Cardinal Mooney hosts award ceremony

Staff report


Cardinal Mooney High School and its Alumni Relations Committee recently honored the achievements of five alumni at the Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony. This year’s honorees were chosen as the highest examples of those who demonstrate concern and dedication to others by embracing Cardinal Mooney’s pillars of “Sanctity, Scholarship and Discipline.”

The 2018 honorees are Robert Babyak, Paulette Tkacik-Babyak, Judy Higgins-Reardon, Dr. James Kravic and Jennifer Pelic-Camero.

Paulette and Robert Babyak, both Class of 1970, were high-school sweethearts. Robert graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and was hired as an internal auditor by Lykes Corp., later LTV Corp. For the next 35 years, he held positions at RMI as internal auditor, manager of purchasing and manager of supply chain.

Paulette graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in education and taught at St. Matthias School. She then graduated from YSU with a master’s of business administration in accounting. She became general manager and CEO of Warren-Niles Republic Employees Federal Credit Union. During her tenure, she was responsible for overhauling operations and extending the life of the organization until it merged with Edison Financial Credit Union. At Edison, she was controller, human-resource director, loan officer, investment and compliance officer. She remained there until her retirement in July 2016.

Judy Higgins-Reardon, Class of 1983, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from John Carroll University in 1987 and returned to the area to work at her family’s funeral home business. Higgins-Reardon and her husband, Terry, purchased the business in 1999.

She was active in the Junior League of Youngstown for more than 20 years and is a sustainer. She is a long-time member of St. Charles Church and serves as a Eucharistic minister. Higgins-Reardon also helped with the Cardinal Mooney auction for several years.

Dr. James Kravec, Class of 1995, graduated from Youngstown State University and earned his medical degree from Northeast Ohio Medical University.

Kravec completed his residency in internal medicine at Summa Health Akron City Hospital. He is executive vice president and regional chief clinical officer at Mercy Health. Kravec oversees the overall mission, strategic leadership, and the assurance of quality care. He is chairman of the Amazing Patient Care council for Mercy Health Youngstown and is a member of the systemwide Mercy Health Amazing Patient Care council.

Additionally, he has served as a member and vice-chairman of the Lumen Christi Catholic Schools and is a member of the St. Christine School Advisory Board. He is a volunteer with various groups at St. Christine School and Church, where he and his wife are co-chairmen of the Parish and Family Life Committee. They also are the co-founders of the Catholic Charities Men Who Cook, which has raised $400,000 in 13 years. Kravec has served Cardinal Mooney as class champion for the Cardinal Challenge and as a speaker at career day panels.

Jennifer Pelic-Camero, Class of 1995, attended St. Mary’s College for a degree in accounting and finance. Graduating in 1999, she received her CPA license that same year and worked for several years as a tax consultant for Arthur Anderson in Chicago. She then earned her juris doctor from Northwestern University, graduating cum laude.

She became an associate attorney in commercial finance at Jones Day and later assistant general counsel for Brunswick Corp. in Lake Forest, Ill. Deciding to venture out on a different career path, she became a teaching fellow at the Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center. She joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University as an assistant professor, and in March 2016, became a fully-tenured professor. Pelic-Camero was diagnosed in the spring of 2012 with stage 4 breast cancer.

She continued her career while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries. She died March 14, 2016. SIU School of Law has established the Professor Jennifer Camero Scholarship Fund, which is awarded annually to a student who most represents her commitment, work ethic and scholarship.

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