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Six to be inducted into Comet Hall of Fame homecoming week

By James Grob,

The 2018 class of the Comet Hall of Fame will have six members.

The honor, presented since 2012 by the Charles City Community Excellence in Education Foundation, was created to recognize and honor distinguished alumni or contributors who have brought honor to the Charles City Community School District through their achievements in academics, activities, athletics and performing arts.

The new inductees will be Tye Darland, Cathy Darland, Nathan Dishman, Al Hastings, Marilee Monroe and Jerry Newton.

“The Charles City Excellence in Education Foundation, the booster club and the performing arts committee are all pleased and excited with this year’s selection of hall of fame inductees,” said Sara Stewart, a member of the foundation.

The induction ceremony will be at the Comet Hall of Fame Brunch, at 10 a.m. at the Elks Lodge on Saturday, Sept. 29, the morning after the homecoming football game.

The brunch will also include a Master of Sports recognition and Master of Performing Arts recognition — those names will be released at a later date. Those recognitions used to be held at halftime of the football game, but now they are at the hall of fame brunch.

The Excellence in Education Foundation will also be heavily involved with the homecoming festivities. Along with the annual parade on Friday, Sept. 28, the foundation will host the Comet Pride Community Tailgate, immediately following the parade in the high school parking lot. This event will include games and face-painting, as well as grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, snacks and beverages for sale.

After the football game, the foundation will host a post-game homecoming party at the Elks Lodge, which will include a football replay with the coaches as well as snacks and drinks.

Stewart said the 2018 Hall of Fame class is a diverse group, both in age range and in the variety of accomplishments of each inductee.

“It’s an excellent representation of people who have done outstanding things in our community, and people who received an education here and have gone on to do excellent work around the country,” she said. “We’re just honored to have them.”

The Charles City Excellence in Education Foundation awards grants to teachers and students who have innovative projects designed to “engage, empower and inspire students in the classroom.” The foundation has granted more than $25,000 to staff and students to expand educational opportunities.

Projects that have received grants include STEM projects, the rock climbing wall at the high school, adaptive music classes, first aid CPR dummies for teacher training, 3D printers in social studies, robotics, Lego League, the elementary kindness retreat, the photojournalism camera and trout in the classroom, among others.

The organization took Comet Hall of Fame nominations through the end of July this year. While high school performance is important, it is not solely determinative. The committee gives consideration to those who successfully unite noteworthy accomplishments in school and life. Recipients don’t necessarily have to be star students or athletes, nor do their contributions necessarily have to be in Charles City.

“The 2018 group shows how Charles City provides a wonderful foundation for achievement and for a variety of community endeavors,” Stewart said.

Last year’s inductees were Mark Sindlinger, Shirley Kelly, Doug Bengtson, Danielle Rippentrop, Gil White and Donna White.

Criteria considered for selection include secondary and post-secondary achievements, professional or lifetime accomplishments and civic endeavors. If a candidate was nominated but not selected this year, the application will remain on file and be reconsidered throughout the next five years.

Eligible candidates for the hall of fame are alumni or contributors to the Charles City School District, eligible five years after graduation or five years after leaving employment in Charles City. Candidates are assessed on secondary and post-secondary achievements in academics, activities, athletics and performing arts; success in a particular vocation; distinguished civic endeavors and professional or lifetime accomplishments.

Inductees will be honored and give a speech at the brunch. There is no limit to the number of individuals who can be inducted each year. The Athletic Booster Club, Performing Arts staff and the Excellence in Education Foundation make final selections for the Comet Hall of Fame.

Previous year Comet Hall of Fame inductees

2012: Phyllis Meyer, Dorothy Coacher, Dan Frudden, Sally Frudden, Donna Stewart.

2013: Leo Schula, Robert Eggert, Rhoda McCartney, Ralph McCartney, Jim Erb.

2014: Bill Fenholt, Charlie Hardt, George Lorber, Bill Burge.

2015: Doug Bengston, Linda Brant, Louis Koenigsfeld, Beverly Rasmussen.

2016: No inductees, transition year.

2017: Mark Sindlinger, Shirley Kelly, Doug Bengtson, Danielle Rippentrop, Gil White, Donna White.