North Hall of Fame inductees reflect on high school sports careers

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Will Kharfen

Tiger athletes of present and past generations gathered together at the Sheraton Inn in Needham, Saturday, March 4, as the North athletics community celebrated the induction of 11 former Tiger stars.
The 11 athletes inducted into the Newton North Athletics Hall of Fame were Senta Burton ‘97, Caroline Occean Callum ‘98, S. Page Cotton ‘65, Jennifer Seferiadis Fitzpatrick ‘98, Cathy Jepsen ‘60, Dan King ‘03, Jenna Lammers McCree ‘82, Mike Mitchell ‘95, Katharine Needham ‘01, Chris Pachus ‘84, and Kenneth B. Smith ‘62.
Athletic director Tom Giusti reminisces on his time with these athletes when they were young, and is so proud of who they are now. He says, “Even though they are adults now, your memory goes back to when they were kids, and to be able to see the things they were able to make of their lives is impressive, but they always seem to refer back to the excellent coaching and excellent education they received at this terrific school.”
Athletes were noticeably excited to have been in attendance at a an event they are not soon to forget. “It’s a huge honor, and I feel really proud to be inducted and to have had such amazing coaches and supportive teammates,” said Needham, former member of the lacrosse, soccer, and swim teams. Callum, a former runner, added, “It’s awe inspiring and very humbling. I never thought I would have been inducted into the hall of fame.”
Former athletes mentioned family, friends, coaches, and teachers as an immense part of their high school sports and academic successes. “I really believe in having mentors that were teachers and coaches that really did play a pivotal role in my career and in my life,” said Callum. Former baseball, football, and hockey athlete Mitchell seemed exuberant and delighted to have been able to share this momentous occasion with his family. He says that he “included all my coaches in my speech, Capodilupo, Siciliano, and Heavy because I can’t just pick one of them out.”
Former track star Dan King, who went on to race at Duke University said, “It’s absolutely an honor, and I’ve loved reliving the memories of running at Newton North along with the support of my friends and family.”
Some of the older inductees still have fond memories of attending Newton High School in the 1960s.
“It’s thrilling, it’s really an honor to be inducted,” commented former three sport athlete Smith, who was a member of the basketball, football, and track teams. Speaking fondly of his experience at Newton High School, he added that, “I was very connected to Newton High School, I was even president of my class. I just really loved school, and I had great friends. We did a lot of fun things, and it was a very full life and I enjoyed it.”
Former basketball and soccer athlete Cotton, who went on to be athletic director of DePauw University, said, “It’s really an honor for me to be inducted into the hall of fame and as I start to look at other people who have been inducted already, I kind of wonder why I am being inducted.” He added that, “three of my coaches I would contribute a lot of my success to and really laid the foundation to my professional career were Dr. Elliot, Coach Walker, and Coach Al Fortune, and they were very instrumental in my career.”
Of the 11 athletes inducted, Burton, a former track star, and former basketball, lacrosse, and soccer athlete Fitzpatrick, were unable to attend.
As these athletes are inducted into the hall of fame, Giusti hopes to keep the tradition going. “This school has a lot to offer to so many wonderful athletes, with future hall of famers, making it important that people keep nominating athletes for the hall of fame.”