Greene County establishes fine arts hall of fame

Inaugural ceremony set for May 8

By Brandon Hurley
Managing Editor

The arts deserve love.

An increased emphasis on the past has led Greene County High School to a new wrinkle of recognition.
The Jefferson-based school district recently unveiled the fine arts hall of fame, an entity focused on honoring students who have excelled in extra curricular via music, art, speech and theater.
The idea hatched from Greene County’s athletic hall of fame which was first implemented a few years prior. The school recently celebrated its third class last month.

Vocal music teacher Dave Heupel was inspired by former Greene County activities director Todd Gordon, who originally brought the athletics hall of fame to Jefferson. Heupel believed a wider-reaching focus was important to students in the area and they deserved recognition of their own.

“(Gordon) was very clear in that his position was activities director, not athletic director,” Heupel said of Gordon. “He met with and supported all activity sponsors. Dave Wright (current Greene County AD) has also kept that importance in being activities director.
So when Todd came up with the criteria for the athletic hall of fame, I asked about fine arts, as well.”

The school immediately was supportive of Heupel’s idea for a fine arts hall of fame, though the biggest hurdle was hammering out the necessary criteria for admittance. Heupel began tweaking the athletic nomination form as a reference point, and refined it from there. He wanted to make sure several different areas of music, theater and art are included in the new endeavor, realizing their importance to student’s during their years at Greene County.

“Anytime that we can highlight those that have made an impact and gone on to do some incredible things, we need to do that,” Heupel said. “In a connection to our vocal jazz festival last Friday night, these kids were so impressed by the level of education and performance that our clinicians have achieved, I reminded them that they have the potential to do the same, if they wish.
Something like a hall of fame that highlights people the way it does truly shows these kids that people from here can achieve highly, because they have.”

Nominations for the inaugural fine arts class are being accepted through March 10. Nominees must be a graduate of either Greene County, Jefferson-Scranton or East Greene and have participated in a past school sanctioned activity. Additionally, nominees are required to have obtained one or more of the following during their high school career:

Acceptance into an all-state music ensemble, acceptance into all-state speech, solo/small ensemble festival outstanding performer selection, received multiple superior festival ratings, been honored with a “winning the banner” at the all-state speech festival, placed first at the jazz band or jazz choir championships, received collegiate honors in the field or professional honors or achievements as well.
Visual arts criteria includes one or more of the following: state level awards, received recognition for a career in visual arts or known as a major contributor to community arts.
The fine arts hall of fame is simply another way to acknowledge the great extra curricular work students produce year after year. Heupel felt it was time to recognize those folks with a ceremony and celebration all of their own.

“I feel there are so many fantastic students that made a huge impact while they were here and are still making a big impact in their professional lives,” Heupel said. “The same is true for some of the coaches/directors that have been here over the years. “

The high school is in the process of forming a selection committee that will decide who and how many former students will be admitted for the initial fine arts class.
The first class will be announced in the coming months. The hall of fame ceremony will be held on May 8 during the GCHS spring concert.

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