For several months, the School Committee has been working on redesigning the Salem High School Hall of Fame.
Several readers have asked about the status of the Hall of Fame, so Contributor Stewart Lytle went and found some answers for this edition of You Ask...Patch Answers.
Will the city have a new Hall of Fame for Salem High School athletes?
Here's what Lytle found:
The School Committee is looking for a few good women to volunteer to serve on the board of the new Salem High School Hall of Fame.
For months, the school committee's Subcommittee on Policy has been working on redesigning the Hall of Fame, which honors Salem High School athletes and coaches. It has drafted proposed new bylaws to govern the organization.
The Hall of Fame, which has been accused of being “an old boys' network,” has operated for much of its 20-year history without bylaws except those that determined who can be nominated for the Hall of Fame and how the organization has received the nominations. There have been no rules controlling who has served on the board and how the board membership has been selected.
Dr. Janet Crane, the policy committee chair, set out several months ago to create a new Hall of Fame organization with bylaws and a larger board that reflects the demographics of Salem.
In asking for volunteers to serve on the new board, several men volunteered, but few women, Crane said.
“I will not take this to the full (school) committee until we have a representative pool of candidates,” she explained.
Two of the board member positions are already filled by High School Principal David Angeramo and Director of Athletics Scott Connolly, both of whom are male.
The effort to increase the participation of women in the Hall of Fame comes as the nation is celebrating the 30th anniversary of passage of Title IX
legislation, which opened the doors for greater opportunities for women in athletics.
The Hall of Fame has been the topic of controversy in political and sports circles for years. Some critics, including City Councilor-at-Large Tom Furey, have lobbied the school committee to expand the all-male Hall of Fame from five members.
One sore subject, which was not discussed at the subcommittee meetings, is that the Hall of Fame board has refused to induct former high school football coach Ken Perrone.
The opposition to Perrone's induction stems from the 1994 teacher strike, when he played a football game over the objection of school officials. Perrone is in the halls of fame at Salem State University and the University of Maine. He coached baseball at Salem State, Furey said.
The Salem High School Hall of Fame, founded in 1990, primarily solicits nominations for the hall, reviews the nominees' credentials, selects the inductees, holds an induction ceremony and raises money to operate the Hall of Fame. It is an entirely volunteer organization.
Dr. Tom Billings, who was on the school committee at the time the Hall of Fame was created, said he has great admiration for the way the Hall of Fame board has operated and the student-athletes it has inducted into the hall.
He said he would have preferred that the board include more people to get different perspectives.
The Salem State Hall of Fame board has 15 members.
The board has not seen significant change in its makeup over the last two decades. In the rare occasions that there has been a vacancy, the board members meet and informally pick a replacement.
Furey, who called the Hall of Fame board “an old-boys' network,” said, “a lot of change needs to take place.”