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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hawkins inducted into KSHSAA Hall of Fame

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ernest Hawkins has been posthumously inducted into the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame as one of the members of the Class of 2013.

Professor Hawkins was the principal and a teacher at the Plaza Elementary School in Fort Scott. In 1921, he organized a basketball league in eastern Kansas for African-American high-school students because the high-school extracurricular programs were segregated at the time. He founded and coached the Fort Scott Whirlwinds, which played in that league.

In 28 years of existence, the Whirlwinds won 378 of 420 games played. From 1923-1927, they won 67 straight games, won eight state championships and received national recognition.

A press release issued by the KSHSAA said that, "Team players were selected from the all-black high school honor society, thus they were champions in the classroom as well. Hawkins was a great visionary with high standards of achievement which was accomplished with pride and dignity."

Hawkins was admired for by his peers for his selflessness, dedication and commitment to education and athletics. He was inducted into the Kansas Teachers Hall of Fame in 2001.

Other members of the 2013 class are:

* Lindsay (Eck) Gray, who won 12 Class 1A individual State Track and Field gold medals from 1997-2000 for St. John's School in Beloit. She won the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump four teams, the 300-meter hurdles three times and the triple jump once. She is the only Kansas prep athlete, male or female, to win four long jump golds and one of only two to win four golds in the 100-meter hurdles.

* Shalee Lehning, currently a member of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream, won numerous athletic and academic honors at Sublette High School from 2001-05. She led the Larks to back-to-back Class 2A State basketball titles in 2004-05, both teams going undefeated. She won seven gold medals in State track and was Miss Kansas Basketball and Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year in her senior season. She went on to a stellar career at Kansas State before she was drafted by the Dream in 2009.

* Richard "Dick" Purdy's Lawrence High School football teams played in 10 Kansas State Championship football games and won six championships -- one at Shawnee Mission West (1972) and the rest at Lawrence (1990-93, 1995). His record over 43 seasons was 273-140-6. He was inducted into the Baker University Hall of Fame in 1984. He currently resides in Arizona.

* Victor Sisk made an impact in the areas of music, speech, debate, spirit, and sportsmanship in 17 years as an Assistant Executive Director for the KSHSAA. Through his leadership, Kansas speech activities moved into the 21st century with technology, innovations and enhanced opportunities for participants. He was committed to the purpose & intent of cheer and spirit regulations, especially regarding safety. Noticeable advancements occurred in school sportsmanship during his tenure.

The honorees were chosen from nominations reviewed by a selection committee. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, an individual must have made an unusually outstanding contribution in interschool activities, either as a student with exceptional talent, or as an adult working with youth (such as an activity coach, director or sponsor, an administrator, an official or a contributor). Hall of Fame inductees may no longer be active in the field for which they are nominated (exception: contributor with over 30 years of outstanding service).

Awards will be presented during second semester, 2013, in conjunction with a KSHSAA-sponsored State function /championship or locally, at the inductee's request. The time and location of each induction ceremony will be announced at a later date at www.kshsaa.org.

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