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Whether your school is large or small, and whether it is urban, suburban, or rural, it numbers among its graduates many distinguished -- even famous -- people. Identifying and persuading those people to return to school as members of its "Hall of Fame" can be a memorable experience for the people and the school. A Hall of Fame can boost school pride as it draws a community closer together.

The Hall of Fame concept works best at the high school level, but if a person has been a student at schools at all levels in a community, he or she can be remembered at each of them.

Years ago, when I was an elementary school principal, I invited New York Yankees owner George M. Steinbrenner to come to our school's open house. His team was in town at the same time and I hoped he would accept. Steinbrenner was unable to commit to an appearance, but he did send a letter in which he shared his memories of being a second- and third-grade student at the school. After he finished the third grade, his family moved to a neighboring community. I read his letter to parents on Open House night, and I have saved a copy of that letter as a memento of my career.

In that community where I was a principal, the Hall of Fame concept was adopted at the high school, and it has members who are or were actors, authors, political and business leaders, and athletes.

Most successful Hall of Fame programs involve a committee of citizens and students who select the inductees. The Hall of Fame gallery is usually installed in the school's main corridor and features plaques with portraits. A gala event with media coverage is held when new members are inducted.

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Pawlas on PR
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More Articles by George Pawlas
Explore this series of nine articles by George Pawlas:
  • Share the Pride: Six "Pride Statements" Get Year Off to a Great Start
  • Getting the Most Out of Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Newsletters: An Essential Tool for Every Principal
  • Building Positive Relationships With the Media
  • The Benefits of Being an MBWA Principal
  • More Tips for Great Newsletters
  • 50 Million Students Can't Be Wrong: Improving Perceptions of Your School
  • Support Personnel Are P.R. People Too
  • Create a School Profile Brochure
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