Norwalk Reflector: Distinguished Willard alumni seen as role models
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Distinguished Willard alumni seen as role models

Cary Ashby • Oct 1, 2018 at 3:00 PM

WILLARD — Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Randy Adams was suitably impressed with the relatively new facilities at Willard City Schools.

Adams, the class of 1972, was back in his old stomping grounds Friday. But it wasn’t the same place where he was a Crimson Flash.

“It’s great to come back, but it is a different building. There’s so much space here now. It’s amazing,” said Adams, who won the 2010 Tony for best musical for “Memphis.”

The Willard alumnus said he believes the new resources at the 4-year-old school building are “top of the line” and the district has “continued to put the resources into the education here in this area.” The facility houses preschoolers through 12th-graders.

“All these areas for the kids to hang out in, we never had any of that,” added Adams, who was impressed with the space and technology. “It looks like the classrooms are well equipped.”

On Friday, the inaugural class members being awarded the first Distinguished W Alumni awards were honored during a ceremony Friday in the high school auditeria followed by a small reception. The alumni also were recognized at halftime of the homecoming football game with Sandusky St. Mary’s that evening.

The recipients include: Adams, retired U.S. Army Col. Daniel Barnett, retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Durr Sr., Willard City Manager Jim Ludban, Jean Murray (Osman Hooper Award winner for news photography) and Richard Vogel, a retired Air Force colonel and former prisoner of war. 

The Distinguished W Alumni Award started with ideas from the Willard student council and Teen Leadership Corps class. English teacher Courtney Carnahan, who is on the award committee, said the original idea was to recognize veterans and as the idea was discussed, it seemed most appropriate to honor alumni who have made significant contributions to the community.

“It just so happens that some of the people are veterans,” added Carnahan, who advises student council with social studies teacher Cathy Weaver.

Also, Carnahan said the award recipients can serve as role models to students, showing them that anybody who walks the halls of Willard schools “can be successful as well.”

“We want the kids to have people to look up to,” she added.

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