Manteca High is preparing to hold its first Hall of Fame induction ceremony in two decades.
The timing of its revival coincides with the school's 100-year celebration, though ongoing pandemic concerns may limit it to a virtual event in February. No matter what, Activities Director Stephanie Hjelmstad is eager to honor the 2021 class of Buffalo greats.
The inaugural Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1989 with the most recent coming in 2000, although there was a gap between the 1994 and 2000 classes. The selection committee — comprising of the activity director, assistant principal, ASB president, district office representative, community member, athletic booster president and alumni — aims to induct up to five alumni annually.
“We're excited to see who gets nominated,” Hjelmstad said. “It's time to start recognizing some Manteca High alumni. A lot has happened since (2000) and we've had a lot of amazing graduates. There's a lot of history of excellence here and we need to celebrate it.”
Among the notable alumni already inducted are businesswoman Sadie Cabral, pro baseball player Milo Candini, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Kim Komenich, congressman John J. McFall, Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis, professional bull rider Ted Nuce, NFL player/coach Paul Wiggin, and NCAA All-American and pro golfer Kevin Wentworth. The names of all 40 current members of the Hall of Fame are engraved on a perpetual plaque hanging in the front office.
Candidates are required to have graduated at least five years prior to nomination while fulfilling certain criteria/achievements in their field. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Applications must be postmarked by Nov. 2, 2020. All nominees will be notified by the end of January, and those not selected will remain in nomination the following two years.
Anyone interested in nominating an MHS alum may obtain an application from the front office, the school website or email Hjelmstad at email@example.com.
“The original plan was to have a dinner ceremony in the gym in February,” Hjelmstad said. “That's still the plan, but COVID will determine if it's in-person or virtual. What we're trying to do is make it the same process every year — the deadline will always be in November, and the induction ceremony will always be the last weekend in February. We want to get into a routine of inducting a new class every year.”
Hjelmstad is also overseeing festivities commemorating Manteca's 100th year.
The biggest of Buffalo bashes was set for next Friday, Oct. 2, the football team's homecoming game against Weston Ranch. That, of course, has been dashed by coronavirus pandemic. The start of football season has been pushed back to Jan. 8, and the tentative homecoming game is on Feb. 19.
Also planned are an all-class reunion hosted at Great Wolf Lodge and open-campus expo for alumni to explore memorabilia gathered and saved through the decades.
“A lot of these things we are still going to do, we just don't' know to what extent and when,” Hjelmstad said.
There are currently videos put out weekly for students and parents, detailing tidbits of the school's history. The yearbook class is working on a special section detailing the 100th year of Manteca High.
Although the campus is devoid of students it is still abuzz with construction activity. Alumni are welcome to leave their mark by purchasing bricks. The fundraising project will be on display in front of the new gym that is under construction. Each brick will have the names and graduation years of each donor.