Champion alumni hall inducts seven

Tribune Chronicle

CHAMPION — Seven individuals have been inducted into the Champion Schools Alumni Association Hall of Fame to recognize their achievements in academics and athletics.

The induction ceremony and banquet were held recently at Champion High School.

Honorees were Russell Banks, Jason Gray, Jeffrey Orr, Richard Thompson and Charles Dolejs, who were inducted into Achievement Hall of Fame. Kasey Karr and Rick Yauger were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

• Russell Banks, Class of 1981, is the owner and president of R.D. Banks Chevrolet Inc. in Champion, representing the third generation of the Banks family to hold that position. He is a graduate of Northwood University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Banks is past president of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association and past chairperson of the Ohio Auto Dealers Association.

• Jason Gray, Class of 1988, is the superintendent of the Trumbull Career and Technical Center since 2013. He is graduate of Clarion University with a a bachelor’s degree and Youngstown State University with his master’s degree. He has taught in New York and later Lordstown High School and TCTC. He was nominated as National Association of School Superintendents Superintendent of the Year in 2014 and was featured in the magazine as an innovator in education.

• Jeffrey Orr, Class of 1979, had a 32-year career in law enforcement moving through the ranks of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department. He was instrumental in forming the first multi-county law enforcement task force (TAG) in northeast Ohio. While leading the agency, Orr wrote grants for law enforcement and homeland security funding valued at more than $7 million. He is a graduate of Kent State University.

• Richard Thompson, Class of 1966, was instrumental in restoring and preserving historic structures in the Kinsman area, including the restored Peter Allen Inn, of which he is the owner. Thompson was successful in reopening the local grocery store and hardware store, and partnered to start the architectural millwork company Stratton Creek Woodworks of Kinsman. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from YSU.

• Charles Dolejs, Class of 1967, graduated from United States Marine Corps officers candidate school and served 31 years as a Marine. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel after having served in numerous high level command military posts throughout the world. In addition to English, he spoke five languages, including Chinese. He received a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from Kent State University and served as adjunct faculty at Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Dolejs died in 2016.

• Kasey Karr, Class of 2006, is a business development manager in Raleigh, N.C., after earning her bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and master’s degree from Villanova University. While at Champion, she was 2006 valedictorian and was a four-year letter winner in cross country and softball. Her highest achievement was as a softball pitcher, having 408 strikeouts, pitched 18 shutouts, three no hitters and two perfect games. Karr was named First Team All State in 2006, having pitched her team to the state finals that year.

• Rick Yauger has served as head varsity baseball coach rom 2015 to 2017. He has been a coach in Champion since 2007. His record as baseball coach is 62 wins and 15 losses. Yauger was named Trumbull County Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2017. His Champion baseball teams have won a regional title and a Division III state title. He was named 2017 Northeastern Ohio Coach of the Year. Yauger is assistant fire chief at the Warren Fire Department.