Panther pride brick-by-brick
The deadline is rapidly approaching to purchase a brick for what will soon become Johnston High School’s historic “Walk of Fame.”
Gary Mazzie, who is the “founding father” of the Panthers project and who shares the athletic director’s duties with “Mr. JHS” Ed DiSimone, this week announced Wednesday, Aug. 1 as the deadline to place orders for the custom-made bricks.
Mazzie and DiSimone hope to sell 300 bricks, which are priced at $50 each. Proceeds will be used exclusively to fund the first-ever JHS Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 6 at Pocasset Bay Retirement Living.
The all-brick Walk of Fame will be located at the entrance of the Edward L. DiSimone Gymnasium at JHS.
“This is absolutely a great, great idea and project,” said Dr. Robert E. “Bob” Gallucci, JHS Class of 1981 who is a prominent podiatrist in Warwick and who starred in football and track for the Panthers. “This is a special project and everyone needs to get on board! I am continuously issuing a challenge for everybody who has a tie to [JHS] to make this project an overwhelming success.”
Mazzie, who is credited with initiating the Hall of Fame and brick walkway, added, “You really don’t have to be an alumni or alumnae to buy a brick, either. This is a great way to honor someone special ... perhaps even a memorial tribute in honor of a loved one. I’m told some people want to use it as a memory of when they graduated from Johnston High.”
Each of the bricks will be specially engraved with a maximum of three lines that Mazzie said can contain up to 15 characters. He also emphasized that total includes commas and spaces. Spaulding Brick Company of Cranston will handle the engraving.
Mazzie has not given the exact date of when the first brick will be laid.
“We’ve sent our message out to alumni, family and friends of Johnston High School,” Mazzie said earlier this week. “The JHS Hall of Fame is offering people an opportunity to commemorate a life touched by our school with an engraved brick. Why not order a brick for yourself, your family or to honor someone special like a friend, teacher or student?”
Mazzie and DiSimone also said, “while we have high hopes to sell all 300 bricks, we certainly don’t want to sell any less than 200. Our school is steeped with great athletic tradition and we’re hoping – and inviting – everyone who in one way or another was connected with our athletic program during their undergraduate days.”
Perhaps Gallucci, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1985 after playing football for Panthers coach Tony Centore and also starred in track for Hall of Fame committee member and coach Alan McGillvray, said it best: “I urge people to come forward and show their Panther Pride; let’s make this Walk of Fame as successful as our sports teams have been through the years.”
Mazzie said the placement of bricks will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. All checks or money orders must be made payable to the JHS Athletic Hall of Fame and sent to Gary Mazzie, Co-Athletic Director, 344 Cherry Hill Rod, Johnston, Rhode Island 02919. People may also call in their orders, which should include engraving instructions, at 233-1920 ext. 2123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.