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'18 Graduates Of Distinction Announced

The Graduate of Distinction Program was established for the purpose of recognizing alumni of Midlakes High School who have achieved distinction through outstanding accomplishments or lifetime achievements and sharing these with the collective community.  This program serves to honor alumni contributions and to inspire current and future Midlakes students. 

Congratulations to our 2018 class; Kathleen Scudder, Patrol Agent in charge of the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station located in California; James Cheney, Principal owner of James E. Cheney CPA, PLLC and Co-owner of Phelps Mercantile located in Phelps New York; and Theodore Mullen, a retired science teacher in the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District. 

Kathleen Scudder 

Kathleen Scudder (Rickman), a 1992 graduate of Midlakes, went on to attend Finger Lakes Community College and the State University College at Brockport where she graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice. She holds a Masters Degree from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security and is a 2012 graduate of the CBP Leadership Institute. 

Kathleen is the Patrol Agent in charge of the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station; the southwestern most station in the United States. She is responsible for the command of six miles of linear international boundary with Mexico and over sixty miles of the coastal border. She commands over 350 Border Patrol Agents, supervisors and staff. 

In 2013, Agent Scudder received the DHS Secretary’s Silver Medal for Outstanding Service for her efforts establishing the Corpus Christi Regional Coordinating Mechanism.  This effort resulted in the integration of maritime assets between the US Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and US Customs and Border Protection along the eastern Texas gulf coast.

James Cheney 

James Cheney, a 1981 graduate of Midlakes, went on to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a degree in accounting.  In 1992, while chair of the St. Felix Church Parish Council, he helped found the House of John located in Clifton Springs and serves on the Board of Directors. 

In addition, James helped to found the Phelps Community Center and the Phelps Business Development and Tourism Council, and continues to work with both organizations. He also served on the Ontario National Bank Board of Directors in Clifton Springs. He was mayor of the Village of Phelps for 16 years before retiring from that position in 2016 – during which, he was a weekly opinion columnist for the Finger Lakes Times for 5 years.

While a member of the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club, he started a Christmas Giving Tree that has been active for 30 years and has provided over 50,000 gifts to families in need. Presently, he is the principal owner of James E. Cheney CPA, PLLC and co-owner of the Phelps Mercantile located in Phelps, New York.  He is a member of the Sons of the Phelps American Legion. 

James is a member of the Phelps Chamber of Commerce, serves on the Bank of the Finger Lakes Advisory Board, is Treasurer and a board member of the Mary Hicks Preston Foundation and the Kyrias Foundation; and, is on the Finger Lakes Health’s Board of Directors. He also serves as a controller for several local businesses, including recently being named Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, as well as a member of the Board of Directors, for Ontario & Trumansburg Telephone Companies. 

James has received the Paul Harris Award from the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club and was recognized by Ontario County during Victim Advocacy Week for his assistance in opening the Child Advocacy Center.  He lives in Phelps with his wife of nearly 30 years, Dawn.  They raised four children, all graduates of Midlakes, as well.

Theodore (Ted) Mullen

Honorary Inductee Theodore (Ted) Mullen is a retired Midlakes Science Teacher. He received his Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in 1955. From July 1955 until May 1957, Ted served in the United States Army.

In 1960, he received a Master of Science from Cornell University, and in 1966 a Master of Science from Clarkson University. Ted taught high school science in many different schools from 1957-2017, teaching at Phelps and then Midlakes High School from 1963-1989. He was an adjunct professor at Finger Lakes Community College during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Ted worked for the NYS Education Department developing Physics and Earth Science Regents Exam questions and on the development of curriculum for Solar Energy and Principles of Engineering.  Ted has worked on and served as Technical Director for Midlakes High School theatre productions, and Phelps-Clifton Springs Community Theatre shows from 1971 to 2017. 

During his tenure at Midlakes, he advised and helped out with multiple student organizations and teams, including being advisor to Junior Class, Ski Club and FFA. He was a member and advisor to the AFS exchange student organization through which he and his late wife, Jane, hosted two students and a teacher. Ted has dedicated so much of his life to students, schools, church and the community.  

A day of celebration will be held on Friday, May 4 and will include classroom visits by the honorees, a luncheon with select members of the student body, as well as members of the Graduate of Distinction committee and school officials, followed by a tour of the school campus. 

The induction ceremony will be held at Warfield’s Restaurant in Clifton Springs beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets for those interested in attending the hors d’oeuvres reception can be purchased at Midlakes High School by April 28 for the cost of $20.

The Graduate of Distinction program honors graduates of Midlakes who have made significant contributions to society.  Applications and details are available in the district office and on our website at