News and Tribune


June 18, 2014

New Albany High School Hall of Fame class announced

12 new members to be inducted Sept. 21

NEW ALBANY — Bill Cochran was elected to public office for 42 straight years — 34 of those as a state representative. He has received numerous honors and awards, but admits he was a bit surprised when he received a letter from the New Albany High School Hall of Fame committee recently.

The letter informed him that he had been selected a member of the school’s 2014 hall of fame class.  

“It’s really nice to be recognized,” Cochran said. “It was a big surprise.”

Cochran is one of 12 former teachers and graduates in the class. They will be honored at an induction ceremony at 1 p.m. Sept. 21.

Besides Cochran, those elected include: Ruth Braeutigam, class 1932, faculty 1936-77; Robert E. Carter, faculty 1945-75; Sam Chapala, class of 1999; Tom Chapala, faculty 1972-2001; Jim Dickman, class of 1961, faculty 1966-98; Terry Eiler, class of 1962; Tom Hutchinson, class of 1959; Tomoko Ikeda Kikkawa, class of 1964 (first foreign exchange student at the school); Alice Phillips Miles, class of 1958, NA-FC staff, 1977-2003; Vernon Niemeier, class of 1963, NAHS staff 1984-2010; and Steve Perkins, class of 1987.

This is the eighth hall of fame class since the hall’s inception in 2007. There are now 88 people in the hall of fame, and they come from diverse backgrounds and enjoyed success both at the school and in their careers.

Of the 88, only 22 were selected due to their sports achievement, according to co-chair Susan Adams. She said some people still think the hall of fame is for athletes only, but that is not the case.

Plaques for each hall of famer line the walls of the front hallway of the school. This year’s class include teachers, athletes and a former staff member who still volunteers at different school events.

“I think after being on the committee for four or five years, it is getting tougher every year. I don’t think people understand how difficult it is to make these selections,” said Bob Dusch, co-chair of the committee, who is also a member of the hall of fame. “We try to get a mix of new and old and it gets really tough.”

This is also the first year a father and son have both been elected. Tom and Sam Chapala will be inducted together. Tom taught and coached at the school from 1972 to 2001 while his son Sam, born with Down syndrome, has excelled at both the state and national level in power lifting.

“It’s quite an honor; I’m really excited about it,” Tom Chapala said. “Surprised ... definitely.”

Tom said he was more thrilled for his son Sam.

“He got  his [honor] straight from hard work and perseverance,” he said. “To be recognized for that is really something.”

Alice Miles will also join her husband Jerrol, a 2010 inductee, in the hall of fame. Other 2014 class members include Hutchinson, a former football and track star at New Albany and the University of Kentucky, who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1963-65 after being a first round draft pick.

Dickman was not only known for teaching advanced math courses at New Albany along with Russian, but for also starting the soccer program at the school in 1971.

Eiler was a photographer for National Geographic and taught photojournalism from Ohio University, while Perkins is a Latin teacher at North Central High School and was named the Indiana teacher of the year for 2013-14. Carter was the school’s choral director from 1945-1975.

Niemeier, a 1963 graduate, was a NAHS staff member from 1984-2010  after spending 20 years on the New Albany Police Department. He worked for the school’s athletic department, transportation and was the safety officer. He still volunteers at certain events, and said he was thrilled to be selected for the hall of fame.

“I count it as an honor,” Niemeier said. “I worked with young people for a long time and got a lot out of it. I didn’t expect to get something like this.”

Hall of fame nomination forms are available inside the front entrance of the school. New nominations from the public are taken through Feb. 28 for next year’s class.

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