Jim Pfleger, Robert Carlisle, Lee Kothera, Shirley Miller (accepted by Sheri Johnson), Allyn Vine (accepted by son David Vine), and Matt Kissell.

Despite some uncertainty about dates of graduation, the James A. Garfield Schools Hall of Fame induction went off by accomplishing its intended purpose, the recognition and honoring of individuals who had made significant contributions, not just to athletics—though these figured prominently—but to the district and the world/society as a whole.  Sheri Johnson, following in the footsteps of her late father, Don Moore, was the organizing spirit for the occasion.  John Bennett, past honoree, served as the master of ceremonies; he shared wisdom—and bad jokes—of his grandmother.  He’s keeping his day job.

Robert Carlisle, elected  in his first year of eligibility, was introduced by Steve Wylie, an influential coach, who helped start Robert on his path of outstanding achievement in three sports—football, basketball, baseball– as well as academic and service accomplishments, currently being expressed in his medical residency in orthopedics, after receiving a medical degree from NEOMed.  Gratitude and appreciation figured prominently in Robert’s remarks and remembrances; family, teachers, coaches all contributed to the success of a fine young man.

John Bennett stood in for former Garfield football head coach, Craig Morgan, to introduce Matt Kissell and both of these coaches spoke warmly of Kissell’s study of, thoughtful competence at, and understanding of the game of football, at the high school level and further, at Mercyhurst College.  Matt spoke of the importance of motivation in success at any endeavor, in sport or in life.  Like most of the other honorees, Matt was able to describe, in minute detail, the exact situation and events involved in virtually every second, every play on the field.  Such attention to detail, family, coaches and teachers have contributed to his career as a CPA.

Lee Kothera was introduced by his son, Cody, who was making a “reality check” of the many accomplishments he had heard attributed to his father, who graduated from Garfield in 1967.  Another multi-sport athlete, Lee lettered in football, basketball and baseball, being honored in the league (PCL, at the time) in all.  He, too, could recount “great moments in sport” which figured in his athletic memories.  Having been successful in his high school career, he has gone on to a successful association with Guild International, Inc, and has enjoyed the support of his family throughout.

Jim Pfleger, assistant principal and athletic director at James A. Garfield High School, was introduced by his long-time rival and lifelong admirer, his brother, Matt Pfleger, who had served as his technique guinea pig and advertisement.  Jim cited the companionship of his brother and the support of his parents as prime reasons for his ability to pursue his focus on track and field, specifically throwing events.  Other coaches, John Bennett among them, aided in his having been more than moderately successful in coaching high-level achievers on the Garfield track team.

Sheri Johnson spoke on behalf of the selection of Shirley Miller to be a part of the Class of 2017 Garfield Hall of Fame.  Shirley was not a graduate of Garfield but the number of Garfield graduates who felt the warmth of her concern for them, the enthusiasm of her support, the rapport which she directed to encouraging their success and accomplishments, stretches across many graduating classes.  “Kids come first” was her mantra and she lived by it.

The final honoree of the evening was Allyn Vine, who was a team player, but specifically in the field of science; he was the inventor of the “Alvin” the mini submarine which discovered the Titanic.  He was introduced by his son, David, who expanded the picture of Allyn Vine as a promoter of science, an asker of questions, one who made discoveries in the field of geophysics, chemosynthesis, submarines in general, an interesting guy who did much of his work in conjunction with the Woods Hole Oceanic Institute and all over the world.  David Vine told fascinating tales of the work that his father did and some of the impacts that this work has had on the advancement of scientific exploration. He was accompanied by his uncle, James Vine (Class of ’57), brother of Allyn, and Mike Vine (Class of ’69), nephew of Allyn.  Family strong…and recognizable.

This tenth annual event was catered handsomely by Special Moments of Streetsboro, OH.
The public is advised that nominations for the Hall of Fame are always welcome.  Forms may be picked up in the district offices any time.