Autumn O’Bryan, principal, said the school has been looking for a way to honor alumni for some time now.
“The biggest thing for us is we are looking at a way to highlight the education foundation which comes from Cleveland High School. There are so many success stories which have come from [CHS] and we think our students need to see those stories,” O’Bryan said.
She said it was also important for the community and CHS alumni to see the success coming out of Cleveland High.
Eric Phillips, athletic director, spoke with several representatives from schools with halls of fame in the Chattanooga area. Phillips and O’Bryan then pitched the idea to Martin Ringstaff, city schools director.
Ringstaff encouraged them to present the idea to the Cleveland Board of Education.
School board members approved the idea with a motion made by Richard Shaw and seconded by Peggy Pesterfield.
“I think this is a fantastic idea,” said Dawn Robinson, board member. “We are very proud of our students in the community.”
The first hall of fame ceremony will take place in the fall. A school assembly will be held to honor the first inductees into the hall. They will also be presented briefly at a home football game. Nominations for this year’s hall of fame recipients will close on May 1.
Anyone interested in nominating either themselves or someone else may do so by going to chsraiders.com. A link is attached to the main page under the banner and home tab. Clicking on the link directs users to a page with the hall’s mission statement, criteria, nomination process and selection.
A hall of fame nomination form can be found at the bottom of the page. Any Cleveland High alumni can be nominated for the hall.
“We really want a variety. The whole point of the hall of fame is to show our students it does not matter where you come from,” O’Bryan said. “You may be the smartest and brightest and intend to be a doctor before completely changing your path.”
Continued O’Bryan, “You may be a student who struggles to find their way in high school before leaving and finding your niche in something completely admirable and worthy of acknowledgement.”
It does not matter so much who a person was in high school as it does who they have become.
“We also hope to have variations of the type of nominees. We certainly want businessmen and doctors, but we also want humanitarians, volunteers and folks who have contributed to their community,” in other ways, O’Bryan said.
The hall of fame selection committee wants hall of fame recipients to display four characteristics: the heart of a Raider, sound character, outstanding achievement, and a life of service.
“We would like our applicants to be able to say they have had outstanding achievement, even if they have never worked a day of their life, but they have volunteered for years,” O’Bryan said.
Selection committee members include two teachers, two school administrators, two district administrators and two alumni. All nominations will remain anonymous until the final ones have been voted upon.
O’Bryan said she is confident a solid committee with folks who really love Cleveland High and its history has been formed.
There will be several inducted into the first hall of fame this fall. Other schools with halls of fames said the first year always has the most nominations. O’Bryan and the committee are actively encouraging members of the community to make their nominations.
Current students will also be a part of the process.
“Students will be involved in the planning, research and writing of the recipients’ stories,” O’Bryan said. “They will gain something from the process, as well.”
Nominations will no longer be accepted after May 1, 2013 for this year’s inductees.