Distinguished Graduates share wisdom with MHS

McKenzie Zobrist

By McKenzie Zobrist and Olivia Simpson

On October 11, two distinguished alumni, Don Shackelford and James Carter, traveled back to the district to discuss their lives and offer advice to students.

Don Shackelford (link to video interview)

Shackelford, class of 1950, was one of the first editors of the Warpath and among the first class to graduate from Mariemont. He could recall his great social experience at the high school, but mentioned that he didn’t spend much time on his studies.

Shackelford went on to study at Denison University where he learned “you don’t have to be a jock to get the girls.”

Following his schooling at Denison University, Shackelford applied for business school at Ohio State and Harvard. To his surprise, Ohio State turned him down and Harvard accepted him. He graduated from Harvard as a Baker Scholar. 

After college, he served as a Captain in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He was then Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of State of Savings Bank for 25 years and Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp. 

Recognized for his business and philanthropic success and leadership, Shackelford and his wife, Tekie, have donated to various non-profit organizations throughout Ohio. Their accomplishments are admirable.  

James Carter (link to video interview)

Carter, class of 1961, attended Mariemont as his fifth school. “Even the academics in elementary school were beyond me,” he said. Carter believes that education at Mariemont prepared him for college. Even though the high school was not that diverse, sports acclimated him with a diverse group of people.

During his high school career, Carter was the president of the Acapella Club as well as a member of the football, basketball, and track teams.

Following high school, Carter attended Cincinnati Bible Seminary to play basketball. There, he achieved a Bachelor of Science in Theology. Following his schooling at CBS, he attended the University of Cincinnati where he got his Masters in Special Education.

Today, Carter is recognized for working as a Chief Executive Officer of Child Focus where he helped the company grow from helping under 300 children to now helping over 15,000 children and families. Additionally, Carter worked with schools in Russia and Ireland regarding bullying prevention programs.

Recognized for his leadership in mental health in youth, Carter proves that there is hope for mental help. His accomplishments are truly admirable.