By SHERIDAN CYR
The Southington High School Wall of Honor committee hopes this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever before, and hopes the community of Southington will take part in helping their ideas come to fruition.
The Wall of Honor began 15 years ago when Southington BOE member Bob Brown was still a teacher at the high school. He and other teachers participated in a program where they were to visit other high schools to evaluate how they conducted things and bring back new ideas.
It was during a visit to Norwalk High School that Brown spotted a wall with plaques of past students of the school.
Brown thought the plaques were a “positive thing” and brought the idea back to the SHS principal, who agreed. Nominees would have to be graduates of SHS—which was later changed to include military service members that left high school to serve their country.
To be honored, nominees would have to fulfill certain criteria, such as being a recipient of a lifetime achievement award, performing considerable humanitarian work or community service, or having received other significant awards for achievement.
“The Wall of Honor inspires students to believe they can accomplish anything,” Brown said. Others on the wall served in capacities such as the CIA, inventors, artists, scientists, actors, philanthropists and much more. “With all the negativity around and the heavy politics, this is a positive thing that people in our community can look to and be proud of.”
Dedicated to the project, Brown put up the money out-of-pocket to classify the committee as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in order to collect donations for this year’s goals of expanding the event and give it a greater reach. They hope to purchase advertising banners to hang around town, to purchase video screens for the high school, to fund purchase of plaques and to be able to invite honorees to a banquet with all expenses paid for at the end of the ceremony.
“We have all these dreams for this year, but the problem is, those dreams cost money we don’t have,” Brown said. He explained donors would be honored and recognized at the ceremony. A letter will soon be mailed out to local businesses, to past Wall of Honorees and their families, and to residents inviting them to offer a donation to help support the event and its amenities.
“We want to recognize these individuals for all that they accomplish, and all that we accomplish with them,” Brown said. “This town is incredible, and wonderful people come out of it.”
Brown looked back on 41 years of teaching in Southington with pride.
“This project is a work of love,” he said. “I have truly met some of the best kids in my 41 years of teaching and I’m still in touch with many of them. It’s amazing what they have accomplished and I’m so proud to have known them and to have been a part of their stories.”
The committee reviews applications and chooses four or five nominations to be honored that year. Each nominee receives a plaque of their own identical to the plaque that gets featured on the wall at the high school, and will be honored at a ceremony at the high school in October.
Nominations for the Wall of Honor should be submitted by May 1. To receive an application, contact Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or (860) 621-0416 prior to the deadline.
The print version of the application can be found online at www.southingtonschools.org/schools/high-school/southington-high/shs-celebrations/wall-of-honor