Athletic Achievement – Class of 1998
Cecilia Potts is a former professional cyclist and was the 1997 Cross-Country Mountain Bike Junior World Champion. She was a member of the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team from 1995-98, and of the U.S. National Road Cycling Team in 1998.
Cecelia lived at the U.S. Olympic Training Center from 1998-99, and was named the 1998 VISA/U.S.A. Cycling Athlete of the Year. She was a consecutive four-year winner of Michigan’s Iceman Cometh cross-country race and, during her career, Cecelia competed around the world, including the United States, Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. In 1999, she retired from competitive cycling, and in 2002 she graduated from Central Michigan University.
A charter member of the United Way of Ventura County Young Leaders’ Society, Cecelia was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award by the Obama administration. She currently spends six months sailing in Mexico and the remainder of the year at her home in Maui.
Cultural/Performing Arts – Class of 1998
Croatian-American film and television producer Tonko Soljan began attending Grand Haven Area Public Schools at the age of 11, after his family left Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. The 2003 Grand Valley State University graduate is now the Executive in Charge of Production for Leftfield Pictures in New York City, considered the most sought-after and successful purveyor of unscripted television properties. Some include such popular programs as Pawn Stars, American Restoration, and Oddities.
Tonko is also known for the PBS-acquired film Beyond Our Differences, and the broadly distributed 2007 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection, Adrift in Manhattan, a feature film that included such stars as Heather Graham and William Baldwin.
In addition, he runs the boutique firm Moving Image Entertainment, a production, acquisition and branding company catering to the multimedia industry. Prior to joining Leftfield Pictures, he was Head of Production and in–house producer for Entropy Films in New York City. Tonko lives with his wife Christine and daughter Allegra in the New York area.
Cultural/Performing Arts – Class of 1995
Industrial designer Joey Ruiter is a 2000 graduate of the Kendall College of Art and Design, and in 2005 he established JRuiter + Studio, a design firm providing its clients everything from product concept to prototyping and manufacturing.
The winner of many prestigious design awards in a variety of industries worldwide, Joey also owns more than two dozen patents and has been featured in national media including Popular Science, Metropolis, and the show Geek-Week on the Discovery Channel. His recent project, “Inner City Bike,” has been featured online, published around the world, and on The Doctors TV show.
In June 2012, the Grand Rapids resident won several awards at the office furniture industry’s premier event—the annual NeoCon show in Chicago–including a Gold for izzy+, a Gold for Nucraft, and the Best of NeoCon Award for Nucraft.
His signature is design that meets everyday needs in surprising ways, pushing the limits of manufacturing and confronting established expectations while being environmentally sustainable.