Lehman Hall of Fame dinner draws appreciative crowd

Staff report

SIDNEY — Lehman Catholic High School recently honored four individuals by inducting them into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

Sponsored by the Lehman Alumni Association, the ninth annual event recognized two former educators — a retired cook and a Holy Angels High School graduate who was instrumental in merging Holy Angels and Piqua Catholic High School to form Lehman.

Since beginning this tradition in 2007, the Hall of Fame committee has sought to honor not only alumni but outstanding faculty and supporters of Lehman Catholic.

The evening began with Mass celebrated by Lehman chaplain, the Rev. James Riehle, in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Chapel on campus. Providing music for the Mass were Lehman graduates Emily Pax ’12, piano; Sarah Gravunder ‘14, flute; and vocalists Lara Wolford ‘07, Gretchen Weber ‘09, Libby Galbreath Jacob ‘08, and MaKenna Cabe ’14.

Mass was followed by cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dinner and the induction ceremony.

The four inductees — Esther Bensman, Bill Custenborder, Sister Dorothy William Englert and Elaine Schweller-Snyder — now join 30 previous honorees on the Hall of Fame wall in the school.

The first inductee, former school cook Esther Bensman, was present through a video made by her daughter. Introduced by 1981 alumnus John Cianciolo, the video of Bensman included her comments about her long tenure in Lehman’s kitchen as well as stories about her famous recipes. Former Lehman bookkeeper Sharon Nerderman, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, then accepted Bensman’s award.

Named Most Valuable Holy Angels High School Athlete in 1946, Bill Custenborder served as president of the Holy Angels School Board at the time of its consolidation with Piqua Catholic High School to form Lehman. Custenborder, who is deceased, later moved to Versailles where he had a successful banking career and was a community leader. Custenborder’s nominator John Wagner passed away in June, so Custenborder was introduced by his children — Pat Custenborder, Carol Kunze, and Doug Custenborder, who also accepted the award on behalf of their father.

Several members of the order of the Sister of Charity traveled from Cincinnati to recognize Sister Dorothy William for her service as assistant principal and teacher at Lehman Catholic in the early 1970s. William was instrumental in organizing the newly consolidated school and also in starting a girls athletic program at Lehman before girls sports were recognized by the OHSAA. William was introduced by her nominator and good friend Sister Ginny Scherer, a 2009 inductee.

The last inductee, Elaine Schweller-Snyder, served as the school’s Music Department chair and band director from 1978 to 2014. The growth of the music program over her 36 years at Lehman included the introduction of the annual school musical, the Lehman Limelight tour, solo and ensemble participation, and the Limelighters Show Choir. Nominated by 2011 inductee Gail Brandewie and Lehman parent Darla Cabe, Schweller-Snyder was introduced by 2014 alumna MaKenna Cabe who had served as drum major of the Marching Cavaliers for the last two years of Schweller-Snyder’s tenure.

The evening concluded with remarks by Lehman’s Executive Director Missy Bennett. The Hall of Fame Committee members who organized the event are Shelley Nerderman VanSkiver ’86, Laura Searles Bertini ’91, Ward Cartwright ’08, Chris Koon ’96, Derek O’Leary ’05, Angie Dankworth Thornton ’84, and Ryan Shaffer ’04. VanSkiver served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

The Lehman Alumni Association is dedicated to supporting the school by encouraging alumni of Lehman, Holy Angels High School, and Piqua Catholic High School to get involved through gifts of time, talent, or treasure. Proceeds from the annual Hall of Fame dinner fund scholarships for incoming Lehman students.


Staff report