By CHRIS MORRIS
NEW ALBANY —
New Albany High School attracts students from all walks of life, something the oldest public high school in Indiana prides itself on. That diversity and pride was on display Sunday afternoon at the seventh annual NAHS Hall of Fame induction ceremony and luncheon.
Those enshrined included longtime educators, an Army nurse and entrepreneur, as well as a man who drove the Bulldog bus for 29 years. The oldest graduate honored was an Army colonel, who was killed in action and buried in Arlington National Cemetery, from the class of 1876.
Around 240 guests and honorees attended the annual event in the cafeteria Sunday to celebrate the school’s past. This year, 12 new members were inducted into the NAHS Hall of Fame.
“These people have touched so many lives,” said WAVE-3 sports director Kent Taylor, the event’s master of ceremonies.
This year’s inductees included: Phyllis Breen Cogan, class of 1964; Bob Dusch, class of 1962, faculty from 1966-2013; Lillian Emery, class of 1905; Lee Kelly, faculty, 1973-2013; Hank Klein, class of 1946; Don McMahel, class of 1948, faculty at various schools in the NA-FC School Corp. from 1959-1993; Walter Poff, class of 1949; Muriel Ryall, class of 1922, faculty from 1926-1971; Sam Shine, class of 1951; Steve Sipes, class of 1967, teacher/administrator from 1972-2009; Stanley Starks, Bulldog bus driver, 1951-1980; and Col. John Stotsenburg, class of 1876, who was killed in the Philippines insurrection on April 23, 1899, while leading his regiment.
All living honorees attended the event along with family representatives for Ryall, McMahel and Starks.
“This is a big day for me,” said Dusch, who retired from the classroom this year after 47 years but is still coaching the school’s tennis team. “I feel like you are placing me in the history books at New Albany High School.” Dusch is also a member of the Indiana Tennis Hall of Fame.
Kelly, the voice of the Bulldogs who, along with his best friend, Dusch, also retired in 2013 after 40 years of service as teacher and general manager of WNAS radio and television stations, said he dearly loved his job 99 percent of the time. In closing his remarks, he gave one of his famous weather announcements one final time, one most students loved to hear each winter.
“The New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation will be on a two-hour delay this Sunday, Sept. 29.”
Cogan worked as a nurse in Vietnam and enjoyed a long and distinguished military career in the Army Nurse Corps. She was awarded the Legion of Merit medal upon her retirement.
Klein was a national buyer for Kroger and spent most of his life helping others. An accomplished woodworker, he made and donated wooden toys to The Salvation Army to be given to needy children. Upon his wife Wilma’s death, $100,000 will be donated to the school to be used for scholarships for NAHS seniors.
“This is the highlight of my life,” Wilma Klein said while accepting the award. “He was a good man and his memory will live on through the scholarships.”
McMahel’s daughter, Donna Klinglesmith, accepted his award and afterward, the Dynasax Quartet played the Glenn Miller tune “In the Mood” to honor the man who not only was a music instructor in the NA-FC School Corp., but was the first at Indiana University Southeast. He remained active there with the alumni band up until his death.
Poff joined his brother Paul, a 2012 inductee, as members of the school’s hall of fame. After graduating from New Albany in 1949, he had an outstanding basketball career at the University of Detroit and worked for years as a corrosion engineer, retiring from Porter Paint. He is a member of the University of Detroit Hall of Fame.
“What a wonderful experience this is,” he said. “I had so many wonderful experiences here at this school.”
Bill Ryall, a member of the school’s hall of fame, accepted his aunt Muriel’s award. She was a member of New Albany’s faculty from 1926-1971, and was known as a teacher with a caring heart.
“She had an impact on so many lives,” Bill Ryall said.
Shine founded Samtec, Inc., in 1975, renting two rooms behind an insurance building along Charlestown Road. In 2012, Samtec exceeded $500 million in sales and employs thousands worldwide. His son John, a 1979 graduate, is now president of the company.
“Somewhere along the line I must have gotten the entrepreneurial spirit. My dad had it, I had it and my son has it. There must be something in the water at New Albany High School,” he said.
Sipes was the school’s principal during major renovation work in 2002. A longtime educator, he served as principal from 1993-2009. He grew up across the street from the school and said he was always a Bulldog.
“It’s a humbling job,” he said of being principal. “It was a challenge to continue the tradition, keep the building vibrant and meet the demands of the day.”
Sipes credited his co-workers and those he brought on board during his tenure.
“I surrounded myself with good people,” he said. He said public schools are the backbone of this country.
Starks was “a legend in his own time” according to a Tribune article announcing his retirement in 1980 as the Bulldog bus driver. For 29 years Starks drove students on field trips and athletic teams to games as the driver of the bus. And he did it with a smile on his face. The Bulldog bus was the first school-owned bus in Indiana. Stanley’s son Robert Starks accepted his father’s plaque Sunday.
The first NAHS Hall of Fame class was inducted in 2007. There are now 76 members of the hall. Their photos are hanging in the school’s foyer.