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Rock Bridge inducts new Hall of Fame class

Thursday, October 18, 2007 | 6:00 p.m. CDT; updated 4:36 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Two Rock Bridge High School alumni left this morning’s homecoming assembly with football jerseys bearing their graduation year.

Lili Vianello and Sam Huckaba were among the five newest inductees in the Rock Bridge High School Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees represent “a variety of different professional paths,” Principal Kathy Ritter said, and include an actor, educator, playwright, businesswoman and economist.

During the assembly, Vianello and Huckaba spoke to students “about following your passion,” Ritter said.

These five names have been added to the permanent plaque outside the principal’s office that commemorates Rock Bridge Hall of Famers:

Sam Huckaba: The senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida State University is also a professor of mathematics. He is a 1976 graduate of Rock Bridge.

Lili Vianello: The 1984 Rock Bridge graduate is the owner and president of consulting firm Visionworks Marketing and Communications, with headquarters in Columbia.

Justin Bohon: The award-winning Broadway actor from the graduating class of 1996 has appeared in Broadway productions of “Miss Saigon,” “The Producers,” “Les Miserables,” and “Oklahoma!”. Bohon was honored with the Theatre World Award and the Astaire Award for his performance as Will Parker in “Oklahoma!”.

J.T. Rogers: The writer has earned numerous accolades as a playwright. He has written more than 10 plays, including “Madagascar,” for which he was presented the American Theatre Critics Association’s Elizabeth Osborne Award and a Pinter Review Prize for Drama. The 1986 Rock Bridge graduate also won an Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award this year.

Brian Wesbury: The chief economist at First Trust Advisors L.P. is a regular co-host on the CNBC morning business show Squawk Box. In 2001, the Wall Street Journal ranked him the No. 1 economic forecaster in the United States, and in 2004 he was ranked in the top 10 forecasters by USA Today. He is a 1976 graduate of Rock Bridge.

The selection committee, comprised of current and former principals, teachers and even a mother of Rock Bridge students, reviewed about 30 nominations from members of the community.

Inductees who are present will ride in the homecoming parade Friday morning and will be recognized after the first quarter of the homecoming football game Friday night.


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