On March 4, Orange County Public Schools will induct a new class into its Hall of Fame during a gala dinner and ceremony at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort. The inaugural class, which was inducted in March of 2015, included John Young (Orlando High School), Dick Batchelor (Evans High School), Harris Rosen (OCPS business partner), Johnny Damon (Dr. Phillips High School), Ericka Dunlap (Boone High School) and James “Chief” Wilson (40-year OCPS veteran).
The school board created the Hall of Fame in 2014 to honor the individuals who have made a name for themselves and the school district throughout its 147-year history. Categories include distinguished educator, community champion and distinguished alumni in the fields of athletics, arts, humanitarian work and professional careers.
The 2017 inductees are:
Wayne Brady: A graduate of Dr. Phillips High School in 1989, Brady started performing in community theater and at the Orlando improv school Sak Comedy Lab. He is an Emmy Award-winning actor, singer, comedian and television personality who is currently starring in the Chicago production of “Hamilton.”
Professor S. James Gates, Jr.: A graduate of Jones High School in 1969, he is a theoretical physicist known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity and superstring theory. He serves on former President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and received the National Medal of Science in 2013.
Toni Jennings: A graduate of Winter Park High School in 1967, Jennings is being inducted in the community champion category for her 27-year commitment to the citizens of Florida as the state’s first female lieutenant governor, two-term president of the Florida Senate, successful businesswoman and former fifth-grade teacher.
David “Deacon” Jones: A graduate of Hungerford High School in 1957 and an Eatonville native, Jones was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame after his career as a defensive end with the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins. He and his wife Elizabeth established the Deacon Jones Foundation when he retired from football. Jones died in 2013 and will be represented at the ceremony by his wife.
Jim Schott: Serving as superintendent for OCPS from 1980 to 1992, Schott was responsible for forming the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, developing the first magnet and International Baccalaureate programs, and nurturing a leadership team of future superintendents. He will be inducted in the distinguished educator category.
During the induction ceremony, there will be a special performance by Christian Cuevas, a Freedom High School graduate who appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” in season 11. Proceeds from the event will support current and future OCPS philanthropic initiatives.