On Friday, February 7, three individuals will be enshrined in the Rebel Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony scheduled between the varsity girls and boys basketball games vs. the visiting Kelloggsville Rockets. The newest members will join thirty-three other individuals along with the entire 1940 football team. The ceremony will be conducted approximately between 6:45 and 7:15 pm
This year’s inductees selected by a committee that includes representatives from the past six decades include:
Leon W. Hendrix, Class of 2004 – An academically outstanding student graduating seventh in his class, he was a member of the National Honor Society, Science Olympiad Team, and first chair in the high school band woodwinds group as well as being selected to serve as drum major during his senior year; having identified his interest in journalism and radio-television broadcasting at an early age, experienced his first live broadcast as volunteer auctioneer at the local PBS affiliate; graduate of Hope College where he studied communications and Spanish, and was founding member of the college’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers; served as news and sports director for the campus radio station; interned at WXMI-TV in Grand Rapids before hiring on at WOOD-TV8 as weekend associate producer, assignment editor, and working up to reporter as well as anchor desk duties; recognized in 2010 by Michigan Association of Broadcasters with an award for Best Investigative Story.
Patrick W. Ziegler, Class of 1984 – An active member of his class, he served as class and student council president his senior year; participated in football, basketball and track, student council, musical productions, Close-Up, and on the Aerial student newspaper and Echo yearbook staff; selected by his classmates to the homecoming court his junior year and homecoming king as a senior; graduate of Western Michigan University in theater and communications and later honored with an Outstanding Alumni Award from the Theater Department; trained at the National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City where he had brief stints on popular television shows and worked in theaters; worked as a producer in Los Angeles and received regional Emmy Award in 2009; co-founded an entertainment company producing a web-based program titled “Backstage Drama,” which earned a second Emmy Award with proceeds benefiting local community theater.
Peter Arthur Foote, Class of 1967, Teacher, Principal – A leader in his class, he was a member of the student council serving as president and Ottawa-Kent League of Student Councils president his senior year; active in choir, debate, Spanish Club, Junior Rotary, senior play and selected by his classmates for the homecoming court; enlisted in the U.S. Navy following graduation serving two tours in the Republic of Vietnam earning a number of citations and seven battle-campaign stars; graduate of Grand Valley State University, taught a variety of subjects at Lee Middle & High Schools for 34 years, served as advisor for several student groups, and was promoted to secondary principal during his final three years with the district; prior to retiring in 2011, he led a successful transformation of the school from a low academic achievement designation to the highest ranked high school in the surrounding area.
~ BACKGROUND ~
The Rebel Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to recognize alumni and other individuals associated with Godfrey-Lee Public Schools for their achievements and contributions to society. While many high school halls focus primarily on athletic achievement, a decision was made early to identify individuals who have been successful in a variety of areas including business and industry; community teaching, volunteerism, philanthropy, or leadership; elected or appointed government; high military leadership or heroism under combat conditions; athletic excellence; and other areas considered unique and providing positive, significant contributions.
The very first individual inducted was Reuben L. Young, who taught initially several years following the opening of Lee High School in 1923 but then went on to serve as principal for an unprecedented thirty-eight years before retiring in 1967. Mr. Young held a special place in the hearts of several generations of Lee Rebels and his induction set the bar for what it takes to be selected to the Hall.
Several other Hall members include:
- Former State Representative Jelt Sietsema, Class of 1939
- The 1940 undefeated and un-scored-upon championship football team that included a number of eventual World War II veterans some of which never returned home
- Deborah Traxinger, Class of 1978 and member of Parade Magazine’s All-American basketball team for that year
- Art Kraai, coach of four state champion and two runner-up cross country teams and member of the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame
- Pat Cook, Class of 1933 and along with her husband, Peter C. Cook, one of the area’s notable philanthropists
- Frank “Stubby” Overmire, Class of 1937 and Detroit Tiger pitcher including the 1945 World Series championship year
- Dr. Bernard Eisenga, Class of 1970 and former medical director for the Spectrum Health Poison Center in Grand Rapids
- Charles Lark, Class of 1982 and captain in the East Grand Rapids Department of Public Safety
- Stephanie Leonardos, President & Chief Executive Officer for Amerikam
- Gary P. Schenk, Class of 1961, distinguished lawyer and founding partner of Schenk, Boncher, & Rypma, P.C., as well as former President of the Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees
- Henry J. Beld, thirty-two year member of the Board of Education including twenty-five years as president
- Dr. Robert H. Puite, Class of 1942 and named to the Spectrum Health Distinguished Physicians Society in 1999
The Hall of Fame committee and school administration purposely chose to house the Hall in the original 1923 hallway of Lee High School because most students travel through that part of the school several times each day. Next to the Hall is an area dedicated to honoring the twenty-seven former Lee students who gave their lives in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. “Our goal is that these men and women live on in our school life and influence each generation of students who come through here,” according to Superintendent David Britten, a former student and principal at Lee High School.