Held at the Waterfall room at 2015 S. Swanson St. from noon to 3 p.m., the South Philadelphia High School Alumni Association will recognize its 2023 Award of Excellence recipients, including educators John Koskinen and Rosemary Trombetta; community service member Russell Shoemaker; and executive board member Yvonne Haughton. Tickets are $37 per person, or $20 for children 12 and under.
Koskinen taught health and physical education from 1964 to 1974 at Southern and coached football, basketball and baseball at both the varsity and junior varsity levels. Known respectfully by his players as “Mr. Kos,” Koskinen became the department head of Health & Physical Education and the school’s athletic director in 1976, staying for 24 years.
Koskinen also served as the chairman of baseball for the Philadelphia Public League (1978-1984) and basketball chairman (1984-2000).
Trombetta began teaching at South Philadelphia High School in 1966 and was later appointed sponsor of Southern’s school newspaper, which won first prize for excellence from the University of Pennsylvania.
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. In 1989 she was nominated for the award of “Teacher of the Year” by fellow teachers.
Shoemaker is a South Philadelphia native who exemplifies a lifelong commitment to helping his neighborhood and community. A graduate of South Philadelphia High School, Shoemaker is a proud parent of four children and 11 grandchildren and served in the Army National Guard for 17 years.
Shoemaker currently sits on the South Philadelphia Business Association as membership director and the South Philadelphia Lions Club. He has raised thousands of dollars over the last 10 years toward the SPBA Scholarship through selling and promulgating advertisements for its ad book.
Shoemaker has been a part of Town Watch, the South Philadelphia Lions Club and the Police District Advisory Council, serving as chair for 10 years and a recipient of the Legion of Honor Award in 2018.
Haughton is a 1977 South Philadelphia High School graduate and has served as the public relations chair on the school’s alumni executive board for seven years.
Haughton represents the SPHS executive board attending alumni reunions, SPHS student and staff events, community events and school district events.
Currently, she serves with alumni social media chair Liz Olivieri and classmate Larry Sechuk to communicate information to the SPHS alumni. She also writes articles for the Alumni Association website and newsletter and local publications.
During her time at school, Haughton ran track and was a member of the cheerleader team and was a writer for the school newspaper. Her SPHS journalist roots led her to become a columnist for several publications in Philadelphia, including 10 years writing and editing Scoop USA newspaper.
She is the proud mother of her only child, Danielle Haughton-Johnson, and grandmother to three grandchildren.