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Perkins Schools Hall of Fame Welcomes 2024 Inductees

Perkins Schools Hall of Fame Welcomes 2024 Inductees

Two long-time teachers, six outstanding alumni, two celebrated athletes, and the 1993 State Championship Girls Track Team were inducted into the Perkins Hall of Fame in 2020 during the Distinguished Awards Banquet on January 14, 2024.

More than 200 members of the Perkins community came out for the banquet at the Mesenburg’s Plaza Place in Huron. Keynote speaker Kyle Hallock, a 2007 Perkins High School graduate and a 2020 Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame inductee, welcomed the latest members and reminisced about their achievements. 

Click Here To Watch Video Of The Induction

As Perkins students and staff, they were “chasing excellence” and did not have time to celebrate in real time. 

“These inductees were working hard to win for the Pirates,” Mr. Hallock said. “Well, that time to recognize and appreciate their achievements is tonight. This ceremony is an opportunity to tip our caps and show gratitude to the inductees for their outstanding accomplishments.”

The 2024 Hall of Fame Class is: 

Distinguished Alumni
Jim Guerrera, Class of 1993

Jim Guerrera earned 10 letters in four sports during his Perkins High athletics career and won First Team All-SBC honors in baseball, basketball, and football. When a broken ankle and surgery before his sophomore year kept him from the gridiron, Jim picked up a set of golf clubs, sported an air-cast and high-top basketball shoes as a varsity PHS golfer. He also earned First Team All-Ohio in football and First Team All-District in basketball, and still holds two school basketball records to this day.

Jim continued his athletic career after high school as a walk-on at the University of Notre Dame football team under Coach Lou Holtz. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame and a master’s in business administration from the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. 

He is the founder and owner of SCN–Search Consulting Network, a search consulting and recruiting firm in Novi, Michigan, that employs 50. Jim and wife, Jill, and their four children, live in Northville, Michigan.

Sean G. Wieber, Class of 1998
At Perkins High School, Sean Wieber lettered nine times across football, basketball, and baseball – and served as captain in all three sports for his junior and senior seasons. He earned multiple all-conference and all-district honors en route to graduating third in his class. After he submitted a highlight reel created from his teammates’ home videos, Northwestern University offered Sean a “preferred walk-on” opportunity to play Big Ten football, where he soon became the team’s starting safety. 

After graduating from Northwestern with several Academic All-Big Ten awards, Sean pursued his legal career path and joined the international law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago. He worked his way up the corporate chain, starting as an intern in the law library and eventually an equity partner in 2015. He now serves as the firm’s co-chair of global litigation privacy practice.  

Sean and wife, Lilly, and their daughters Carlee and Aubry reside in Evanston, Illinois.

Matt Luginbill, Class of 1998
Matt Luginbill, the son of parents who spent their careers teaching at Perkins Local Schools, has education in his blood. While at Perkins High School, Matt played soccer and baseball, and earned All-SBC and All-District honors in soccer and All-Conference and Second-Team All-Ohio honors in baseball.

After graduating from PHS, Matt attended Baldwin Wallace University, where he played soccer and baseball. He received a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, and returned to Perkins Schools to teach at the third grade level at Furry Elementary and coach baseball and girls soccer. 

After a reduction in force at Perkins Schools, Matt continued his career at Cuyahoga Heights School District as a teacher and coach. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration in 2006 and a doctorate in Urban Education from Cleveland State University in 2016. 

In 2018, he was named an Ohio Department of Education District 11 Teacher of the Year and state finalist for Teacher of the Year. Matt is married to Alicia Jadwisiak, and they have three daughters, Burkleigh, Eddyson, and Landry.

Jason Hermes, Class of 1994
Jason Hermes, a two-sport athlete at Perkins High School, collected an impressive 77-5 record as a wrestler, with multiple SBC and sectional championships, district runner-up titles, and 3rd-place at state. In football, he collected three letters and 2nd Team All-SBC honors. He also was a member and president of FFA while at PHS.

Since graduating, he co-founded Hermes Parker Concrete, HP Properties, and Hermes Farms 2.0. 
Jason’s engagement with Perkins Local Schools extends way beyond his years as a student and athlete. He also has coached PHS wrestling and youth wrestling, as well as youth football. He and his companies also have stepped up as a partner in the construction of the PHS football stadium, the softball field, Stone Courts, and Tank Memorial Field.

Jason is married to Ashley Hermes, and they have three children, Elizabeth Hermes, Oswin (Whitney) Hermes and Duke Hermes, and two granddaughters.

Tom Ritzenthaler, Class of 1986
Tom Ritzenthaler did not make his name as a Perkins High School athlete, but rather as an BMX racer during his time at Perkins Schools and after graduation. He played golf at PHS because his BMX sponsors did not want him to get hurt playing other sports.

While Tom raced BMX for 43 years, his signature on the sport comes in more impressive forms – the BMX tracks he designs for people and places around the globe, including the Olympics. His tracks were in the 2008 Beijing Games, the 2012 London Games, and the 2016 Rio Games.

He built his first track, Norwalk Race Park, in 1981. His company, Tom Ritz Designs, has built more than 80 tracks around the world, not only for the Olympics, but also the BMX World Championships.  

In addition to BMX, he also has opened the Electric Pen Art Gallery, a tattoo shop, in Milan.

Brent Adams, Class of 2000
Few people can say they quarterbacked a state championship football team – Brent Adams is among the few who can. A two sport athlete at Perkins High School, he played QB and defensive back for Perkins High, including the 1999 state championship. He also played basketball and collected all-district and all-Ohio honors. 

After graduating from PHS, he went to Bowling Green State University and graduated with a degree in criminal justice and went on to complete the EHOVE police academy. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Perkins Police Department, first as a dispatcher and then as an officer. He became a sergeant on the force in 2015 and was recently promoted to lieutenant in charge of the detectives and the Perkins Schools resource officer. 

He has not forgotten his years as a football player, and has coached at the middle school, freshmen, JV, and varsity levels. In 2005, he married wife, Baranda, and they have two children, Emily (a senior at PHS) and Mason (a sophomore).

Distinguished Staff
Janis Zura, Staff Member

Janis Zura joined the teaching staff at Perkins High School in 1968. Her first lab had 30 manual typewriters, four electric typewriters, and two comptometers. She taught business classes, including accounting, shorthand, typing, cooperative office education, and general business, for 35 years, and was the Cooperative Office Education Coordinator for more than 25 years. She retired in 2003. Janis then served for 10 years as a consultant to the district until 2013, and assisted with the district’s implementation of an electronic grade book and other digital initiatives.

Janis, a native of Marblehead and 1964 graduate of Danbury High School, graduated from the Ohio State University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in education and from Bowling Green State University in 1977 with a master’s degree in education. She and husband, Larry, raised their son, Brad, in Marblehead. Janis also served on the Danbury Board of Education for 11 years.

She moved to Huron in 2021 and enjoys spending time with her granddaughter, Evelyn. 

Doug Mehling, Staff Member
After starting his teaching and coaching career at Sandusky High School in 1968, Doug Mehling was hired at Perkins High School in 1975 as a social studies teacher and assistant football coach and head baseball coach. 
While at PHS, Doug instituted a History Film program. With parental approval, students viewed "Glory," "Schindler's List," and "Saving Private Ryan."

He, along with Chris Gasteier and other staff members, created a Living History program that centered around the American Civil War and included a day-long series of Civil War re-enactments. 

Doug is a Sandusky native and a Sandusky High graduate, class of 1964. He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster and his master’s degree from Ashland University.

Doug retired in 2002 after teaching for 34 years. He and wife, Barb, have three children, Darcy, Rebecca, and Mark, and five grandchildren. He and Barb now reside in Put-In-Bay.

Distinguished Athletes
Aaron Michel Richardson, Class of 2004

Aaron Richardson collected 10 varsity letters as a three-sport athlete (track, basketball, and football) at Perkins High School. As a track and field athlete, Aaron won multiple SBC, regional, district, and state honors, and All-SBC and district honors in football. 

After graduating from PHS, he attended Bowling Green State University on a full academic scholarship, where he pursued an electrical engineering degree. At BGSU, he also pursued his goal of playing Division 1 football. 

Tragically, he died during his first football practice. Aaron is survived by his mother, Alice Ashburn, a brother, JaRon Ashburn, and a large group of family, friends, and fans.

Bethany (Caudill) Opfer, Class of 2009
As a Perkins Pirate, Bethany earned nine varsity letters in volleyball, track & field, and basketball. In basketball, Bethany was a member of one of the most decorated teams in Perkins Girls Basketball history, winning two SBC Championships, multiple sectional and district titles, a regional championship, and the program's first and only state tournament appearance.

After graduating from PHS, Bethany attended Slippery Rock University on an athletic scholarship, where she was co-captain and captain of the women's basketball team. After two years at Slippery Rock, Bethany chose to focus on academics and transferred to Kent State University, where she graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. She earned her master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition in 2015, and is a licensed dietitian.

Bethany currently works for Nestle Research & Development, where she leads the nutrition strategy for the Global Frozen Foods business. She and husband, Troy, have two boys, Jack and Mick, and reside in Huron.

1993 Girls Track Team
The Perkins High School Girls Track Team capped an amazing spring season in 1993 by winning the State Championship as a team. 

The Pirates were led by Nikki Sturzinger Anderson, who was a state champion in both shot put and discus, Shellie Swain Manley, who was state runner-up in the 100 hurdles, Jessica LaFene Weber, who was state runner-up in the 1600 meters, and Nikki Litz Sabo, who was fifth in the long jump. The 4x200 team of Karla Hauser, Nikki Litz, Lisa Manuella, and Shellie Swain, and alternates Sarah Wechter and Kristina Manuella finished in eighth place. 

The Pirates were coached that year by Chris Green, John Hinton, Tom Bouy, and Rod Litz. 

And, leading up to the state championship meet, the team went 10-0 in dual meets, and were champions at the Bill Krause Relays, the Bellevue Invite, and the Pirate Relays. They were SBC and Region champions, and runner-up in the district.