The inaugural class for the Washington Community High School Hall of Fame has been chosen and will be recognized Sept. 28 prior to the football homecoming game at Babcook Field.
The Hall of Fame was created to honor and recognize students, alumni, teams, coaches, sponsors and friends of WCHS who have exhibited a high degree of success and or made contributions while attending, following graduation, or being affiliated with WCHS.
In total, 44 nominations were received and considered by the Hall of Fame committee. Seventeen individuals and four teams were selected for induction as the WCHS Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Nominees not selected will remain active in the pool of candidates for five years.
Students or faculty members selected for outstanding achievement are Jack Stromberger, athletic director for 25 years/coach of three sports; James Ashbrook (deceased), contributions to industrial technology department; Ray Torry, 20-year superintendent/principal at WCHS; Tom Adams (deceased), only WCHS basketball player to be Prep All American; Mark Dennis, NFL player with Miami Dolphins; Doug Lee, outstanding basketball career.
Distinguished alumni selected for bringing honor and recognition to WCHS and the community through achievement following graduation are Matt Chaney, lieutenant colonel Army Special Forces and Purple Heart recipient; Gene Thrakill, 30 years as director of bands at University of Oklahoma; Ken Holford, career administrator at Washington Central District 51/superintendent 28 years; and Dave VanDyck, career sportswriter for Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune.
Coaches for 10 or more years to be inducted are Goldie Babcook (deceased), football stadium named in his honor; Jan Smith (deceased), career teacher and coach at WCHS who launched girls athletics; Dick VanScyoc, WCHS basketball coach for 15 years, 256-130 career record; and John Venturi, 20-year head football coach, 147-60 record, state championship 1985.
Inducted for making outstanding contributions to WCHS as a “friend” for 10 or more years are Brian Wisher (deceased), longtime coach, teacher, administrator, school board member and supporter of WCHS baseball; Jim Linsley, 20 years of dedicated work with 12th Man; and Charles Fuller, organizer and founder of the 12th Man organization.
Teams to be inducted for making outstanding contributions to WCHS are the 1909 boys basketball team/second place IHSA tournament; 1977 softball team/first WCHS softball team to advance to state; 1985 football team/Class 4A state champion; 2007 baseball team/third place Class AA/only WCHS baseball state trophy.