The Southampton School District has a lot to be proud of in its roughly 100-year-history.
To honor those accomplishments, a search committee has been formed to create a district hall of fame. It is designed to highlight the outstanding achievements of Southampton public school graduates who have reached a pinnacle in their field, sport or other endeavors.
Now, the 18-member committee is soliciting nominations in several categories for the inaugural class, which, if approved by the Board of Education this spring, will be inducted this fall. Last week, committee organizer Darren Phillips said he has been thinking about creating a hall of fame since he started at the district 12 years ago, and that he hopes it will help to honor the history of Southampton schools.
“I am really excited about this,” Mr. Phillips said. “We have all of these old trophies and things like that around the school, but you don’t always get to see the history there. Once it is all said and done, the night of the ceremony it will be great to see all of those alumni and their families come back and share their story.”
Mr. Phillips first presented the idea of a hall of fame to honor former athletes to the board last year. Immediately after, he created the committee to move forward with the idea, and at their first meeting this fall, the group decided to expand the hall of fame to include high-achieving graduates in all fields. As of January, the district is hoping to put the hall of fame in the lobby of the high school.
“We have a lot of distinguished alumni,” Mr. Phillips said. “People who have gone on to excel in their areas beyond just athletics.”
After making the decision to expand the project, the committee regrouped and grew to include non-athletes. The committee is looking for inductees in several categories, including athletics/fine arts/academics, coaches/teacher/administrator, business/public service/education/journalism/law/medicine/performing arts/science, military, community supporter of athletics, and athletic teams.
In order to qualify for induction, nominees must have attended the Southampton School District and graduated a minimum of 10 years ago. The nominee must have had an outstanding achievement while in high school, college, or on a professional level.
“We really want to dig back into Southampton’s history, which hasn’t been adequately represented in the district,” said committee and board of education member Nick Palumbo last week. “As a graduate and a board member, I wasn’t fully aware of just how successful Southampton has been. We are hoping to have some historical research done, and we are looking for input from the community to identify who would be most worthy for induction.”
Once the nominees are selected, the committee will focus on how to honor the winners. Mr. Phillips said the group is currently hoping to have a digital display in the high school lobby. The group is also planning an induction ceremony for the fall, but Mr. Phillips does not know where or when yet.
“If we utilize the technology, the hope is that we can share that information in all of the district buildings, as well as on the website, to allow us to distribute what we are doing more broadly,” Mr. Palumbo said. “I think it could be a fun community event—the school district is the center piece of where Southampton comes together, and we want to share the successes the district has had over the years and recognize these folks.”
Nominations forms, category information and qualifications for the hall of fame can be found on the district website at Southamptonschools.org. For more information about the hall of fame, or to join the committee, Mr. Phillips can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 591-4615. Nomination applications must be returned to Mr. Phillips by Friday, April 4th.
“We want to inspire the students,” Mr. Phillips said. “We want them to dream and say, ‘That could be me.’ Whether in sports or academics, the goal is that they can aspire to be the best at what they do.”