Havre de Grace High School students had an opportunity to hear from four men Friday, men who have worked to be examples of the school's motto: "Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve."
The four speakers, who are graduates of Havre de Grace-area high schools, were the latest inductees into the HHS Hall of Fame.
They included Mark P. Becker, president of Georgia State University in Atlanta and HHS Class of 1976; Burt J. Hash Jr., president and CEO of the Municipal Employees Credit Union of Baltimore Inc. and a 1965 graduate of the former Havre de Grace Colored High School; Robert "Bobby" Parker, a local photographer who is retired from the J.M. Huber Corp. and graduated from Havre de Grace Consolidated High School in 1962, and Clark P. Turner, a Harford County homebuilder who graduated from HHS in 1971.
Becker said after the ceremony that it was worth it to make the trip from Georgia.
"It's a tremendous honor to be inducted, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he said.
Becker said he still has relatives in the Havre de Grace area.
"It was a good opportunity to come back to my alma mater," he said.
The four men inducted Friday join 16 other men and women with Havre de Grace ties who are members of the Hall of Fame. They include County Executive David Craig, U.S. Sen. Millard E. Tydings, former state Del. Rose Mary Hatem Bonsack and James R. "Jim" Harris, HHS athletic coach and the namesake of the school's football stadium.
Richard Hauf, HHS band director and chairman of the school's Hall of Fame Committee, said requests for nominees are typically sent to the community.
Committee members, which include current and former educators and members of the community, select the inductees based on how they have excelled "in their chosen field of study and how they have exemplified our school motto, that is, 'Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve,' " Hauf said.
A number of students were in the audience at the high school auditorium during the induction ceremony Friday, in addition to the inductees' friends and relatives.
Hauf said the goal of having a hall of fame is to "motivate our students," to show them "what is possible when you graduate from this school, what contributions can you make to society?"
Principal Jim Reynolds also stressed the lessons of the ceremony to the students, lessons which included being a leader, identifying one's strengths and passions and then developing a plan to follow those passions, handling adversity, and simply "showing up" each day to work or school.
"I hope you truly listened because there are some valuable lessons that they imparted on you today," Reynolds told the students.
Each inductee spoke for at least 10 minutes, after being introduced by a student class officer or organizational leader.
Sophie Daghir, band president, introduced Becker; Hakeem Wilson, vice president of the senior class, introduced Hash; Austin Barnes, senior class president, introduced Parker and Lynsey Blackburn, president of the National Honor Society, introduced Turner.
Becker, the university president, spoke about the need to find one's passion and follow it. He also stressed the need to get along with others, and noted that the lessons learned in kindergarten apply to adulthood as well, that students must "learn to play in the sandbox."
Finally, he emphasized the need to keep going in the face of adversity.
"If you fall down or if you fail, that doesn't matter," he said following the ceremony. "You never give up."
'Leaders in your own right'
Hash, the credit union chief, talked about following one's passions and dreams, developing relationships, being a team player, that a former C student can be successful because of "the ability to get along with individuals."
"You are all leaders in your own right," he told the students.
Parker, the photographer whose work regularly appears in The Aegis and The Record, shared his memories of growing up in Havre de Grace, attending the Consolidated High School and how meaningful his relationships with family and friends have been to him.
He also spoke about his many years of shooting pictures in and outside of Havre de Grace; he has worked to document black history in Harford County and Maryland, and the lives of former Negro Leagues baseball players.
Parker, a Vietnam War combat veteran, said he had taken photos of some of the members of the Hall of Fame Committee, his fellow inductees and a number of the students in the audience.
"You all have been in front of my camera," he said. "There's no ifs, buts or maybe, you have."
Parker thanked his family "for supporting me and assisting me and allowing me to use my skills, my talent, in everything that I'm doing to enrich other people's lives."
As a Harford County builder, Turner has overseen the construction of residential developments throughout Cecil and Harford counties, including The Residences at Bulle Rock on the edge of Havre de Grace, as well as a number of commercial developments in the region.
He also assisted with the building of a home for a family in Port Deposit, which was chronicled on the ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and contributed $50,000 to the building of facilities at HHS' Harris Stadium.
"I think you can get a great education at Havre de Grace High School, and when you look at the people that came out of here you'll see that's true," Turner told the students. "You look at the past members of this Hall of Fame . . . it's what you put into it; there are great teachers here and all of you can go out and succeed in whatever you choose to do."