2023 WHS Distinguished Alumni

  • We are proud to present the Woodstock High School Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing and honoring WHS graduates who have made significant and noteworthy accomplishments in their chosen careers and/or have made positive contributions to society. 

    Congratulations to our 2023 recipients! 

2023 Alumni Award Recipient - Dr. Victoria Carr-Brendel

  • Dr. Victoria Carr-BrendelDr. Victoria Carr-Brendel is a 1984 Woodstock High School graduate. As a student at WHS, Carr-Brendel worked for the City of Woodstock and participated in the Mosquito Abatement Program. While working there, she was also instrumental in bringing recycling to the city of Woodstock.

    She received a bachelor’s in biology from Monmouth College, a master’s  in microbiology from Iowa State University, and a doctorate in microbiology and immunology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

    Carr-Brendel began her career in research and development amassing over 100 patents and became pivotal in inventing the continuous glucose monitor at Dexcom. She is currently the group vice president of Sonova Group, and President of Advanced Bionics, a leading provider of cochlear implants.

    She was voted one of the Top 25 Medical Device Executives of 2019,  named one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Medical Devices in 2020, and was also a finalist for the LA Times Woman of the Year in 2021. Dr. Carr-Brendel has inspired women to break the  glass ceiling in the world of science and medical devices and was initially inspired to study science because of WHS teachers, Mr. Gardner and Mrs. Oughton.

2023 Alumni Award Recipient - Rafael Castaneda

  • Rafael CastanedaRafael Castaneda is a 2010 graduate who has always focused on working hard and giving back. While a student at WHS, he became a regular and dedicated volunteer at Family Health Partnership Clinic. There his community spirit and leadership skills shined, making him a great role model for other students.

    Castaneda then attended McHenry County College where he served as President of the Latinos Unidos organization before transferring to Roosevelt University, where he was recognized as one of the Best Under 40 by the McHenry County Business Journal and the Northwest Herald.

    Today, Castaneda continues to give back to the Woodstock community through his continued volunteer efforts, and ownership of the Woodstock Dairy Queen.