2019 Alumni Teacher Hall of Fame

Ruth Kernagis   1973-1995  Latin

Ruth graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa and received her Masters degree from IUN and Valparaiso University.

Her teaching career began in Crete Illinois at Hubbard Trail Junior High teaching Latin1 and then in Crete-Monee High School.  She taught in Illinois for 5 years. Ruth then taught at Taft in Crown Point and at Crown Point high school for 37 years until her retirement in 1995.

Ruth really enjoyed teaching Latin and the Latin program grew and grew. It was eventually second highest enrollment next to Spanish. Ruth was elected Indiana Latin teacher of the year, twice. Her students won many awards and held state offices in the Indiana Junior Classical league.                                                                                                            After Ruth’s husband passed away from Cancer, she became very involved with American Society and served as chairman of Crown Point Relay for Life for four years.

Ruth was then called to work in a bilingual school in Roatan, Honduras. The second year she was there she sent boxes of textbooks, they had none. Their principal asked if Ruth could put in a library at the school. Ruth had put a very small library in Flowers Bay, where she lived in Roatan. Crown Point Rotary Club decided they would like to help with the school project. The Rotary were able to get an international grant. They started collecting books for a library and with the help of many; they were able to send 10,000 books. They now have a very nice library at the school. Ruth works in the library every year that she is in Roatan.

Ruth states the work she does in Honduras is very fulfilling, She has been able to give many scholarships to students and see many students graduate.

Ruth remarried and her husband Art also loves the island and is a great help. They will return this year for the nineteenth year.

Janet W. (Szot) Drag1968-2004  English,  American Literature and Composition

Janet Drag was born and raised in Speedway, Indiana, until graduation in 1964. While in high school, she was a member of National Honor Society, Booster Club, Drama Club and the Varsity Marching Band 500 race flag corps. In 1965 her family moved to Crown Point. She earned her BA in English from Ball State University and a MS in Education from Indiana University. She began her career at Taft Junior High in 1968 where she taught 9th grade English until 1974 when she resigned to be a stay-at-home mom. She resumed her teaching experience in 1979 at Crown Point High School. Her class assignments were freshmen regular and honor English, Junior American Literature and composition, and American Studies. She particularly enjoyed witnessing the newly discovered appreciation for Shakespeare in her 9th grade students while studying Romeo and Juliet. During her years at CPHS she sponsored the cheerleaders and student booster club. She also sponsored the Girls’ Varsity Club. In addition, she joined other Crown Point colleagues in the production of the play Spoon River Anthology. After 31 years in Crown Point schools, she retired in 2004.

Janet’s son Darren and his wife Kirstin live in Edwards, Colorado; they have a daughter Payton, age 6 and a son Griffin, 3. Her husband Robert has two daughters.  Deborah, husband Kraig, and their 13-year old twins, Madison and Matthew, live in Wisconsin. Barbara and husband Charles live in Maryland.

Carl V. Smolik  1954-1965   Music Band Director 

Carl V. Smolik was born in March of 1923 in New Castle, IN. Like his father, he started playing musical instruments at a young age.  At the end of high school, when WWII broke out, Carl was drafted into the U. S. Army. During the war he played in the Army Band and entertained the troops all over Europe.

When the war ended Carl went to Ball State Teacher’s College where he earned BS and MA degrees in Music. His first teaching experience was in Spiceland, IN.  Four years later, in 1954, he moved his family to Crown Point where he taught music for eleven years. During that time the high school band earned many honor in District and State Competitions. The best honor of all was when the band was invited to perform at the 1964 Midwest National Band Clinic in Chicago. Each year, only a hand full of bands were selected to perform in this prestigious event.

Shortly after that, Carl left teaching, but he never left music. He became the District Manager of sales for the Selmer Musical Instrument Company. During the next 25 years he traveled Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey providing quality band instruments to school music programs. In that role, Carl was considered as one of the top salesmen year after year.

Carl passed away in 2005, and his wife of 58 years, Janelle Bailey Smolik passed away 15 months later. They left behind three children: Steve Smolik, Sheri Williams and Kathy Dempster-Hood with a total of 6 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

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