The inaugural class of the Pride of Schuylkill Valley was inducted on Oct. 11. Nine inductees had the honor of being the first added to the new hall of fame.
The inductees were brought back to Schuylkill Valley High School during Homecoming week and had a chance to speak to students during their class times before enjoying a luncheon followed by the induction ceremony and then recognition at the pep rally. Before the postponed football game, inductees were introduced to the fans.
Inductees were Kenneth Lerch, Charles “Skip” Kennedy, Dane Miller, Amy (Schmidt) Reuter, Brandon Miller, Justin Eisenhofer, Timothy Faller, Ernest A. Mancini and Sherwood Goldberg.
Prior to the inductee introductions presented by a person each inductee picked, school board member G. Dane Miller welcomed everyone to the luncheon and explained how the Pride of Schuylkill Valley came to be.
“He’s the reason for this,” said Miller as he explained that Kennedy, who passed away, led to creating the hall of fame. “There has got to be a way to honor somebody like him.”
More than 40 nominees were submitted for the award.
“It was extremely difficult,” said Miller. “You are the best of the best to every walk through this building.”
Superintendent Dr. Warren Mata introduced the presenters who then introduced the inductees.
“Today we have nine distinguished men and women we want to recognize,” he said. “You bring a sense of legacy to who we are and inspire our future.”
Lerch was the first inductee and was introduced by Elias Esposito.
“I extend my sincere thank you and gratitude for leeting me be a small part of Schuylkill Valley,” said Lerch who had been a teacher, assistant principal and athletic director at Schuylkill Valley.
Evelyn Braun introduced Kennedy and spoke of his legacy and accomplishments with the school.
“He became a mentor not only to wrestlers, but the students and teachers as well,” said Braun.
Kennedy’s daughter, Tricia Hoffa, accepted the award on his behalf.
Crystal Cammauf introduced Dane Miller and ran through his accomplishments with the track and field team including setting records in shot put and discus.
“Mrs. C helped me a lot. Mrs. C, you’re an awesome person,” said Miller as he accepted his plaque.
Reuter was introduced by Dan Hornberger who recalled her tennis career at Schuylkill Valley and her professional accomplishments.
“You were a big influence in my career and on,” said Reuter of the teachers at Schuylkill Valley. “I got a great education here which led me to success.”
Brandon Miller was introduced by Katie Heffner who mentioned his works in the arts programs and academic success.
“Thank you, must of all to those who have given us the means to succeed,” said Miller as he mentioned how coming from a small school did not prevent him from doing what he dreamed of doing.
Nancy Panagacos introduced Eisenhofer and recalled his accomplishments on the swim team and how he turned his interest into a career.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this great group,” said Eisenhofer. He also told a story on his experience with Kennedy and what a great influence he was on Eisenhofer’s own life.
Captain Timothy Faller was introduced by Jane Sigoda, a longtime friend who remembers Faller’s interest in flying that led him to a career with the United States Navy.
“It’s the little things that teacher do that encourage us,” said Faller. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be inducted.”
Mancini was introduced by Robert Bagenstose who shared some highlights of their time in school including coming up with a senior prank.
“This is a real special day. It’s the first time I’ve been at Schuylkill Valley in almost half a century,” said Mancini. “I appreciate having the opportunity to teach three classes today.”
Colonel Sherwood Goldberg was introduced by Bruce Schonour.
“I’m humbled for this recognition,” said Goldberg. “When I doubted myself, someone was there for me,” he added on what it was like at Schuylkill Valley High School.
After the induction, the inductees and their guests gathered in front of the gym for the unveiling of the Pride of Schuylkill Valley.