A lot can happen in 16 years–two state football titles, one state volleyball title, one Connecticut teacher of the year, 14 graduating classes, an endearing tradition of the spirit shovel competition, and a number of graduates returning to work as teachers. Woodland Regional High School, which aims to empower students and community members, took that message one step further and threw itself a party.
The Woodland Hall of Fame, founded in 2011 following Woodland’s tenth anniversary, held its first Hall of Fame Induction on Tuesday, November 22 at Aria Wedding & Banquet Facility in Prospect. With this year’s selection completed, the HoF committee plans on inducting future nominees every five years to join the new 2016 inductees and the previous honorees from 2011 and 2012.
The Hall of Fame night was a night for Woodland to look back and be proud of it’s accomplishments in its short tenure. As the night began, teachers, alumni, and community members mingled, sharing glances at a slideshow complete with archived photos from Woodland’s early years and commemorated the school’s finest moments.
Woodland alumni, Kyle Brennan, spoke to introduce each guest and award recipient, as he himself played a vital role in the Hall of Fame proposal. Woodland Principal Kurt Ogren, Mayor Bob Chatfield, and First Selectman Chris Bielik offered their congratulations to all inductees and emphasized the great honor it is to be inducted.
Honorees inducted from the Class of 2011 included: Woodland’s first football coach Chris Anderson, founding faculty member Maureen Carroll, Woodland’s 2010 Athlete of the Decade Gina (DellaRose) Syndomin, three-year football captain Patryk Krakowski, the 2004 Woodland Football Team which was the first to win a state championship, and the Region Sixteen High School Cooperative which passed the 1998 referendum to approve Woodland’s formation.
From the Class of 2012, the Hall of Fame also honored three-sport athlete and assistant coach Shane Kingsley, Woodland Teacher of the Year in 2005 and founding faculty member Joan Krantz, and the 2001-02 Board of Education which aided in Woodland’s success in its first year.
Kingsley thanked Woodland for pushing him in the right direction and realized, upon returning, that there was no other community like Woodland.
“When I graduated, I hoped that someday kids would care about the jersey as much as I did,” said Kingsley.
The 2016 Class honored All-State softball player and returning assistant coach Alice (Levinsky) Kinne, founder of The Susie Foundation Ryan Matthews, PTO member and honorary athletics photographer Steven Montambault, and Woodland’s first principal Dr. Arnold Frank.
Frank expressed how proud he was of what the school has accomplished and how he misses the community.
“Woodland gave back to me much more than I gave to it,” said Frank.
The honorees were all incredibly grateful for the opportunities provided by Woodland and recognized the school’s role in pushing them to achieve their goals and Chris Anderson summed up the mission of Woodland through his own experience.
“One thing I know Woodland has taught me is that you make your own miracles happen, through passion, perseverance, and the commitment to excellence.”