ARGENTA — None of the three inaugural members of the Argenta-Oreana Hall of Fame saw it coming.
“That was the best part,” said Dan Sheehan, assistant high school principal, who was the one to call and inform the winners.
The school board has planned a hall of fame for a while, Sheehan said, to honor outstanding alumni. A similar hall of fame is planned specifically for athletes, and the first honorees for it will be named in the fall.
“When I was first hired three years ago, history in terms of past record-holders and past alumni, was kind of lacking,” Sheehan said.
The board asked him to correct that, so he called other nearby schools to ask how they handle it, and the hall of fame was born. Other schools have separate halls of fame for athletics and distinguished alumni who weren’t athletes, and it made sense to do the same at Argenta-Oreana, he said.
Then came the task of soliciting nominations. The criteria: individuals who have achieved personal excellence in their profession, and/or individuals who nurture their community through service, stewardship and involvement. The honorees must be at least 10 years out of high school to be nominated.
A 15-member committee went through the nominations and discussed them extensively before settling on the first three honorees.
Cory D. White, class of 1992, chief of both Argenta and Oreana fire departments and the first person to serve as chief of both.
Scott K. Runyen, class of 1978, systems analyst for the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Gary L. Rolofson, class of 1964, owner of Rolofson Bus Service, captain in the Argenta-Oreana Volunteer Fire Department and Friends Creek Township trustee.
All three men were publicly recognized at the high school graduation ceremony May 25. Large plaques will hang in the high school’s main hallway, and the honorees received smaller versions to take home. Runyen traveled from New Mexico to be there.
“Graduation is our biggest event of the school year,” Principal Sean German said, the reason the honors were announced on that day. The athletic hall of fame honorees will be announced at homecoming.
Sheehan expects applications to triple for the next round of honors now that people understand what it’s all about.