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It’s that time again!

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The James A. Garfield Local School District Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 28 at the James A. Garfield High School to honor graduates who have achieved much, in athletics, in business, in health and sciences, in the arts, et al. These individuals must have graduated in good standing at least ten years ago, must have demonstrated outstanding citizenship, character and leadership qualities, must have submitted–or have submitted on their behalf–a completed nomination form. The windows of Selection Opportunity include (1) athletic success, (2) post-graduate success in their chosen field or fields, (3) service to the Garfield School District–this does not have to be a Garfield alumni but can be anyone who has made outstanding contributions to the school system. Leading off–as she often did– for 2012 : Mistine Hamilton. Mistine graduated in the Class of 1997 with four academic letters, four varsity letters in softball, three varsity letters in basketball, three varsity letters in volleyball. Her first and second team all-conference awards fill shelves(5), crowded in with MVP honors and league championship and runners-up awards(5), topped off with a first team all-district salute in her senior year. If bowling had been a varsity sport at that time the collection might have been even larger–perhaps state level, for Mistine has been recognized twice as the Portage County individual champion, is the only female to roll an 800 series at Sky Lanes and has rolled–not one, not two, but three 300 games…exceptional! She received a full scholarship to Youngstown State University, where she was a four-year starter and letter-winner, was named to first and second conference teams in consecutive years and team captain in her senior year. After college she has played on softball teams that, for 6 consecutive years qualified for the USSSA World Tourney–one year as runner-up, two years on the all-tournament team, one year as MVP; the ASA greeted Mistine as a National runner-up and as a state champ; one year she was named the MVP in the NSA World Series. Not too shabby! Lest you think that she does nothing but play around, be aware that Mistine has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with a major in accounting, on the Dean’s List all the way. She is currently a tax accountant with Progressive Insurance in Cleveland and resides in Aurora with her son, Evan, who can already throw a ball. Good genes. Maybe she was inspired by Darren Perusek, Class of 1993–different sports, same drive and level of accomplishment. Darren was a four-year letterman in track, three-year letterman in football, three-year letterman in basketball but track was where her really made his mark in Garfield record books. Dashes were his specialty : 100m dash–3rd fastest time in Garfield history, 200m dash–2nd fastest time in GHS history (fastest since the distance was changed from yards to meters),400m dash–2nd fastest at GHS (At the state meet his time of :49.9 broke Hall-of-Famer Harry Vincent’s 31yr-old record), 4×100. relay–third leg on the team that set a school record in 1992, 4×400 relay–anchor leg on team that took 2nd at the regionals, took a school record and advanced to the state meet. At the state meet, Darren competed in the 400m, finishing 9th, and the 4×400 relay, where the team placed 6th. He’s got all-league and all-Ohio awards hanging on wall someplace too. Darren currently lives in North Olmstead, Ohio but he follows the teams at Garfield and has continued to support the programs at all levels of competition, middle school to varsity. A champ, through and through. And next week we will reveal the influence of –TA DAH!–John Bennett.