After years of consideration, and a year of planning, Thurston High School will be inducting past student athletes into their Hall Of Fame this coming Saturday at a formal banquet at the school.
Thurston High School was founded in 1960 and has seen many successful student walk their halls. In 1961, just one year after the school was built, Thurston Track took the State Championship. In football, Thurston has won the Midwestern League title six times, the first one coming in 1969. Thurston has won the title 7 times for Basketball, 4 times for Baseball – including a State Championship in 2009, and Thurston has won State in wrestling (2002), girls track and field (1970), boys cross country (1961), and girls soccer in (2012).
We spoke with Noland Peebles, ASB Student Government Advisor at Thurston about their upcoming event; his excitement could be heard in his voice,
“Our Athletic Director, Justin Stark and our Principal, Ed Mendelssohn got together and – went for it with nuclear pellets – and have done a stellar job” Peebles said.
Nominees were drawn from the 1960’s and early 1970’s for their athletic accomplishments. The names were researched and the committee came up with 16 candidates; 8 names from the All State Track Team of 1961 went on the list.
In attendance for the ceremony, and being inducted into the Hall Of Fame, is Coach Bill Dellinger. A prominent figure in Eugene and Springfield, Dellinger is a two time NCAA winner, three time All American and three time Pacific Coast Conference Champion. Dellinger captured two world indoor records, six American-records, and competed in three Olympics: the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia, the 1960 Games in Rome, Italy and the 1964 Games in Tokyo, Japan. Bringing home the bronze medal in the 5,000 meters during his final trip to the Olympics in Japan.
In order to give the event the respect and honor it deserves, the Hall of Fame Committee decided they needed someone with expertise in event planning to give them a hand. They reached out to Dawn Keeney, an experienced event coordinator and owner of Unforgettable Service & Events, an event coordination company located in Eugene. Keeney is known for her event work with the Childrens Miracle Network, Oregon Mozart Players, UO Dept. of Judiac Studies, MLD Technologies, Shlesinger & DeVilleneuve, the Eugene Symphony and others.
Peebles commended Keeney for pulling the event together for them,
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but if you could see our cafeteria and how Unforgettable is transforming it with the decorations, the floral arrangements, the linens, everything she has put together, it will look like a silk purse. She (Dawn) has definitely helped make this as excellent, and pain free, as possible for us.”
Because it was their first induction ceremony, Thurston knew they wanted to have Hole in The Wall cater the event, but they also knew they didn’t want to serve the typical BBQ, as good as it is, they wanted something special for the event. Keeney met with owner Gary Rodgers and his Chef’s Mary Moore and Ron Schrodt to put together a Hall of Fame worthy menu. Keeney also coordinated with florists and bakers with specific instructions for the event, down to the hand painted cookies being served at Fridays reception. Twenty five student athletes, from all sports, will be serving and attending to the honorees.
The celebration kicks off Friday evening with a reception for the athletes at 6 p.m. in the Colts Lounge prior to the Civil War game between Thurston High School and Springfield High School. The inductees will be introduced at the Civil War with the actual ceremony taking place at Thurston High School on Saturday evening.
Each sport will be represented and includes any state champions in their own sport. This inaugural induction will be a large event, due to the fact that it is their first formal induction. According to Peebles, subsequent years are intended to be done on a smaller scale, inducting 3 – 4 athletes each year.
Thurston High School is also building a brand new lower gym hallway for the Hall of Fame.
“There have been many wonderful donations from our community; Levitt’s and Subway for example are among the contributors. The senior class of 2013 is one of the main donors to the fund. It’s going to be a tremendous place of honor for our student athletes.” Peebles said.
With the banquet and the new hallway, the cost is estimated to be between 20 and 25 thousand dollars, made possible by those donations. Friday evening, students of Thurston High will also be available to give tours of the school.
“With the Thurston shooting many years ago, it fractured some, some moved away, but it also proved the mettle of this community. To do something so impactful for the community now, it’s great. I am proud to be a part of this, it’s a great place, great community. Come and be our guest to see our home” Peebles said.
Tickets for the Thurston Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and Dinner this Saturday, January 11th can be purchased for $20.00. Dinner will be served at 5:30 with the ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. To purchase tickets please call 541-744-5000.
Unforgettable Service & Events