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Class of 2024 / Biographies

Zanesville City Schools  \  ZCS Hall of Fame  \  Class of 2024 / Biographies
Widney Brown

Widney Brown attended Pioneer Elementary School, Hancock Junior High, and Zanesville High School, where she was a member of the Quiz team her junior and senior years. She attended George Washington University, where she majored in Philosophy and English, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

After college, Widney moved to New York City, where she worked as a graphic artist, earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and took numerous trips exploring different corners of the world. At 35, Widney enrolled in New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden Scholar.

After graduation, she worked as Legal Director for the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. In 1998, Widney began her career as a human rights lawyer, joining Human Rights Watch, where she worked researching human rights violations in numerous countries. During this time, she was an adjunct professor at Yale Graduate School of Public Health, teaching public health advocacy in the Global Health Program. In 2006, Widney moved to London to assume the position of Senior Director for Law and Policy at the Global Headquarters of Amnesty International. Widney was involved in cases before the International Criminal Court and led Amnesty International’s campaign for an Arms Trade Treaty. During this time, she did research and documentation in numerous conflict zones with the goal of documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity in the pursuit of justice for victims. In 2014, Widney returned to NYC to work with Physicians for Human Rights and helped develop MediCapt, an award-winning app, launched at Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo, which is led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege.

In 2017, Widney returned to domestic issues when she joined Drug Policy Alliance and worked to end the overdose crisis. In 2020, Widney stepped back from the demanding travel of her activist work and joined the faculty of Barnard College of Columbia University as an assistant professor in the Human Rights Department.

Widney lives with her partner, Violet, and their dog, Tasha, in New Jersey.
Selina Christian-Safari

Selina C. Christian-Safari graduated from Zanesville High School in 1982. Her athletic versatility was evidenced by competing in various sports, including the girls basketball and track teams.

Utilizing her speed, strength, and endurance, she competed in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter dash, and 400-meter hurdles, and she also anchored the 4x100-meter relay. Selina still holds school records in the 100 (11.7), 200 (24.9), 400 (57.6), and 100-meter low hurdles (14.1). All were set in 1982.

She earned a full athletic scholarship in track at Ohio University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in General Studies, graduating in 1986. Selina was inducted into OU’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994. She was a three-time NCAA National Qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles and the leading member for Ohio’s 1983 and 1984 Mid-American Conference Women’s Track and Field Championship teams. Selina won the MAC 400-meter hurdle title in 1985 (59.02), and anchored the 1983 400-meter relay championship team. Selina holds three OU track records: 100 meters (11.54; 1983); 55 meters (indoor-6.89; 1983); and the 500 meters (indoor-1:05.5, 1984).

Selina began pursuing a career as a Registered Nurse in 1995. She first received her Certified Nurse Assistant Certification (CNA), then continued on to earn Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Licensed
Vocational Nursing certifications before being accepted to the “Bridge” RN Program at UCLA. She accepted a position in Neurology at UCLA in 2001. Selina also has vast experience as a private duty nurse, having worked with clients in Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and Encino, California.

Selina was hired as a Correctional Staff Registered Nurse for The Los Angeles Sheriff Department in 2003. She rose through the ranks to become Supervisor Staff Nurse I Sheriff in 2008. Selina retired in 2017.

Also, on November 23, 2004, Selina and her husband received a U.S. Patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) carry-on bag. Patent #US6820878-B2.
John Jackson

John graduated from Zanesville High School in 1986. He was a three-sport athlete and an eight-time letterman. He served as co-captain on the football, basketball, and track teams. John was a deep-ball threat on that great ’85 football team (9-1 and ranked #4 in Ohio), averaging over 30 yards per catch, and led the team in interceptions. In basketball, John was all-conference and all-district. In track, he was the fastest sprinter in Southeastern Ohio and was all-region in four events.

John was a member of the National Honor Society, the President of the ZHS Chess Club and the first Academic All-American in ZHS history. He graduated in the top 10 of his class with a 3.9 GPA.

John earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Miami University in 1990. He then graduated from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1993, with a focus on corporate law.

He began his 30-year career as a corporate attorney with the Popham Haik law firm in Minneapolis, Minn. (1993-1996). He then became the Corporate Attorney for Nash Finch Company (a publicly-traded company), where he was responsible for mergers & acquisitions and securities compliance (1996-2000).

In 2000, he moved from Minneapolis to Columbus, and served as Senior Counsel–Mergers and Acquisitions for Cardinal Health (a Fortune 100 company). In 2005, he joined Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
as Associate Vice President–Mergers & Acquisitions, where he led the team through record-setting M&A activity. He continues to lead mergers and acquisitions transactions ranging from $5 million to $1 billion.

Over the past twenty years, John has served on the Board of Directors for various non-profit organizations: Children’s Hunger Alliance, After-School All-Stars, City Year (Columbus). and the 100 Black Men of Central Ohio, all focused on enhancing resources for youth.

John is the son of Michael Jackson (ZHS ’63) and Pauline Jackson, the big brother of Raquel Jackson-Silva and Ranji Jackson, and the proud father of three daughters – Sydney, Shelby and Symone. John enjoys playing basketball, riding his bicycle, hanging out with family and friends, and playing with his DJ equipment.
Fritzie Urquhart

Fritzie’s love of art and being creative was fostered and encouraged by teachers in Zanesville. She became hooked as a 9-year-old finger-painter at Garfield School, learned how to draw in perspective and to respect India ink from Mr. Charles McCormick at Grover Cleveland Junior High, and was given the freedom to be creative with her ideas as Miss Beulah Thompson’s art student at Zanesville High School.

After graduating from ZHS in 1955, Fritzie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio State University, and then a Master of Art degree from San Diego State University. She has been a teacher and an artist in Ohio, California, and New Zealand.

Fritzie has worked with many media, including pencil drawing, paper sculpture, metal sculpture, concrete, plastic, fabric, and a variety of other materials. During the pandemic, she published a book entitled Lockdown 2020, a satirical collection of political illustrations and commentary. Her works have won awards and have been exhibited in galleries and museums. Large outdoor steel sculptures are on campuses of universities and hospitals, and soft sculptures are in botanical gardens. Five tall sculptures have been part of the Urban Trees Project in San Diego’s Embarcadero district. Fritzie’s large metal sculpture of a bright red excavator bucket was part of the annual Palm Desert show on El Paseo Avenue.

Solo shows include an outdoor sculpture show “Hear I Come, Ready or Not,” at the Carlsbad Sculpture Garden, and an exhibit of paintings titled “Nineteen Redheaded Women.”

California State University San Marcos has installed four of Fritzie’s sculptures, as well as a 12-foot-by-4-foot painting in the lobby of the President’s office. The work she is most proud of – the Whispering Bench – was completed in 2020, and is a tribute piece created for the retiring Cal State president. The elliptical-shaped cast concrete bench is 26 feet by 15 feet, weighs 15 tons, and sits at the center of the school’s 304-acre campus. The polished concrete bench stands 4 feet high and is acoustically engineered so that the slightest whisper travels the bench’s curve to the opposite side. She hopes that everyone has the opportunity sit and whisper into the bench.
Edwin Young

Basketball has been at the heart of Edwin’s life since his days starring for Zanesville High School during one of the school’s greatest eras of success.

From 1992 to 1996, the Blue Devils suffered few defeats with him as the team’s undeniable leader at point guard. After a 20-0 season on the junior varsity as a freshman, Edwin’s ZHS teams became synonymous with excellence for the next three years, which included the school’s most recent OHSAA state championship.

He helped ZHS to a 19-6 record and a berth in the Division I regional tournament as a sophomore, and was chosen 2nd Team All-Ohio. The undefeated, 26-0 state championship came the next year – and the honors flowed. He was most outstanding player in the sectional tournament, 1st Team All-District, 1st Team All-Regional, Most Valuable Player in the state tournament, and 1st Team All-Ohio.

Edwin was chosen the state’s Division I Player of the Year as well as Player of the Year by The Times Recorder in 1996 after the Blue Devils went 23-1. All of that helped earn him a full scholarship to the University of Dayton.

At UD, Edwin was the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997, helped the Flyers win the Atlantic-10 regular season championship in 1998, and set the team record for consecutive free throws made in one game (19) in 1998.

Edwin began a career with State Farm Insurance after earning degree in public relations with a minor in business. He owns and operates his own agency, which is a $3.8 million business in Cincinnati that services more than 2,500 households.

At the same time, he’s been an NCAA Division I men’s basketball official and currently works for nine Division I
conferences across the United States. That includes the men’s national tournament from 2020 through 2024.

He has two daughters, Alexis (25) and Layla (14).
1926 Boys Basketball State Champions
The 1926 boys basketball team finished the regular season with a 10-2 record. They won the Eastern Ohio District tournament at New Concord by defeating Dover, 30-20. That sent the Blue Devils to the state tournament in Columbus, where they beat Akron East 40-27 in Class A to give ZHS its first state championship. 

After much discussion and controversy, the ZHS team traveled to Chicago for the national tournament. They lost to Newton, Kansas, by a score of 26-15. But then the Blue Devils rattled off four straight wins in the consolation tournament and were deemed to be the second-best team in the United States.

Team members included Howard Bethel, Harold Bolin, Henry Bynum, Gene Duvall, Fred Lowe, Myron Pitcock, Edwin Price, Paul Roberts, Robert Ruland, Ray Smith, Wilbur Smith, and Eugene Trace. They were coached by Gail T. Vannorsdall.