During a luncheon ceremony at Big Walnut High School April 7, three Big Walnut graduates were inducted into the newly established Big Walnut High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
Martin Forman (Class of 1995), Mindi (Myers) Priestas (Class of 1986) and Theresa (Kelley) Dronsfield (Class of 1984) were introduced by members of the high school’s Principal’s Student Leadership Committee.
In opening remarks, Superintendent Angie Pollock said Big Walnut is a special place.
“Big Walnut has a rich tradition of service and giving back to the community,” Pollock said. “These three individuals continue to serve the Big Walnut community in many ways today. They exemplify what makes Big Walnut alumni so special, and what makes us proud of the work we do. They are role models, teaching our students to be good citizens and give something back to their community and to make the world a better place; and they help us make a strong connection with the past.”
Forman, a lifelong Big Walnut resident and standout soccer player at Big Walnut High School and Ohio Wesleyan University, said a major reason that he gives back to the community is to honor the men and women who have served this country in the military.
During his remarks, Forman encouraged today’s students to continue to recognize the men and women of today’s military services, and honor those who have lost their lives while serving.
“And to you seniors,” Forman added. “You’ll be graduating from college soon and be in your early 20s. I challenge you to continue to be productive in society and push yourselves to get involved in your communities. Have fun, and be thankful for the gifts you’ve got.”
Priestas, another lifelong Big Walnut area resident and current Harrison Street Elementary School teacher, said she went off to Bowling Green State University and, like many young people fresh out of high school, said she would never come back – but she did, and she stayed.
“Everybody in Big Walnut is very special to me,” Priestas said. “I couldn’t get anywhere without the support of my family and this community. I can’t believe how quick it goes by,” she added. “Enjoy your time with your friends and your family.”
Dronsfield, who is founder of the Giant Lemonade Cup concession and started the popular end of summer Sunbury Sizzle & Sounds Festival, drove from Florida to attend the ceremony.
“This is an important award for me,” Dronsfield said. “I feel really proud to be here. I love Sunbury and the Big Walnut area. This community has always supported me. To you seniors, you can do huge things with the life in front of you.”
In his closing remarks, first-year Big Walnut High School Principal Andy Jados said it did not take long before he knew what a special place Big Walnut is.
Jados also noted that members of the high school’s Principal’s Student Leadership Committee drove the nomination process and luncheon format.
“They took a huge amount of pride in this,” Jados said. “They wanted everything to have the right fit.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093