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Fine Arts & Activities Hall of Fame

Nomination Form for Activities and Fine Arts Hall of Fame

2018 Fine Arts and Activities Hall of Fame

  • Jon Bushard

  • Jeff Nordquist

2017 Fine Arts and Activities Hall of Fame
No Hall of Fame due to 100 year BPS Celebration

2016 Fine Arts and Activities Hall of Fame

  • Nita Sexton
  • Aaron Olson

2015 Fine Arts and Activities Hall of Fame

  • Anita Hardy
  • Mark and Marya Hultgren

2014 Fine Arts and Activities Hall of Fame

Don Specht was a teacher and coach at Kennedy from 1972-2007. He taught video production, electronics, photography and photo silkscreen over his 35 years with the school, as well as serving as the director of the media technology department for 23 years. He was awarded the TIES Exceptional Teacher Award in 2005. Specht also coached the girls’ swim team from 1978-1984 and advised the television audio visual club and mock trial team. His photographs have received numerous awards, such as the Twin Cities Area Council of Camera Clubs (TCACCC)’s 2012 Nature Photography Image of the Year and 2013 Contemporary Digital Image of the Year. His work has been displayed in Photography Society of America certified international salons, Nature’s Best Photography magazine, the 2014 Minnesota Weatherguide Environmental Calendar and the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.
William Murray graduated from Kennedy in 1966 and went on to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts. He taught art education at the Minnesota Correctional Facility from 1977-2003 and was nominated for Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Correctional Education Association in 1982. Murray’s artwork received first place in the Artist Magazine Competition in 2001 and has been featured in exhibits at Groveland Gallery, Art Resources Gallery, Suzanne Kohn Gallery, Bloomington Theatre and Art Center, Fine Line Design Gallery, 3M Permanent Collections, Johnson Heritage Center and Nash Gallery. 

2013 Fine Arts & Activities Hall of Fame Inductees

  • Todd Johnson
  • Jon Kuklish
  • Kathleen Perkins

2012 Fine Arts & Activities Hall of Fame Inductees

Samuel S. Hudson: Graduate (1985)

  • Grew up in a musical family in Bloomington, playing violin and saxophone.
  • Spent childhood days tinkering with tape recorders, pretending he worked at a radio station, or listening to his Dad's LPs.
  • In junior high school, started running sound equipment at his church and for school music events and friends' bands.
  • At Kennedy, participated in Concert Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Choir, J.B. Singers, Orchestra, and the U of M All-Area Band.
  • Recipient of the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce's "Highest Honors in Music" Award, the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, along with many Minnesota State High School solo and ensemble contest awards.
  • Attended Brown Institute in 1987 and received an Associate Degree in electronic communications.
  • Worked with the award-winning vocal group "The Letterman."
  • Owned and operated his own recording studio, where he produced radio and TV commercials and CDs.
Edward L Donahue: Assistant Principal and Principal: 1986-2004

  • Attended Minnesota State University – Mankato and then started teaching English for Mankato Public Schools in 1971.
  • Started administrative career in 1980 as the Assistant Principal at New Ulm High School.
  • Became Assistant Principal at Kennedy High School in 1986 and was integral in coordinating and leading the school and community through demographic transitions, school schedule changes and technology modifications and updates.
  • Promoted to Principal at Kennedy High School in 1996.
  • Advocate and supporter of all performing arts programs at Kennedy High School; supporting the teachers and directors to build successful programs for the students.
  • Integral part of planning and equipping the Performing Arts addition in a remodeling project at Kennedy High School. This included state of the art acoustics and equipment for choir, band, orchestra and dance programs.
  • Initiated the development and implementation of the Kennedy High School dance program.
  • Implemented extensive school and district-wide curriculum, decision-making governance models, strategic plan development and much more for Bloomington Public Schools.
  • Served as a Presenter and Consultant for the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals from 2004-2006.
  • Currently is the Director of Teacher Education and Academy of Math and Science at Normandale Community College in Bloomington.
    • Had three daughters that were very involved in performing arts in high school as members of the choir, band, theater and dance programs.

2011 Fine Arts & Activities Hall of Fame Inductees

Dick Green: Teacher, Coach, and Visual Arts Advisor: 1966-1993

  • Native of Grand Rapids, MN who received an Art degree from Bemidji State University. Also served in the U.S. Marine Air Corps and performed graduate work at the U of M, Moorhead State University, and the Minneapolis School of Art and Design.
  • Member of the Bemidji State University Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • Started teaching and coaching caree in Fergus Falls, MN and came to Bloomington in 1966. Coached wrestling, soccer, football, track, cross-country and nordic skiing.
  • Art teacher at Kennedy from 1966-1993 and also taught summer school at all three high schools and a college course at UWEC. Numerous students from Dick's teaching career have pursued degrees and/or careers in the arts field.
  • After retirement from teaching in 1993, Dick had a 15-year career of teaching watercolor classes at art centers throughout the metro area.
  • Served on the 40-year Kennedy High School Anniversary Committee that selected the oil painting of John F. Kennedy for JFK HS.
  • Dick's paintings have been accepted into many local and national juried exhibitions, including the American Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, Watercolor West, San Diego Watercolor Society, Watercolor USA and many others.
  • Honored with a signature membership in the Transparent Watercolor Society.
  • Paintings have been published in "The Artistic Touch," "The Best of Watercolor," "100 Ways to Pain Landscapes," "100 Ways to Paint Favorite Subjects," "American Artist," and "The Artist's Magazines." A painting of his was the magazine cover of the 2006 "Cross-Country Skier" magazine.
  • Has juried a number of art exhibitions at The Hopkins Art Center, The Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts, Mankato Art Center and the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts.
  • In 2009, seven paintings were selected for Waterborne, a Regional Exhibition of Watercolor, along with selections from the Weisman Art Museum.
Shirley Graham: Teacher and Speech Coach: 1978-1999

  • Began teaching career in 1962 in Chippewa Falls, WI and also taught The Romper Room kids' TV program at WEAU-TV in Eau Claire, WI.
  • Received the FHA Advisor Award in 1966
  • Started teaching in Bloomington in 1968. Taught at Olson Junior High, Portland Junior High and all three high schools.
  • Received the Minnesota HE Teacher Award in 1978 and served numerous officer positions for the MNHE.
  • Obtained language arts degree and Master's from St. Catherine's/St. Thomas in 1987 and was hired as a language arts and public speaking teacher at JFK.
  • Started coaching the Speech Team at Kennedy in 1988. First speech team had three student members, but over the years was able tin increase that number to over 40 student members. Coach of countless meet, conference, and state student award winners.
  • Co-developed a weekly cable TV news program at Kennedy: "Focus on JFK."
  • Served as Kennedy's Language Arts Department Chair from 1989-1998 and provided valuable service and support to the Kennedy Speech Program
  • Received the Minnesota Language Arts Special Service Award as the 6AA Speech Team Coach in May 1999.

2010 Fine Arts & Activities Hall of Fame Inductees

David Docter: Support and Service to Bloomington: 1968 to present

  • Music history teacher and director of choral activities at Normandale Community College in Bloomington from 1968-1996.
  • Founder and director of the Normandale Choral Society.
  • Performer with Minneapolis Bach Society, Dale Warland Singers and Dale Warland Symphonic Chorus.
  • Director of the Community of the Cross Lutheran Church choir.
  • Served on Boards for Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Bloomington Sister City, F. Melius Christianson Committee of American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota, Music in the Park Chamber Music Series, Bloomington Fine Arts Council, and president of Young Peoples Symphony Concert Association of the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • Received Arts Advocate of the Year Award in 2006 from Bloomington Fine Arts Council.
Rita Docter: Support and Service to Bloomington: 1968 to present

  • Director and artistic coordinator of Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs.
  • Author, trainer and program manager of BRAVO Music Appreciation curriculum for children in grades K-6.
  • Composer and curriculum writer for the American Lutheran Church.
  • Educational advisor for St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cavani String Quartet.
  • In 1988, curriculum writer/collaborator for Minnesota Orchestra virtual tour for 4th - 6th grade students.
  • Performer in Dale Warland Singers.
  • National Coordinator of Suzuki Parent Committee and Suzuki Association of the Americas.
  • Editor and writer of the parent column for the American Suzuki Journal.
  • Received 2000 Prodigy Award for volunteering.
  • In 2006, received Arts Advocate of the Year Award from Bloomington Fine Arts Council and Daymaker of the Year by Bloomington Daymakers Rotary Club.
Peter Docter: Graduate (1986)

  • Involved in drama, jazz band, NHS and Mentor Connection and received honorable mention for the Presidential Arts Scholar in high school.
  • Received Student Academy Award for Next Door in 1990.
  • Animator, storyboard artist, voice artist, orchestra scoring and assisted with sound recording at Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Writer for Academy Award nominated original story/screen play for Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monster’s Inc., Mike’s New Car, Wall-E, and UP.
  • Director of Monster’s Inc., Mike’s New Car, UP.
  • Director for the English translation, Howl’s Moving Castle.
  • UP was first animated film to open the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.
  • Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement in Animation at the Venice, Italy Film Festival in 2009.
  • In 1996, received Annie Award for Best Individual Achievement - Animation for Toy Story.
  • In 2000, received Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production for Toy Story 2.
  • In 2002, received Hochi Film Award for Best Foreign Language Film and BAFTA Children’s Award for Monster’s Inc.
  • In 2010, received Robert at the Bodil Awards for Best American Film and an Annie Award for Directing in a Feature Production for UP.
  • Received an Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA for Best Animated Feature for UP in 2010.
Kirsten Docter: Graduate (1988 Graduate)

  • Involved in NHS and was a semi-finalist for the Presidential Arts Scholar Competition in high school.
  • Soloist with the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony and was a finalist for the seventeen General Motors National Scholarship Competition.
  • American Soviet Youth Orchestra principal in 1990, section viola in 1988.
  • Received first place in the Primrose International Viola Competition in 1991.
  • In 1992, soloist for the Banff Center Chamber Players and received first prize from the American String Teachers Association in the pre-professional viola division.
  • Violist in award winning Cavani String Quartet.
  • Performer and collaborator with many world famous classical musicians including Itzhak Perlman.
  • Performer and teacher of master classes at many colleges, universities, festivals and schools throughout the country.
Kari Docter: (1991 Graduate)

  • Member of NHS, founder of Kennedy Amnesty International Club, #1 in the class of 1991, and semi-finalist for the Presidential Arts Scholar Competition in high school.
  • Soloist with Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, Minnetonka Symphony Orchestra and Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony.
  • Performance with GTCYS ensemble on Great Wall of China.
  • Finalist for the seventeen General Motors National Scholarship Competition.
  • Performed at Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall as a 5-year-old cellist with other performers from the USA and Japan.
  • In 1992, soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • In 1995, soloist with Bobby McFerrin and Juilliard Symphony Orchestra at Avery Fischer Hall in New York City.
  • Cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra.
  • Cellist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in NYC.
  • Performer at Marlboro, Tanglewood and the Grand Teton Music Festivals.
  • Performer on stages of Carnegie Hall with the MET Chamber Ensemble.
  • Performer on the Wynton Marsalis PBS series, “Marsalis on Music,” performing with Yo-Yo Ma.

2009 Fine Arts & Activities Hall of Fame Inductees

James Bontrager: Choir Teacher/Director 1965-96

  • Developed a music program that included over 630 students per day and the award-winning J.B. Singers program. His choirs had won numerous awards.
  • Wrote Kennedy's school song.
  • Bloomington Magazine named him 1983 Mr. Music Man of the Year.
  • Nominated for Minnesota Teacher of the Year twice.
  • Received congressional recognition for his contribution to education and music in 1996.
  • Minnesota's governor issued May 18, 1996 as "Jim Bontrager Day".
  • Received the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce "Excellence in Teaching" award in 1983 and 1991.
Kyle Jacobs: Graduate (1991)

  • Orchestra president, J.B. Singer, National Choral Award winner.
  • Won 1998 Gospel Music Assoc. (GMA) Best Songwriter and Best Song awards.
  • Co-wrote "8th World Wonder" as recorded by American Idol finalist Kimberly Locke.
  • His song, "More Than a Memory" recorded by Garth Brooks became highest debuting single in the history of country music when it entered the chart at #1.
  • Today, with over 40 cuts, some of his work includes: Tim McGraw "Still," Trace Adkins "I Can't Outrun You, " Adam Gregory "Crazy Days," Phil Stacey "What I'm Fighting For," and Craig Morgan "If I Had My Way"
Lisa Keith Bernard: Graduate (1978)

  • Member of J.B. Singers.
  • Released 1993 solo album "Walking In the Sun" on Perspective Records. Her first single, "Better Than You" peaked at #9 on the Radio and Records chart and went to #36 on the Billboards Hot 100 chart.
  • Nominated for 1994 American Music Award for Best New Adult Contemporary Artist.
  • Sang background vocals on many records for recording artists such as, Janet Jackson, Amy Grant, and Herb Alpert.
Steve Rushin: Graduate (1984)

  • 1998 Lake Conference Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in fine arts - journalism.
  • Writer for Sports Illustrated 19 years; His 1994 story "How We Got Here" remains the longest ever published in a single issue of Sports Illustrated.
  • Wrote the book Road Swing, which was among the Best Books of 1998.
  • Awarded the Prix des Medias Olympiques for "excellence in journalism" in the coverage of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
  • 2006 National Sportswriter of the Yearby the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
  • His first novel, The Pint Man, will be published by Doubleday in March 2010.
Robert Schmidt: Principal (1986-96 )

  • School administrator for 32 years, 29 of which were in Bloomington.
  • Recognized as Minnesota Principal of the Year, Prodigy Leadership Award, and Minnesota Education Leader Hall of Fame.
  • Received the Lake Conference Leadership Award for creating the new Lake Conference.
  • Served on advisory committees for Minnesota governors Ventura and Pawlenty, Minnesota Commissioner of Education, U.S. Department of Education, National Association of Secondary School Principals.
  • Served as executive director of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals.
Dohn Thibault: Theatre Director 1983-2000

  • Chemistry/biology teacher and theatre director
  • Directed over 150 plays and/or musicals
  • Nominated for 2000 Prodigy Award
  • While serving as theatre director at Kennedy, he was able to have three shows each year and an on-stage banquet at the end of the year.
  • His one-act teams were always among the best in the Lake Conference, participating in State three times.
  • Even after retiring in 2000, he continues to direct and assist our theatre programs.