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Posted: 12:01 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, 2013

Entertainment figures from Dunwoody High School go beyond Ryan Seacrest 

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Kip Pardue
Getty Images
Actor Kip Pardue is one of many Dunwoody High School graduates who have ended up on TV and radio.

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Matt Chernoff photo
680/The Fan
Matt Chernoff graduated Dunwoody High School in 1995, two years after Ryan Seacrest.
Vivian Bang photo
Corey Nickols
Vivian Bang
Jason Pullman photo
94.9/The Bull
Jason Pullman attended Dunwoody High School for a time but ultimately graduated from Roswell High School.

By Rodney Ho

My colleague Jennifer Brett recently interviewed "Sullivan & Son" actress Vivian Bang, a graduate of Dunwoody High School.

She referenced the high school's most famous alum: Ryan Seacrest, who used to do the high school's morning announcements back in the early 1990s while interning at Star 94.

That also made me realize there were others who have attended Dunwoody High that entered the world of entertainment. There must be something in the water over there!

Here are four more:

- 680/The Fan afternoon co host Matt Chernoff.  He has been with the Fan for several years after a long stint with 790/The Zone.  He graduated in 1995, two years after Ryan Seacrest graudated. Chernoff, who enjoyed high school but admitted to me today on the phone that he was  a "marginal student at best," said he remembers Seacrest doing the morning announcements. "He already sounded like a pro," Chernoff said, especially compared to the poor person who took over after Seacrest graduated. (Chernoff doesn't recall ever meeting him.) Chernoff also doesn't recall the school having a big media program back at the time. Instead, he interned at 1010/AM WGUN, doing board work on Sunday mornings and some on-air high school football coverage. This led to his work in radio starting in 1997 and on-air in 1999.

- Atlanta native Mia Schaikewitz from Sundance docu-series "Push Girls." The show features several women with spinal disabilities who live as normal lives as they can. Schaikewitz graduated Dunwoody High School about 15 years ago after suffering an unusual spinal cord rupture at age 15 that caused paralysis from the waist down.  I wrote more about it here.


push_girls_mia_schaikewitz- Jason Pullman, co-host of 94.9/The Bull's morning show, though he ultimately graduated from Roswell High School in the early 1990s. I interviewed him in 2009 soon after he joined the show  although I didn't write much about his high schol days. 

In a text today, he said he loves Dunwoody and specifically found a home there when he moved back to metro Atlanta "because I had so many incredible childhood memories. It has always been home to me." He said in high school, he played tennis and soccer while interning at Power 99 answering phones. Later, he did overnights for Power and was there for the flip to 99X. He stays in touch with Steve Fortenberry, a teacher, and Coach Roger Gay from the school. He even visits a couple times a year. "I've never forgotten where I come from," he said.

- Kip Pardue, actor, who is 37 His credits include "Remember the Titans," "ER," and earlier this year, as sa hot-shot Heinz executive on AMC's "Mad Men." I spoke with him a few years back before he starred in an ABC Family film. Here's what I wrote five years ago:

Pardue, 31, is co-starring in an ABC Family original film, "Princess, " playing an Ivy League grad who can't get his act together until he meets a mysterious princess who is hiding big-time secrets. The film debuted Sunday night and will repeat again this coming Saturday at 8 p.m.

"It's a very sweet movie, " Pardue told Buzz. "I got to smile and be a bit of a hero. And I don't have to wear tights!"

Pardue broke into Hollywood as a production assistant for a short-lived Molly Ringwald sitcom "Townies" in the mid '90s. His most notable commercial films were "Remember the Titans" (2000) and "Rules of Attraction" (2002), and he has since opted for less commercial, artsier fare. He shied away from "American Pie" type films that could have raised his prominence and went with his heart.

"It made my career a bit more difficult in the eyes of Middle America, " he said. "This ABC Family film is the most commercial thing I've done in a long time."

Pardue played wide receiver at DunwoodyHighSchool and remains a die-hard Dawgs fan. "I go to a game at least once a year, " he said. "My sister married a University of Georgia grad, and he has season tickets. Nothing beats a Saturday in Athens."

Pardue was Seacrest's highschool football teammate: "Super nice guy. We don't see each other. He's obviously very busy. But he was always a showman, very articulate, very driven."

Rodney Ho

About Rodney Ho

I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.

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