March 23, 2009
Wyandotte Distinguished Graduate
Paluszewski, Alana (Branch) - 1970
Walworth, James - 1956
Alana (Branch) Paluszewski - Class of 1970
Life-long Wyandotte resident, Alana (Branch) Paluszewski, Wyandotte Roosevelt Class of 1970, has dedicated herself to the community and to the Wyandotte Public School District. She has volunteered since she was a teenager. As a Senior at Roosevelt High School, Alana produced live fairy tale plays for the District's summer Head Start Programs. While her own two children were in elementary school, she was PTO President at Taft Elementary School. The Superintendent invited her to serve on the District's Public Relations Committee for several years. Mrs. Paluszewski was a vital part of the District's successful bond renewal drive in 2003 by co-producing a promotional video that was shown on public access television.
Virtually every department at Roosevelt High School has benefited from her expertise. Funds from her annual celebrity autograph auction and video yearbook sales allowed the Learning Resource Center to replace worn furniture. The RHS Marching Band traveled to Walt Disney World in 1993 with the help of her fundraising efforts. Horticulture students relied on her advanced certification status as a Master Gardener for consultations, and for judging future Farmers of America competitions. Alana has been a guest speaker for Marketing and Foreign Language Classes. As a co-sponsor of Geoaddicts Travel Club, she has chaperoned students on eight separate trips to various European countries, Australia, and New Zealand.
Serving as the unofficial historian for the School District, Mrs. Paluszewski founded the Historical Archive Project that is housed at the high school. By collecting and organizing media, and purchasing books and related items, she has enabled students to research local history and learn more about their community. The book, The Pride of Wyandotte: The History of Roosevelt High School is the result of Alana's efforts. It has sold over 1000 copies, and one hundred percent of the proceeds have been donated to the high school.
Alana's writing skills have also earned her national recognition. Her extensive research on local celebrity Ann Marston resulted in Shooting Star: The Amazing Life of Ann Marston. The book was selected as a Top Ten Biography by ForeWord Magazine, a well-respected review journal. The Independent Publishers of America awarded Shooting Star a bronze medal for Best Regional Non-Fiction Book. It has been included in the Catalog of Recordings for the Blind. Additionally, Mrs. Paluszewski has been published in Michigan History and a variety of other periodicals.
A sought-after speaker and community volunteer, she continues to use her diverse talents effectively to benefit both the School District and the City of Wyandotte.
James Walworth - Class of 1956
James Walworth distinguished himself as a nationally renowned executive in the health care industry. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1956 and immediately enrolled in Wayne State University where he earned his B.A. and M.A. in Economics by 1961.
James began his professional career as a staff consultant for the UAW International Union on employee benefit programs and social welfare policies. After eight years with the UAW, James was appointed Assistant Director of a Kellogg Foundation Study in the WSU School of Medicine.
In 1973, James Walworth began his long and honorable career in the health care industry. He served as the President and CEO of Health Alliance Plan (HAP). Under his leadership he guided the growth of the not-for-profit HMO to more than 500,000 enrollees and an annual budget of $750 million. He created and served as CEO of Alliance Health and Life Insurance Company which operated in conjunction with HAP. In 1993, James led HAP into a merger with the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS).
While continuing as CEO of HAP, James was named Senior Vice President of HFHS. In that role he was a key player in the HFHS' Office of the President assisting in the acquisition of several area hospitals and bond issues with operating responsibilities for the systems senior program and nursing homes.
James Walworth has served on numerous Boards of Directors throughout our country, though much of his work has been in Michigan. He was Chairman of the Michigan Association of Health Plans (1990-1991), Board of Directors Guidance Clinic in Southgate (1991-1999), Board of Directors Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital (1990-1998), and the Board of Directors Greater Detroit Area Health Council (1997-1998).
Over the years, James has been recognized as an expert by the health care community. After his retirement in 1998, he continued as a consultant to the health care industry, with special strengths in physician/hospital relations, corporate structures, health care delivery and financing and management/trustee effectiveness training. He is currently serving as a board member of the Grand Valley Health Corporation (Grand Rapids), and as a corporate member of the Munson Health Care System (Traverse City), and as a member of the Torch Lake Township Planning Commission.
James Walworth has been recognized for service to his community. He was Chairman of the Detroit Festival of Arts and was presented the Detroit Urban League Leadership Award in 1995. In 1998, the Detroit City Council honored James with the Spirit of Detroit Award.
James resides with his wife Sylvia in Torch Lake, Michigan. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.