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Alumni Spotlight

If you would like to be part of our Alumni Spotlight, reach out to social.media@elanco.org or fill out the Spartan Alumni Interview Survey.
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Allison Cuthie Profile Photo

Allison Cuthie

Class of 1999

 

Current Occupation:  Associate Director of Development at Garden Spot Village and Mom!

 

Career Path: I had always been interested in education and appreciated English and its focus on communication. After teaching high-school English, I spent ten years at home taking care of children. During that period, I strove to strengthen my marketability by taking on several volunteer projects in the community, as well as writing for LNP, Media Group. I discovered a natural knack for fundraising and event planning and took a position at Garden Spot Village, where I currently raise funds that care for older adults who have exhausted their financial resources.

 

Favorite memory: I was crowned the Homecoming Queen my senior year. That was definitely a surprise for me, and it taught me that it was more important to connect and love as many different people as possible in life, rather than keep that appreciation to a certain few. The world needs it!

 

Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? Nancy White- While I did not actually have her as a teacher, she was my volleyball coach and then personal friend after high school to the present. I learned how a strong, successful, smart, compassionate, competitive person handled themselves. She had a confidence, but not an arrogance. She had a loving persona, but not a saccharin facade. I never got the impression from her, that one should ever really "settle". When you were in her presence, there was no question you mattered. To this day, she is an example of someone to emulate- who does what she loves, where she loves it, and continues to grow in her interests and appreciation of the world around her.

 

Professional/personal accomplishments: I continue to consider my number one job to be the mother of my four kids. I have 13-year-old twin girls, an 11-year-old girl, and a 10-year-old boy. I've had the pleasure to serve on several committees and boards that focus on empowering the community in which I raise my family. I have often worked on the fundraising side of non-profits and continue to do so where I can. I love my job working with and for older adults. Every day is a gift from God, and I intend to live each day for His glory, with all I can offer.

 

I would not mind offering some advice to students. Take advantage of as many different opportunities as possible. Play lots of different sports, read lots of different types of books, join the clubs, exchange ideas respectfully and play nicely. When an opportunity presents itself for you to volunteer- do it. You will learn things you would not have the chance to learn otherwise. When you start questioning if you are smart enough, good enough, talented enough to try something, stop it. Take the gift that is your everyday and fill it up with ways to serve. Your community will be better for it, as will you.

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Andrew Goodman Profile Photo

Andrew Goodman

Class of 1996

 

Current Occupation:  Lobbyist / Business owner at Milliron Goodman, llc

 

Career Path: After high school I entered the Air Force on active duty. I served four years of active service then another year in the Air National Guard. I attended Millersville University and earned a BS with two minors. I Interned at the Attorney General's Office and networked in the Harrisburg area. Soon after the internship, I was offered a job as a legislative "grunt" for a lobbying firm. After 8 years of difficult work, I became a partner. Also during those 8 years, I earned a Master of Business Administration degree. Four years after becoming a junior partner, I earned the title of Managing Partner and own the firm of Milliron Goodman.

 

Favorite memory: I remember the people being very good to each other. The community supported the district and the district was responsive to the community.

 

Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? There were a lot of strong influences on me during my time at Elanco. I certainly give a lot of credit to the teachers, staff, and administrators. However, I believe the strongest influence on me during my time was my friends. I am very lucky to have had, and continue to have, a group of friends that actually cared for each other and had each other’s best interest in mind. Beyond my friends, their parents cared about each of us and watched out for us all as if we were one of their own. It is a bit strange, but fantastic, that most of those strong friendships exist today and I am proud that all of us have done well for ourselves and most importantly for our families.

 

Professional/personal accomplishments: The most important accomplishment that I've earned is a wonderful family.

 

Showing up is 99% of the equation. Think differently. Do the right thing when people aren't looking.

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Rebecca Branle Profile PhotoRebecca Branle

Class of 1996


Current Occupation: Small Business Owner, Lititz Bikeworks


Career Path: Unconventional. Writing is the string that ties it all together, but I've evolved from the buttoned-up, corporate advertising world to the very different world of bike shop ownership. From early childhood, I knew I wanted to write. As an anxious teen, I always found an escape in words and found my confidence in Garden Spot's honors English program. After graduating from Ursinus College, I grew to the position of Senior Copywriter at QVC. This afforded me the opportunity to do Tae Bo live with Billy Blanks and meet Mr. T (yes, this ages me, but man was it a fun life for a few years!). From QVC, I matured into a career writing, producing and directing television commercials for clients across the country. It was fun, but it's amazing how quickly starting a family turns the romance of business travel into a logistical nightmare. I ended that career to focus on my children without much of an idea where I'd head next - a privilege I recognize not everyone has. Bicycles were never on my radar, but my husband was itching to leave a career in publishing that had him traveling to the Middle East. His passion has always been bicycles - winning state and regional titles on road and cyclocross bikes throughout his adulthood. Together, we created a unique business model, combining traditional retail sales with bicycle tourism. Our mission has always been to "create a better community through bicycles." I find my fulfillment creating events that use bicycles as a catalyst for community enrichment. This year, our annual Cranksgiving food drive ride raised nearly 18,000 pounds of food for Ephrata Area Social Services. Our Merry Little Community Drive is in the process of collecting nearly 100 gifts for local kids in need. I use my writing and marketing skills to grow our business, and help our community thrive.


Favorite memory: Senior Class Trip to Disney World. That was pretty awesome. For laughs? We were doing mock interviews with Mr. Hornberger for a business class, I think. I was extremely nervous and awkward. Mr. Hornberger went to sit down, missed his chair, and landed with a flop on the floor. It totally broke the ice!


Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? The two Ms - Mr. Murphy and Mr. Murray. Mr. Murphy for always seeming to so genuinely enjoy my writing. I needed to hear that. Mr. Murray for showing us the beautiful world words can create when perfectly strung together.


Professional/Personal accomplishments: Earning Phi Beta Kappa is a huge honor. Defending my thesis on James Baldwin's short fiction to be awarded department honors at Ursinus was a beautiful way to punctuate my senior year of college. Professionally, getting to see my commercials air on networks throughout the country was great, but even more rewarding is building a family business alongside my husband. We offer free cycling clinics to kids every summer, operate bike shares on the Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail, and work with community organizations like Mainspring Ephrata, Ephrata Area Social Services, and Northern Lancaster County Regional Police. Personally, I'm very proud of the writing I've done this year, some of which can be found at LancasterSpeaksUp.com. I was also honored to host Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Elect, Kamala Harris, at our home for a meeting with the Lancaster County Democratic Veteran's Caucus.


I guess I'd want to share that these accomplishments don't matter much if I haven't grown as a person. Like lots of us, in high school I suffered from anxiety and struggled with self esteem. Those things were my mountains and my attempts to climb and conquer them blinded me from some of the kindness I needed to extend to others...who were all climbing mountains of their own. I guess that's the biggest lesson I've learned - to open my eyes to the struggles of others, to learn about the struggle, and then ask myself if there's a way I can help. I think that's the true definition of success - not money made, or job titles earned, but rather lives touched, stories heard.

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Nick Good Profile PhotoNicholas Good

Class of 2014


Current Occupation: Director of Administration/Public Information Officer at Garden Spot Fire Rescue. 


Career Path: Youth Business Services Representative - Lancaster CareerLink/EDSI Field Representative - Senate of Pennsylvania Grant Coordinator - Lancaster County Workforce Development Board Communications Intern - Hempfield School District Communications/Research Intern - Lancaster County District Attorney's Office - Communications/Public Relations


Favorite memory: Favorite memory would be participating in the GSHS Jazz Band as a guitarist and also as a member of GSPA. I had the honor of being in several leads and loved working with the late, and forever legendary, Stan Deen. 


Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? I will rank my three top influencers at ELANCO for this one: My father, Steve Good, who was also my assistant principal because he pushed me as both a father and an educational mentor to never settle for less than the best. Scott Miller, who I had for statistics, for dedicating his time and efforts to guide me beyond the classroom and help me achieve personal goals. Neil Weidman, who I had for Advanced Composition and Speech, for helping me develop as a leader and revealing my inner potential.


Professional/Personal accomplishments: Carson Scholar's Fund Recipient in 2013 and 2014 Carson Scholar's Honorary Alumni Speaker - Pittsburgh - 2016 Graduate of Millersville University Class of 2018 - Bachelor of Science in Speech Communication with a focus in Public Relations.

 

I am forever proud to be an alumnus of Garden Spot High School! I wish everyone the best at my alma mater and offer one piece of advice - never settle for less. You are bright and offer a fresh perspective in this world, so continue to push and you will succeed.

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Anne Williams Profile PhotoAnne Williams

Class of 1997


Current Occupation: Director of Communications at Lancaster City Alliance


Career Path: I think it is important to share that for many years, my career path was a struggle. As a student in high school and college, I did everything right. I got good grades, I was accepted into an excellent university, I participated in the most dynamic activities, and I secured two strong college internships. I checked every box I needed to set myself up for career success. Except, it didn't turn out as I envisioned. For the first 16 years of my career, I was frustrated, bored, underutilized, I watched as the guys got all of the promotions, I was stuck in a rut, and laid off twice.  Most of the time I was convinced I was in the wrong career, I reasoned that if I had chosen the right type of career, that it would not have been this much of a struggle. Throughout that time, I wanted to go back to school to become a teacher, but there were so few openings and the certification process so cumbersome, that I continued to stick it out in marketing and communications. What I did become good at during this time was observing leaders and taking inventory of what I saw as effective and not effective leadership. I also continued to improve my writing and communication skills because that was about the only thing I felt like I could control.  I also got good at putting together a great resume and staying on top of changes in the hiring industry.  So, when I got laid off for the second time in 2017, I was ready. Days after the layoff, out of nowhere, a recruiter messaged me and said she had a job that she thought I was a good fit for. God bless that recruiter, she was the first person in my career to act on my potential. That phone call resulted in my current job at the Lancaster City Alliance. A job that allows me to showcase my skills and put the lessons I learned in the first half of my career into action. 


Favorite memory: I have many good memories, but the best ones revolve around music or sports. There were a handful of times on the field or the stage when things just clicked and the team or musicians achieved a level beyond ordinary. It felt a little like you were floating and time slowed down in your favor. I can remember hitting the closing notes of Rhapsody in Blue, a difficult song the band probably had no business playing. However, it all came together and we nailed it. I can remember everyone, including the conductor, looking around with a sparkle in our eyes, breathless with adrenaline and emotion, it was the best feeling in the world, and I have never forgotten the sensation. You don't get many of those opportunities as an adult and so I have always held on to the sparkle we created that evening. To this day, I look for ways to recreate it. 


Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD?  Todd Reitnouer. He was my basketball coach in middle school and field hockey coach in high school. He was a tough coach and scared me to death, I was completely out of my comfort zone working with him. However, I was determined to make the team and succeed at field hockey. I had general athletic ability but I wasn't the most gifted athlete either, so I had to work at it. Therefore, the combination of him pushing me out of my comfort zone and my stubbornness to stick it out, without question, molded me into the resilient, comfortable in my own skin, and hardworking person I am today.  


Professional/Personal accomplishments: There were several opportunities in my career where I had the opportunity to sink or swim. But time and again, I dug in and figured it out. They don't typically give out professional awards for grit, but if they did, I think I could win it. (See Todd Reitnour's influence, above.) 


In addition to being an athlete I also participated fully in the music program and even won the music department award as a senior. (Fun fact, I also got to take part in Mr. Deen's last show at Garden Spot, Meet Me in St. Luis) One thing that has stuck out to me over the years is how as a student, I could participate fully as both an athlete and a musician. The school provided an environment where I had the freedom to do that. Unless I was just unaware, being an athlete or a musician at Garden Spot didn't carry the stigma it did at other schools. I am grateful for that because it allowed me to be myself and truly explore both passions of sports and music and I am grateful for that opportunity.   

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Brandon Bixler Profile PhotoBrandon Bixler

Class of 2019


Current Occupation: Freshman at Penn State University Schreyer Honors College, Undergraduate Intern, Global Teach Ag! Network


Career Path: After having an incredible and transformative experience during my four years as a member of the Grassland FFA chapter at Garden Spot High School, I went on to serve as the State Vice-President for Pennsylvania FFA. In this role, I took a gap year from post-secondary education and travelled across the state and country to advocate for agriculture education and youth leadership. Upon completion of this role this past summer, I began my undergraduate studies at Penn State University Schreyer Honors College studying Agriculture and Extension Education with minors in International Agriculture and Entrepreneurship/Innovation. In the future, I hope to teach agriculture science at the high-school level. I look forward to doing international research focused on sustainable development and empowering entrepreneurs in developing countries to achieve self-sustainability through small-business ventures. I currently work as a Global Teach Ag! Network Intern, where I help create and deliver globally-minded programming to educators in the United States and around the world.


Favorite memory: One of my favorite memories from my time spent at ELANCOSD would be getting to teach a Middle School agriculture club during my senior year of high school. It was an awesome opportunity that allowed me to work with students in a new way and helped me to gain valuable experience as an educator before even beginning college. ELANCOSD benefits from a strong Internship and Co-op program, and I cannot overstate the value that these first-hand, real-world experiences added to my education! I also enjoyed being a part of the student body and cheering on the Spartans at various different events.


Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? My time at ELANCOSD afforded me countless incredible role models and positive influences. Numerous teachers and administrators within ELANCOSD took the time and effort to invest in my life, and I am extremely grateful for this! When Mrs. Katie Ranck came to Garden Spot High School during my junior year, I saw an example of the type of teacher and leader that I wanted to be. Mrs. Ranck helped me understand more about agriculture, worked to help me achieve my goals, and pushed me to achieve more than I ever thought was possible. I feel blessed to have been a student in her classroom, and someday hope to make this same kind of impact on students of my own.


Professional/personal accomplishments: Serving as a Pennsylvania FFA State Officer was a goal of mine throughout high school, and it was a true privilege to serve in this role over the past year. I was recently selected as a Borlaug Scholar by the World Food Prize Foundation, and have the honor of presenting my research on agriculture, education, and small-business in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the World Food Prize Convention this fall. I look forward to the years ahead at Penn State University and am excited for the possibilities the future holds.


I am forever grateful for the solid foundation I received during my time at Garden Spot and in the ELANCO School District. While I have only been out of high school for two years, I truly value the connections I made and the experiences I gained during my time as an ELANCO student.

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Derek Dienner Profile PhotoDerek Dienner

Class of 2003


Current Occupation: Executive Producer at MAKE/FILMS


Career Path: I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I started my business shortly after high school. I built a team over the past 13 years and now MAKE/FILMS is an award winning production company. We produced commercials and video content for businesses like Hershey, Sheetz, Benchmark Construction and many more. We also produce documentaries, one of them currently airing on PBS stations called Dismantling Democracy.


Favorite memory: I made videos for the Garden Spot school store and that allowed me to really practice filmmaking at an early age. 


Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? My high school teach Mr. Lowell taught a class about entrepreneurship, and I really enjoyed learning from him and his personal experience as a former businesses owner. 


Professional/personal accomplishments: Entrepreneur of the Year, Lancaster Chamber, Built a team of 12 filmmakers in Lancaster county, Won multiple telly awards for directing and music, and was nominated for an emmy award for a show I produced called "Dream Weddings", it aired on WGAL for 5 years

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Emily Blackwell Profile PhotoEmily Blackwell (Eby)

Class of 2006


Current Occupation: Talent Selection & Recruitment Manager at High Company


Career Path: Upon graduation from HS, I went to a 2 year business school. I was hired right out of college at High in an entry level administrative role. Since then I have worked my way through various departments and positions. They also paid for me to go back to college to get my BS in Business with a concentration in Human Resources.


Favorite memory: There was a class offered for seniors called Entrepreneurship, which allowed us to run the school store. It was a great opportunity to be creative while having fun and learning. It also helped me later in life when my husband started his own business.


Who influenced you the most during your time at ELANCOSD? Brad Harris - He was kind and welcoming. He also helped me to realize my true potential and determine my career path. We knew that his door was always open anytime we needed anything.


Professional/personal accomplishments: My greatest accomplishment is finishing my degree and being able to succeed in a salaried level role at High. I have had a lot of great mentors throughout my 13 years of working there and know that I can do anything with a lot of hard work and dedication.

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