Hall of Fame


Becker, Nancy V.

Nancy V. Becker 

Class of 1966

Student #4719 – 2012 Hall of Fame Excellence


After graduating in 1966, Nancy graduated from Gallaudet University, then moved to Massachusetts, where she landed her first job as the houseparent in a group home. There, she met Jack Levesque, who got her involved in the Massachusetts Association of the Deaf (MSAD.) and the New England Athletic Association of the Deaf. In time, she was recognized as a community leader by Harlan Lane at Northeastern University (NU) and was employed at NU as the ASL Program Coordinator, where she continued to run the ASL program for seventeen years. Sadly, she became ill with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and had to resign from her position at NU; however, she continued to volunteer and lend her wisdom and experience to various organizations in support of the Deaf community. Two weeks before her death, she wrote her last article for MSAD’s “Deaf Community News” (DCN). Nancy was a firm believer in volunteering and encouraged everyone around her to become involved in helping others to gain experience and develop their skills. 


Cassin, Barbara Jean

Barbara Jean Cassin

Class of 1975

Student #4433 – 2012 Hall of Fame Excellence


Barbara began her relationship with the American School for the Deaf at the age of three with her parents, Donald and Rosemarie Cassin, who immersed themselves with in everything that ASD had to offer. Barbara was actively involved in ASD’s sports (basketball, field hockey, and softball), the Student Body Government, and Jr CAD. Her academic achievements included the Headmaster’s Award and scholarships. At a very young age, Barbara learned that dedication, perseverance, and hard work were the foundations for success. These lessons have guided her throughout her adult life as a leader and valuable team player. In addition to her job as a Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Connecticut, she has collaborated with many other state agencies and resource providers to improve access to services for deaf and hard of hearing. Her involvement with and commitment to the Deaf community extended to her “out of work” life, especially with the ASDAA as an active member, holding various offices since graduating from ASD. She also has been involved with the Connecticut Association of the Deaf (CAD), having served as President and Vice-President. She is currently the first Vice President of the ASD Board of Directors.


Mezzanotte, Judith "Judy" Eileen (m. Gilliam)

Judith “Judy” Eileen Mezzanotte (m. Gilliam)

Class of 1963

Student #4089 – 2012 Hall of Fame Excellence


Judith enjoyed a fruitful 27-year career at the Alabama School for the Deaf as a classroom teacher, dean of girls, supervising teacher, director of instructional services, and director of the primary department. 


As an advocate for the deaf community, her focus has been at all levels whether local, state, and/or national. Her personal mission emphasis has been advocacy in education, interpreting, and rehabilitation. Some of the milestone and major activities include serving on advisory councils for State Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation and Alabama-Governor’s Office of Disabilities, as President of the Alabama Association of the Deaf, Chair of the Certification Committee for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and on the Board of Directors for Communication Services for the Deaf.


In addition, Judith served on the State Bias Review Committee for the Alabama Basic Competency Examinations where she was involved in the development of appropriate language structure; the results came out so well that the state used the examinations not only for deaf people, but also for the hearing population. She led the establishment of state-level mental health facilities, helped bring about Alabama Legislation recognizing an American Sign Language as a foreign language, co-chaired the National Council on interpreting that promoted and completed the new interpreting certification test, and served as the 2012 National Association of the Deaf Conference Chair.


Mozzer, Susan (m. Mather)

Susan Mozzer (m. Mather)  

Class of 1969

Student #4237 – 2012 Hall of Fame Excellence

Dr. Mather graduated with a B.S.W. (social work) from the Rochester Institute of Technology, an M.A. in Linguistics from Gallaudet University, and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University. She is the first Deaf woman from ASD to earn a doctoral degree. Among her significant accomplishments was establishing the first “Listen to the Deaf Week” in 1974 to promote a better understanding of the American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture while as a student at NTID-RIT. She encouraged the Mayor of Rochester, New York, to create a declaration of “Listen to the Deaf Week”. Mather is also the co-author of the well-exclaimed book “Movers & Shakers: Deaf People Who Changed the World”. Another major accomplishment of hers is her work in researching the use of appropriate eye gazes in classroom discourse. While she taught at Gallaudet University for over 20 years, she published many scholarly articles, and developed a training program on visually based classroom discourses, which emphasized visual approaches instead of auditory approaches. Mather has served on the ASD Board of Trustees and various education committees. 

DonAroma Jr., Paul Frank

Paul Frank DonAroma, Jr.

Class of 1963

Student #3990 – 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame


Paul was a three-sport athlete at the American School for the Deaf (ASD), where he lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. He played quarterback and was chosen as a co-captain of the football team in his senior year. On the basketball team, he played forward and helped ASD to win the Eastern States Schools Championship in 3 of his four high school years.


Paul played several positions on the baseball team, including pitcher, catcher, and first baseman. In addition to his on-field accomplishments, he earned multiple student/athlete honors, including the first Robert Wade Athletic Trophy.


Off the field, he served his classmates as a member of the Boys’ Athletic Association, plus other activities. Paul was an avid sports fan, cheering for his beloved Cleveland Browns, UCONN Huskies, and New York Yankees.


Furman, Robert Stephen

Robert Stephen Furman

Class of 1965

Student #4127 – 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame


During the football season, fans and sports announcers called Robert a “Monster Bob Furman” because he was a very aggressive player in defense. He played football from the midget team to Varsity as an offensive and defensive lineman. He got All-American and Achievement awards in 3 years for defensive, having made 28 tackles a game. Also, he was Co-captain of the team. He was called “Big Bob Furman” during the basketball season because he was an excellent rebounder. Bob played varsity basketball for three years, and also, he was Co-Captain. He earned an award for the Eastern Tournament Championship. In addition to his football and basketball skills, Bob was a great Varsity baseball player, and his batting average was around .300 for four years.


Hallaway, Sammy

Sammy Hallaway

Class of 1962

Student #4052 – 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame


Sammy was a tough wrestler who controlled every move the opponents made and railroaded them to easy pins. Some of his opponents were tough, but he had the power to beat them.


Rinas, Daniel "Danny" John

Daniel “Danny” John Rinas

Class of 1970 

Student #4371 – 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame


Danny Rinas shattered all kinds of school scoring records in basketball at ASD, when he averaged 25.2 points per game during his junior season (1968-1969) and senior season (1969-1970). He was one of the purest clutch shooters of all time as he was known to shoot anywhere from the court (long 25–30-foot shots). There were no 3-point shots during his time. Danny played for the JV team during the 1967-68 season when he broke a record by scoring 32 points on February 12, 1968.          


Roosevelt Cunningham, a transfer from Alabama, played for the Varsity team during the 1967-1968 season. Since Roosevelt was overage for the ESDAA Tournament held in NYSD (Fanwood), New York, George MacKinnon, the Varsity coach, decided to add Danny, a sophomore varsity team for the tournament, and George said that it was the best decision he ever made. Although Danny played a total of 14.5 minutes for three games, he made the All-Star Tournament team. He played the last 1 minute and 32 seconds in the 1st round against West Virginia on February 22, 1968, and scored six straight points, including two free throws in the final seconds, to give ASD a 51-50 win. In the 2nd round against NYSD (Fanwood) on February 23, 1968, substitute Danny came off the bench at the start of the 4th quarter and turned a close game into a rout. Leading by a score of 48 to 46 when he appeared on the scene, ASD won, going away as he poured all 17 points in the final 8 minutes of action as ASD won by a score of 73-61. He could not miss as he went 7 for 7 in field goal and 3 out of 4 in from the foul line.


Danny tied Frank Rarus’ record by scoring 40 points on December 17, 1968, and later broke the record by scoring 49 points on February 21, 1970. This record still stands. At the ESDAA Tournament held on February 19, 1970, he scored 34 points, and on February 20, 1970, he made 49 points.   He still has the ESDAA record for points in 3 games and one game and the ASD record for 49 points. Given his basketball skills, he was named to the All-American Team when he was picked annually among schools for the Deaf. He also made the All-Star ESDAA Tournament team for three years (1968-1970) when he scored at least 31 points or more nine times during his Junior and Senior years.  


In addition to basketball, Danny was the men’s softball umpire from 1985 to 2015 for both deaf and hearing players. He also established and coordinated a weekly Deaf 3 on 3 Basketball League for over twenty-five years.


Stein, Judith Ann

Judith Ann Stein (m. Cronlund)

Class of 1963

Student #3975 – 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame


As a native of New Haven, Connecticut, and a student at ASD, Judie had played in all the sports offered by the school and has won several awards in several sports events: basketball, volleyball, badminton, speedway, and softball. She was involved as a cheerleader for about three years and a solo dancer during ASD graduations for many years.


Judie was the first girl student from ASD to be a part of the 1961 Summer Deaf Olympic held in Finland. She joined Deaf United States women’s swim team at the IX International Games of the Deaf. She performed well, winning a silver medal in the 4 X 50 meters freestyle relay and winning 6th in the 100 meters freestyle.


Judie graduated in 1962, even though she was in the Class of 1963. Everyone called Judie an “athletic girl” because she always played very well in every sport. As quoted by Mr. David Halberg in Judie’s yearbook, “Judy, you have been winning all events so far.”


Timko, Edward Robert

Edward Robert Timko

Class of 1955

Student #3880 – 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame


Despite his height of 5’5″, Ed Timko was a good basketball player. He “always” stole the balls from other players and would pass them to Frank Rarus and get many points. His position was offensive guard and feeder (passer).


Ed became involved with the JV football team, with Jack Wise and Vancott as his coaches. Because of his weight, about 90-95 pounds, Coach Jack would not let him play football. So, Ed ended up as team manager/water boy with Rocco Fiorino. Finally, he was able to play some football as a substitute as guard and tackle guard. For a short guy, Ed even made some touchdowns! He enjoyed numerous long trips with the football team.


Ed also played tennis, horseshoes, and wrestling, having received medals in wrestling and horseshoes. He won the Best All-American Athletic Award for the 1954-55 season with Coach Oscar Shirley.   


Chairperson: David Lawrence, ‘65

Assistant Chairperson: Alexandria McGee, ‘73

Advisor: Albert Couthen, ‘61 

Research Committees:

Peter McGee, ‘62

Earl Scheithe, ‘62

Selection Committees:

Dennis DuMund, ‘59

Stephen Dovanon, ‘62

Robert Backofen, ‘69


Chairperson: Alexandria McGee, ‘73 


Beverly Backofen, ‘70

Richard Golebiewski, ‘66

Anna Marie Rinaldi, ‘62

Robert Backofen, ‘69

Peter McGee, ‘62

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