2022 SHS Wall of Fame inductees honored

John Emhuff was a well-known educator at the high school and collegiate levels and made lasting impacts on the communities in which he lived.

Richard “Dick” Elmore was an industrial leader in Seymour who made impacts on the city and county through board memberships and philanthropic endeavors.

Dan Deputy spent 29 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring as a captain.

Teresa Wessel was a business leader in central Indiana and up and down the East Coast before entering the nonprofit sector and working her way up to an executive director role.

Teri Moren followed up her successful high school and collegiate basketball careers by becoming a coach and soon will start her ninth season as head coach of Indiana University women’s basketball.

Eric Fish also was a star athlete in high school, and he then went to medical school and returned to his hometown and founded an obstetrics and gynecology practice. He now is president and chief executive officer of Schneck Medical Center.

While they all followed different paths after graduating from Seymour High School, they never forgot their roots as they made their mark in their professional lives and communities.

These six are the newest SHS Wall of Fame inductees.

Created in 1996 by former faculty members Gordon Reynolds, Betty Skelton, Rosemary Jenkinson and Jim McCormick as part of the school’s Renaissance program, the Wall of Fame is a way for the school and community to come together to promote and recognize achievements of past graduates and celebrate the mark they have made on the world, including here at home.

Inductees are nominated by friends, family or peers and are then selected by a committee of community leaders and teachers. To be eligible, candidates must have graduated from SHS 10 or more years ago and displayed contributions to their professional fields as well as philanthropic work.

This year marks the 11th induction. Inductees received an award, and their picture, name and year of graduation is engraved on the Wall of Fame in the school’s auditorium lobby.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, doctors, educators, business people, military veterans, farmers, innovators. Seymour High School’s alumni consist of some truly remarkable people. This year’s class is no exception,” SHS English department chairman Chris Rose said Friday as he served as master of ceremonies of the Wall of Fame convocation for the school’s juniors and seniors.

Deputy, Wessel and Fish were there to speak to the students, while Moren shared a video message. Elmore and Emhuff were inducted posthumously.

On Friday, the inductees and their families also were invited to tour the school, visit classrooms and attend a dinner before being recognized during halftime of the home football game against Jeffersonville.

In addressing the juniors and seniors, Deputy (Class of 1970) encouraged them to be involved in school and said that’s the time to begin defining what their vision of a good life will be.

At 14, his vision was to serve the country in the military. While he initially wanted to go to the Air Force Academy, he changed his mind once his guidance counselor talked to him about the Coast Guard Academy.

In June 1970, he received a call that he was selected and three weeks later reported to New London, Connecticut.

That was the start of a 29-year career in which he held a variety of leadership positions and was awarded 20 medals and 37 ribbons.

Deputy said the values and education he received at SHS gave him the skills, knowledge and reasoning to be successful in his career, and he’s glad to see those are still being taught today.

“Good luck in whatever direction life takes you, and hopefully, 53 years from today, you, too, will be able to say, ‘I lived my life’s dream, and it was a good one,’” he told the students.

Wessel (Class of 1978) said she developed lifelong friendships and made wonderful memories at SHS.

“Some of you like math, chemistry, language, sports. Find what makes you happy and be engaged,” she said, noting how students have had to step outside their comfort zones in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Continue to do that and get involved in something new, and never lose that desire to learn new things.”

After SHS, Wessel graduated from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and later pursued her Master of Business Administration. While employed at IBM for 26 years, she held numerous positions, from programmer to director of worldwide operations, hardware and software, and lived in various places on the East Coast.

She then needed a change, so she returned to her home state and worked for the homeless day shelter Horizon House in Indianapolis and now is executive director.

“I found what makes me happy, and I’m engaged. Enjoy this time of your life and what lies ahead of you. The best is yet to come,” she told the students. “When I was sitting here 44 years ago, I had no idea what my future was going to be, but I couldn’t be happier. I have such great memories of growing up here in Seymour, and I’m proud to be a Seymour Owl.”

Fish (Class of 1992) said SHS students are fortunate to have teachers, faculty and administrators who love them and care about their success.

“You have the opportunity in front of you to use these individuals who are here to better your career, better your life,” he said. “I would encourage you to take advantage of that.”

Fish said it was exciting to walk the halls of SHS again and see people who made an impact on his life.

“You’ll realize that when you leave here and go to college and move on in life how special this place is,” he said. “There are a lot of great things happening in Seymour. You guys are all a part of that.”

Moren (Class of 1987) said being named to the Wall of Fame didn’t happen without the help of so many people in Seymour, including teachers, coaches, administrators, family and friends.

“So many people that just wanted to help me succeed, and I will never be able to thank them all, but they certainly know who they are and the impact that they had in my life and on my life and continue to have in my life,” she said.

Moren told the juniors and seniors to be a great representative of Seymour in and out of school.

“Nothing gives me greater pleasure than when I introduce myself and tell people that I’m from Seymour,” she said. “I take great pride in that because Seymour represents so many things.”

Elmore (Class of 1955) opened Excel Tool and Die with Delbert Kilgas in 1967, and over the years, they worked with SHS in many school-to-work apprenticeships to help pass on valuable knowledge to students. They were in business for more than 50 years.

Elmore also served on many boards and committees and supported various organizations over the years. He died in March 2019.

Emhuff (Shields High School Class of 1954) earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in education from Indiana University. He then spent 41 years in education as a classroom teacher. He continued his career as an administrator and created alternative education for students who might not otherwise graduate.

As an administrator and assistant superintendent of Mount Vernon schools, his work culminated with the creation of the John H. Emhuff Alternative School, now called the Opportunity Center.

He also was one of the first professors of the school of education at what is now called University of Southern Indiana, shaping the careers of future teachers. He died in February.