Events Commission resurrects sports Hall of Fame Tradition

December 15, 2010 — by Mac Hyde

In 2006, the Events Commission decided that it was time to honor former Saratoga athletes. This came after criticism by many in the community that Saratoga High School had become the academic magnet of the district while Los Gatos High School had quickly taken over the athletic realm. The Events Commission, under the leadership of alumnus Katrin Cooper sought to change this opinion and tested the idea of the Athletic Hall of Fame on a number of the school community members.

“I think the community appreciated it, but they didn’t really know about it. It needed more publicity. After a few years it will really become known and out there and a bigger deal. Things are always like this when they start.”

That fall, requests for nominations for the Athletic Hall of Fame were sent to local newspapers, the school community and Saratoga at large. The criteria for nomination were that nominees had to have been a recognized athlete at Saratoga High School and continued their sport on a college team. The committee of Events Commissioners also required that nominees had to have been out of high school for fifteen years and had contributed to society beyond college.

“We decided to organize this event in order to highlight the achievements that some of our athletes have made,” said sophomore Melodie Bellegarda, a commissioner. “Saratoga High tends to focus on our academic or musical achievements, whereas those made by athletes tend to fall by the wayside.”

Many nominations were received. Each was reviewed by the Events Commission and the nominees contributions were verified either by current staff members or former staff members. Three inaugural members for this prestigious award were selected: Randy Arrilaga, Carrie Steinseifer and Patricia Adura Miranda.

“We have had some amazing athletes, and they deserve to have some recognition,” said junior Claire Couch. “We can show the community that Saratoga isn’t only an academic school; we can do sports, too.”

In the spring of 2007, an awards ceremony recognizing these three impressive Falcons was held in the McAfee theatre. Three former teachers introduced and spoke about each award winner and each award winner spoke about their high school and later experiences to those in attendance. Teachers, both current and former, students, alumni and community members were present to hear the inspiring words of these three athletes.

“If we can recognize the athletes and their accomplishments of the past,” Couch said. “we might be able to inspire some current and future athletes to continue with their respective sports and be driven to excel. We want to make sure that everyone gets the spotlight on them for a little while.”

Like the Olympics, the Events Commission of 2007 determined that the award would be presented or held every four years. This year’s Events Commission, led by senior Nina Mohanty and junior Mac Hyde, is planning the event. The criteria remains much the same, but the commission had determined that the only change will be that those nominated need only be a graduate of ten or more years, not fifteen. Nomination forms will be sent to newspapers, e-mailed to alumni and sent to the current Saratoga High School Community during December. The event, honoring this Athletic Hall of Fame will be held the evening of June 2, 2011 in the McAfee. Concurrently, a ceremony will be held to honor those athletes who will be graduating in June who have committed to a college sports team.

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