Entering the Berlin Athletic Hall of Fame are athletes: Wally Pajor (Class of 1955; football, baseball, basketball), George Kanupka (Class of 1964; baseball, football, basketball), Andrea Yukna (Class of 1973; field hockey, basketball, volleyball), Lori Mongillo (Class of 1985; volleyball, basketball, softball), Michael Church (Class of 1991; soccer, baseball), Shelly Ravizza Moran (Class of 1993; soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball), Kenneth Bratina (Class of 1998; baseball, football, basketball) and Michael Laroche (Class of 2001; football, wrestling, track).
Also entering the Hall are Marie Siegal (coach), Roy Earley (contributor) and the 1955 BHS football team.
Walt Pajor excelled in football, baseball and basketball at Berlin High.
Known as “String” by his classmates due to his tall, lanky frame, he shined on the basketball court, where he set multiple performance records. He was the only junior selected as team co-captain. During his senior season, he broke the individual game scoring record (set in 1949 by Dave Clark), scoring 32 points against Canton and, three weeks later, netted 34 against Terryville.
Walt led Berlin in scoring his senior year with 286 points and the team qualified for the Class C state tournament. He was the second Berlin basketball player to be selected to the New Register All-State team (Bob Soroka was the first, in 1951.)
Walt was also a key member of the baseball team as a main pitcher alongside Hall of Fame member Henry Mora.
Walt went on to attend Cheshire Academy, where was a starter and leading scorer on the basketball team. From there, he attended American International College.
After college, Walt worked at Pratt and Whitney as a process engineer before operating his own businesses, including Center Paint and Hardware, Pajor Painting and Wallpaper and Pajor Construction and Siding. Prior to retirement, he was a project engineer at Sherwood Industries.
Walt died in May of 2013 and is survived by his two sons, Thomas and Gary.
George Kanupka III, Class of 1964
George Kanupka was a four-year athlete in baseball, football and basketball at Berlin High.
In baseball, he was a team captain as a senior and Berlin qualified for the state tournament. He played for the Berlin American Legion team, as well.
As a senior, George was captain of the basketball team, helping Berlin advance to the state tournament.
And he was a four-year member of the football team and a key performer on the undefeated 1963 team; the first undefeated Berlin football squad since 1948. The ’63 team posted 174 points on offense and its defense allowed just 38 points. A tackle, George was named to the NWC All-Star team.
George received the Richard Patterson Award, was treasurer of the Student Council and vice president of the Key Club his senior year, and attended Boys State.
George received a football scholarship to Bullis Preparatory School in Silver Springs, Maryland from the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association.
He was nominated to the U.S. Naval Academy by Sen. Abraham Ribicoff and graduated in 1969. He also was a graduate of the U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program. He served five years in the Navy Submarine Force, earning a letter of commendation from Submarine Squadron Sixteen.
After leaving the Navy, George settled in Rocky Hill, where he remained involved in athletics. He coached Little League softball, youth soccer, youth basketball, and assisted in organizing the girls softball program in Rocky Hill. Also, he organized and ran the girls high school level summer league and coached AAU boys and girls basketball, as well.
George’s father, who graduated in 1936, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Hall of Fame induction dinner is scheduled for April 23 at the Aqua Turf, 556 Mulberry St., Plantsville. For more information and tickets, contact Diane Egazarian at 860-828-0635, email email@example.com or visit bhshalloffame.org.