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Honor Wall acclaims athletes

In a small air-conditioned foyer, located between the music suite and the FC gym stands a glass case dedicated to the athletic accomplishments of five alumni.

Throughout the 30 years of campus existence, several students have “stood out” in the athletic programs. In order to recognize their achievements, George Freeman, the girls’ high school tennis coach and Scott Callisch, Athletic Director, created the Wall of Honor.

?The main goal of the sports program is to create well-rounded students, challenge them and build character,? Callisch said. ?Public relations is secondary; the sports program is here to benefit the students.?

According to the FCHS Wall of Honor Statement of Purpose, the was created in order to honor graduates that have “greatly” contributed to the sports program.

?Our goal is to disciple and train young people through athletics,? Freeman said. ?The sports program has helped establish our school and a handful of athletes in particular rise above high expectations; we want to recognize them in the Wall of Honor.?

In 2006, the campus’ faculty members organized a committee to elect athletes for the wall. The committee includes Principal Gary Schultz, Callisch, Freeman, Allen Tong, previous math teacher and Eunee McEntee, previous girls’ PE teacher.

“First, we created a list of 30 potential nominees,” Callisch said. “Then we voted for the athletes based upon their qualifications.”

Three alumni, Whitney Wells, Randy Whitlow and Danny Risch, were admitted at the start of the school year.

“We started with the athletes who received the most votes,” Freeman said. “The committee has admitted five people so far and we plan to continue this tradition.”

The most recent admissions to the Wall of Honor include Donald Penner and Michelle Smith. They were inducted at the High School Sports Banquet on April 27, 2007.

?Donald and Michelle are outstanding athletes,” Freeman said. “They deserve to be recognized.”

Penner began playing varsity baseball and basketball in the 8th grade and is the only athlete from campus to letter five times in basketball. He was first team all league, 1981-5, and MVP, 1984-5. In addition, he was part of the Central Sierra League Championship team.

“I didn’t even know the Wall of Honor existed,” Cindy Powell, ’08, said, “but I think it’s a great idea to recognize the outstanding athletes.”

Penner believes the stamina required for competitive sports helped him through challenges after high school.

“For six years, I was a part of the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) which requires great physical and mental strength,” Penner said. “I know that my coaches in high school helped prepare me for the demands of SERT.”

Penner graduated in 1985 and currently lives in Madera Ranchos with his family. The father of three girls is recovering from leukemia and is in remission.

Smith graduated in 2004, and was the only girl to hold the No. 1 seed on the girls’ tennis team for all four high school years. She was a member of Section Championship team, within the top 16 in the Central Section for singles and part of the West Sierra League Championship team for two years.

She continues to be involved in intramural sports but no longer plays competitive sports for a campus. Smith is currently majoring in Kinesiology at Cal Poly University.

“Like Penner, Smith was a hard-working, natural athlete,” Freeman said. “She greatly contributed to our sports program during high school.”

Smith played varsity tennis and soccer from 2000-2004. She believes her sports experiences in high school helped equip her for life following graduation.

“I learned teamwork, dedication and leadership skills through FC sports,” Smith said. “I was really surprised when they told me I had been selected for the Wall of Honor; I really appreciate the recognition.”

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  • R

    Russ SpencerOct 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Not just anyone can do all this and still be sane. An awesome young lady doing an awesome job for four years.

    Britt, you’re amazing, thank you!

    Russ Spencer is the cheer tumbling coach.

  • B

    Becky DeckerOct 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Wow…look at those pointed toes! Nice job, Brittany!

  • B

    Bree AinleyOct 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    That’s my Britty! 😀 I love you babe and I’m so proud of you!