CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Croton-Harmon High School welcomed alumni Jonathan Henes and Jason Newman on Nov. 21, in a special ceremony to recognize their accomplishments since graduating.
The pair were inducted into the school's Hall of Distinguished Graduates.
Henes is a graduate of the Class of 1987, and Newman is a graduate of the Class of 1996. They began the day by introducing themselves at a schoolwide assembly, and then visited several classes with student guides.
At the end of the day, they were formally inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Graduates during a brief ceremony.
"We had a wonderful day today with our graduates," Assistant Principal Mark Maxam said at the ceremony.
Senior Laura Vallejo introduced Henes, a former CHHS three-sport varsity athlete and male athlete of the year, and current partner at the law firm Kirkland and Ellis, where he specializes in complex corporate restructurings.
Henes graduated from Union College with a bachelor's of history in 1991 and from Benjamin Cardozo Law School with a law degree, graduating cum laude.
"He is currently regarded as one of the top restructuring lawyers in the nation," the school noted, and he's written extensively and contributed to numerous media sites, including CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg.
He's also lectured at Harvard Business School, the Wharton School and New York University.
Henes emphasized to the students the importance of giving back. He serves on the board of directors of nonprofit organization CaringKind and is the co-founder and a board member of the Foundation for Education in Honduras.
"This is really an amazing honor -- very humbling," said Henes. He also noted how much the school has changed and praised the students for asking interesting questions. "Find your passion and follow it. Do good and give back."
Madeleine Camillieri, a senior, introduced Newman, who recalled being one of the school's earliest participants in the CHOOSE program. After graduating from CHHS, he got his bachelor's in both literature and rhetoric and philosophy, politics and law from SUNY Binghamton.
He then went into writing and editing, and his article on the gay hip-hop scene for URB Magazine garnered him a GLAAD Media Award nomination. Later, as a senior writer and associate news editor for Fuse, he created "Crate Diggers," an online video series delving into artists' record collections.
Newman has been senior news editor at Rolling Stone for the past three years. In 2004, he co-founded Hip Hop Karaoke, the country's first and biggest hip-hop karaoke event, which has since spawned 15 affiliates worldwide.
Newman said he was "blown away" by some of the course offerings at the high school, like animal physiology and Mandarin.
"Thank you for introducing these diverse classes to students," he said. "Like the CHOOSE program, what you learn here and what you don't even think you are interested in really does progress for the rest of your life."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edward Fuhrman Jr. thanked the two alumni for giving current students a perspective of their potential.
"What we try to be here in Croton is a place where kids can learn and experience and figure out a direction," he said.
"To actually see what can happen and what's possible -- it shows you what is out there in this world. We are thrilled to have you come back and share with our students. They really appreciate the models that you have set."