"I want to thank my mom for teaching me how to dunk," joked N.B.A. star Elton Brand as he accepted his induction into the Peekskill High School Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday night. Brand joined four other student-athletes, one coach and a softball team during the 2011 Induction Dinner at Colonial Terrace.
Brand’s former basketball coach, P.H.S. Athletic Director Lou Panzanaro, hosted the event, which drew 150 people. Panzanaro helped lead Brand, ’97, and his team to two state championships.
Also inducted were James Enterlein, ’55; Joe Boniello, ’76; Dana Bennett-Dapson, ’89; wrestling coach Larry Cook, and the entire 1980 girls softball team and their former coach Ray Berry.
Panzanaro told the crowd that the inductees "set themselves apart from their classmates not only for their performances in their sport, but also by their character, perseverance and selflessness."
As if on cue, each inductee showed that to be true in their speeches as everyone spoke not of themselves or their accomplishments, but of the people in their lives that influenced them to get where they did.
Peekskill Superintendent of Schools James Willis spoke of "the value of athletics for the sense of community it instills."
Board of Education President Joe Urbanowicz said, "We should remember these people not just for the athletes they were, but for the people they have become."