It’s time to honor all graduates

About a year or so ago, Brooke High School announced its plans to create a new hall of fame to honor its graduates.

For many years, the school has had a hall of fame to honor athletes who have had success following their high school years. The board of education also has a hall of fame to honor the service of the county’s educators.

Finally, someone realized it would only be fair to honor those others, who may not have been known for their athletic prowess, but still had become successful in their own right after they had completed their tour through the green and gold hallways.

I personally am a graduate of Brooke High School; the class of 1997, to be specific. It always bothered me there was so much focus on the athletic side of student activities, so I’m glad to see it remedied and for those of us who might not have been seen on the courts or fields to be remembered for our own accomplishments.

In recent days, the high school has announced its first class of inductees, and it looks as if the selection committee has gotten a great start.

A couple are even a little familiar, as they roamed those halls around the same time as I did.

As mentioned in an article in Saturday’s edition, the class will include:

  • Roger Clem (class of 1996) currently an assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Pam Lazear Quinones (class of 1970) who founded Hygiene Associates Inc. in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, and has served as president of the American Dental Hygienists Association
  • Jason Rihel (class of 1994) is a senior research fellow in the University of London’s Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biosciences
  • Craig Underwood (class of 1975), a Rhodes scholar and founder and chief executive of Sports Loyalty International
  • Darrell Velegol (class of 1988), a chemical engineering professor at Penn State University, who has published two books and a variety of articles on microscopy and cell biology.

The class was nominated by area residents and voted on by a panel formed by Brooke High Principal Toni Shute.

They officially will be inducted April 24 during the academic awards program at the high school.

It is always a good thing when a school or community honors those who have made some great contribution to society, or become successful in whatever field they may have decided to pursue in their lives.

Not all of us can be athletes, or even have an interest in sports for that matter. We have other interests, skills or hobbies, and many lead to a particular type of job or service.

The Ohio Valley has been the home to actors, singers, nationally recognized attorneys and doctors, authors, scientists and many others.

Not all of them get into high-profile careers, but still find their own ways to be successful in the eyes of many.

So many leave the region because of their fields of work, or because of other opportunities.

I know there are classmates of mine who are spread across the country, many working in various types of jobs, or giving back to their communities in some form.

I am sure there are many who would like to feel as if they are remembered by their schools and communities.

Many of our schools find ways to honor their graduates. To me, the honors need to be inclusive and reflective of the success of all graduates, not just a select few.

I look forward to hearing of future classes of inductees to this new hall of fame for many years to come.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)