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Tips on starting a hall of fame for your school or district

American High School
Hall of Fame Listing

How do you go about starting a high school or district hall of fame?

Form a committee of alumni, school staff members, community members and business people. Diversity with respect to age, activities and other factors will help to achieve wide acceptance of your plan.

Develop the criteria for nomination. Decide what categories will be honored. Is this to be a hall of fame for athletes, or musicians, or for all citizens of distinction?

Consider whether to honor alumni, teachers and administrators, volunteers, community members, etc.

Consider whether to institute age guidelines. For example, an alumnus might be eligible five years after graduation, and a teacher might be eligible a year after retiring.

A hall of fame usually honors people who distinguish themselves in their fields. You might honor athletes for achievements during their school years, or you might honor alumni for achievements after graduation.

Consider the "character" of nominees. Pete Rose is major league baseball's all time leader in base hits, but he's not in the MLB Hall of Fame because he was found to have gambled on games involving his own team.

Consider the election process. A potential member must be nominated, possibly by more than one person Consider other nominees together. For example, you might not want to elect five players from the 1999 baseball team all at once. Keep nominations on file so that worthy candidates can eventually be elected.

Consider the makeup of the election committee. After a few years, try to enlist hall of famers to sit on the committee.

Consider how many people should be inducted each year.

Consider the timing of elections and inductions. If you want an induction during the spring, hold the election early enough to prepare plaques or other awards, to allow the honorees to make travel plans, to reserve a location for the ceremony, etc.

Consider the maintenance of the actual hall of fame. Is there a wall case for plaques? A web site? Some costs are associated with a hall of fame. Will the district pay, or will you need to raise funds or find sponsors?

Is there an event already taking place on which the hall of fame induction ceremony can "piggy back"? For example, maybe there is an annual sports banquet or school board picnic. Will there be a dinner or reception? Will there be a cost to attend the induction ceremony?

Consider publicity. Local newspapers and web sites are usually looking for "good news" within the community. Publicize the nomination deadline as well as the ceremony. There are many newsletters that can carry your news, such as booster clubs, the PTA, student clubs, church groups, etc.

Keep the nomination form as sinple as possible. You'll need a number of pieces of information, but you don't want to scare anyone away from making a nomination.

Consider the "impeachment" process. A hall of famer who disgraces the community might be removed.

Consider the announcement of elections. To some extent, all members of the hall of fame are peers. On the other hand, they might have been booster club volunteers or US Senators. Consider a short statement that is similar for all honorees, and then list the accomplishments.

And of course, send your hall's web link to the American High School Hall of Fame Listing!

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