Editor’s note: Information for this story was provided by the committee making the selections.
STONINGTON — Stonington High will induct nine athletes and one contributor into the Stonington High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s Cafe-Commons.
For this year’s 10th annual event, the Hall of Fame will induct a team for the first time. The 1942 SHS Football team has been selected for this honor.
Along with those inducted in the past, the 10 individual inductees represent those at the school from 1933-2003. Their selection was based on achievement, distinction, and contributions as student-athletes or contributors to the honor, fame, and tradition of the school’s athletics program.
Those wishing to attend the induction ceremony should send a check for $35 per person to: SHS Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, c/o Dr. Stephen Murphy, Stonington High School, 176 South Broad Street, Pawcatuck CT 06379. For seating purposes, please indicate if there is a specific inductee you’ll be there to honor.
The inductees, in chronological order, are:
Everett B. Law
Class of 1933
Law lettered in football, basketball, baseball, track, and cross country.
He was a three-year starter in football, playing on the line as a guard and tackle. He was a starter on the basketball team as a junior; during his senior year, the school did not field a team, but he was the high scorer on a team consisting of Stonington athletes that competed in the Southeastern Connecticut Junior Basketball League.
As a member of the track team, he was a top performer competing in discus and shot put during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was co-captain of the baseball team in his senior year and was an accomplished pitcher. He was junior class president and a member of the “S” Club.
He played football and baseball in various local leagues after high school, and was a highly successful amateur golfer. He was a co-founder of the Mystic Little League.
Donald E. Palmer
Class of 1937
Palmer contributed to the school and the town throughout his life.
He was a founder of the school’s athletic boosters organization and served as its president.
Other town and community organizations in which he was involved include the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Stonington Tri-centennial Scholarship Committee, the Pawcatuck Lions Club, the Stonington Little League, the St. Michael’s Holy Name Society, and Stonington Community Center.
He received the Westerly-Pawcatuck YMCA Service to Youth Award in 1971, was the Pawcatuck Lions Club Lion of the Year several times and Man of the Year in 1978, and was also honored by the Stonington Pee Wee Football Program. After his death in 1985, the Stonington Board of Education named the school’s football field after him in recognition of his dedication to the community.
Class of 1943
Birchall played football, baseball, and track and also served as basketball manager. He started at center on offense and guard on defense for the 1942 Eastern Connecticut Conference champion football team.
He was one of four Bears to be named first-team All-State for the 1942 season.
After graduation, he joined the Air Force and served during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant before his retirement.
George R. McKenna Jr.
Class of 1943
McKenna participated in football and baseball.
He played quarterback and defensive end for the football team, earning second-team All-State honors as a senior in 1942, when the Bears were Eastern Connecticut Conference champions and one of the most dominant teams in Connecticut. He played football at the University of Mississippi while undergoing training for the United States Army.
After serving in Europe during World War II, he played football for the University of Connecticut, and graduated in 1950.
He was the director of the New Haven Boys Club, coaching football there until returning to Stonington as a teacher. He later earned a master’s degree from UConn and served as assistant principal at the high schhool and principal of Mystic Junior High School. In 1999, the Stonington Board of Education dedicated the gymnasium and athletic facilities of the newly renovated Mystic Middle School as “George McKenna Gymnasium.”
He was involved in numerous community organizations, including the Mystic Community Center, the Mystic Chamber of Commerce, and St. Patrick Church of Mystic.
Class of 1969
Reardon participated in football, basketball and baseball.
He was captain of the football and basketball teams in his senior year
He earned All-Eastern Connecticut Conference and All-State honors while playing wide receiver and defensive end for the football team. He was named outstanding lineman at the 1968 Thanksgiving Day football game, and was selected to play for the East Team in the 1969 Nutmeg Bowl. He received the National Athletic Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award.
He was president of the “S” Club in his senior year and participated in Student Council as a junior and senior. He attended Central Connecticut State University.
Lee Ann Lewis Schoenecker
Class of 1978
Schoenecker participated in tennis, basketball and track.
She earned eight letters during her three years, and served as captain of all three sports in her senior year. She was awarded the Athletic Achievement Cup, awarded annually to the top female athlete in the senior class.
As a member of the tennis team, she was the ECC singles runner-up as a junior, and in her senior year won the championship. She was a two-year starter for the basketball team, and competed in the 400, 800, high jump, and shot put for the track team, which won the ECC championship in 1978.
She was awarded a tennis scholarship to Seton Hall University, where she competed for the varsity team for four years and was co-captain in her senior year.
She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mathematics and was named the university’s female Scholar-Athlete in 1982.
Class of 1980
Bolduc participated in football and track and was awarded the Tuite Cup as the top male athlete in his graduating class.
He was co-captain of the football team in his senior year, and earned All-ECC honors as a lineman. He was also co-captain of the track team, earned All-ECC and All-State honors, placing first in the shot put at the ECC and Class M meets. He was awarded an athletic scholarship to the University of Connecticut, and holds degrees from Charter Oak State College.
He has coached both football and track at SHS, served as chairman of the Board of Education from 2005-2009, and was vice chair of the SHS Building Committee from 2002-2007.
Haley Sutman Graham
Class of 1994
Graham participated in tennis, basketball and track at earning 11 varsity letters.
As a senior, she earned All-ECC honors in tennis, was a member of the Class M state champion basketball team, and earned All-ECC and All-State Class M honors in track, while serving as co-captain for all three sports.
She was awarded an athletic scholarship to Central Connecticut State University, where she was a member of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams.
She earned All-Conference and All-New England honors in both indoor and outdoor track.
Charity Schmitt Cress
Class of 2000
Cress participated in soccer, basketball and track.
She earned All-ECC honors in soccer as a sophomore, junior and senior. She was Class M All-State as a junior.
She also earned All-ECC honorable mention in basketball as a senior, and as a junior was a member of the Class M state champion 4x800 relay team.
She earned a degree in education and played soccer at Hofstra University, where in her junior and senior seasons she was team captain and earned All-Conference honors.
She was named team most valuable player as a junior, and received the outstanding senior athlete award as a senior. She also holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is a health and physical education teacher at Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas.
Class of 2003
Jensen participated in football, basketball and track at Stonington High School, earning 10 letters.
He was awarded the 2003 Tuite Cup as the top male athlete in the graduating class. He was a captain of the football team in his senior year and of the basketball team as a junior and senior.
He earned All-ECC in football in each of his four years, and was named Class S All-State as a junior and senior. He holds the Connecticut high school football record for career receptions with 188. He was named to the Westerly Sun’s All-Decade team for both the 1990s and the 2000s.
He also earned All-ECC honors in basketball as a junior and senior, and grabbed over 1,000 rebounds during his career.
He is a graduate of Fordham University.