Since the opening of in 1963, student-athletes who earned All-State recognition also received a "Hall of Fame" award from the school — and this year, there will really be a Hall of Fame to recognize all of them.
A ceremony is planned for June 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the same high school gynmasium where many of the athletes earned their honors.
Co-Athletic Director Gary Mazzie, a former teacher and coach at the school, has made the creation of the Hall of Fame a key effort in his still-young tenure in the athletic office.
"When I came back as Athletic Director (last September), I said, 'I wonder if we have a list,'" Mazzie recalled during an interview in his office Wednesday morning. "Come to find out, there was no list — there were records in the office, but they only went back five years — and I realized that this history is going to be lost if somebody doesn't out it together. I said, 'This is going to be my project for the year.'"
And what a project — because the records hadn't been compiled in one place for 40-plus years, Mazzie had to do quite a bit of work to locate all of the names of past athletes who achieved All-State honors.
I'd say I've done 95 to 98 percent of the research," said Mazzie, who added that he's tracked down several Johnston alum who are living across the country, and some who are abroad. "I spoke to Greg Perrotta, who's in Germany right now, and he said he's going to try to make it."
So far, Mazzie said he has identified 138 inductees — both individuals and members of teams.
"I've used as the criteria the traditional criteria — making All-State, then after this year, get a committee together" to decide on future inductees, Mazzie explained. "For now, it's going to be kids and teams — and the teams are easier, that history is up on the walls in the gym — who made All-State."
To compile a list of 138 members for the inaugural class was "pretty incredible," Mazzie said, "because Johnston's always been in Division II or Division III, not Division I where most of the All-Staters come from."
He added: "I think it's harder for kids from the lower divisions to make All-State, so I think it's a real feather in our caps to have some many kids in 50 years."
As a finishing touch to the creation stage of the Hall of Fame, Mazzie explained he's going to compile a "master book" with photos and narratives about each inductee.
In time, Mazzie said he hopes to set up a digital version, where students and visitors can view the honorees and their accomplishments, but for now, Mazzie added with a gesture to the office, "this is going to be the Hall of Fame."
To contact Gary Mazzie, call Johnston High School at (401) 231-1920 and ask for the athletic office.