A Talawanda first: School officials to create non-sports hall of fame for grads

OXFORD — A Butler County school system’s idea for its first graduate hall of fame was shelved by the pandemic but is now being fast-tracked by two alumni.

Talawanda School officials are now reaching out to the public for nominations for the district’s first Hall of Achievement, and they say it’s an idea long overdue.

The Oxford-based school system, like many others in the region, already has a sports hall of fame for notable athletes who competed in the past for Talawanda High School (THS).

But alumna Kristine Winkler, class of 1984, said it’s time for the district to have a non-sports-oriented hall of fame.

Winkler said she and her husband Dave – a 1976 Talawanda graduate – “were both very involved in athletics and various extracurricular activities while students.”

“We often talk about the impact our high school teachers, coaches, friends and teammates had on our lives. Many of them are recognized by the Talawanda Athletic Hall of Fame. But we felt that there needed to be a way to recognize achievement outside the halls of THS, which was not athletic based.”

Prior to the onset of COVID-19 in March 2020, “we mulled it over and presented our idea for a Talawanda Alumni Hall of Achievement,” she said.

“We wanted to recognize the contributions THS graduates have had in the areas of academics, science. business, arts, etc. We formed a fabulous board full of Talawanda graduates and a former TCS educator. We had a successful fundraiser and were on track then COVID happened.”

Now, said Winkler of Talawanda’s recent public announcement, “we are back on track to have our first class slated for February of 2024 with an event in Oxford that will be open to the public.”

School officials are seeking and now accepting nominations of graduates who went on to excel in the fields of: arts and entertainment; science/technology/engineering/math; government/civic/military; education/literature; business/entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

The new Hall of Achievement group is also creating a THS Student Scholarship Program for eligible graduating seniors, who will also be honored.

Holli Hansel, spokeswoman for Talawanda Schools, said prior to the pandemic “early fundraising efforts were quite successful.”

“Unfortunately the group was stalled by COVID, but this past school year has worked to get plans back on track in order to develop an event to recognize some graduates for outstanding work and achievement.”

For more information and to enter nominations, go to Talawanda Schools’ website.

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