WALLINGFORD—The Sheehan High School Hall of Fame prepares to welcome four new inductees after being re-established last year.
The induction ceremony will be on March 28 at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn. Tickets to the event are $35, including a buffet dinner.
The hall of fame was “established to honor and showcase, Sheehan alumni and staff whose deeds and character exemplify outstanding accomplishments, service to their community or society as a whole,” according to the group’s Facebook page.
According to Kevin Ainsworth, a mathematics teacher and committee member, the hall of fame committee “seemed to dissipate” after William Fritz, then committee president, died.
From the years 2016 to 2018, the hall of fame did not induct any new members because of Fritz’s death.
This year will be the first induction ceremony since the committee was revived by a group of veteran teachers last year.
Cheryl Colwick, a physical education teacher, took over as president when the committee was revived.
“I was asked to be on the committee many, many years ago,” Colwick said. “I heard through the grapevine that Bill wasn’t doing so well. Before he passed, I got all the information. It took us a year and a half to go through it all after he passed since we did it all electronically.”
The committee began accepting nominations last June.
To be eligible for induction, nominees must have made a distinguished contribution to society or been a role model for current Sheehan students. Alumni aren’t eligible until 10 years after graduation, while faculty become eligible one year after retirement.
“As we started putting out the nominations, we received 16,” Colwick said. “We started reaching out to the nominees and got that down to eight. The committee voted and got four inductees.”
According to Ainsworth, the inductees for this year's class are Dave Cusano, class of 1999, Ryan "ARCY" Christenson, 2003, Mike Papale, 2007, and Pam Krombel, a social worker from 1979 to 2015.
“We really feel like we have a tremendous class of inductees,” said Ainsworth. “I had the pleasure of teaching all three (students), and a personal connection to the other who was a social worker in the building.”
Christenson is now an international graffiti artist; Cusano played football and competed in track and field at the University of Maine and now coaches men’s track and field at Colby College; Papale is the president and founder of In A Heartbeat Foundation; and Krombel was the school’s social worker and began clubs including the Peer Advocate Group in 1984 and the first Gay/Straight Alliance at the school in 1998.
According to Ainsworth, two scholarships will be given to students during the ceremony, one each in honor of Fritz and former athletic director John Riccitelli.
Riccitelli was the school’s first athletic director from 1971 to his retirement in 1985. A beloved member of the community, the school’s football and track complex are dedicated in his name.
Over 20 students applied for the scholarships, according to Colwick. The scholarship in honor of Fritz will be awarded to a Sheehan student pursuing a degree in technology education.
“It just seemed like the best thing to do,” Colwick said. “Bill just put so much time into the hall of fame and the Wallingford community.”
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