â€œIâ€™m sure Gary would be happy with what weâ€™re going,â€ James Hopkins, a former teacher and coach who chairs the Johnston High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, said the other night. â€œThis entire program was his dream that he made a reality.â€
Hopkins was speaking of his longtime friend and colleague, the late Gary V. Mazzie, who touched countless lives for upwards of four decades and founded the Athletic Hall of Fame and Walk of Fame.
On Saturday evening, Panther Pride will surface inside the Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium as five former Johnston High athletes â€“ as well as the 1976 state championship hockey team â€“ are inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Hopkins this week issued a reminder that the induction ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday inside DiSimone Gymnasium, and the annual induction dinner will be held immediately following at Brookdale Pocasset Bay in Johnston.
The all-volunteer committee that coordinates the Athletic Hall of Fame also announced that the brick sale for the Walk of Fame â€“ which is located near the entrance to DiSimone Gymnasium â€“ is underway, and the group wants to expand the already unique display with more memorial bricks.
Dennis Quaranta, a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the organizing committee, this week explained the procedure for purchasing those bricks, which can be engraved and later placed along with the existing display.
â€œThe bricks are on sale for $50 each,â€ Quaranta said. â€œAnd thatâ€™s the same amount as they were when Gary initiated the program. Each brick can have up to three lines of engraving and 15 characters per line.â€
He said applications can be downloaded from the Athletic Hall of Fame website (jhs.johnstonschools.org/subsites/JHS-Athletic-Hall-of-Fame/index.html) or by calling Quaranta at 401-934-1969.
â€œThe Walk of Fame brick sale is important for many different reasons,â€ Quaranta said. â€œFirst, itâ€™s a great way to honor someone special who has made a contribution to Johnston High School athletics or to commemorate the life of a former student or athlete. All proceeds from the sale of bricks are used to help the actual cost of the Athletic Hall of Fame and sustain the Robert A. Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund.â€
Hopkins added: â€œThereâ€™s still plenty of room for expansion to the Walk of Fame â€¦ As Gary used to say, the memorial bricks can be a great gift to remember oneâ€™s life.â€
The Walk of Fame was designed by Chris Corsinetti, whose family owns and operates Hartford Paving. It was built by Dave Morrocco, who works for Corsinettiâ€™s company.