SPS Hall of Fame/Honor Wall induction ceremony is Friday

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

SIKESTON — The experience for the 2023 inductees of Sikeston Public Schools’ Hall of Fame and Honor Wall will be elevated as some modifications are planned for this year’s celebration.

Four individuals and two teams will be inducted into the Hall of Fame and Honor Wall on Friday, Sept. 15 during the football game between the Sikeston Bulldogs and the Farmington Knights.

Andy McGill, Sikeston R-6 assistant superintendent of human resources and support services, who also serves on the Hall of Fame/Honor Wall Committee, said committee members aimed this year to make the induction experience a more personal one for those being honored.

In the past, McGill said, a tailgate and barbecue for the new inductees and their families and past inductees were held prior to the football game at the Pavilion next to the football field.

“We wanted to make it more intimate and special this year, and so we’re actually having a small ceremony before the game for the inductees, their families and past inductees,” McGill said, adding letters were mailed to those invited to the pregame ceremony which will be in the high school cafeteria. “The coaches who coached the individuals or teams who are being honored will say a few things about them.”

There will also be a sit-down dinner for the inductees, McGill said.

The honorees will still be recognized at halftime of the football game, and their photos will be displayed on the big screen at the field, McGill said. Plans are also underway to honor the inductees during a basketball game this season, too, he said.

“We have a wide variety of not only athletes and teams that have had accomplishments at high school but also post-secondary education and are doing great things outside of school and being recognized nationally,” McGill said of this year’s inductees.

Inductees’ names and teams are featured in the Sikeston Field House, and the inductees will also receive a certificate recognizing their outstanding contributions to the Sikeston Bulldogs and Sikeston High School.

The Hall of Fame recognizes athletes, coaches and teams who have received state honors or beyond. Honor Wall recognizes individuals and teams for their service and achievement to the district.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees are Gloria Bennett, a 2018 graduate, who automatically qualified for the Hall of Fame for her discus throwing in a state track meet; Doug Still, a 2014 graduate who was nominated for his baseball career; Fred Thatch Jr., also a 2018 graduate who automatically qualified for his basketball accomplishments at SHS and St. Louis University; and the 2018 basketball and cheerleading teams which reached the Class 4 Final Four and won first place in 3A Small Division, respectively.

Chad Jennings, a 1998 graduate, is this year’s Honor Wall inductee. Jennings is a multi-award winner for sports writing, and he is a baseball writer for Major League Baseball. Jennings began his journalism career writing sports stories for the Bulldog Barker and leading the staff as their co-editor. Before his 1998 graduation, Jennings won a Missouri Interscholastic Press Association’s All-Missouri award for a professional wrestling story and led his fellow journalists to win the All-Missouri honor for overall newspaper.

More on the inductees

Jennings pursued a journalism degree at University of Missouri-Columbia, where he graduated in 2002. His first sports writing job was with the Memphis Commercial Appeal. He later worked for the Scranton Times-Tribune as a Triple-A baseball beat writer, The Journal News in Westchester, New York, as a Yankees beat writer, and the Boston Herald as a Red Sox beat writer and columnist. Since 2018, Jennings has been a Red Sox beat writer for The Athletic.

In December 2022, the award-winning journalist was elected vice president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, a national body of Major League Baseball writers who vote for MVP, Cy Young winners and Hall of Fame inductees. He will become the association’s president in December. Jennings has also written for USA Today, the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, and Baseball Digest, and he has appeared on ESPN SportsCenter and MLB Network.

A three-time state qualifier, Bennett claimed All-State recognition in both discus and shot put competitions. In 2015-2016, she received All-Conference and sectional honors in shot put and discus and won a fourth-place medal at the Missouri State Track Meet in 2016. Bennett earned All-Conference honors, District Champion and Sectional Champion for her discus throwing and won the fifth-place state medal in the discus event her junior year.

In her final season as a Bulldog, Bennett earned All-Conference honors for discus and shot put, All-District shot put and All-District Discus Champion, Sectional Qualifier for both, and an All-State second-place discus winner and eighth-place state shot put medalist. She finished her career 136-8 and still holds the record in discus throwing among women Bulldog competitors.

Still was a star pitcher for the Diamond Bulldogs. Receiving All-Conference and All-District recognition in both his junior and senior years, Still was named the Standard Democrat Player of the Year and SEMO Conference Player of the Year his senior year. He played college baseball at Jefferson College, where he was selected as the Region 16 Player of the Year, named an All-American, and was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 30th round. In 2016, he started as a pitcher for the National Junior College Athletic Association Team USA, transferring to Missouri State University in 2017. He was named to the First-Team All-Missouri Valley Team and ABCA/Rawlings All-Midwest Region Team, and he was honored as the Missouri Valley Newcomer of the Year. Still was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 11th round.

Thatch received every honor a high school basketball player could attain: First-Team SEMO All-Conference (2015-2018), First-Team All-District (2015-2018), First-Team, All-State (2016-2018), and the Missouri Class 4 Player of the Year (2016, 2018).

Thatch also holds many records for Bulldog basketball: 2,382 career points (all-time scoring leader), 1,198 career rebounds (first in school history), 488 career assists (second in school history) and 307 career steals (third in school history).

Recruited by the St. Louis Billikens, Thatch received a full scholarship to attend the university and play basketball. He was named to the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference and Division I AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team.

Thatch also holds two master’s degrees: Master of Science in Supply Chain Management and a Master of Business Administration.

The 2018 basketball advanced to the Class 4 Final Four, losing the semifinal game to Grandview (Kansas City) 59-56. They finished their season with a 27-4 record. The 2018 cheerleading team won first place in their 3A Class.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: