Nearly 100 of their fellow Highland countians were on hand as Sue Boatman, Mary Stanforth and Jane Tissot were welcomed Tuesday into the ranks of 113 other women who have been inducted into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame since it began in 1981.
The ceremony to install the three women was held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the atrium of the Southern State Community College Central Campus in Hillsboro, with guests enjoying dinner in a relaxed, casual atmosphere.
Dr. Kevin Boys, Southern State president, welcomed the crowd of well-wishers, with 2012 inductee Sue Ludwick Smith reading the names of those that came before, both living and deceased, and those in attendance received a long-stemmed red rose as a token of appreciation and recognition for a life well-lived.
Former broadcaster, radio station owner and businesswoman Virginia Purdy, a 2010 member of the hall of the fame, introduced the newest inductees with a brief biographical sketch of their contributions in the areas of community service, education and business.
“I considered growing up in Hillsboro as one of the greatest blessings of my life,” Sue Boatman told the crowd. “After I went to work for the school, I didn’t realize how important it was for the kids to have someone to take an interest in them.”
Hillsboro City Schools Superintendent Tim Davis expressed high praise for Boatman, writing in his nomination form that “she has proudly represented Hillsboro City Schools at almost every sporting/extracurricular event our students have participated in.”
In introducing Mary Stanforth, who spent 33 years as an educator in the Lynchburg-Clay school district, Purdy quoted former elementary school principal Clo Davis as saying “every student should have a Mrs. Stanforth as his or her first grade teacher.”
Stanforth left Lynchburg-Clay in 2009, then served as a substitute teacher and later principal at St. Mary Catholic School, helping it dry up the red ink by instituting a series of fundraisers and allowing the school to earn accreditation as an alternative to public education.
Purdy acknowledged Stanforth as a member of Hillsboro City Council, adding that one nominee wrote that Stanforth brought “a vision of common sense and a view for public service for all citizens in that capacity.”
In introducing the final inductee into the class of 2019, Purdy told the crowd that in the era when she and Jane Tissot went to college, women had three choices: be a teacher, nurse or secretary.
She said that Tissot refused to be pigeon-holed into that mold and became one of those women that though they had teaching degrees, struck out into different careers and went into business for herself in 1972.
Tissot was the most animated of the inductees, joking to the crowd that “if you cut off my hands, I can’t talk.”
She spoke enthusiastically of friends and family that were in attendance for the ceremony, and those business associates that she said were dear to her heart.
Tissot brought the audience to laughter several times with stories of growing up in the Mowrystown area and the day-to-day concerns of running a business, in addition to stories related to her intense dislike for snakes.
Purdy, one of the 12 members of the hall of fame’s governing committee, said that nominations for the 2020 Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame are currently being accepted, with forms available at all the county libraries.
She said nominees must have either been born in Highland County or have been a resident of the county for a minimum of five years, and that their accomplishments can range from the arts and humanities, business and industry, agriculture, health care, government and politics, sports, education, homemaking, involvement in the media, volunteer activities and personal achievements.
A written, or typed and double-spaced summary of the nominee is limited to five pages, one-sided, she said.
Nominations can be mailed to Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 303, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.