time, he coached three sports both on the Varsity and Junior Varsity level.

Following is a list of the sports that he coached:

  • JV Football 1964 thru 1974
  • JV Basketball 1964 thru 1966
  • Varsity Basketball 1967 thru 1974
  • JV Baseball 1964 thru 1966
  • Varsity Baseball 1967 thru 1974

During his coaching career, his name was shortened by his players, and he was respectfully called "Mr. Kos.” During the years of 1970 to 1974 he went to Temple University at night to earn his master’s degree in health education which was a requirement for him to take the Department Heads Exam in Philadelphia. He received his Master’s Degree in the Spring of 1974. In the Spring of 1974, he took the exam to become a Department Head and again placed first. In the Fall of 1974, he took the position of Department Head and Athletic Director at Dobbins Area Vocational Technical High School where he stayed for two years.

Upon the retirement of Mr. Len Kolenda in 1976 Mr. Kos transferred to Southern High as the Department Head of Health & Physical Education and the Athletic Director. Here he stayed for the next 24 years, retiring in June of 2000. The Health and P. E. Department, when the school was on three teaching shifts, had 24 P.E. teachers in the Department. During this time, he was also the Chairman of Baseball for the Philadelphia Public League (1978 thru1984) and Basketball Chairman (1984 thru 2000). These two positions were to create the playing schedule, develop an officiating staff and make the game assignments for the officials of the sport.

In 1997 due to District Budget cuts, the number of Department Heads at Southern was changed from five to three. One for the Math and Science Departments, one for English and Social Studies and the Departments of Industrial Arts, ESOL & Foreign Language, and Art and Music were added to Mr. Kos’ supervision.

Mr. Kos, as he was called by the Southern High students,  decided to retire in June of 2000 with 34 years of service in the School District of Philadelphia and with 24 of these years being at South Philadelphia High School.

Rosemary Trombetta, Former SPHS teacher

Rosemary Trombetta began teaching at South Philadelphia High School in September, 1966, after graduating from Holy Family College with a BA in English.
She earned an M. Ed., for which she received a Letter of Distinction from Temple University in1970 for excellence in comprehensive examinations for  a master’s degree, and in 1977 an MA in Italian from Middlebury College.
In 1977, Principal Benito Farnese appointed Rosemary sponsor of The Southron, the school newspaper which in 1989 won first prize for excellence from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Trombetta believed in creating a classroom environment of active student involvement. In 1984 one of her classes produced the final act of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for several other student groups. The students provided scenery, costumes and lively acting to bring Shakespeare to life for themselves and others. In 1989 she was nominated for the award of “Teacher of the Year” by fellow teachers.
Over the years, she was frequently asked to supervise student teachers.

Russell Shoemaker Class of 1974, Community Service

Russell Shoemaker is a South Philadelphia Native who exemplifies a lifelong commitment to helping his neighborhood and community. Russell is a graduate of South Philadelphia High School. Russell is a True Family Man and proud parent of 4 children and 11 grandchildren. Russell served in the Army National Guard for 17 years. Russell currently sits on two Boards, The South Philadelphia Business Association as membership Director and The South Philadelphia Lions Club.

Russell has been with the South Philadelphia Business association for over 10 years. He helps build the association through fund raising and new memberships. He has raised Thousands of Dollars over the last ten years toward The SPBA Scholarship through his relentless time and effort selling and promulgating advertisements for The SPBA Ad Book.

For the last 5 years, Russell has been an asset to the South Philadelphia Lions Club where he also brings in new members, promotes service projects and brings awareness to the community. Due to his efforts the South Philadelphia Lions Club is recognized in 9 different countries.

In the past, Russell has been a part of Town Watch and the Police District Advisory Board, where he was Chair for 10 years. Russell has a strong relationship with the police department and continues to work closely with them. He is part of a family of Blue!

In 2018, Russell was a recipient of the Legion of Honor Award, given to him for his selfless work and dedication to others. This award was presented from the Chapel of Four Chaplains, another organization that he works with very closely.

Russell continues working hard every day on new ideas to help local clubs get stronger and continue to grow. He loves his South Philadelphia Community and it truly shows through selfless service to his Community.

Yvonne Haughton  Class of 1977,
SPHS Alumni Board Member

Yvonne Haughton graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1977. She considers her high school years to be her time of self-exploration, friendships and learning that life is all about adventures. She has served as the Public Relations Chair on the South Philadelphia High School Alumni Executive Board for 7 years.

Ms. Haughton represents the SPHS Executive Board attending Alumni Reunions, SPHS student and staff events, community events in South Philadelphia and School District events related to the SPHS Community.

She is tasked with the joy-filled responsibility of providing a friendly face and positive energy at all events related to the SPHS community. Her duties may include unconventional methods such as helping ‘get the party started’ and/or joining participants on the dance floor. Someone has to do it!

Currently, she serves with Alumni Social Media Chair Liz Olivieri and classmate Larry Sechuk to communicate information to our SPHS Alumni. She also writes articles for the Alumni Association website and newsletter and local publications.

As a 75-77 cheerleader, with her sister Katherine Miller and classmates Linda Farrell, Rita Redfern and Sherrelle Prittchette she was, due to her petite size, often the top of the human pyramid, a sometimes perilous position, but worth it for the team.

From 75–77 she was a writer for The Southeron, the school newspaper, under the steady guidance of Mr. Rysinski, with classmate Regina Argenio. Her talent and dedication to excellence in journalistic integrity propelled her to become the Assistant Editor for the 76-77 school year. She still regrets the hairstyle she wore in the Class of 1977 Yearbook photo.

During the 1975 school year Yvonne was a member of the SPHS Track team. She participated in the 880 Medley Relay, she ran the 110 leg. Although she was fast and worked very hard, her biggest contribution was to not drop the baton during competition, as she often did in practice!

Her SPHS Journalist roots led her to become a columnist for several publications in Philadelphia including, 10 years writing and Editing “Scoop USA” newspaper with publisher, the late Sonny Driver, and 2 years writing for “The Real News” with Publisher Terry Johnson.

Yvonne is the Chief of Communications for the ‘Class of 1977 Reunion Committee’ a job she shares with’77 Class President John Tart. The Committee is led by Chair classmate Curtis (The Captain) Lyles and Georgette Dukes Mickens.

She is the proud mother of her only child, Danielle Haughton-Johnson and grandmother to 3 beautiful grandchildren, Zora Nina and Ava.

Yvonne credits her years at SPHS for her sense of adventure and her love of lifelong learning. She is thankful and grateful for this award.