FHC’s Athletic Hall of Fame brings together the whole community to honor the people who built it

FHCs Athletic Hall of Fame brings together the whole community to honor the people who built it

Forest Hills Central high school has many traditions such as the widely-known tailgates, large homecoming parades, numerous state-ranked sports teams, and so many more aspects that make being a Ranger something to cherish. Despite being a tight-knit community, one of the more important traditions is one that not many know about: the Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Although it might not be as talked about as some of the school’s yearly traditions, the hall was started by some of FHC’s icons who saw a problem and went to work to make a change for the better. 

“Years ago, Ken George, Bill Kennedy, Clark Udell, and I just thought Forest Hills Central has such a rich tradition of athletics and excellence and we thought we needed to have a collective memory present,”  Brad Anderson, the head chairman for the Hall of Fame, said. “We have had a lot of accomplishments and the story goes that we were cleaning out the trophy case one day and we came across a picture of the first state champion in Forest Hills history named Larry Cardinal.”

Larry Cardinal might have had quite the impressive label, but why was his picture so disregarded among the other greats in our school’s history?

“His picture was turned around and musty and written on the back was 1968 State Champ Class B, 38-0,” Mr. Anderson said. “He was an undefeated state champion and the first in Forest Hills history and his picture was left to fade. From that, we started thinking about how we could honor these people who poured their heart and soul into excellence and athletics here as an athlete, coach, or community member, and how do we honor them properly.”

From their hours of brainstorming and planning, the team was able to build an event that would honor those who made the school what it has grown to be today in the sports community.

“At first, we started off with a dinner, but since then has morphed into a golf outing during the day to bring people back and to have a fun atmosphere during the day and then that evening we have a dinner and a ceremony for the honorees,” Mr. Anderson said. “It is truly a great opportunity to celebrate being a Ranger.”

Many athletes in the building right now might be wondering how this event affects them in the long run and how it ties into the whole community, but the masterminds behind the milestone ceremony knew exactly what they were doing while constructing the Hall of Fame to bring every part of FHC together. 

“Forest Hills Central is a collection of townships; we have Ada, Cascade, and a little slice of Grand Rapids township. The center of our community is the high school and we don’t have a small town,” Mr. Anderson said. “Us being part of a community makes it important to have some sort of memory of the great deeds that have come before us along with tradition and pride that all make this a better place to be.”

One of this year’s biggest honorees–Mr. Ken George–is widely known for his time as a teacher and long-time basketball coach for the Rangers up until 2018, but it’s not just people in the area who feel the effects of this tradition. In fact, those who come back are just as touched by the recognition upon their return and it is a key way of bringing everyone together. 

“Those folks that come back are very moved and touched by it, and on top of that we have athletes walking around our building now that someday will be inducted into the Hall of Fame and they will come back to show their kids where they practiced and played,” Mr. Anderson said.

There is no doubt that the Hall of Fame should be widely known for its ability to bring the community together and honor those who have helped FHC grow into the place it is today. The event will continue to do just that. 

“We want to make Forest Hills Central a great place to be and we want people to feel good about either being from here or returning here,” Mr. Anderson said.