Homecoming adds to the buzz in the fall. Big games, pep rallies and dress up days bring excitement into the public school buildings.
But the opportunity to recognize and celebrate alumni for all they’ve done for this and the broader community gives deeper meaning to Homecoming.
The Lisbon Hall of Fame conducted by the Lisbon Alumni Association made a return as part of last year’s homecoming festivities at Lisbon. Inductees this year are a shining example of why this practice should continue.
Take Col. Matt Clark’s biography for the service award this year. A Lisbon native now serving as part of the White House’s COVID Response Team, Clark is responsible for managing millions of vaccines heading to hundreds of different countries. That’s on top of the rest of his military career.
Katie Curran Hallman went from All-State speech awards locally to working at New York and New Orleans art scenes before returning to manage Theatre Cedar Rapids.
Mike Conklin graduated from the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun to KCRG and then the Chicago Tribune, before penning his own novels.
Darla Dee Simpson’s social interaction with students young and old has made her well known to Lisbon and Cornell College graduates to the point of helping chaperone grand marchs and volunteering at band and chorus contests. A benefit in her honor in 2018 area showed the support of the community in her impact in the community.
The athletes Jamie Siegel and Dean Happel highlight the success Lisbon has had in different sports – softball (Siegel) and wrestling (Happel). You mention wrestling and Happel name, people have grown to expect you’re talking about that Lisbon crew.
Mount Vernon is recognizing its homecoming honorees this coming week.
In Mount Vernon, achievement goes to Phoebe Ball, an attorney working on issues pertaining to disability law, while dealing with her spinal bifida.
Jefferson White going from Mount Vernon and Lisbon stages to Hollywood productions including “Yellowstone” which is now preparing to air its fourth season on Paramount Network is the Fine Arts award winner.
Crystal Cardon Eskelsen’s name is one that was not infrequent to these pages as a long-time sports writer for the Sun, but she is being honored for her service to the community for Mount Vernon Schools Hall of Fame for the Monsters Running Club, the December Project, as well as being a long-time tennis coach for Mount Vernon.
Gwen Drahos of Lisbon is being recognized for community impact at Mount Vernon for her long-time running of Gwen’s Restaurant in Lisbon.
Shelby Kintzel is a athletic hall of fame recipient for her time with the Mount Vernon Mustang volleyball team and to continue that to play professional volleyball in Spain for a year before becoming a volleyball coach herself in Ankeny.
These Hall of Fame inductions also find a way to make homecoming about more than the gridiron action. They are a chance to highlight people in these communities who have had significant impacts. Service, fine arts, achievement, community impact and yes, athletics, are the five categories decided for Lisbon. That induction, however, gives all citizens young and old a chance to reflect on the work these people have done in their lives to make Mount Vernon and Lisbon and the world beyond better communities, but grounded in the lessons learned here.
That there are exceptional people in both communities should come as no surprise to anyone who lives here. These individuals might have unusual stories, but they aren’t unique.