“It’s called the Southington High School Wall of Honor, and it includes an incredible list of people who grew up in our town, graduated from our schools, and went on to do amazing things,” says Bob Brown, a Southington High School social studies teacher and Wall of Honor Committee chairman.
More than 50 friends, family members, educators, and community leaders attended the 2012 Wall of Honor ceremony Tuesday to honor present and late members of the Southington community for their accomplishments.
“This year’s four inductees had varied high school experiences and pursued diverse careers after graduation, but all made substantial contributions—one even making the ultimate sacrifice—either locally or to the world at large,” says Brown.
The 2012 honorees are:
- Army Specialist Dennis J. Pratt, killed in the line of duty during Operation Enduring Freedom
- Kay and Joe Calvanese, the late founders of the Aqua Turf Restaurant
- Mary Jane Mongillo-Williams, a critical care nurse advocate and educator
The Pratt and Calvanese families accepted the awards on behalf of their relatives.
Jim Pratt says this is a special gift for his brother Dennis, who died fighting for his country. “I’m very proud of him, and I’m glad that his life has made an impact on other people.”
“It’s a great honor for our parents,” says Kathy Reinhard, daughter of the late Kay and Joe Calvanese. “My parents were quiet givers and gave of themselves, their time, and energy, and they enjoyed what they did for their community.” In that spirit, the family created the Joe and Kay Calvanese Foundation, which has donated more than $100,000 over the past 10 years to more than 137 charities in Southington.
Mongillo-Williams attributed her success to a community that supports education. “Education is the most important thing we can do for ourselves and give to our children,” she says. Her children both graduated from Southington High, and she appreciates the quality education they received. “Caring teachers like Bob Brown taught them valuable lessons and introduced them to wonderful experiences that shaped them throughout their lives,” she says.
Brown started the Wall of Honor in 2007, and currently has inducted 26 members. Honorees receive a plaque on the Wall of Honor, located between the school’s auditorium and gymnasium, serving as an inspiration to the students of Southington High School.
“This wall is a testament to Southington High School, and says something about our community that so many accomplished people came out of it,” said Brown.
Southington High School Principal Martin Semmel says the Wall of Honor “gives our students something to strive for and to know that no matter what route they take in life, they can accomplish great things.”