Sussex Central High welcomes six Hall of Fame inductees

GEORGETOWN — Sussex Central High School’s Hall of Fame welcomed its six newest members — a 2019 induction class that marked a family first in the hall’s 30-year history, a heart-warming introduction and a very generous surprise scholarship pledge.

New inductee Chuck Hudson joined his dad, 1995 inductee Charles Hudson, marking SCHS’s first father/son duo to be enshrined.
Also inducted were Rodney Layfield, Daniel Ingram, Dr. Jennifer Oliva, Dr. Darion Showell and Mark Williams.

The Nov. 15 ceremony was punctuated by Mr. Layfield’s co-introduction by Chandler Moore and Cole Willey, two young men battling serious illnesses.
Chandler was born with cystinosis, an extremely rare, genetic metabolic disease. Cole was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“I am very humbled and proud to stand in front of you today,” said Mr. Layfield, who has known both boys for about nine years through the likes of scouts, Pop Warner football and youth wrestling. “I am so happy to share this moment with those young men.”

Eyebrows in the audience raised with Mr. Ingram’s surprise announcement of his pledge of $200,000 over the next 10 years to give a graduating boy and girl an opportunity to receive college funds. It will be named the Brenda Ingram Scholarship Fund.

“Brenda Ingram is my mom; I took her name,” said Mr. Ingram, a minister, former U.S. Marine with military intelligence who now works for a $26 billion company. “I’d like to demonstrate my appreciation to Sussex Central, cherish this great opportunity and give back to this great ecosystem so many more men and women like myself who are very awkward can go make the world a better, more safe and lovely place.”

Several hundred SCHS students attending the ceremony were encouraged by SCHS Principal Dr. Bradley Layfield to pay “close attention to the stories of commitment dedication, humility and service …”

Mark Williams — A 1981 SCHS graduate, Mr. Williams graduated from Boston University and is an academic, financial author and risk management expert.
He is a faculty member in the Finance Department at Boston University Questrom School of Business where he teaches courses in banking, risk management and capital market activities.
Battle Robinson, who introduced Mr. Williams, said he has appeared on national media, testified before Congress and helped found a nonprofit focused on elevating financial literacy in public schools.

Mr. Williams remembered that back in high school he was not a good reader, speller or writer, and his seemingly promising athletic career ended with an injury his senior year at SCHS.
“Your course and your success in life is really set by you. It’s really not set by others,” Mr. Williams. “When one door shuts, another opens. Dare to push yourself and take risks you never thought about. It is about trial and error. It’s about failure. We learn most in our lives about failure.”

Recently, Mr. Williams involved his students in a study of the accuracy of human baseball umpires, measured against that of robotic umpires. This study involved hundreds of games in 2018 and found that human umpires err an average of 14 calls per game.

The study “has been published and cited by major league baseball, which in 2020 will be initiating a pilot project to use robotic umpiring in actual minor league games,” Ms. Robinson said.

Dr. Darion Showell — A 2002 graduate of Sussex Central, Dr. Showell initially wanted to be lawyer. However, the death of his sister to cancer led him to pursue a career in medicine. He is an oncologist in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
“Live life with intention. Live life on purpose,” said Dr. Showell. “I knew where I wanted to be, but I didn’t always know how to get there. So, I encourage you to find mentors and people who are where you want to be.”
Dr. Showell says he was an awkward kid in school, not a star athlete. “I was a nerd,” he said. “While you won’t always be the smartest person in the room you can be the hardest working person in the room. I personally believe I can outwork anyone; I can outstudy anyone.”

He was introduced for induction by Jane Hovington, who had him as a day care pupil.
“He was determined to be a doctor. With that spirit of determination, he overcame untold obstacles. He was determined to reach his goal, regardless,” said Ms. Hovington. “Every time he was told he couldn’t do something he grew stronger and stronger. You have to understand that as a black man in this day in a profession that was not welcoming, he continued to move forward.”

Dr. Jennifer Oliva — A 1992 SCHS graduate, she graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1996. She furthered her education at Georgetown University and the University of Oxford and is an associate professor of law at Seton Hall University.
Throughout her professional life Dr. Oliva has devoted her energy, determination and talents to advocate for veterans in order to help them access benefits and programs. She also has published articles on the opioid crisis.
Not too shabby for someone who says she didn’t quite fit in at Sussex Central, and was labeled by classmates and friends a little bit “crazy” and quite opinionated.
“I felt a little bit different. I just wanted to leave. I wanted to run away,” said Dr. Oliva.

She was, however, very happy to return. “This is a wonderful honor,” said Dr. Oliva. “It’s always wonderful to come home.”
Her advice to students is to find fun, passion and joy in life. “And laugh a lot. Life is too short. Surround yourself by friends and family members that … are there to catch you when you fall,” said Dr. Oliva.
Life is really all about mindset, Dr. Oliva said, adding you may not be the smartest, the fastest or best looking person. “You can see still be the best person, by being compassionate and kind to others,” Dr. Oliva said.

Daniel Ingram — A 1988 SCHS graduate, Mr. Ingram has traveled the world in the multi-billion-dollar world of business.
He called it “surreal and humbling” to receive this Hall of Fame honor, reflecting on his early schooldays when he was an awkward kid with thick glasses, teeth that stuck out and chicken knees.

Considered a good baseball player, a growth spurt redirected him to track and cross country, where he was a record-maker, including a 4:35 mile set 31 years ago that that stills stand as SCHS’s record.
“The Golden Rule says do unto others as you as they do unto you,” said Gordy Pusey, who introduced his son for induction. “He (Daniel) believes the Platinum Rule is the right way to live: Do unto others better than they do unto you.”

Mr. Ingram shared advice on achieving success:
The danger of silos is the concept “we are better than someone else. I received lot of very poignant criticism. Tolerance; the world needs more tolerance. Find something inspiring in each other and share love versus hate,” Mr. Ingram said. “Entitlement is a killer. I work for a $26 billion company. We deserve nothing. And arrogance; you think you know it all; work hard.”
“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare. The Lord had a plan. Talent is a gift. But attitude or character is a choice,” Mr. Ingram said. “There are three types of people in this world. Those who can study two hours and get an ‘A’ who don’t. Those who can study two hours and get an ‘A’ and study two hours, and those who study 50 (hours) to make sure.”

Dr. Layfield said Mr. Ingram’s intention is to pledge a $10,000 scholarship to two students at Sussex Central each year for the next 10 years. Details will be worked out by alumni and staff.

Rodney Layfield — A 1991 SCHS grad, Mr. Layfield holds the rank of captain and is commander of Delaware State Police Troop 3. He has 26 years of service with state police.

His other involvement includes Camp Barnes, Pop Warner and Delaware Hunter Education, among other organizations. Mr. Layfield also serves on the Indian River School District board of education as vice president.
“It is very surprising to know that he is a diehard Bengals fan,” said Chandler, adding Mr. Layfield has been “a great supporter to me personally. I have faced many challenges in my life.”
As a Pee Wee coach and mentor, Cole, who rescheduled his chemo treatment several hours so he could attend the morning ceremony assembly, said Mr. Layfield has “taught us way more than football.”

Chandler is believed to be the only person living in the state of Delaware with cystinosis, which can to kidney failure, and one of only about 600 living in the country.
“His father (Clinton Moore) walks 57 miles around Sussex Central track to raise awareness for Chandler’s rare disease,” said Mr. Layfield. “My son Cody wrestled some tough kid (Cole) from Seaford to a 16-16 tie when they were 5- and 6-year-old boys. Cole’s drive and motivation caught my attention then and still does now.”
In accepting the honor, Mr. Layfield urged everyone to “do something to make the community better. And if something’s funny, just laugh. Humor cures most anything. And don’t be afraid to take risks.”

Chuck Hudson — “It is humbling to say the least to even be considered … to be selected,” said Mr. Hudson, a Class of 1992 SCHS graduate. “As long as I can remember I’ve had so much support in my life. People have given me opportunities to succeed, helped me celebrate my successes and stood by me when I failed.”

Employed as a salesman and publishing representative, Mr. Hudson attended Swarthmore College where he excelled in baseball.
At SCHS he was student council president, and an all-conference standout in football and baseball.
Mr. Hudson has the distinction of being a manager, player and coach in the Blue/Gold All-Star Football Game, his father noted.
In giving back to the community, Mr. Hudson has served as a volunteer assistant football coach at SCHS and volunteer coaching assistant in girls’ basketball at Cape Henlopen.

“It is important to have standards. You can’t control everything, but you can control your own being,” Mr. Hudson said. “The true value of sports is what is teaches about life.”

The Sussex Central High School Hall of Fame includes the following graduates:
Class of 2019 — Chuck Hudson (1992), Rodney Layfield (1991), Daniel (Pusey) Ingram (1988), Dr. Jennifer Oliva (1992), Dr. Darion Showell (2002), Mark Williams (1981).
Class of 2018 — John Marvel (1971), Linda Mitchell (1972), Bill West (1974), Tim Slade (1989), Dr. Bobby Gulab (1996), Jullion Cooper (2001).

Class 0f 2017 — Dr. Victoria Godwin Fonke (Class of 1976), Phil Shultie (1971), Steven Floyd Sr. (1987).
Class of 2016 — Asher Gulab (1988), Paul Eckrich (1978), John Powell (1991).
Class of 2015 — Rep. Ruth Briggs King (1974), Russell McCabe (1974), Cathy Unruh (1975), Deon Jackson (1993), Markishia Wise (1995).
Class of 2014 — Dr. David Carter (1997), James Hudson (1971), Todd Lawson (1993), Dr. Aimee Parker (1999), Dr. Loriann White (1985),
Class of 2013 — Carlos Barbosa (1985), Robert Ruffin (1988), Chad Spicer (1998), Deborah Windett (1972).

Class of 2002 — Mark Murray (1980).
Class of 2000 — William Baxter (1970), Phillip Tonge (1972).
Class of 1998 — Cathy Hudson Gorman (1972), Terry Megee (1974), Grier White (1971).
Class of 1996 — Neal Hitchens (1975), John Young (1983).
Class of 1995 — Charles Hudson (1971), Julie Ann Gregg McCade (1974).
Class of 1994 — Kenneth Clark, Jr. (1994), Alan Ellingsworth (1972), Ivan Neal (1978).
Class of 1993 — Barbara Jackson (1971), Ralph Richardson, III (1970),
Class of 1992 — Mike DeLeon (1980), Kevin Short (1983).
Class of 1991 — Cheryl Hedtke (1980), Lynda Johnson (1970), Ileana Smith (1970).
Class of 1990 — Joseph Booth (1976), Bruce Rogers (1979).

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