Four new educators were inducted into the Michigan City-area schools “Wall of Fame” on Thursday, bringing the total number of inductees to 196. First introduced in 1976, the Wall of Fame recognizes employees of schools that have made outstanding contributions to the children of Michigan. City area schools. This year’s inductees were Thomas Dombkowski, Herb Higgin, Sylvester Mabone and Roxanna Young.
Dombkowski worked for MCAS for 33 years, serving as a Title 1 teacher, director, and administrator, working at Jefferson, Knapp, Riley, Marsh, and Niemann Schools, as well as the MCAS Administration Building. Currently serving on the MCAS Board of Directors, Dombkowski has received multiple nominations to be selected as an inductee. Upon his acceptance, he pointed out the irony of being one of the first committee members to help establish the Wall of Fame in 1976.
One of the many people to name Dombkowski was Trish Lykins, who said her children were the third generation of her family to walk through the doors of Niemann (although it was still Lakeland when her mother attended). “We felt like family there…we were educational partners,” she said. “Mr. Dombkowski encouraged us as parents to partner with teachers to ensure our children’s success. He always called himself the ‘Head Learner’. He never knew how many children and adults he inspired with this philosophy.
Also inducted into the Wall of Fame this year, Higgin served MCAS for 15 years as coordinator of the Safe Harbor after-school program. His plaque was presented by Sherri Silcox, who worked with him in the Safe Harbor program for many years. Upon Higgin’s retirement, Silcox took over the role of coordinator – describing the moment as saying “I had to fill these big shoes…and I had to wear a lot of socks for that to happen.”
Silcox said Higgin touched more than 10,000 lives during his time at MCAS, adding that he expanded Safe Harbor to include more venues, summer camps, STEM and robotics. He was known for two “herbalisms”: “It’s all about relationships” and “Just show up”.
Higgin was unable to attend the event, but Silcox read an acceptance letter he wrote, saying in part, “It’s the people, not the place. It gave me the opportunity to work with and hire the most fantastic people one could hope for. Thank you a million times.”
Also inducted this year, Mabone served as deputy principal of MCAS for 17 years, working at Michigan City High School, Elston High School, Elston Jr. High School, Barker Jr. High School and Krueger Jr. High School. His plaque was presented by Sarah Hendricks, co-principal of Michigan City High School. Hendricks, who is a former student of Mabone, as well as a former colleague, read several words that individuals had used to describe Mabone, from the entries that had been submitted: “class act, compassion, dedication, sharp taming , work ethic, selflessness, charismatic, loyal, dependable and an exquisite human being.
In accepting his Wall of Fame nomination, Mabone said it was the love of MCHS, students, parents, teachers and staff that he will always remember.
Also a Wall of Fame inductee, Young was a science teacher for 33½ years with MCAS, working at Krueger Jr. High School, Barker Jr. High School, Elston High School, Michigan City Jr. High School, and Michigan City High. School. .
The candidate was Katie St. Germaine, a former chemistry and anatomy/physiology student. St. Germaine recounted several fond memories of high school science class, including projects such as dissection and racing decorated turtle shells. She nominated Young for this award because she learned a lot during those years.
“When I went to college, I felt like I was ahead of the game in my science classes, and it was all thanks to the education I received at Elston,” he said. she declared.
Young was unable to attend the event, so his plaque was accepted by Mark Marz, current chair of the science department at MCHS, who said he learned a lot from Young over the years. “She was warm and open to everyone. Her students loved her teaching style and she really cared about her students,” he said.
MCAS also celebrated the retirement of ten educators and staff, including Julie Bietry (27), Sandra Suzanne Kedo (41), Connie LaRocco (38), Cynthia Licciardone (8), Richard Liwosz ( 27), Stan Mason (15), Donna Pangborn (16), Leslie Samelson (29), Joan Stewart (40) and Marsha Tappan (26).
More information about the MCAS Wall of Fame, including a list of past inductees, can be found at www.EducateMC.net/WOF.