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Ithaca High School Athletic Hall of Fame to launch digital platform

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The Ithaca High School athletic booster club officially purchased a new domain name for its athletics hall of fame website with plans of launching the new website next month.

After the original hall of fame website was shut down four years ago, the athletic boosters have committed $600 to fund the website for two years. The funding will come from booster club memberships, which comes in the form of annual $10 dues.

“People are amazed that we don’t have one already,” Mary DePalma, a booster club member in charge with setting up the website, said. “People like to communicate through this. It’s not that we don’t reach out to our alumni, it’s that we do so in a fairly limited fashion. One way that the school does it is through the Hall of Fame.”

The website is supposed to function as a resource for community members to get people to come to meetings and highlight successful former student athletes who played at the high school.

“The alumni are valuable for lots of different reasons,” DePalma said. “It’s ‘I’ve been there and done that, I know what it’s like to be you’, and they’ve had a lot of life experience during that time. As you go through life, you learn ways to do things and pathways to take.”

The high school’s athletic hall of fame began around 2000 and inducted it’s first class in 2002. Having the hall of fame’s information online could help streamline process for both committee members and possible inductees.

“If I had a child who was an athlete in the high school, and maybe they think the child is deserving, they could go to the hall of fame website and say ‘here are some examples,'” David Banfield, president of the hall of fame committee, said. “Here are members of the hall of fame. Here’s the nomination form, and here’s what you have to do to be considered. That would certainly be a great thing to help us.”

Banfield, who said he is stepping down after this upcoming induction process, said implementing technology into the hall of fame process helps troubleshoot problems when sorting through the nominees.

“It would be so easy for us to get information electronically,” he said. “It’s instant. If there’s an issue or a problem, we can respond back and say ‘this is great, but this is what we need in addition.’ It would be awesome.”

Several previously inducted members said they have wanted a website to learn more about other athletes inducted.

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“I would say if I was in high school, this would be one of the sites I looked at most often,” Tyrone Russell, a 2002 IHS athletic hall of fame inductee said. “It meant the world to me to be given the Hall of Fame because there was something I did that left a mark that allowed people to say you know this guy can be a part of Ithaca’s history.”

Ithaca’s athletic director Danielle LaRoche said the hall of fame is important to her because her high school did not have a hall of fame.

“My want for my high school to do those things makes it exciting for me to play some part in having it done for Ithaca High grads,” LaRoche said.

DePalma said though some inducted members have gone onto professional athletics, the website is a resource to connect current and former students with inductees that have succeeded in a career outside of sports.

“Most of the people in the Athletic Hall of Fame did not go on to do professional athletics. They’ve got professions in other kinds of areas, and that’s the way that I see them being a resource and a network for our student athletes as they prepare for college, jobs and life after Ithaca High,” she said.

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