The Valparaiso High School Athletic Hall of Fame was an honorable and nostalgic event for many inductees. The evening began with music, food, and drinks at the Old Town Banquet Center on January 20, 2018 with Mark Hoffman as the host. Later that night, some of the most inspiring speeches were heard from the fellow inductees. With memorable stories from different generations, a part of history was written that night for the Valparaiso community.
The journey through life that everyone takes is unique. The question should not always be if we achieved, rather how we were we able to achieve? What obstacles did one have to endure to get where they are? All of the inductees shared one thing in common, perseverance and determination for success.
A proud graduate of the class of 1970, Joe Otis described his years of playing basketball at Valparaiso High School and his secret to success.
“I have had a wonderful career in basketball,” Otis reminisced, “I think that it takes hard work and commitment. You have to love the game! You can’t force kids to be something they don’t want to be.
As Otis and other inductees shared their stories, fellow students and classmates listened to their legends. One of them being Hall of Fame committee member, Paul Jankowski, who is a 1985 graduate of Valparaiso High School. Jankowski described why this event was special to him and his fellow inductees.
“These are the legends of Valparaiso High School,” Jankowski said. “I think it is nice to be able to get everyone in one room, and they span several generations.”
Not only were the stories inspiring, funny, and tear-worthy, but also a significant event for the Valparaiso Community Schools. A 1986 Valparaiso High School graduate and VHS Athletic Hall of Famer, Steve Letnich, explained why this event continues to be tremendously substantial for the community.
“We need to support ourselves. We need to recognize that our school system has been producing quality administrators, teachers, coaches, and students for quite some time,” Letnich added. “We are here to celebrate these people not only for what they have done during their time here but for what they have done after school. I think it is really good for the whole community.”
With over 20 different inductees being inducted that night, there were so many wonderful stories that were shared. Some of the main messages from these stories shared were the importance of family and community. One of the 2018 inductees, Lorrie Woycik, who was the original coach for the Special Olympics in Valparaiso has done so much for the community for more than six decades. Family is very important to Woycik; with 15 great-grandchildren Woycik explained why she is blessed.
“God has blessed me richly,” Woycik said, “and I thank Him every day.”
Another 2018 inductee, Pete Sattler, also thanked his family and community.
“Most importantly for each individual the lessons that they taught me, I cannot thank enough," Sattler described, “I use these lessons on a daily basis and it has shaped me to be the person that I am.”
Sattler has earned over 10 varsity letters across swimming, track, and football. The support from his family played a significant role for this athlete.
“My father behind me taught me the wisdom and equanimity to continuously go through life every day. I use this multiple times daily, today and throughout my entire paths,” Sattler said, “To my mother, I thank her for the tenacity to go after my dreams, to not accept one little thing, and always go for a little bit more. To strive for more than I ever believed I could."
After his success as a student, Sattler returned to VHS to teach and coach the women’s swim team. Although Sattler is currently teaching others, he explained what his family has taught him over the years.
“To my sister, I thank her for teaching me the compassion and giving everybody as much compassion, is the one thing that teaches us all the beauty that exists in every moment of every day,” Sattler thanked. “To my wife, I thank her because she taught me to slow down. To everybody at Valpo and within the community I thank you.”
Another teacher and 2018 inductee, Brett Polizotto, thanked everyone in the room for their support and contribution to our community. Polizotto began to ask everyone in the room to stand who is a mother, father, teacher, and more. By the end of his speech, everyone was standing which made the whole audience realize that we are all important and we each play a role in shaping our community.
The Valparaiso High School Athletic Hall of Fame event was a nostalgic way to honor the inductees, but also to remind future generations to never give up on their dreams. Success in life is measured by how we perceive it, and everyone in the room that night showed true success in staying united and strong as a community.
The 2018 Valparaiso High School Athletic Hall of Hame Inductees are:
- The Anselm Family:
- Debbie Brady Anselm- Class of 1981 Gymnastics and Cheer
- Jamie Anselm- Class of 1992 Basketball
- Jeff Anselm- Class of 1988 Basketball
- Michael Anselm- Class of 1963 Wrestling
- Scott Anselm- Class of 1985 Basketball
- Stacy Anselm Stesiak- Class of 1990 Basketball:
- James Arnold- Class of 1988 Cross Country and Track
- The Butterfield Family-
- David Butterfield- Class of 1977 Football
- Jeffrey Butterfield- Class of 1971 Football and Basketball
- Larry Butterfield- Class of 1973 Football
- Steven Butterfield- Class of 1970 Football:
- Robert Cavanaugh- Class of 1990 Basketball
- Erik Chilian- Class of 1985 Cross Country, Basketball, and Track
- John Cook- Coach Wrestling and Football:
- Micky Mannel Copeland- Class of 1982 Gymnastics
- Terry Cox- Coach Football and Track:
- Mike Jones- Class of 1986 Basketball
- John Knauff- Coach Girls Basketball and Golf:
- David Knott- Class of 1965 Football, Basketball and Baseball:
- Angie Cook Moon- Class of 1996 Gymnastics:
- O’Neill Family
- Martin O’Neill- Class of 1960 Basketball and Football
- Mike O’Neill - Class of 1965 Basketball
- Steve O’Neill- Class of 1962 Basketball
- Tom O’Neill- Class of 1971 Basketball:
- Joe Otis- Class of 1970 Basketball:
- Brett Polizotto- Class of 1987 Cross Country and Track:
- Peter Sattler- Class of 1993 Swimming, Football and Track:
- Lorrie Woycik - Coach Girls Basketball, Volleyball, and Softball