FAIRBORN — Fairborn community members and individuals from both coasts gathered in the Fairborn High School auditorium April 29, as Fairborn City Schools honored seven who have brought pride to the district by inducting them into its Hall of Honor.
The ceremony, which took place for the 29th straight year, allowed inductees to reflect on what the district meant to their accomplishments. Inductees were asked to select another person to present them for induction. The presenters used the opportunity to say what the honoree meant to them.
Business Affairs Director and Interim Superintendent Ed Gibbons, who served as the master of ceremonies, said the hall of honor enshrinement has been described as “the greatest single hour of the school year.”
“There’s warmth and great pride in the evening that honors our sons and daughters of the Fairborn City Schools and Fairborn community,” Gibbons said.
Paul Newman Sr., former executive director of the Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce, presented Ellen Slone-Farthing, active community volunteer and executive director at the Fairborn Senior Center, for induction. Newman intentionally sported his Sunday best to the event.
“You may be wondering: Why the tuxedo?” Newman said. “The answer is simple: This is a once-in-a-lifetime honor and I am presenting a very classy lady, who deserves a classy presentation.”
Slone-Farthing expressed pride in having her roots planted in the Fairborn City School District.
“I want to thank Fairborn City Schools for providing me with a great education,” Slone-Farthing said. ” … I’m so humbled and honored to receive this award.”
William Naughton, a retired work-study coordinator and drivers education teacher for FCS, accepted the honor from his son, Brent Naughton. Ron McDermott presented Albert Gilbert, a retired teacher and coach for FCS. He additionally served as a guidance counselor for Five Points Junior High and Park Hills High Schools. Meanwhile, Sandra Crossan presented Donald DeVault, Fairborn High School Class of 1956. DeVault greeted attendees, ensuring that he had their attention, then expressed happiness in being back in the area.
“I say to all students [at Fairborn] and those who will be coming into [Fairborn City Schools] — reach out, help give of yourself and you too will make a difference,” DeVault said.
Randy Phillips was presented by former teacher, Robert D’Epiro. Phillips is a senior executive in the defense and aerospace sector and serves as a trustee for the Wright State University Foundation. Michael Seewer, retired literature and history teacher for FCS, was introduced by former student Miachal McCarthy.
Norma Watson Nikkola was presented by M. Joyce Dennis. Nikkola received the National School Nurse of the Year Award in 2007 and the Ohio School Nurse of the Year Award in 2006. She joined the district in 1973, serving in varying capacities related to the health of the students. She retired from the district in 2011, serving as the health coordinator for the district since 1980.
“I feel most humbled by this recognition, and I share this honor with all of the past Fairborn school nurses,” Nikkola said.
Up to seven individuals can be inducted per year. They are first nominated, then are selected by the hall of honor committee. Nominations for next year’s presentation are due by Thursday, Sept. 1. Forms are available at the FCS Board of Education office, 306 E. Whittier Ave., or under the “alumni” link on the FCS website.
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.