CANTON – Jordan Grossman has been working in the Canton school system for over 10 years. He was an assistant principal at the high school and the principal at intermediate school. He is currently the assistant superintendent of schools in town.
Friday night, he admitted he is a bit envious of the community of graduates from Canton High. Former graduates from across the nation and Canada came to the high school to attend the 11th annual Wall of Fame induction ceremony to recognize six Canton High graduates for their outstanding contributions in their field of work and/or the community.
Dr. Fred Humphrey, Class of 1944, David Gilchrist (1950), the late John W. Bahre (1950), Dr. Sally (Giguere) Giglio (1956), Richard Hutchings (1977) and Dr. Ted Moise (1983) were recognized.
“This is such an important event,” said Grossman, who helped begin the event in 2002. “It’s important to the alumni but it is more important to the students of Canton High. They get to see what the rich tradition of Canton High is all about.”
Each of the inductees is introduced by a current Canton High student, who interview or conduct research about the inductee and makes a brief speech. The school’s Chamber Singers and the Jazz Band perform at the ceremony while other students help run the event.
Moise was recognized for his work at Texas Instruments and holds 41 patents related to electronic devices, designs or techniques to reduce manufacturing costs or decrease power consumption.
“In engineering, you measure what you value. This (Wall of Fame) program is what Canton values,” he said. “It values community service and the hard work people have done in their (respective) fields. It’s a great example for the students of today.”
Students get to personally learn about the possibilities to make a difference in the world once they leave the doors of Canton High School.
Humphrey, who served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, was a professor at the University of Connecticut from 1965 to 1991 where he established the Masters and doctoral degree programs in martial and family therapy. He was an officer in the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy where he helped found the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
His roots in Canton are deep. His father was a graduate of Collinsville High in 1907 and his mother taught at the school in the 1920s. His family has been in town since 1743 and he and his siblings have run a Christmas tree farm on Cherry Brook Road for decades. He currently lives in Guilford, Vermont and has been a volunteer serving on several local commissions.
Gilchrist, a member of the Board of Selectmen since 2006, has been serving the community for years. He was on the purchasing committee when the current high school was built in 1970, served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 1967-76 and was on the building committees for the recent additions to Cherry Brook School and Canton High.
“Any way you can help and assist the community will make the community better and it will make you a better citizen,” Gilchrist said.
Professionally, he spent most of his career at Chandler Evans, a West Hartford company that designed, developed and manufactured fuel pumps and controls for commercial and military helicopters. He started as an engineer and retired as a vice president of manufacturing in 1995.
Giglio received a master’s degree and Ph.D in reading and counseling psychology from the University of Massachusetts. She was a family therapist in Springfield, Mass., before serving as the school psychologist at Amherst (Mass.) High for 25 years.
Richard, her husband of 53 years, is a graduate of Canton High and Giglio had a fellow classmate, Sirje Ruus, who traveled from Nova Scotia, Canada to attend the event. Her husband received a Ph.D from Stanford in engineering and went on to be a professor and administrator in the College of Engineering at UMass.
“We were really nurtured here and we had a real sense of being important and special,” Giglio said. “They loved us and nurtured us. We had some fantastic teachers. There was a sense of community here.”
Bahre, who served our nation in the Korean War, lived in Canton his entire life, establishing several businesses – John W. Bahre, Inc., Smokey Bahre’s Cider Mill and John W. Bahre Lumber – along with serving as a community volunteer.
His granddaughter freshman Allison Bahre wrote his introductory speech. Another granddaughter, Jennifer Peterson, a CHS graduate who is currently the junior varsity field hockey coach, accepted the award on his behalf.
“Life wasn’t about trophies,” Peterson said. “He chose to share with others who needed it. He never sought any awards.” He helped build the first Little League field on Dyer Avenue and did whatever he could to help students and athletes in town. He would contribute to purchase uniforms and equipment whenever he could.
Today, his legacy lives on through the John and Joni Bahre Athletic Scholarship Foundation for Canton students. Not only does the Foundation provide scholarships but it helps events in town such as the Rock a Thon at the Canton Intermediate School that benefits the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Hutchings has been serving his hometown for over 25 years as a firefighter, an emergency medical technician and the fire chief in Canton. He has been the town fire chief since 2004 but also served in this role in 1996-97 and 1997-2000.
He was introduced by Meghan Casey, who is a cadet in the town’s Fire Cadet program to teach and train youngsters ages 14-17 about serving the town as a firefighter or an emergency medical technician.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” said Hutchings, who is the assistant manager of Emergency Nursing at the UConn Health Center in Farmington.
Moise, who was a Class S state champion wrestler as a senior at Canton, graduated from Trinity with a double major in engineering and physics. He earned a Ph.D from Yale.
He is most widely known in his field of electrical engineering for development of the world’s only 130-nanometer (nm) ultra-low power ferroelectric memory (FRAM), a game-changing technology that enables medical, consumer and industrial products to work more efficiently and longer on a single charge. He and his wife currently live outside of Dallas with their two daughters.
The inductees join 60 other graduates of Canton and Collinsville High School dating back to 1912 who have been honored.