On Saturday, history will be made as the Derry Area Hall of Fame inducts its first-ever class of 13 accomplished alumni. These inductees will be honored in seven distinct categories, celebrating achievements in academics, the arts, athletics, business, and humanitarian endeavors. The ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.
This significant event has been in the works for over a year, with collaborative efforts from the district’s administration, foundation, and alumni association, known as the Trojan’s Spear.
John Flickinger, chairman of the Hall of Fame committee, expressed admiration for the inductees, stating, “This group of inductees includes so many wonderful people that made an impact on the school district.”
The selection process for the inaugural class was no small feat, involving a thorough review of more than 30 applications to narrow it down to the 2023 class. Brett Miller, the director of athletics and transportation for the Derry Area School District, played a crucial role in facilitating this process.
The district’s goal in establishing the Hall of Fame is to preserve the legacies of its alumni and inspire current and future students with the remarkable stories of these inductees. John Flickinger emphasized the educators’ role in fostering an atmosphere that cultivates future Hall of Famers among the current student body.
The 13 inductees span over seven decades of Derry Area history and have pursued various paths, including music, coaching, entrepreneurship, and U.S. Army Special Operations. Flickinger expressed his awe at their accomplishments, highlighting that each honoree stands out in their own right.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Saturday at the middle school auditorium and is open to the public, with free admission.
This ceremony is part of a weekend of community events, including the Trojan homecoming parade at 6 p.m., leading up to the Trojans’ game against Serra Catholic at 7:30 p.m. Additionally, the 2nd Annual Alumni Band Concert will take place at 3 p.m. at the middle school auditorium before the Hall of Fame ceremony.
Here is a glimpse of the 2023 Derry Area Hall of Fame inductees:
Matthew Irvin — Academic Inductee: Matthew Irvin excelled in both baseball and football during his time at Derry Area. He was also a member of the academic quiz team, National French Honor Society, and Monogram Club. Irvin graduated as co-valedictorian in 1997 with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He earned a full scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. Irvin later earned his juris doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and now serves as the vice president and associate general counsel for DICK’s Sporting Goods.
W. Larry Kenney — Academic Inductee: W. Larry Kenney, a 1974 Derry Area graduate, currently holds the Marie Underhill Noll Endowed Chair in Human Performance at Pennsylvania State University. As a professor of physiology and kinesiology, he has had a distinguished 40-year academic career. Kenney’s expertise extends to sports medicine, and he has delivered lectures in 20 countries across five continents. He has been published in over 300 scientific journals, authored numerous books, and conducts research on the intersection of global warming and human health, focusing on safeguarding vulnerable populations during heat waves. Kenney served as president of the American College of Sports Medicine from 2003-2004 and received the Honor Award from the American College of Sports Medicine in 2022.
Delfino Calvo — Fine Arts Inductee: Delfino Calvo, known for writing Derry’s alma mater, dedicated 38 years of his life to Derry Area. While he wasn’t known for his singing, his proficiency in playing the clarinet and saxophone made a significant impact. Calvo’s commitment to excellence helped shape the lives of thousands of students during his tenure, inspiring some to pursue careers in music.
Andrea Ridilla — Fine Arts Inductee: Andrea Ridilla, a graduate of both The Juilliard School and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, has built a career in music that spans the globe. She serves as a professor of music at Miami University and was the principal oboe for several orchestras. Ridilla continues to perform internationally and released a critically acclaimed solo CD, “L’Amore Italiano,” in 2009. Her expertise and passion for music have led her to teach American oboe playing in Siena and perform at prestigious venues worldwide.
These inductees represent a rich tapestry of achievement and dedication to their respective fields, embodying the spirit of the Derry Area community.
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