We want to share special news, announce reunions, or perhaps even call upon you, our former students, as speakers and mentors. We hope you’ll join our registry and stay connected with us.
Help us celebrate and share our tradition of excellence. We invite you to nominate an alumnus who you believe exemplifies who we are and who continues to serve as an outstanding example to today’s rising generation.
View the profiles of our previously showcased alumni of the month.
We are proud of our alumni legacy. Over the past 180 years, many remarkable individuals have walked through the halls of Port Allegany schools. We think these people have fascinating stories to tell, and we want to share some those stories here with you. May all of our alumni know how honored we are to know you; you are always welcome here at “home.”
Leaving a Legacy
We are very pleased to showcase noteworthy individuals who have left a fine legacy and defined the very essence of what and who we are - those who have made us better simply because they were here.
Alumni of the Month - James Young
Year of Graduation
What have you done since graduating from Port Allegany High School?
I left Port Allegany in 2008 to study engineering at Cornell University and graduated five years later with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, respectively.
My research in thermal sciences won the McManus Design Award at graduation and formed the basis of my first journal paper. I also continued developing an interest in music that began in Port Allegany. The Cornell Horn Studio and orchestras gave me a new musical outlet to explore French horn orchestral and chamber repertoire.
After graduation, I moved to the San Francisco Bay area and became an employee of Stanford University’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Initially, I helped finish building the Matter in Extreme Conditions laboratory. And eventually I moved to work on control systems for SPEAR, which was the host of two Nobel-prize-winning research experiments.
Since 2014, I have been working in a group at Samsung Research called Think Tank Team where we combine knowledge of design, physics, engineering, and computer science to produce new types of emerging technology. We focus on identifying problems in the world around us and then working to find and build a solution. It is where I learned BNC connectors are not just bulky, but also ugly.
My work in bio-signal processing led to more than 10 patents and to algorithms running on Samsung devices. Of course, even after moving to San Francisco, I’ve had the opportunity to perform with many musical groups full of amazing and talented people. In the past five years, I have played with New Millennium Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Civic Symphony, San Francisco Civic Strings, Golden Gate Symphony, and Mozart-to-Mendelssohn groups. We mostly perform free (or nearly free) concerts for the public.
Where do you currently live?
San Francisco, California
Who was your favorite teacher in high school? Why were they your favorite?
Each of the Port Allegany teachers had a substantial influence on my life since graduation, but Mrs. Reilly is one person who really inspired me. She allowed for the creation of independent study courses and pioneered the instruction of astronomy. She allows her student’s curiosity to grow unhindered because she has so much of her own intense curiosity. And her efforts in track and field meant she was as inspiring outside the classroom as inside.
What is your fondest memory of Port Allegany High School?
Being part of Mr. Myer’s musical productions led to many of my happiest memories at Port Allegany High School. Playing along with Mr. Stewart, Mrs. Smith, and many others in the orchestra pit gave me a unique perspective and appreciation of the creative arts and how music and theater coalesce to form something greater than either of them individually. Oh, and it taught me the importance of blending my sound with the rest of the group, which is, I suppose, a lesson in a larger subject.