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Four inducted into Canton High’s Wall of Fame

From left, Canton High senior Jaela Davidson, Peggy Anderson, Gerry deSimas, Candice (Flattery) Freedenberg and senior Noah O’Leary before 2016 Canton High Wall of Fame ceremony.

Joshua Sneideman

CANTON, Oct. 14, 2016 – Four Canton High graduates were recognized for their achievements in their communities and professions with induction into Canton’s Wall of Fame – the late Jesse J. Anderson (Class of 1957), Gerry deSimas, Jr., (1981), Candace (Flattery) Freedenberg (1984) and Joshua Sneiderman (1993).

After the ceremony in the Canton Middle School cafeteria, the annual homecoming football game against Ellington was held under the lights on the turf field.

Anderson, who died in 2007, lived in Avon most of his life and founded Anderson Turf Irrigation in Plainville, a firm that specializes in irrigation systems to water lawns and fields. A lifetime member of the Connecticut Association of Golf Course Superintendents, Anderson helped co-found the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association in 1988.

In 1990, the state of Connecticut passed legislation requiring all irrigation contractors to be licensed contractors with licensed journeymen and registered apprentices in the field. The Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association pushed for the legislation to promote excellence in the field and set a standard for work in the field to satisfy customers and protect the environment.

Anderson served as president of the Connecticut Irrigation Contractors Association twice from 1990-91 and 2004-07. Anderson’s wife, Peggy, accepted the award on his behalf.

DeSimas, who has been covering sports in Connecticut for more than 30 years, is the editor and founder of Collinsville, an online website that covers primarily sports in Canton, Avon and around the state. He also is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online, a website that has covered high school wrestling in Connecticut since 2001.

He is the co-editor of the Connecticut High School Football Record Book and editor of the Connecticut High School Wrestling Record Book. In his career, deSimas has won more than a dozen writing awards from the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the New England Press Association, and United Press International.

DeSimas serves as corresponding secretary for the Connecticut chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, which has hosted three induction banquets. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Connecticut Wrestling, Inc., which established the Connecticut Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2016.

He has been an award-winning Communications Specialist at Eversource Energy – the former Northeast Utilities — for more than 15 years. He was a youth soccer coach with the Avon Soccer Club for seven years.

Freedenberg worked at Kodak and IBM, where she was co-founder of IBM’s Optical Development Services in the mid-1990s. She founded CJ Holdings here in Connecticut where she provided strategic direction, incorporation, deed work as well as on-going support and marketing/administrative reporting services for small businesses.

In 2015, Freedenberg founded Untapped Potential, an organization to help women and caregivers a community of support and mentoring and to bring businesses and talented individuals – many mothers — together in a professional setting. Her organization helps remove barriers for high-caliber and talented women to return to the marketplace and return value to businesses.

Freedenberg and her husband returned to Canton to raise their family. For seven years, she was the co-chair for the annual Winter Festival and Silent Auction that raised an estimated $300,000 to benefit the Cherry Brook School and Canton Intermediate School. Funds raised helped purchase technology for the Canton schools such as smartboards, 3-D printers and books while helping pay for bus expenses for some student field trips.

Joshua Sneideman and his family. (Photo courtesy Nomad Publishing)

Sneideman is vice president of Learning Blade in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a company that offers students to learn more about opportunities in STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Virtually his entire professional life has been dedicated around teaching and raising awareness with young students and the public.

He spent two years working in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Department of Energy as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow from 2013-15 to improve awareness and resources for education about energy.

He led the team that produced an Energy Literacy Video Series and has written two books in the past year. His first book, Climate Change: Discover How It Impacts Spaceship Earth, came out in April 2015 and his second book, Renewable Energy: Discover the Fuel of the Future, came out in earlier this year in April.

Working with President Barack Obama’s science advisor, Dr. John Holman, and Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sneideman planned and moderated a panel of students from around the nation to discuss climate change.

Sneideman taught middle school science for 10 years in California, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to teaching, Sneideman worked as a hydro-geologist, mapping and remediating groundwater contamination along the East Coast of the U.S.

“I became an educator to have the greatest environmental impact possible,” Sneideman wrote in his biography with the Department of Energy. “As a hydro-geologist cleaning up oil spills, I was simply a band-aid on a much larger problem. I switched careers as I came to realize education was the best way to affect a generational shift in environmental consciousness.”

From left, Canton High junior Hilary Anderson; Peggy Anderson, wife of the late Jesse J. Anderson, Jr.; Gerry deSimas, Jr., Candace (Flattery) Freedenberg ‘84, senior Jaela Davidson, senior Noah O’Leary and Eric Verner, assistant principal.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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