Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductees announced

The Hall of Fame monument is located at the Fine Arts entrance in front of Rockford High School.

The Rockford Public Schools (RPS) Hall of Fame Advisory Council recently announced its class of inductees. The Hall of Fame class of 2012 will be honored at a special induction ceremony and dinner September 29, and their names will be engraved on a permanent monument that is installed on the grounds of Rockford High School.

There is an entire weekend of activities planned for the inductees. On Friday, Sept. 28 they will be speaking to students in classrooms across the Rockford school district. Friday evening they will be introduced to the community at the Rockford Rams versus West Ottawa football game. The weekend will culminate on Sunday, Sept. 30 with a brunch held by the Rockford Lions Club.

The RPS Hall of Fame was created by RPS and Rockford Education Foundation (REF) to recognize those individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements in their chosen field or who have made significant contributions to RPS and/or the Rockford community.

The Hall of Fame dinner will also serve as a fundraiser for the REF, which awards grants that enrich the educational experience in the Rockford community. Jamie Hosford, RPS assistant superintendent of human resources, will be the honorary chairperson for the event. Information about the event and tickets will be available at www.rockfordschools.org/ref.

“It is amazing to see the growth of the Hall of Fame,” commented Lisa Jacobs, director of Community Services RPS and Hall of Fame committee member. “We are stretching beyond our community of Rockford to bring home alumni. Our inductees have gone out into the world to pursue their goals and I am pleased we are able to have them come back and interact with our student body.”

There are four different categories for which individual can be nominated. Cameron B. Warne, RHS 2001, violinist, will be inducted in the Cultural and Performing Arts category. In the category of Academic/Career Accomplishment, there are three inductees:  Dathan Ritzenhein, RHS 2001, professional runner; Matthew Turk, PhD, RHS 1999, astrophysicist; Ginger “Zee” Zuidgeest, RHS 1999, meteorologist, “Good Morning America.”

Victor Krause, RHS 1953, former member House of Representatives, Michigan, will be inducted under the category of Service to the Rockford Community. In the category of Honorary Achievement—Contributions to the Rockford Public Schools, three people are going to be inducted: Robert Boyer, Jacquelyn Melin and Carol Muth.

“One of our goals when we created the Hall of Fame was to inspire students of today with examples of individuals who, after graduating from RHS, have gone on to accomplish great things while pursuing their goals and passion,” said Jill Ericksen, Hall of Fame committee chairperson. “The enthusiasm from our inductees is contagious and we feel our community is behind the Hall of Fame completely.”

The Hall of Fame advisory council consists of the following members:  Wally Andersen, retired RHS counselor; Neil Blakeslee, community leader; Dan Gaydou, publisher, The Grand Rapids Press: Carol Hillman, RPS Board of Education trustee; Dr. Ryan Kelley, RPS assistant superintendent for instruction; Nancy Martin, REF trustee; Jacque Melin, retired RPS principal and Grand Valley State University professor; Fred Reusch, RHS math teacher; and Jim Scales, REF trustee. In addition, Sarah Ginebaugh, REF board of trustee, served as the administrator to the council, while Jack Bolt, Rockford historian, advised the council.

Nomination forms are available on the REF website. The next class of inductees will be in the fall of 2014.

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