By Marianne Mueller


Hononegah’s student section was full of spirit!

Purple and gold clothing were the colors seen for miles; both on and near Hononegah Community High School’s Kelsey Field on Friday evening, Aug. 20 during the 2021 Purple and Gold Fest. 

Live action started with indoor volleyball and outdoor soccer games. 

Spirits and energy levels grew as new announcements were made throughout the evening. The event marked the kick off for all athletic teams, the band, new staff, students, Athletic Department, Administration and new teachers; all who are part of the Hononegah High School family.

Everyone took part in a parade leading them to the field where introductions of each group were given. 

Hononegah Board of Education President Dave Kurlinkis shared words of encouragement and inspiration. “Hononegah is celebrating 100 years in this building this year; we are even adding an HVAC system,” Kurlinkis said. 

Kurlinkis addressed the students, “As we stay open we promise you will get the best education we can provide for you.”

He concluded by saying, “Students and community members, you are the best.”

Principal Chad Dougherty received a thundering round of applause before he spoke to the crowd. “Here at Hononegah we believe in the staff, our students, and our community members. We welcome the Class of 2025 who had a wonderful orientation last week.” 

Dougherty welcomed members of the Board of Education, plus new staff at Hononegah. 

Introduced were School Psychologist- Nora Hadji, Amanda Harvey – Math teacher, Jessica Hecker – Special Education Teacher, Megan Holcomb – Math Teacher, Max Lee – English Teacher, Janey Marinaro – English Teacher, (who was unable to attend the festivities), Jessica Quisenberry- School Counselor, and Ashleigh Walter – Spanish Teacher (who was unable to attend.)

Athletic Director Steve Cofoid and all who work with him were recognized. 

Dougherty followed by saying, “As a family we are here to celebrate, but this summer we experienced the loss of two of our own.”

Thomas Figueroa was a football player and a wrestler at HHS who passed away on July 23. Kevin Bell, a 2007 graduate and Super Fan who had a true heart for helping others passed away. Bell’s Mother, sister and niece proudly held up the flag that he would run up and down the field with at the football games. “The memory of someone will last forever; this flag will find a place of prominence at the school,” Dougherty said. 

A moment of silence was held for both young men who are fondly remembered today. 

Moods were elevated as athletes were celebrated. With prompting from Dougherty one side of those in the stands yelled out the word, “Purple as loudly as they could; the other side yelled Gold.”

Dougherty directed everyone to unify by reciting the words, “We are Hononegah.”

Jeff Schelling who has been announcing at football games for the past 18 years made a special dedication of remembrance of Figueroa while honoring Kevin Bell.  Thank you to Mrs. Bell and the Figueroa family. May God bless you and your family,” Schelling said.

Our National Anthem was sung with clear precision by the very talented Olivia Coleman. The Hononegah School song was sung. 

Princess Hononegah Mariah Saunders performed for her first time this year. Cheer teams came together and the Varsity and Junior Varsity Dance Teams to show spirit through various moves. A full evening finished out with football games played by freshman, sophomores and Varsity teams.

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