This Article appeared December 31, 2014 in the Hartford Courant
Hartford’s Bulkeley High School to create its own Hall of Fame
HARTFORD — The Bulldogs of Bulkeley High School will soon get their own athletic Hall of Fame, boosters said this week.
Student-athletes, championship teams, coaches and administrators from nearly 90 years of Bulkeley sports history will be considered for the hall, which could welcome its first class of inductees in fall 2015, said Bob Raffalo, a former baseball coach at the South End school.
Initial plans call for etching the honorees’ names in the gymnasium and displaying their images and accomplishments on a digital monitor near the school’s main office, said Lou Frasca, dean of students for Bulkeley’s Upper School.
The public will be asked to nominate candidates by April, Frasca said. Nomination forms are expected to be finalized and posted in the coming weeks.
More than a dozen people may be inducted the first time around, Raffalo said, because “we’re behind and we need to catch up a little bit.” People may be honored posthumously.
Hartford Public High School has its own Hall of Fame, and at cross-town Weaver High School, the 1994 inaugural ceremony for its sports hall drew former standouts such as then-NBA player Rick Mahorn, class of 1976.
The push for Bulkeley’s stemmed from personal experience: In 2011, Raffalo was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Linfield College in Oregon, where he played baseball and was a diver after graduating from Bulkeley in 1960.
“I felt it was a complete, full circle of your athletic endeavors,” said Raffalo, an Old Saybrook resident who traveled west for the induction. “I think a Bulkeley Hall of Fame has been long overdue.”
After college, Raffalo returned to Hartford and spent much of his career teaching physical education at Bulkeley. He also coached five sports over the years, he said, gaining a wide perspective on the history of Bulkeley athletics.
A few years before he retired, Raffalo led a fundraising initiative that produced 75 Bulkeley championship banners for the gym to celebrate the school’s 75th anniversary in 2001.
Alumni also donated funds for a more recent project: In 2013, Bulkeley transformed a vacant room on the school’s second floor into the Morgan Gardner Bulkeley Historical Center, a showcase of school memorabilia that includes a 1926 varsity letter awarded by the Bulkeley Athletic Association to founding Principal Gustave Feingold.
Frasca, a 1988 Bulkeley graduate, said planning for the Hall of Fame began about three weeks ago with Raffalo, Athletic Director Diane Callis and retired teacher Maria Mascaro, who helped create the historical center. The first induction ceremony and banquet could be held in October, he said.
Organizers are seeking $25 donations to help support the Hall of Fame. Contributions may be sent to Bulkeley Athletic Hall of Fame, in care of Lou Frasca, at Bulkeley High School, 300 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford, CT 06114. For more information, call Raffalo at 860-227-0438.