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Schalmont's Wall of Distinction welcomes two more

Memories shared by families during school's ceremony

The legacy of two men won't be forgotten, and their faces and stories will greet Schalmont high school students every day.

Schalmont Central School District held its fifth annual Wall of Distinction Induction ceremony to honor two past graduates. Inductee Dr. James Ryan was involved in cutting-edge research in the field of human genetics related to seeking cures for cancer. By indentifying genetic makers for cancer, Ryan helped establish genetic testing to determine predispositions to particular cancers within families. Fellow inductee Edward Troiano has worked as a mechanical engineer for the Army, BenEt Laboratories since 1984 and holds three patents and one provisional patent related to his field.

We are proud to place these plaques on our Wall of Distinction, and they will serve as an inspiration to our students on a daily basis as they walk past those plaques, said Schalmont High School Principal Terry Nash.

Dan Ryan, brother of Dr. James Ryan, said he was the youngest of six children in his family, so when he was born his brother "Jim" was already attending high school. James Ryan graduated with the Class of 1974 and Dan Ryan graduated with the Class of 1989.

"In my earliest childhood memories of him, he was already off to college starting what would become an amazing academic and professional career," said Dan Ryan. "Unfortunately, in a cruel twist of fate, cancer took Jim from his family and his patients far too early. My brother Jim was the most intellectually gifted person I have ever known."

Even though James Ryan was told he only had months to live after being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, he fought the disease for five year before he died in 2006.

What Dan Ryan thought revealed the true character of his brother was the time he made sure to spend with him when he came back home.

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