Christy, Cole, Rodia, Ward named to Havre de Grace High's 2012 Hall of Fame Class

Distinguished alumni Earl Christy, Sheldon W. Cole, Ernest Rodia and Lou Ward have been selected for the Havre de Grace High School Hall of Fame, the committee overseeing the hall of fame announced Monday.

The Havre de Grace High School Hall of Fame will induct its third class on Friday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. at a ceremony to be held in the school auditorium. The ceremony coincides with the school's homecoming celebration.

Selections to the hall of fame are based on the nominees accomplishments in their chosen fields and how they exemplify the Havre de Grace High School motto, "Enter to Learn -- Leave to Serve."

The four inductees to the HHS Hall of Fame Class of 2012 are:

Earl Christy (Class of 1960, Havre de Grace Colored High) -- Earl Christy attended Havre de Grace Consolidated School, where he as known as "All World" for his athletic and academic accomplishments.

You name it and he did it. In track and field, Christy high jumped 6 feet and 4 inches and threw the shot put 49 feet, 9 inches. In addition, Christy's basketball prowess was legendary. He had a 40-inch vertical leap and once scored an amazing 43 points in a single game while the opposing losing team scored a total 42 points. Christy is a graduate of Maryland State College which is now known as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Christy, a dean list student, graduated from MSC in 1967 with a degree in Physical Education.

He played for the New York Jets from 1966 to 1969. He played halfback and defensive back and during Super Bowl III, he had a 25-yard kickoff return. Christy ended his professional NFL career with 34 punt returns for 222 yards and 58 kickoff returns for 1,323 yards. Christy was an integral member of the Jets 1968 Super Championship team.

In addition to being an ordained minister and archbishop, Christy has been a football coach at Cheney State, a member of the Harlem Wizards professional basketball team, a TV sports personality, a producer of E.C. Sports, a broadcaster for over 30 years, a physical education and health instructor, an Elementary School Teacher of the Year, a motivational speaker, an instructor for Common Cents Business Seminars and the inventor of Sports-a-Cise, a board game of exercises for both youth and adults.

Christy encourages young people to make their dreams a reality through his organization "Team-Mates Team-Up," of which he is founder and CEO. He continues to spread his love of football around the world teaching the game in various countries including many African nations. Christy's honors include being selected for the All-State High School basketball team, being named Sports Athlete of the Year at U.M.E.S. and being inducted into the U.M.E.S. Hall of Fame.

Sheldon W. Cole (Class of 1943, Havre de Grace Colored High) -- Sheldon W. Cole, a humanitarian, educator, consultant, businessman, writer, and diplomat, was born March 13, 1926 in Havre de Grace.

After graduation, Cole earned a B.A. Degree from Princess Anne College, now known as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and a M.A. Degree from New York University. In addition, Sheldon completed post graduate studies at UCLA and the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, in Washington, D.C. Sheldon formerly served as Chairman of the Industrial Arts Teacher Education Department at Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, Florida.

Cole joined the Foreign Service in 1956 and worked in and out of Washington for nearly 33 years. He and his wife were posted to Cameroon in West Africa where he served as Technical Advisor to the government's Teacher Training College in Kumba. Sheldon and Leona Cole remained in West Africa for eight years. His last assignment in Cameroon was in Buea where he served as the Principal of Ombe Technical College. Later, they were transferred to Enugu, Nigeria. During his tenure with the Foreign Service, he was posted to Swaziland and later to Malawi where he was Mission Director just prior to his retirement in 1985.

Cole's professional associations include the Center for Information Dissemination on Africa, Coker-Smith International Associates, Inc., NAFEO, African American Institute, The Eye Foundation, Agency for International Development and VISTA. He was elected to be a Board Member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Cole has also received the Meritorious Honor Award of the Agency for International Development, the Southern Regional Outstanding Man Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and an Outstanding Service Award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

As an author, Cole's writings include "African History, Artifacts and Culture," "Art Metal – The Fundamentals of Metalcraft" and teacher aids and textbooks for the Teacher Training Center in Kumba and the Ombe Technical College in Buea, Cameroon. He also co-authored an exploratory case study of the collaboration between teachers of English as a second language and bilingual programs.

Ernest Rodia (Class of 1961) -- Upon graduating from Havre de Grace High, Ernest Rodia attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.

In June Rodia, Rodia was hired as a mechanical engineer by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, where he began an illustrious 37 year career and was selected as lead engineer for Goodyear's entry into radial tires for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. In the years that followed his promotions and accomplishments included lead engineer for a team that set up radial tire manufacturing throughout North America and Europe; member of management team responsible for technical exchange with Bridgestone Tire of Japan; leader of the manufacturing team for the introduction and development of the industry's first all-season tire, the Goodyear Tempo; director of European manufacturing in Luxembourg where he was responsible for operations in Europe; director of North American operations in Akron; director of operations for the Asia/Pacific region; lead member of search team that purchased Goodyear's first and only operation in China in the city of Dalian; and vice president of Global Engineering and Manufacturing Technology.

During his tenure at Goodyear, Rodia was the recipient of several honors and recognitions including his appointment by the Oklahoma State Legislature to serve as one of eight Regents for Higher Education for the State of Oklahoma and appointment as a board member for the Engineering Advancement Council at Akron University. In 2008, Rodia graduated from the Harvard Advancement Management Program.

After his retirement from Goodyear in 2003, Rodia started a consulting business, TMUS, Inc. In 2004, he returned to Goodyear to serve as plant manager of Farm Tire operations in Freeport, Ill., and retired again in 2005. Ernest then accepted a position with Titan International as executive vice president and chief operating officer until his retirement in 2008. Currently,

Rodia is an engineering and operations consultant for Titan International through TMUS, Inc. His involvement in community activities in the cities where he has lived and worked include the Rotary Club, Little League coach, Chamber of Commerce; "Christmas Kids," where teams of employees adopted underprivileged children for Christmas; "Handicapped Movie Day," a day at the movies for handicapped children and adults; and "Youth Fishing Rodeo," a day of fishing and fun for retirees, employees and their children and grandchildren.

Lou Ward (Class of 1968) -- After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1972, Lou Ward returned to Harford County to manage the Colonel's Choice Restaurant in Aberdeen. He later leased the Holiday Inn Restaurant in Aberdeen.

In 1982, Ward reached his ultimate goal to buy and operate his own restaurant when he purchased the Bayou Restaurant in Havre de Grace. Ward's hard work and dedication to the restaurant and hospitality industry are reflected in the activities in which he is involved and the recognition he has received. These include being nominated for Restaurateur of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Maryland in 1997; helping to establish and serving as President of the Harford County Restaurant Association and initiating the "Taste of Harford County"; serving as Chairman of the Board for the Restaurant Association of Maryland in 2003 and being honored for his dedicated service to the restaurant industry; receiving the Harford Award presented by Harford County Government, Harford County Chamber of Commerce and Harford Community College in 2004; and being inducted into the Restaurant Association of Maryland Hall of Fame in 2007.

Ward's dedication and support of Harford County Public Schools is reflected in his generous donations as well as the gift of his time. His contributions include donating and serving dinner for as many as 200 guests for the Harford County Teacher of the Year Banquet for 17 years; donating and, as a true role model, personally serving dinner at the completion of each season for the Havre de Grace High School Athletic Boosters to an average of 100 student athletes and their coaches; continuing to support and contribute to the Havre de Grace High School SMILES volunteer organization by donating all of the canned vegetables for the SMILES annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the past 23 years; playing an integral part in the organization of the Pro-Start Program in the Harford County School System which helps to encourage and institute curriculum for high school students interested in pursuing careers in the restaurant industry.

Ward has been recognized for his many contributions by the following community organizations: the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps; the Susquehanna Hose Company; Harford Memorial Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary; Havre de Grace Boy Scout Troops; The Salvation Army of Havre de Grace; the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County; SMILES; Decoy Museum; Lock House Museum; Maritime Museum; and numerous other civic organizations in Havre de Grace.

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