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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Start adds 9 to its Hall of Fame

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Pardon Mark Luetke if he wants you to clarify what you are congratulating him on these days.

Mr. Luetke, former Sylvania school board president, was elected to the Sylvania City Council last week, and tomorrow, he will be inducted into the Start High School Hall of Fame.

Start will hold its fourth Hall of Fame induction and banquet at Gladieux Meadows, 6:15 p.m. tomorrow. Mr. Luetke, president of the public relations firm of Funk Luetke Skunda Marketing, Inc., and member of the Class of 1966, will be honored with eight other people during the event.

Other honorees include Dr. Nancy Heffner Collins, Chip Carstensen, Tim Harrington, Allen Davis, Aaron Williams, Pam Vaillant Hall, Pete Benedict, and Mitcho Pappas.

Ken Oehlers, a member of the Hall of Fame committee, said about $8,000 has been raised for scholarships through the dinner and ceremonies. Organizers are hoping to endow the scholarships before giving them out on a regular basis to deserving Start students, he said.

Mr. Luetke said he was humbled by the upcoming induction.

“It s been a great two weeks for me - being chosen for the Hall of Fame and voted to City Council,” said Mr. Luetke, who was part of Start s first graduating class that attended the school for four years.

He also returned to Start as a teacher before starting his company.

“I m really flattered to be honored by Start. If you look at some of the honorees over the first three years, they are really illustrious. It s really great company, so I m very honored to be a part of it.”

Mr. Carstensen said Start gave him and many of its graduates a chance to grow in many fields, from academics to sports.

“When you look at the graduates and what they have done, I think it s a testament to Start and the public schools in general,” Mr. Carstensen said. “We had outstanding teachers and coaches that took kids with raw talent and developed it.

“I remember playing the city championship baseball game. I was the catcher for Start and Rick Arbinger, Start s baseball coach, was the catcher for Central Catholic. It was something I always remembered and now Rick has played just a big part at Start. It s funny how things turn out.”

If one was looking for impressive medical credentials in the group of honorees, one doesn t have to look any farther than Dr. Collins.

She is the director of the cytotherapy laboratory at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

The 1965 graduate has expertise in cellular therapy, hematopoietic graft processing, and cell selection and storage, according to the center s Web site.

“We re looking forward to getting back together with friends,” said Dr. Collins, whose husband graduated from Woodward. “One of the things I ve learned by going away is how great of a place Toledo is to live. My family is still in Toledo and we come back there quite often.”

Mrs. Hall, who graduated in 1972, has been a longtime volunteer and fund-raiser with the school for the past 30 years.

She has coached the majorettes and produced all-American majorette lines.

Mr. Harrington, a 1982 graduate, is the executive director of The Ability Center of Greater Toledo and is a national speaker on the issue of disabilities.

Mr. Harrington, who grew up with cerebral palsy, earned a bachelor s degree in business administration from the University of Toledo and has been executive director of the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council.

Mr. Davis is the baseball coach at Rogers High School and the former program director at the Wayman Palmer YMCA.

The 1987 graduate earned numerous honors as a baseball player for Start, which reached the state finals his senior year.

He also coached at Woodward and Gibsonburg and refereed basketball games throughout the area.

Mr. Williams, a 1991 graduate, was an outstanding golfer, basketball and track athlete winning the city championship in the high jump and long jump.

He was awarded a basketball scholarship to Grand Valley State University.

Mr. Benedict was head football coach at Start from 1978 to 1980 and led Start to its only City League championship in 1978.

His teams won the Red Division championship for all three years he led the football program.

Mr. Pappas taught history and government at Start for 30 years, from the school s opening in 1962 until 1992.

Organizers said he was a positive influence among students and known as one of the school s outstanding teachers. His three sons, who all attended Start, went on to become physicians.



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