Hall of Fame Inductees – 2024

Edison 2024 Alumni HOF Inductees

Edison High School is proud to announce their 2024 Alumni Hall of Fame recipients. The 2024 class includes: Joseph Cucinotti 1978, Kyle Higashioka 2008, Matt McElroy 2010, Matt Nguyen 2011, Dave Wetzel 1985, and Kristine Wetzel 1985. The Edison High School Hall of Fame was created to honor Edison High School graduates who have distinguished themselves in their career or vocation. It is also intended to maintain the heritage and tradition of Edison High School, providing role models for the current student body.

This year’s recipients will be inducted at a banquet on October 9, 2024 in the Edison cafeteria. The following week, they will be honored before the football game October 18 at Huntington Beach High School. The induction ceremony is open to the public. Cost for the dinner is $40. Reservations and questions can be sent to Bruce Belcher at bwbelcher@gmail.com.

Joe Cucinotti 1978 received his BS degree in Fire Administration from Columbia Southern University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He was a Firefighter in the United States Air Force for two years and has worked for the City of Fountain Valley for over 30 year’s in the role of Interim Battalion Chief, Fire Captain, Engineer, and Training officer. He has numerous degrees and certifications. His salient characteristic has been a personal drive to provide substantial services to his community with fundraising over $700,000. From raising awareness of the need for Thermal Imaging Devices for his fellow Firefighters to Helping such groups as Multiple Sclerosis, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Brittney’s Closet, Sparkling Angel and many more Joe has been a pillar in our community. In his spare time he has also coached Wrestling and Girl’s Basketball at Edison.
Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2008 draft Kyle Higashioka 2008 decided to postpone his college education at UC Berkeley to become a major league baseball player. He spent sixteen years in the Yankees organization rising to big leagues in 2017. With the Yankees he was the teams nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2021 which goes to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions both on and off the field. Kyle was also the recipient of the Thurman Munson Award in 2023 for his athletic achievements and contributions to the community. He was also a Good Guy Award winner by the baseball writers association of America. Kyle has supported the Compton urban youth academy and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. He has caught a no hitter and a perfect game of which there have only been 24 in history. Kyle was recently traded to the San Diego Padres and signed a one year contract to catch for them.
After a storied swim career at Edison, Matt McElroy 2010 left Edison as the number one recruit from Oklahoma State University in Cross Country. After helping them become the NCAA team Champions he transferred to Northern Arizona University where his teams finished 4th, 3rd, and 2nd while becoming a 3 time All America in XC and Track. He left NAU with a BA in Communications with an emphasis in Electronic Media & Film. McElroy was recruited to become an elite triathlete through the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program. Matt earned his first ITU Triathlon World Cup medal in 2016, and has remained one of the top U.S. men on the ITU circuit ever since. In June 2019, he made history by becoming the first U.S. man to medal in an ITU world Triathlon Series race since 2009, and the second ever to do so, by winning in Leeds. He is currently training for a spot in the 2024 Olympics in Paris and is ranked 32nd in the world.
Matt Nguyen (2011) is a Supreme Court litigator at Cooley LLP, a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve JAG Corps, and an advisor to elected leaders. At Cooley, his representations have led to landmark decisions by the CA Supreme Court, which reinforced whistleblower safeguards for 110,000 charities across California (Turner v. Victoria); and the MA Supreme Judicial Court and MI Supreme Court, which expanded constitutional rights for young adults (Commonwealth v. Mattis, and People v. Parks). He also recently argued a major appeal before the CA Supreme Court to safeguard our First Amendment rights (LA Police Protective League v. City of Los Angeles). In 2020, Matt was named to the “Forbes 30 Under 30” for Law & Policy.
As the son of war refugees, Matt is deeply committed to public service. So he currently serves as a National Security Law Judge Advocate stationed with the Riverside-based 304th Sustainment Brigade, where he advises Army commanders on national security law, prosecutes military justice crimes, and has deployed abroad to support NATO missions. His service locally includes appointment as oversight co-chair for the Coast Community College District (OCC, GWC, and CCC), stewarding $700 million in education investments for students and our local community.
During the 2020 election, he advised President Joe Biden and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on extraordinary constitutional issues involving the incumbent’s efforts to prevent the peaceful transition of power; and on vetting White House and cabinet appointees. Following the 2018 election, he advised Governor Gavin Newsom on lowering prescription drug prices. After the 2016 election, he advanced bills to protect Dreamers under then-Senator Kamala Harris. Matt also clerked for CA Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, served as an assistant press secretary to then-Governor Jerry Brown, advised Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on clean energy job creation, and mobilized voters on behalf of President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. After graduating salutatorian and summa cum laude from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science, Matt earned his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School as a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow, Coker Fellow for tort law and legal writing, notes editor of the Yale Law Journal, managing editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review, founding legislative advocate for the We Care Coalition, and director of the Education Adequacy Project Clinic.
Dave Wetzel also a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, received a BS in Business Economics. He played on the USA Jr National Men’s Volleyball team as well at UCSB, recently being inducted into the UCSB Hall of Fame with his ’89 team. Worked at Autoland for the SFFCU branches until McKenna’s illness. Dave now runs the McKenna Claire Foundation for Pediatric Brain Cancer Research full time, combining the education community, auto industry and pediatric brain cancer research mission.
Dave and Kristine’s journey began with a personal tragedy when their daughter McKenna was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal pediatric brain cancer. Instead of succumbing to despair, they turned their grief into action, determined to make a difference not only for their child but for countless others facing similar battles. With the support of an amazing community and partners, MCF has raised over $7.2 million dollars to date, funding some of the most promising pediatric brain cancer research being conducted nationally.
McKenna’s donated tumor continues to be grown as a cell line to this day, providing researchers worldwide access to DIPG tumor cells. The distribution of McKenna’s and other children’s cell lines are funded cost free by MCF. McKenna’s cell-line is on 4 continents and over 150 research labs world wide.
Dave and Kristine have used their experience with their foundation to support other groups such as the Brave Ones Foundation also started by Edison alums. They have also been closely involved with the CIBACS program at Edison.
A graduate of UC Santa Barbara Kristine Luttrell Wetzel with a BA in English has been a teacher for 33 years. She has taught K-12, special ed, AVID, and currently is a TOSA at the continuation HS in Tustin Unified. Kristine has coached women’s swimming and water polo at Edison and sits on the Board of Directors for the Schools First Federal Credit Union.