It's Hall of Fame weekend at RHS

Oct 6, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

Five individuals and one team are being inducted into the Riverton High School Hall of Fame in ceremonies this weekend at RHS.

The honorees will be recognized during halftime of the Rawlins vs. Riverton football game Friday night at Wolverine Field, then will honored at a banquet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Riverton Middle School Multi-Purpose room.

Admission is free to the football game. Tickets for the banquet are available for $30 at the RHS activities office.

Mike Harris

Harris taught in the Riverton school system for 30 years in the math departments of Riverton Junior High School and RHS, where he also served as chairman of the math department.

A longtime coach and sports official, Harris is the only person to have served as head coach in three sports at RHS -- football, basketball and track and field.

His teams won four regional championships, and Harris was named the Wyoming Coaches Association coach of the year twice. He is a member of the Wyoming Coaches Association Hall of Fame and also is a member of the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame, recognized as a member of the record-setting St. Stephen's Championship basketball team in the late 1950s to early 1960s.

As a sports official, Harris is a member of the Wyoming Sports Officials Hall of Fame and has officiated games for 30 years including several state football and track tournaments. He was honored as football official of the year twice and track official of the year once.

Willie Wright

Wright contributed to the success of the football teams, track and field teams and band department while a student at RHS.

Wright went on to play football at the University of Wyoming as a full-ride scholarship recipient and is the only RHS graduate to play in the NFL where he competed on the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons. Wright also played in the World League of American Football and in the Canadian Football League.

Wright earned Master's Degree in conducting from the American Band College at Southern Oregon University and played back-up bands behind Bernadette Peters & the Temptations and also performed as part opening act for Joe Cocker.

Wright is now a high school band director at Worland High School

Dr. Scott Acton

Acton graduated from Riverton High School in 1979 and then from Texas Tech University, where he earned a Ph.D in physics.

While at RHS, he was an all-state musician, speech and debate competitor and amateur actor. He has delivered the commencement address to students at Central Wyoming College. He credits his individualized instruction at CWC for launching his academic career in physics.

Acton is one of the first people to develop and use "adaptive optics" in ground-based astronomy while working for the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. He spent much the last year bicycling around the world giving lectures on the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope where is work involves the aligning, or "phasing" the telescope's 18 hexagonally shaped primary mirror segments so they function as a single 6.5-meter mirror.

Acton has played a vital role in the development of the technologically advanced James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to be launched in 2018. The instrument is the scientific complement to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It will be the most powerful space telescope ever built.

Brian Connell

Brian Connell is a graduate of RHS who went on into the entertainment field and made a name for himself. Connell won a daytime Emmy in 2002 for excellence in the television industry and has also been nominated for six daytime Emmy Awards and one prime-time Emmy. His work involves sound editing and includes production excellence in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Dead by Sunset and The Bold and the Beautiful.

John Aanestad

Aanestad served a RHS and RMS music instructor for 32 years.

His success is evidenced by the number of former students who have chosen careers in the field of music including professional musicians, college professors, public school educators and arts advocates.

He developed the RHS jazz band program into one of Wyoming's best, taking the band he initially named "The Spock Baby Generation" to out-of-state competitions numerous times.

His marching band program was among Wyoming's elite for many years, winning the Class AA (equivalent of today's 4-A) state championship in 1978, with many other state honors.

He was a principal figure in the Wyoming All-State Marching Band program as well, and he served as a state marching band judge many times.

RHS Volleyball Teams

1982-83, 1983-84

This powerhouse RHS volleyball squad won two state championships, in addition to conference and regional titles. Overall, the team compiled a sensational 46-2 record.

Coached by the late Sherry Douglas, already an RHS Hall of Fame inductee, and Linda Brown, the team shared many members with the two-time Class AA (today's' 4-A) basketball team, and many in the group comprised the three-time AA track and field championship team as well.

Team members being honored this weekend are Tracy Befus, Kristy Bradley, Diane David, Laura Esau (manager), Kristy Cragoe, Kelly Cragoe, Kim Griffith, Kelli Hancock, Mary Ellen Inberg, Carmen Jacobson, Julie Leininger, Shelley Marlyst, Kristie Norris, Tina Ortiz. Julie Price. Kay Skaggs and Marcel Webb