2023 Hall of Fame Class added to Greeley West legacy


Cole Bartels

Greeley West students walk by the Hall of Fame plaques outside of the gym.

Cole Bartels, Staff Writer

The Greeley West High School administration announced the 2023 class of Hall of Famers earlier this month.  The celebration  will take place February 24. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. at Greeley and the ceremony will take place at 6 in the auditorium.   After the ceremony, atendees are invited to Kenny’s Steakhouse for cocktail hour.  

The Greeley West Hall of Fame is a way to honor the school’s most important members.  Past honorees include teachers, students, and donors.  The Hall of Fame is  a permanent reminder of those who have made West what it is today.  

This year, six new indcutees are being added to the Hall of Fame making a total of 22 total members.  The new additions will be Ms. Jane Burke, Ms. Heather (Wyatt) Blackwell, Ms. Cynthia Miller-Hughes, Mr. Tom Leyba, Mr. Joe Smeltzer, and Ms. Graciela Tiscareno-Sato.  

To be added as a member to the hall of fame is a huge honor , as the selection process is selective.  There is a committee including Hall of Fame members who nominate and vote on the process to make the decision.   Burke, who taught at West for nearly 30 years and attended as a student was honored to be considered.  “To become a member you need to be a true Spartan inside and out,” said Burke.  

Burke coached boys and girls tennis, diving and girls volleyball in her time.   She was also a inlfuential member of the math department at West, served on multiple committees , and ran the school Bingo fundraiser that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.  “When I realized I wanted to be a teacher, the only place I ever wanted to be a teacher was Greeley West,” Burke said.  “I have just always bled blue and gold.”

Another deserving new member of the Hall of Fame is Leyba.  Leyba was a teacher at West for many years teaching band. Even in retirement the last few years, Leyba has stayed an important part of the band department, helping Mr. Chet Arther over the years pick music, and direct.  Students may know him because he has frequently been in and out of the building.  

“This means everything to me,” Leyba said.  “I am truly honored to be a member, especially when I see all of the amazing people I know that are in the Hall, and knowing others who – even though are not on the board – are also deserving of the honor.”

Ms. Cyndy Miller-Hughes is another new honoree.  She taught science, AVID, and was the first IB coordinator at Greeley West.  She also said she  filled other roles at Greeley West for 28 years, including Link Crew.  “ Greeley West is like family to me,” Miller-Hughes said.  “ I am truly honored to be among a group of such honorable people , and I feel blessed that I am included.”

Smeltzer, another former West teacher and counselor, will also be honored.

Two other honorees were students who made distringuished careers after high school.  Blackwell is a a Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force and Tiscareno-Sato is a published author.

Principal Mr. Jeff Cranson is excited to celebrate the inductees.  “We have two graduates who have embarked on storied military careers and one who was named an “agent of change by President Obama,” a band director who traveled the world with the Spartan Marching Band, a teacher and coach who helped numerous students win state championships, and two educators recognized by their peers for their careers at GWHS,” Cranson said.  “These Spartan Hall of Famers show us that anything is possible beyond the walls of Greeley West.