2017 Alpena High School Hall of Fame Inductees
Thu, 05 Oct 2017 16:31:39 EDT
The names of those who will be inducted into the Alpena High School Hall of Fame have been announced.
They are Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman Class of 1994, Gary Austin Lutes Class of 1956, and Bill Gappy Class of 1958.
Each of them will be honored during the Friday (October 6), Homecoming festivities starting with an 11:00 a.m. luncheon in the AHS Media Center. Official Inductions will take place at Wildcat Stadium at 6:30 p.m. prior to start of the football game.
Their biographies can be seen along with this story on our news page at WATZ.com.
Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman
AHS Class of 1994
Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman (Sweet) is a 1994 graduate of Alpena High School, where she was very active in Key Club and served as an intern in U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak’s Alpena District Office. After graduation, she and her son Christopher who was born when she was a junior at AHS, moved to Sault Ste. Marie to study political science at Lake Superior State where she was president of the university’s Political Science and College Democrats clubs and editor of the student newspaper. She also continued doing campaign work for Stupak who asked her to run his re-election campaign after she graduated, with honors, in 1998, a race he won.
Leaving politics, Sweet-Cushman worked briefly as a staff writer at The Alpena News before taking a job in public relations in Metro Detroit and to work on her Master’s degree in organization management at Spring Arbor University, which she completed in 2001.
She married Ray (Cushman) in 2003 and the couple had two more children, Kaden (13) and Brody (12), who joined Christopher (24) and Ray’s daughter Autumn (21). After a few years running freelance communications business, Sweet Communications, Sweet-Cushman decided to return to her love of political science.
She completed her Ph.D. in political science at Wayne State University in 2014 and accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Political Science at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she is also the Assistant Director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics. Sweet-Cushman’s teaching, research, and non-profit work all support increasing women’s political representation in U.S. politics. Her scholarly work has been published in numerous professional academic journals and she has been quoted and her research cited in many local, state, national, and international media outlets including Politico, Huffington Post, and the International Business Times.
Gary Austin Lutes
AHS Class of 1956
While at AHS, Gary lettered in basketball and football, was a member of the Ski Club and studied Spanish with Mrs. Spain. This class influenced his later decision to work among the Spanish speaking of South America. Upon graduating Cum Laude, he accepted a Regents Alumni Scholarship to the University of Michigan, but after one year, transferred to Central Michigan University where he graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree. At CMU, he lettered in tennis and began to participate wholeheartedly in religious service activities with the Church of Christ. As a result, he went on to Michigan Christian College in Rochester, Michigan, for one year taking all the Bible, Greek and Church History classes they offered. There he met the love of his life, Onita McCray, and they were married September 4, 1961. They have five daughters, three of them preacher’s wives, and the other two therapists and family counselors. They recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. His first preaching assignment for two years was in Burlington, Colorado. Wanting to do Missionary work, Gary and Onita headed to Abilene Christian University where he earned his Master of Science in Ministry and Missions. They subsequently began working with a church in Jacksonville, Florida, which sent them to Costa Rica for further language training, and then by boat to Chile. During 21 years in Chile, he helped establish seven congregations, directed summer Bible camps, led Tent Campaigns all over South America, worked with the youth of Santiago and directed thousands of Bible correspondence courses by mail. In 1970 he drove a Dodge Maxi Van from Florida to Chile; 9,500 miles in 26 driving days. Moving back to Michigan in 1995, Gary ministered 16 years with the church in Mt. Pleasant, but continued to help in Chile and in Mexico for 1-2 months most years. One of his daughters is a missionary in Poland. This occasioned the great opportunity for Gary to travel and preach extensively in Europe. MCC bestowed two honors on the Lutes family over the years. One was the first Alumni of the Year award, and the other was a Parents of the Year award. In 2014 he was selected to travel in RV’s with the National Evangelism with Sojourners. This group travels to help Bible Camps, children’s homes, schools, colleges and congregations all over the USA. Gary is the oldest of nine children born to Guy Austin and June Lutes. Some of his brothers and sisters live in the Alpena area.
AHS Class of 1958
As a 1958 graduate of Alpena High School, Bill Gappy, the son of Janet and Joe Gapczynski, was both a scholar and athlete maintaining high marks in all of his classes while earning 8 varsity letters. He competed in football, basketball, track, and baseball. During his senior basketball season, he scored 256 points, was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award and was placed on the Arrowhead All Conference team and All-State team. After high school, Bill attended Central Michigan University to become a coach. As it turns out, Gappy was just as successful as a coach as he was as a high school scholar-athlete. He coached from 1963 to 1985 at Rochester High School, Royal Oak Dondero High School, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan Tech University, and University of Minnesota. During this time period, Gappy was the recipient of many awards including: The Detroit Free Press Suburban Coach of the Year, Border Cities Coach of the Year, and 1970 Oakland County Coach of the Year. While at Michigan Tech, Gappy led the men’s basketball team to 146 wins during 12 seasons and to the 1979-1980 championship title in the Northern Intercollegiate Conference. His coaching success resulted in Gappy’s induction into the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame, the Michigan Tech Hall of Fame, and the Upper Peninsula Hall of Fame.
After Bill left coaching, his success with courts continued as he accepted a position with Horner Flooring. From 1985 - 2005, Bill installed portable basketball floors for many colleges and universities such as Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, and Penn State. He also installed flooring for the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA All Star game. During his time at Horner Flooring, Bill was awarded the A. A. Managers’ Distinguished Member Award. In 1993, Bill was inducted into Michigan Sports Sages (a retired Michigan coach’s association) and since that time was awarded the Humanitarian/Service Award in 2001, served as its president in 2002 and received the Sage of the Year Award in 2003. Gappy currently works as a starter for Bay Harbor Golf Club.
Bill and his wife, Greta, have been happily married for 53 years with three sons who have blessed them with 8 grandchildren. Like Bill’s brothers and sisters, dad and uncle, he has kept the family tradition alive in sports and academics. He has devoted his career to sport of basketball and to coaching young men to be successful athletes and gentlemen both on and off the court.
L to R: Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman, Gary Austin Lutes and Bill Gappy