RIPLEY – Recently, Jackson Newspapers reached out to Ripley High School principal Will Hosaflook for a Q&A session regarding the new wall display that features pictures of all the First Team All-State athletes in Ripley High School history.
JN: How did the display project come about?
WH: The pictures of our First Team All-State athletes had been on display in the high school lobby for many years. Over time, they became faded and were in poor condition. In addition, some were missing or incorrect. School renovations and space constraints caused the photos to be placed in storage. Eventually, we scanned what we had into a digital format, with the photos rotating through a PowerPoint on a TV screen in the lobby. That arrangement had its limitations. The permanent display that we now have is a result of a three-year collaborative effort with the WVSSAC, WV Coaches Association, and the WV Sportswriters Association. To further ensure accuracy, we also consulted sports historian Mike Ruben’s records, plus we researched articles that were archived with Jackson Newspapers. We believe we now have an accurate display to showcase all of the First Team athletes in the history of Ripley High. We chose a frame design which allowed us to make revisions during the process, as well as additions in the coming years.
JN: How does the placement of the display (in the lobby outside the main gym) add to the aesthetic of Ripley High School?
WH: It has become a focal point of interest and conversation. Many visitors, as well as our student body, have commented how pleased they are with the project.
In addition to the lobby display, we want to eventually have all the athletes’ names up at their respective fields of play. Baseball names are already mounted on the clubhouse in Viking Park. Soccer has individual signs on the concession stand in Death Valley. Football has a sign on the fence with a complete list of that sport’s honorees. Plans are underway for gymnasium signs with basketball, volleyball, and wrestling names. All other sports will eventually have their names up at the various fields of play.
JN: How would you gauge the impact of the display on the Ripley High athletic programs?
WH: It’s inspiring! The athletes pass those All State pictures every day. It helps keep them focused on striving for excellence. Our students also see our lobby displays recognizing those who have attained academic honors, such as our AP Scholars and Honor Graduates. All of the displays serve as a visual reminder that hard work and determination pay off.
JN: What is your favorite part of having such a display at Ripley High?
WH: Every person who has ever passed through these walls has had an impact upon our school and community. Countless athletes have sweated relentlessly for the success of the Blue and White. While this display contains the pictures of only a few, what it represents is the teamwork of each and every athlete who ever wore a Viking uniform, as well as the coaches, teachers, and parents behind that success.