Class of 2016

  • S. Mark Courtney- Class of 1974. Highly active is the best descriptor of both the Mercer High School life and post-secondary career of S. Mark Courtney, graduate of 1974. A heavily involved participant in a myriad of academic and athletic student organizations, Mark was renowned for his strong work ethic. Upon graduation, Mark earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, WV, earning a Medical Science degree in the Physician’s Assistant program in 1978. Mark went on to earn an additional Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science at Slippery Rock State College in 1980. Mark then worked as a Physician’s Assistant for Family Healthcare Partners, Grove City, PA, from 1981 until 2014. During that time, Mark also provided his medical services to the State Correctional Facility in Mercer and various local nursing homes. In 1979, Mark started a sole proprietorship, Runner’s High, a road race timing service. This company began by providing timing services to organizations within the Mercer County region. A family enterprise, Runner’s High developed a machine to prepare computer chips for running events. The business continued to grow and in 2000, Runner’s High became the first timer in Pennsylvania to time runners with computer chips on their shoes. By 2010, the company was providing services to over 350 races per year, sometimes 10 races at time. These encoded shoe chips, which are prepped in Grove City, PA, have been shipped to places across the world like Puerto Rico and Indonesia. Some of the most notable races that have used the services of Runner’s High include the Pittsburgh Great Race, Pittsburgh Marathon, Air Force Marathon, Baltimore Marathon, Boston Marathon, and the Gate River Run. An avid runner, Mark has not missed a single day of running since December 19, 1979 (13,000+ days), which currently ranks him 33rd on the United States streaker list of consecutive running days. He has competed in the Boston Marathon for 36 consecutive years, which currently ranks him as 18th on the active streaker list. In 2006 Mark won the 50-59 age group of the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:46:44. Overall, Mark has completed 160 marathons with a personal record of 2:28:48 in the Chicago Marathon of 1990. As of 2016, Mark has a lifetime mileage of 98,000 miles and has competed in more than 1,800 races

    Anna Belle (Kelso) Jones- Class of 1941. Anna Belle (Kelso) Jones graduated valedictorian of the Mercer High School class of 1941. She furthered her education at Grove City College and graduated as an honor student in 1945. After college, Anna Belle worked as a court stenographer before becoming the legal secretary at Stranahan/Sampson Law Firm. At the encouragement of these attorneys, especially James A. Stranahan Jr., she trained to become an attorney under the old “clerkship” process and passed the Pennsylvania bar exam in 1965 without the benefit of law school. Anna Belle Jones became the first woman admitted to full-time practice of law in Mercer County when she was sworn-in on November 12, 1965. She practiced with the Stranahan & Stranahan firm until 1979, when she and her neice, Mary Anne McConnell incorporated a law firm, Jones-McConnell, P.C. It was there that she practiced until July 2008, when her health suddenly declined. In addition to an outstanding law career, Anna Belle served as a public servant to the Mercer community. She and her family were active members of the Coolspring Grange and the Mercer United Methodist Church. In her adult years, she served on the boards of United Way, Children’s Aid Society, and the Regional Jail Prison Chapel. She was President of the Brandy Springs Park, Inc. for over 30 years, during which time she spearheaded fundraising for construction of an additional pool, and both sought and received land donations to enlarge the park. Anna Belle and her husband, William North Jones, had one son, James K. (Kelly) Jones, who graduated from Mercer High School in 1971. She was also the proud grandmother of two grandchildren. Anna Belle (Kelso) Jones passed on October 31, 2013.

Class of 2017

  • Cedric Butchy-Class of 1968. Cedric Butchy has been an integral part of Mercer Area School District since 1987, serving on the School Board of Directors continuously for the past thirty years. A lifetime resident of the community, Mr. Butchy has remained dedicated to the school district. A graduate of the Mercer High School Class of 1968, Mr. Butchy attended Theil College before beginning a thirty-year sales career in the automobile industry in the communities of Mercer, Grove City, and Hermitage. In 1987, Mr. Butchy was elected to the Mercer Area School Board and has remained since. Serving as the president of the school board for 28 of those 30 years, Mr. Butchy has been instrumental in the success of the Mercer Area School District. In addition to his local school board duties, Mr. Butchy has been a member of the Intermediate Unit IV Board of Directors, representing school districts in the counties of Lawrence, Mercer, and Butler. Beginning in 2008 and continuing to this day, Mr. Butchy serves as the President of the MIU-IV Board of Directors. Having represented the Mercer Area School District at multiple national and state conferences, Mr. Butchy has presented on behalf of the Mercer Area School District at national conferences in Nashville, San Diego, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Mr. Butchy remains active in various community organizations around the Mercer community. In recent years Mr. Butchy and his wife have established a tea shop in Volant, PA, known as Special-Teas, Etc. Mr. Butchy and his wife currently reside in the borough of Mercer.

                                 Cedric Butchy                Cedric Butchy    
                                                                             Mr. Cedric A. Butchy        


    General Alexander Hays- Class of 1836. One cannot study the American Civil War without reading about United States General, Alexander Hays. Born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, Alexander Hays graduated from what was then known as Mercer Academy in 1836. Prior to enlisting with the United States Military Academy at West Point, Hayes was a college graduate of Allegheny College. As an active serviceman, Second Lieutenant Hayes fought in the Mexican War of 1848. Following the war with Mexico, Hays temporarily resigned from military life, working as an iron trader out of Franklin, Pennsylvania, a California gold prospector in 1849, as well as a civil engineering entrepreneur. At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Hays reentered the military as a Captain in the 63rd Pennsylvania Infantry. As a result of his gallantry in action at the Seven Days Battle, Hays was promoted to the rank of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel. After shattering his leg at the Second Battle of Bull Run in 1862, Hays was appointed Brigadier General and placed in command of the XXII Corps, then in charge of defending Washington D.C. from confederate attack. In July 1863, glory found Hays again at the Battle of Gettysburg, where he is credited for leading the defense of Cemetery Ridge, and having two horses shot out from under him during the battle. After the battle, Hays received his final promotion, Brevet Major General. On May 5, 1864, Hays was killed in action at the Battle of the Wilderness. Respects were given to honor the befallen general by the major of Pittsburgh, who ordered all businesses in the city be closed down for four hours in order to give the public a chance to pay respects. In life, Hays had become a close, personal friend of General Ulysses S. Grant, who said this about his friend, “He was a noble man and gallant officer. I am not surprised that he met his death at the head of his troops. He was a man that would never follow, but would always lead in battle.”

                                                                         Alexander Hayes
                                                                                 General Alexander Hayes