ALPENA - Fall homecoming at Alpena High School will be celebrated today with traditional festivities and crowd favorites that bring many people back to their hometown. The community will celebrate with students and staff members, along with four new people who will be honored this year, in the annual induction into the AHS Alumni Hall of Fame.
"The 2012 candidates have made their efforts pay off in many places around the word," Joyce McCoy, director of secondary instruction, said. "It is true, start here - and go anywhere."
The 2012 Hall of Fame inductees include David Cloft, class of 1993; John Geddert, class of 1976; Elwood Smith, class of 1959; Dr. Allan Frank, class of 1981.
"I am simultaneously thrilled and humbled. I never expected to be selected to be a member of the AHS Hall of Fame, I'm extremely appreciative to be selected for this noteworthy achievement. I hope that I can inspire current students to succeed in their future," Cloft said.
Cloft said after spending years away from Alpena he has realized the "amazing education opportunities, the tremendous support structure, and the multitude of outdoor recreational activities" that are prevalent in the area. Besides his high school accomplishments, Cloft graduated from the United States Military Academy in West Point and served as an armor officer for six years, and transitioned to a year round service with the Army Reserve as an operations research and systems analyst. He recently returned from a six-month overseas deployment to Baghdad, Iraq.
"Every time I visit Alpena I hate to leave. It's truly a gem and a place I'm proud to call my home," Cloft said. "I'm planning on speaking to AHS students about finding and developing a personal value system, never forgetting where you came from, and realizing that your parents are not getting any young. We should appreciate the time we have with them."
Geddert, a former AHS gymnast, is the most decorated women's gymnatics coach in Michigan and has a 28 year win/loss record of 2,274 wins and 62 defeats in the state championship competition. He was named the head coach of the USA World Gymnastics Team that won the gold medal in the team competition.
"I feel very fortunate to have developed a passion for a sport and then to have been able to turn that passion into a mean of making a living. That passion started and grew in the Alpena school system," Geddert said. "They fostered the love of the sport, and taught priceless life lessons along the way. I owe my career's successes to the atmosphere that they created during my junior high and high school days."
Former art student Smith is now one of the most highly recognizable professionals in the field of illustration. His illustrations have appeared regularly in Time, Newsweek, Forbes, New Yorker Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and many more. He also has worked with major advertising agencies worldwide, and is currently developing his own 2D animations using Flash, Toon Boon Studio and other software, and has illustrated numerous books.
"I wasn't a particularly popular kid in high school and because I was shy and not interested in sports, making pictures was my safe haven," Smith said. "Nancy Feindt, my art teacher, was my mentor in many ways."
Smith said he dedicated his first children's book to Feindt before she died of cancer, and has dedicated another book to her.
Frank excelled academically and musically at AHS, and moved forward to work in patient care and applied research. He spent years caring for patients in general medicine and teaching new graduates. He spent time researching as a vice president of clinical research developing published studies for the first at home HIV and Hepatitis C tests for Home Access Health Corporation. He also directed development for IV infusion pumps and became the senior director for clinical research at Roche.
"Success is easy is if you persist through your failure," Frank said.
A luncheon celebration will take place today at 10:30 a.m. at AHS and will kick off the Hall of Fame induction day. Honorees will tour the building and be introduced at the student pep assembly. They also will be presented to the community during the homecoming parade that begins at Ella White Elementary School at 4:30 p.m. The official Hall of Fame induction will take place on the field at the Wildcat Stadium at 6:30 p.m.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687.