The roots of the Woodward High School Alumni Hall of Fame date back to 1980, when a group of dedicated members of the Woodward family organized an Alumni Dance to raise money for Woodward's Athletic Department. The dances, held at the Lucas County Recreation Center and the Zenobia Shrine, were social successes, but generated little revenue for the Athletic Department.
In 1982, Bob Leonard, Woodward's Assistant Principal of Activities, suggested starting a Woodward Hall of Fame in conjunction with the dance. A new committee was formed to organize the event. The 'Founding Fathers' who made the Hall of Fame a reality were Stanley Czerminski (1970), Daniel Duvendack (Teacher), Bob Leonard (Assistant Principal), Seymour Rothman (1932), Norman Sobecki (1946), Ted Szelagowski (1938) & WHS Principal, and James Wilusz (1947). It was decided that the Hall of Fame inductees would be selected from all fields—Arts, Science, Law, Education, Entertainment, and Athletics. Graduates of Woodward, faculty members, and friends of Woodward who have supported the school, are eligible for induction.
The first Hall of Fame Association induction event was held on April 22, 1983, at the Zenobia Shrine, and included a dance with snacks. The affair later moved to Yorkshire Banquet Hall, where a buffet dinner was served. Soon, the event evolved to include a served dinner at the suggestion of Sylvester "Sonny" Smith (1951). Various venues have hosted the Hall of Fame Induction over the years. The dance was eventually eliminated.
In 1986, Dave Yenrick, an assistant principal, suggested that the Hall of Fame Association's mission should include the awarding of scholarships to deserving Woodward seniors. The source of the scholarship money has been derived from patron donations, silent auctions, and raffles. The first Scholarship was awarded in 1988. In more recent years, scholarship applicants and their parents have been invited to the dinner, where they are introduced.
The Woodward High School Alumni Hall of Fame Association is one of the oldest in the Toledo Public School System, and the Hall of Fame dinner and induction has become a prestigious affair of which all Woodward graduates can be proud. In the first 37 years, 227 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, and over $400,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to over 150 Woodward students. Plaques displaying photos of all inductees, names of scholarship recipients, and patron donors are proudly displayed at WHS.
The Woodward Hall of Fame Commemorative Medallion
The 25th Anniversary of the Woodward Hall of Fame was celebrated in 2007. This was the inaugural year for a special addition to the program—a commemorative medallion. The 2007 Hall of Fame inductees, as well as all past inductees or their representatives, received a medallion personalized with the inductee's name and year of induction engraved on the back. Now, each year, the commemorative medallion is presented to new Hall of Fame inductees.
Terry Lesniewicz, President of Lesniewicz Associates, a 1966 Woodward graduate and a 2006 Hall of Fame inductee, designed the medallion.
The Woodward Hall of Fame Award
Former Woodward student and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Homer James Yarrito, a well-known, talented glass artist creates our beautiful awards each year.