ILION – In a celebration of community and the accomplishments of its members, friends, family and district members gathered to honor the 2018 inductees to the Central Valley Hall of Fame March 10.
Saturday’s luncheon served as the second induction ceremony since the Hall of Fame’s creation in 2017.
“The performance, conduct and achievement all honorees have exhibited has brought credence and pride to what we now call Central Valley,” said School Board President Kelly Rowland in her opening remarks. “We can only hope that each of these successes will inspire our future graduates to serve and perform in the capacity that they have.”
This year’s class of inductees included Donald J. Brien, Betty L. Couchman, Douglas A. Grose, Steven M. Roginski, Burton T. Seymour and Roland James Yardley.
“I’m pretty proud that he’s being inducted. I’m proud to be his son,” said Tom Seymour of his father Burton T. Seymour, inducted for his humanitarian and community service achievement. In 1963, Seymour, a firefighter, lost his life battling a fire at the Ilion High School.
“He gave everything in service of his community,” Tom Seymour continued. “But this is not a sad day, it’s a happy day. It brought us all together to honor him. And we’re very appreciative of the firemen, past and present, who came today.”
After being presented with the globe award for Burton T. Seymour, the Seymour family then presented the award to the Ilion Fire Department, where the globe will be displayed. At the conclusion of the luncheon, district faculty surprised the family by presenting them with an honorary diploma for Seymour, who never graduated high school.
More than honoring the individuals themselves, the ceremony and Hall of Fame serve to honor the community and point out that even those from a small town can accomplish great things, said Superintendent Jeremy Rich.
“It’s about sharing in their accomplishments and showing future generations that they can grow up and go on to do great things,” he said. “Show them that people from right here in their home town, a small town, already have.”
“It’s a real honor and reflection upon him, but also on the structure and values that he learned here in Ilion that saw him into the navy,” said Mary Erin Blair, who attended the luncheon to see her cousin, Roland Yardley inducted. “The Valley is a great place. People say it’s not, but it really is. People used to ask me why I came back. I came back for (my kids) Jerry and Erin, so they could grow up in a close community and get a good foundation. And it’s great that we’re stepping back now and saying we’re proud of you and honoring your roots.”
Honoree Douglas Grose, a Mohawk native and 1968 graduate of Jarvis High School, said he felt both proud and surprised at his induction, which brought him home for the first time in many years.
“I feel honored. It’s great,” he said. “I wasn’t even aware there was a Hall of Fame. It’s interesting to be back and see how things have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same, for the first time in probably 30 years.”
Grose now lives in Connecticut.
“It’s interesting too, to see how the two schools (Mohawk and Ilion) have evolved and joined together to survive,” he continued. “I think what they’re doing here is really nice.”
Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by a committee made up of school and community representative, who make their selections from a list of people nominated by friends and family. The purpose is to honor alumni of Ilion, Mohawk, and Central Valley schools who have excelled in their careers, athletics, and community service. Nomination requirements and forms are available on the district website www.cvalleycsd.org or from the district office.
Inductees receive a globe trophy, while a plaque baring their likeness and achievements will be displayed in Central Valley High School.