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Student newspaper of Strath Haven High School

Panther Press

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THE WALL: How you get there

Students walk past the Wall of Honor in the third floor hallway every day. But what is it? And how does it work?
Students+can+browse+the+Wall+of+Honor+in+the+third+floor+lobby.+There+have+been+no+new+inductees+since+2021.+
Sasha Binder ’24
Students can browse the Wall of Honor in the third floor lobby. There have been no new inductees since 2021.

The Wall of Honor has been in the third floor hallway since 2001. New plaques honoring alumni have been added each year from 2001- 2021.

One question: How does a person receive such honor?

Another question: Why have there been no new inductees since 2021?

“It’s a place to honor past graduates of both Nether Providence High School [and Swarthmore High School], which existed before Strath Haven, and Strath Haven High School,” principal Dr. Greg Hilden said. “It’s meant to highlight some graduates who have been contributors to both our local community and society in general.”

For alumni to be honored and put on the wall, there is a process.

“Anybody in the Wallingford- Swarthmore School District is invited to nominate people they believe deserve recognition, to the level that rises to being on the Wall of Honor,” counselor Mrs. Kristin Dunning said.

To nominate someone, a person needs to ask for a nomination form at the third floor office.

Once they complete the nomination form, they can bring it straight back to the office and hope their nominee will be put up on the wall.

“We don’t get a hundred applications,” assistant principal Mrs. Andrea LaPira said. “We might get six, we might get five. It’s not like a huge influx of the past.”

After a nomination deadline, which is yet to be determined for this year, a committee meets to review the nominations one by one. They hold several meetings, and at the final meeting, they pick two or three people that will go on the Wall of Honor.

“There are a couple of meetings to kind of go through [the nominations], filter through them, and create a selection process,” Dunning said. “Like, these are the people who are going to advance to the next round.”

When the selection process starts, there are certain criteria that the committee considers. The committee looks for qualities beyond academics. They carefully consider the nominee’s contributions to the community.

“You’re looking for people who have had an impact,” Hilden said. “They’ve had an impact on their local community or maybe on the school, maybe nationally or internationally. People who are still proud to represent their high school. Not only have you contributed, but you are proud to consider yourself a graduate.”

Some people may say, “He works at ESPN,” or “She is the director of the biggest orchestra in the world,” to justify why someone got on the Wall of Honor. However, according to school administrators, career success is not necessarily a factor in the decision.

“The discussion is not like, ‘This person made a million dollars’,” Dunning said. “It’s whether this person has the benefit that they have created for the greater good. There are a couple of people who are like, ‘This person is famous.’ But the people who’ve made the biggest impressions have been people who have done things for the good of others.”

After the nominees are selected, the plaques are installed at a ceremony. In the past, the inductees have spoken to the senior class.

“Traditionally, we have brought the seniors down so that they have an audience,” LaPira said. “Seniors tend to be mature, and it’s also a good place in their high school career to hear about future possibilities. The people on the stage who are speaking are talking not only about what they’re accomplishing now, but how they got there.”

After the ceremony, families and recipients are invited to a luncheon where they get to know other inductees.

“We hold a little lunch reception for families, and they get to sit and talk and meet each other,” LaPira said. “Because sometimes someone graduates in 1997, some people graduate in 2003. They all kind of sit together and have that conversation.”

Unfortunately, COVID-19 completely shut this process down in 2021. Hilden hopes to get the committee up and running as soon as possible.

“The pandemic put a major hold on that,” he said. “Part of that is we haven’t solicited nominations recently. I’ve only received one nomination since I’ve been here. So we know that is something that I was looking to get back up off the ground this year, to develop a committee to get the nomination form out there so people could nominate.”

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About the Contributor
Matteo Ventresca '25
Matteo Ventresca '25, Managing Editor of Print
Matteo Ventresca is the Managing Editor for Print for The Panther Press. In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing soccer, as well as playing the trombone.
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