The Miami Valley School held its annual Alumni Awards and Special Recognitions event last night at the Dayton Country Club. Current parents, alumni, parents of alumni, and teachers gathered to recognize and celebrate this year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumna, Alumni Service, and Headmaster’s awards.
Laura Chambers-Kersh was introduced by retired faculty member Fran Inbody and received the Distinguished Alumna Award. Chambers-Kersh graduated magna cum laude from Boston University in biology and Hispanic languages and literature. While in medical school, she served on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana and completed a fourth-year elective in family medicine in Cuba. During her residency, she was chief resident and Resident Teacher of the Year. As a physician, she served on the Navajo Nation Reservation in New Mexico and at the Darnall Army Medical Center in Texas. In Malawi, she performed clinical work in the maternity ward of Kamuzu Central Hospital and served as a program management advisor in the Population, Health and Nutrition Office of USAID/Malawi, where she helped administer a $100 million portfolio of programs.
Chambers-Kersh spoke after receiving her award, crediting MVS for her global education and career path. “Time and again, as I meet people from all over the country and world, I am struck by how exceptional my education at MVS truly was,” said Chambers-Kersh. “The strong background in critical thinking and the encouragement to explore the vast world around me have been the basis for my pursuit of medicine and my efforts to serve at home and abroad.”
After citing many scenarios from her time abroad and thanking those who were crucial components of her life’s path, Chambers-Kersh closed her speech by quoting Richard Dowden’s “Africa,”
“He writes that ‘humanity is the prize Africa offers the rest of the world.’ He says, ‘Amid our wasteful wealth and time-pressed lives we have lost human values that still abound in Africa.’ If it hadn’t been for the ability to appreciate what is different, an ability that began at MVS, I am not sure I would have been able to glimpse this in the patients around me.”
Frank E. “Pete” Zorniger and Kerry Sutton were also recognized for their service to the school. Zorniger was presented with the Alumni Service Award. Zorniger attended MVS for grades 2-12 before earning his bachelor’s degree at Miami University. His children are also MVS alumni, Drew ’07, Paige ’08, and Alex ’11. His wife, Kim, served the school as a volunteer and as director of admission. Zorniger served on the Head of School Search Committee in 2005 and the Board of Trustees and its Audit Committee from 2006 to 2009. In 2011, the Zorniger family created the Zorniger Environmental Laboratory, a facility where students actively engage in environmental studies and agriculture. Zorniger returned to the Board of Trustees in July 2012.
Sutton was the recipient of the first-ever Headmaster’s Award. Sutton and his wife, Susan, are the parents of two MVS alumni, Ajay ’06 and Taylor ’10. He served as volunteer project manager on the construction of the Alumni Theatre, the Zorniger Environmental Laboratory, the renovation of the Lange and lower school libraries, office reconfigurations, the Outdoor Exploration Center, and the Billy Glisson Field. Sutton was also deeply involved in the construction of the Rose Middle School, Lane Gymnasium, and Yanes Fine Arts Center in 2001-2003. His wisdom and foresight have been driving forces in campus improvements and enhancements for more than a decade.