Meet Jane (O’Donnell) Reich – Walt Whitman Class of 1978 and 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee

“I believe my experiences [playing sports at Whitman] built-up my self-confidence, taught me how to work hard and push myself beyond what I thought possible, and most importantly experience firsthand the value of good teamwork.  Lessons I have embraced and used throughout my life.”  Jane (O’Donnell) Reich
“I believe my experiences [playing sports at Whitman] built-up my self-confidence, taught me how to work hard and push myself beyond what I thought possible, and most importantly experience firsthand the value of good teamwork. Lessons I have embraced and used throughout my life.” Jane (O’Donnell) Reich

My Early Years: I was born in Bayside Queens and moved out to Huntington Station at the age of one. I attended Central Elementary school 1st through 6th grades and was a member of the last class to graduate from Central Elementary school in 1972.   I attended Memorial Jr High School for 7th, 8th and 9th grades where I learned to play the Clarinet.  My favorite teacher was Mr. Reilly my ninth grade English Teacher. English was not my favorite or best subject, but I LOVED being in his class! He made learning fun.  His class was demanding and he made every day a challenge! I grew up with two brothers, one sister and six cousins; all graduates of Walt Whitman High School.  Currently my cousin Brian Dreher is a teacher at Walt Whitman HS and my niece Meghan O'Donnell and nephew Sean O'Donnell attend Walt Whitman HS.

My Professional Career: My professional experience has centered on providing quality services and supports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families in residential, school based and community settings.  For the past 30 years I have worked at The Center for Developmental Disabilities Inc. where I have been a determined advocate, helping improve the lives of hundreds of individuals with disabilities through my roles as the Director of Adult Residential Services, the Director of Quality Assurance and currently as the Director of Adult Day Services.

My Personal Life: After high school I attended St John’s University for two years and then transferred to SUNY Geneseo where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1982. At Geneseo I played on the woman's basketball team and received the female athlete of the year award my senior year. I Received a Master’s in Public Administration, Long Island University, School of Business and Public Administration, Brookville N.Y. July 1992 Concentration in Health Care Finance. Inducted as a member of Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration 1992. I was married in 1987 (divorced 2005) and moved to East Northport NY in 1988 were I have lived for the past 26 years. I have two boys; Ryan 23 (Graduate of RIT) and Devin 21 (currently studying to be an electrician) both graduates of Northport High School. To this day I love the game of basketball, enjoy playing golf and belong to the Executive Woman’s Golf Association.  I am a diehard NY Giants football fan.

Awards and Acknowledgments:  I have had a very blessed life and now that my boys are older I find I have more time to give back to my community.

•My newest endeavor has been volunteering with the Cow Harbor Warriors. A local nonprofit organization focused on "honoring and enabling“ individuals in the tri-state area who were wounded as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), by raising funds and awareness and enlisting the community’s support for organizations that advance wounded warriors past their visible and invisible injuries. www.cowharborwarriors.com

•Youth Directions & Alternatives (YDA) Board Member: A non-profit community and youth agency serving the school districts of Elwood, Harborfields and Northport New York. Currently serving my second term as Board President. A volunteer member of the YDA Board of Directors since the fall of 2007.  www.ydaonline.org

•Surrogate Decision-Making Committee Panel Member: Currently serve as a Chairperson of the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee for the New York State Commission on Quality Care for the Mentally Disabled. These Committees are an alternative to the courts to provide consent or to refuse major medical treatment for persons with mental disabilities who are unable to provide their own informed consent and have no family or guardian to provide or withhold surrogate consent on their behalf. Appointed to SDMC in May 2003. Serve as a Chairperson since 2008.

•St Elizabeth CYO Basketball Coach: CYO 5th-6th grade boy’s intramural basketball coach 2010 – 2011 & 2011-2012 seasons.

•Hicksville-Jericho Rotary Club Member: a service club of like-minded business and professional leaders from the Hicksville-Jericho community who work on improving our community through local, national and international humanitarian activities. A club member from October 2004 to June 2009. Board President July 2007 – June 2008. Awarded a Paul Harris Fellow in 2008. Woman in Rotary distinction award in 2008.

A Brief reflection on your time at Walt Whitman:  A time filled with many opportunities to grow and learn about myself and begin to see the world beyond Huntington NY.  While at Whitman I played Varsity Basketball 10, 11, 12 grades and Varsity Volleyball 11th and 12th grades. I believe my experiences on these teams built-up my self-confidence, taught me how to work hard and push myself beyond what I thought possible, and most importantly experience firsthand the value of good teamwork.   Lessons I have embraced and used throughout my life.

Please join us:  Jane, along with six other distinguished Walt Whitman alumni, will be our honored guest at this year’s Hall of Fame festivities, which will take place during Walt Whitman’s homecoming weekend on Saturday, October 18. We invite the community to stop by and say hello to Jane and the other honorees.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

9AM- Hall of Fame Breakfast (WW South Cafeteria, RSVP/Tickets Required)*

11AM- Hall of Fame Ceremony (Turf Field)

11:30AM- Homecoming Parade (Whitman Campus and surrounding neighborhoods)

12Noon- Hall of Fame Tailgate Party (Whitman Campus)

2PM- Football Game (Turf Field)

* To RSVP tickets for the Hall of Fame Breakfast contact us at HallofFame@shufsd.org