By TAYLOR HARTZ
Three honorees will be added to Southington High School’s Wall of Honor in a ceremony on Monday, Dec. 7. This year, the school will recognize SHS graduates Mike Graziano, Dale Zarrella, and Sgt. Mjr. Phillip Albert.
Board of Education member Bob Brown, Chairman of the Selection Committee, said he began the Wall of Honor more than a decade ago, after he was inspired by a similar tradition at Norwalk High School.
Brown said the wall “tells students they can accomplish great things in life,” and “helps citizens of our great town develop pride in what our schools and town can produce.”
This year, Brown had the opportunity to award the honor to one of his former students.
Nearly 40-years ago, Brown taught Michael Graziano at John F. Kennedy Middle School. This year, Graziano will be recognized for his success and philanthropy—the SHS alumnus has had his works produced on Broadway and has raised more than $150 million for charity.
“It is a wonderful experience as a teacher, seeing someone you taught accomplish great things,” said Brown.
Brown said he hopes the tradition awards many other teachers the same experience, and “informs teachers of the impact they have had on the lives of their students—which is a wonderful, exciting, humbling experience.”
Dale Zarrella will be honored for his accomplishments as an artist—Zarrella left Southington and continued on to become a world-renowned sculptor whose works are displayed in the Vatican.
Additionally, Brown noted that for more than 50-years the Wall of Honor has paid tribute to every veteran that attended SHS and has given their lives in service to their country.
The school will honor Sgt. Mjr. Phillip Albert this year. Albert was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2003.
Brown said members of the community are encouraged to nominate SHS graduates that have gone on to accomplish great things or service their communities and country.
The selection committee reviews all nominations based on four criteria—lifetime achievement, humanitarian work, receipt of significant awards, and community service.
This year’s selection committee was comprised of two Board of Education members, Patricia Queen and Bob Brown, SHS Principal Brian Stranieri, SHS teacher Candy Patten, retired teacher Rich Marietta, and current student, Jessica Gagnon.
Each of this year’s honorees was selected unanimously by the committee.
The public is invited to attend a ceremony for the honorees. The event is expected to begin at 6 p.m. in the auditorium lobby of Southington High School on Monday, Dec. 7.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.