AHS inducts 3 into Hall of Fame

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Left to right, Bill Gappy (Class of 1956), Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman (Class of 1994), and Gary Lutes (Class of 1958) were inducted into the Alpena High School Hall of Fame on Friday.

ALPENA — The Alpena High School Hall of Fame added three new members on Friday as Dr. Jennie Sweet-Cushman, Gary Austin Lutes, and Bill Gappy were inducted for what they accomplished after graduating from AHS.

The three were treated to a lunch, spoke to the AHS students at the homecoming assembly, participated in the homecoming parade, and were inducted prior to the homecoming football game.

Sweet-Cushman graduated from AHS in 1994 where she was active in Key Club and served as an intern in Congressman Bart Stupak’s Alpena district office. She went on to study political science at Lake Superior State University where she was president of the university’s political science and college Democrats clubs and editor of the school newspaper.

Sweet-Cushman received her master’s degree in organizational management from Spring Arbor University in 2001. She completed her Ph.D. in political science at Wayne State University in 2014 and accepted a position as assistant professor of political science at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.

She has had scholarly work published in numerous professional journals and her research cited in many local, state, national and international media outlets including Politico, Huffington Post, and the International Business Times.

Sweet-Cushman was surprised when she heard that she was being selected.

“I was very surprised when I got the news,” Sweet-Cushman said. “It’s ironic because you always think that the class president will be one who is inducted but I’m happy that I was chosen for this.”

Lutes graduated from AHS in 1956 where he lettered in basketball and football, was a member of the Ski Club and studied Spanish. After graduating cum laude from Alpena, Lutes accepted a Regents Alumni Scholarship to the University of Michigan, and then transferred to Central Michigan University where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree.

Lutes participated in religious service activities with the Church of Christ at CMU. He went to Michigan Christian College in Rochester for a year taking all the Bible, Greek and church history classes that were offered. He went to Abilene Christian University where he earned his master of science in ministry and missions to do missionary work.

Lutes and his wife, Onita, who recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary, began working with a church in Jacksonville, Fla., which sent them to Chile for 21 years. In Chile, he helped establish seven congregations, directed summer Bible camps, led tent campaigns all over South America, worked with the youth, and directed thousands of Bible correspondence courses by mail.

MCC has bestowed two honors on the Lutes family over the years. One was the first Alumni of the Year award and the other was a Parents of the Year award.

Lutes said the news was hard for him to believe.

“It made me think of what did I to deserve an honor like this,” Lutes said. “Talking to the students made me go back and remember high school and all the memories.”

Gappy graduated from AHS in 1958. He was both a scholar and an athlete, maintaining high marks in his classes while earning eight varsity letters. He competed in football, basketball, track and baseball.

After high school, Gappy attended Central Michigan University to become a coach. He coached from 1963 to 1985 at Rochester High School, Royal Oak Dondero High School, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan Tech University, and University of Minnesota. Gappy won numerous awards during that time period: The Detroit Free Press Suburban Coach of the Year, Border Cities Coach of the Year, and 1970 Oakland County Coach of the Year.

Gappy’s coaching success resulted in inductions into the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame, the Michigan Tech Hall of Fame, and the Upper Peninsula Hall of Fame.

After leaving coaching, Gappy accepted a position with Horner Flooring. For 20 years, he installed portable basketball floors for many colleges and universities. He stalled flooring for the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA All Star Game.

Gappy said being inducted is quite an honor.

“I was elated when I received the news,” Gappy said. “It’s special to be back here in Alpena and being able to talk to the students because it brings back so many memories..”

Matt Poli, director of educational options, innovations, and partnerships, told the three inductees that those who get inducted are the ones who give back to their hometown community and have a lot of pride while doing it.

Since its inception in 2002, the Hall of Fame has recognized a diverse set of distinguished graduates.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.