2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner Profile

Congratulations to the 2022 Recipients of the Ponaganset Distinguished Alumni Award:

Arnold Poole - Class of 1975
Arnie Poole is lawyer and municipal court judge in Oregon. Arnie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island and received his commission as a 2 nd Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. He also participated in the URI marching band, wind ensemble, and orchestra. He had served in the US Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan as Logistics Officer, Supply Officer, and Fiscal Officer attaining the rank of Major in 1991.

Arnie received his Juris Doctorate from Williamette University College of Law in 1988. As a lawyer, his primary practice has been as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney from 1990 to present (2023). He has represented people charged with crimes of everything from trespass to major felonies. He has also advocated for prisoners who were appealing convictions showing that their due process procedures were not followed by another court. Arnie has also been actively involved in assisting people with mental disabilities obtain appropriate treatment within the mental health system instead of the criminal justice system.

Not only has he made a career of defending those who could not afford a lawyer but his performance over many years has led to being selected as a Municipal Court Judge in McMinnville, OR, in Toledo, OR, and in Lincoln City, OR.

In addition to his professional activities, Arnie is very active within his community. He is a volunteer, a commissioner, and serves on the Boards of Directors for:
Linn County Oregon Defenders;
Linn County Court Appointed Special Advocates (for children);
Linn County Juvenile Consortium;
Oregon State Military Access Panel;
Oregon State Bar New Lawyer Mentor Program;
Boy Scouts of America Adult Volunteer;
Calapooia District Roundtable Commissioner;
Calapooia District Adult Training Chairman;
CPC Advance Youth Leadership Program staff;
Woodbadge Adult Leader training staff;
Scoutmaster Troop 99;
Santiam River District Eagle Scout Board member;
Order of the Arrow;
President’s Volunteer Service Award;
Calapooia District Commissioner;
Santiam River District Commissioner.

“While on the bench or in my practice, I try to treat each person I encounter with dignity and respect, including clients, other lawyers, court staff, police and witnesses.“ — Arnie Poole

Linda Samson Lane — class of 1978

Linda is an accomplished Martial artist, teacher, and mentor to her students. She has distinguished herself as a Master Instructor (“Shihan”).

Her curricula include American Kenpo karate, Okinawa karate, Jiu Jitsu, Kobudo — self-defense and personal safety. She holds the rank of Godan (5 th degree Black Belt) in Kenpo and Nidan (2 nd degree Black Belt) in Kumi Chi Juijitsu.

In addition to her martial arts career, Linda is also a makeup artist employed on television series and films that shoot in RI and MA. Her most recent projects include HBO’s Julia, The Storied Life of AJ Fikery, NOS4RA2,and Aftermath.

The combination of these two careers both complement and depend upon one another — summed up best by the Kenosha Karate school motto: “Mind Body Spirit”.

Through a grant from CAST (Citizens and Students Together) Linda was able to produce, direct, and offer a dance program to every member of the Foster-Glocester community — from kindergarten to senior citizens.

Linda has traveled worldwide to train with the best teachers in martial arts and has brought that knowledge back to her students and mentees.

“Having a lasting, positive impact on another individual is the greatest reward of all … some of us prefer to do our good deeds quietly.” — Linda Lane

Jeff Hopkins — class of 1988

Jeff is a renowned artist, illustrator, and educator. After graduating from Ponaganset as the class valedictorian (and class president for 3 years) he received his undergraduate degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and then a graduate degree from Harvard University for Arts in Education.

Jeff has worked with the Whitney Museum of Art in New York, as an illustrator for children’s books for MacMillan/McGraw-Hill, as an animator for a Nickelodeon TV show, and stars in his own story-drawing PBS series.

He has overseen the education programs for the Whitney Museum and developed programs for school groups, adult visitors, and an after-school program for children from a nearby temporary housing shelter. Additionally, Jeff began working with The Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, Arts Connection, American Ballet Theatre, and other arts institutions. As a New York City-based arts educator, he was frequently asked to present or lead workshops and share his expertise and experiences in arts education. The Guggenheim Museum asked Jeff to create a video drawing series for them — “Sketch with Jeff”, which now appears nationally on PBS as part of the show CAMP TV.

Jeff has been:
Keynote Speaker at the Rauschenberg Foundation;
Keynote Panelist at Continuing the Conversation - Harvard Graduate School of Education;
Host and facilitator of week-long summer professional development for teachers at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum;
Guest Speaker at the Metropolitan Museum of Art;
and, Storyteller-in-Residence at the Delaware Art Museum

Heidi Verity Rivard — class of 1984

Firefighting/EMS/First responder

Heidi, now retired as Captain, was the first female officer with the Providence Fire Department. She paved the way, broke down barriers, and overcame many obstacles for women in the workforce — particularly, in the at-the-time, male-dominated fire departments.

She was first in her class for the Rescue Captain test in 2005, a member of the Fire Department Honor Guard, and was recognized by RI Monthly as one of Rhode Island’s Amazing Women. It was not easy in the late 1980’s for a woman to be accepted into such professions as a firefighter and rescue personnel. Heidi was determined to make firefighting and emergency services her career — starting as a volunteer with the Harmony Fire Department as a teenager. She then earned her EMT certification and became a full-time member on the Smithfield Fire Department and eventually to the Providence Fire Department.

Heidi had received many unit and distinguished heroic action citations for duties above and beyond normal. She not only took every test and passed, she did so with confidence. When on the job she was very much respected and loved by her fellow firefighters — male and female. She was part of the family and a member who was a leader and someone who always made others better. As more women joined the force, Heidi was someone these young people could look up to.

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