Distinguished Alumni 2011
Graduates of Great Oaks programs can be found in almost every career field and at the top of their professions. Each year, the Great Oaks Education Foundation honors the top nominees among those who have excelled in their professional and personal lives. This year, three alumni were honored as Distinguished Alumni at a December 14 dinner, sponsored by the Foundation.
Kenneth “Doc” Kilgore
A police specialist for the Cincinnati Police Department, Kilgore is better known to listeners of local radio stations Warm 98 and MOJO as popular host Doc Kilgore. Kilgore graduated from the Broadcast Arts program at Scarlet Oaks in 1979. After brief stints on several local radio stations, he spent 14 years as a broadcaster in Houston at KMJQ, KWWJ, and KSBJ and in Chicago at WBMX. While in Houston, he studied his other passion, law enforcement, at the University of Houston. In 1997 he returned to Cincinnati, joining the police force and continuing his work in radio. He is currently a Police Specialist for the Cincinnati Police Department. Kilgore also serves his community as a frequent volunteer and emcees and hosts the Inner City Tennis Projects annual fund raiser. He was nominated by Great Oaks instructor Joanne Easley, who said “The quality and drive of who he is speaks loudly through his achievements.”
A 1975 graduate of the Live Oaks Carpentry program, Turner has owned Turner’s Jet Construction and Family for more than two decades, building high-end homes and light commercial buildings across the region. He began his career in construction while still a senior at Live Oaks, with Frank Fisher Construction. As a successful construction company owner, Turner has hired dozens of other Great Oaks graduates. He serves on the advisory board of the Laurel Oaks Construction Framing and Finishing program, and helps judge local student competitions. His generosity extends to the community as well; his company has worked on four homes for Habitat for Humanity and he helped to build the Ruth Lyons House to raise money for charity. “Jerry continues to give back to his community, and his passion for construction and the future of Great Oaks students is obvious to all who know him,” said nominator Tom Bixler.
In the early 1970s the first Great Oaks students attended Laurel Oaks, staying overnight during the week in converted barracks. Shawn Wilkin was one of those students, and he became part of the original graduating class of 1973. After completing the Masonry program, he spent the next 25 years working in the field before accepting the opportunity to return to Laurel Oaks and begin teaching. He has an associate's degree from Hocking College, and earned his teaching certificate at Wright State University. For the past 14 years has prepared hundreds of students to become successful masons. In fact, his program was featured in the national publication of the Masonry Contractors Association of America. He maintains strong relationships with industry leaders for the benefit of students, and he has led students in supporting the community by building structures at schools and in parks throughout Highland and Clinton counties. He has helped to raise thousands of dollars to send students to regional, state, and national competitions.
The three nominees were honored by the Great Oaks Board of Directors and other friends of Great Oaks, and their biographies will be placed on the walls of each campus to inspire future students.