The Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District #35 recently inducted 16 new members into the first inaugural class of the SCV35 Distinguished Hall of Fame. Among the inductees were student teams, former superintendents, student athletes, board members, bus drivers and current district administration.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the ceremony was live streamed for the community as inductees were limited to the number of guests permitted to attend. The evening began with a meet and greet, followed by dinner and the ceremony which began at 6:30pm in the Rio Rico High School gymnasium. The RRHS JROTC began the ceremony with the Presentation of Colors and RRHS culinary students served dinner to guests. John Fanning, the SCV35 Hall of Fame Committee Chair was the host for the evening and presented the awards to the inductees.
The evening was full of emotion and pride as inductees were invited up to receive their plaque and say a few words regarding their memories and experiences during their time at SCV35. When Eric Chavez, inducted individually and as part of the 2000 Boys’ Cross Country State Champion team addressed the audience, he spoke of coaches who encouraged him and his teammates that they were good enough to “line up” against anyone in the state or country. He also spoke proudly of the community he loves.
“This community is special. Whether it’s academics, …athletics. There’s so much talent here. I’m very very proud to be from Rio Rico. I’m not from anywhere else. If people don’t know where Rio Rico is, I tell them. I’m not from Nogales, I’m not from Tucson, I’m from Rio Rico. I’m very proud of this place, and I will always be very proud of this place.”
Daniel Fontes, former SCV35 Superintendent, parent, and teacher was also among the inductees. He commended current leadership in the development of the Hall of Fame, when he said, “I want to first of all thank John (Fanning), Dave (Verdugo) and the leadership here for starting the Hall of Fame. This event is going to carry the District very very far and give the District a lot of maturity.”
Hanna Rustin (Henson), former RRHS runners and NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee in 2012, thanked the committee for making the event possible and also spoke of the special community of SCV35 and Rio Rico. “ It’s like a reunion and it truly is as some have said, coming home and it’s fun to introduce my husband to a place he’s heard a lot about. But this night gives him a little taste of it. So thank you for pouring into me and showing me what a community looks like.
The most emotional induction of the evening was of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and former head cross country and track coach Stephen Schadler. Schadler first thanked his wife Toni Anne, who coached middle school cross country and track athletes that fed into Schadler’s high school program. Repeating other inductees before him, he also thanked the community. “In counting how many people used the word “home” in describing this community, I counted 5, I’ll be number 6. It really is a home district, a home environment. Finally, he thanked the athletes. “To all the athletes I have been fortunate enough to coach . Some of whom are here, some of who are not. Some are represented on the wall, some are not. Some have won medals, some have not. Just know that I’ve gotten more than I’ve given.”
The original venue for the event was the RRHS Performing Arts Center and would coincide with the grand opening of the center. However, the event had to be relocated to the gymnasium. “Although the much needed rain over the summer delayed the completion of the RRHS Performing Arts Center, the ceremony was elegant, powerful, and spoke volumes about the students, staff and community members in our district”, said Fanning.
“The SCV35 Hall of Fame ceremony was a celebration of the rich history of our District. It honored those that have laid the foundation and left a positive legacy,” said Superintendent David Verdugo.