Royal recognition: Woodbury High School begins Hall of Fame traditionWoodbury Activities Director Jason Gonnion and the Woodbury Booster Club are starting a Hall of Fame tradition at Woodbury High School this year.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Since its construction in 1975, the halls of Woodbury High School have been filled with high level student-athletes each and every year.
A number of those athletes will once again be present inside Woodbury – and for all time.
Woodbury Activities Director Jason Gonnion and the Woodbury Booster Club are starting a Hall of Fame tradition at Woodbury High School this year.
Gonnion, in his first year as Woodbury AD, said the Hall of Fame was a long time coming.
“This was volunteer-driven and a few years in the making,” Gonnion said. “It’s been supported by John Soma and Jason Schultz before me, laying the groundwork. Fortunately for me the volunteers have done a great job of taking the ball and running with it. They’ve done a bulk of the heavy lifting. I’ve just been able to support it.”
Gonnion said he feels it’s important to honor the past.
“A lot of different high schools across the country recognize their most gifted students and athletes,” Gonnion said. “As we redefine our boundaries and Woodbury High School, we need to celebrate the great things that have been done in the past – not only on the athletic fields and courts, but in all of our activities. I think it’s really important in this day and age to take some time and focus on the things you’ve done really well.”
The inaugural Woodbury Hall of Fame induction will kick off with the first-ever Woodbury High School Royal Rouser – a fundraiser for adults over 21 on Friday, April 20, at the Prom Center in Oakdale.
Woodbury coaches, parents, staff and alumni will be treated to a fun-filled evening to benefit Woodbury High School's activity and athletic programs. ComedySportz interactive improv group and D.J. Eddie will provide entertainment and thousands of dollars in prizes will be offered in a silent auction and raffle at the Rouser. In addition, Gonnion, along with early Woodbury graduates, will be on hand to meet and greet with guests and to announce the inaugural Woodbury High School Hall of Fame Inductees.
Gonnion said money raised will go toward the Hall of Fame expenditures and other initiatives, like new equipment in the weight room.
“Our weight room is in dire need of an update,” he said. “That’s really where our department as a whole can affect as many people and programs as possible.”
Peter McNiff, a Woodbury Booster Club member and Hall of Fame committee member, said he sees the Rouser and Hall of Fame as ways to unite as Royals.
“We’re thrilled that these two events are coming to fruition,” he said. “It starts with the Royal Rouser in April as a sort of coming-together of the various activities that happen at the high school. We need to cooperate better than we have in the past and support each other. Every kid is different. When all the groups that help reach out to kids and support kids can relate to all the other groups, we’ll have a real sense of self and what it means to be a Royal.”
McNiff, who moved to Woodbury in 1992 and now has two children attending Woodbury schools, said Woodbury is “a great place to raise a family.”
“Yeah, I’m kind of passionate about it,” he said. “I feel like this is when we as parents should get involved. Anything we can do to help the high school experience we should do it.
“For me personally, I understand that pillars of education are critical for our kids. But, where we have fun, get to know our best friends for life and connect with people that are alike are through activities – whether it’s sports or theater or academic clubs – and they’re under resourced. I’m not in favor of cutting those budgets. That’s an area where our kids really need support.”
Gonnion said the plan is to announce each year’s Hall of Fame class at the Royal Rouser every spring. The Hall of Fame inductees will then also be honored at a banquet during the week of Homecoming in the fall.
Details of how the Hall of Fame will be displayed aren’t yet complete. But, Gonnion said some type of plaque will be hung outside the Activities Center for every inductee.
“When you have those outliers and kids who have done exceptional work representing our school, we really want to illustrate those and show current students and future students that there is a pretty storied past,” Gonnion said. “We’ve had a lot of success and we’re working hard to keep the standard high and exceed expectations.”