2018 Hall of Fame
Thirteen individuals were inducted into the District 87 and Bloomington High School Hall of Fame on September 27, 2018.
These inductees were chosen for their years of service to the district in various capacities, or for their achievements and school support as BHS alumni.
District 87 Hall of Fame
Cindy Helmers earned her Bachelor of Science in Education and Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Illinois State University. She served District 87 as a math teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, Director of Data Analysis, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction before retiring in 2018. Cindy worked with staff and community partners to build a culture of data as well as the tools for data analysis. She implemented the District 87 Academy for staff professional development, Curriculum Leadership Teams, STEM Initiative for Grades PreK-12 (including STEM Camp), and increased graduation requirements at Bloomington High School. Cindy loves to travel and has been to every state except Alaska.
Stevie Joslin began her career as a Business teacher at Rantoul High School while her husband attended the University of Illinois’ College of Law. In 1963, Stevie and her family moved to Bloomington-Normal, and she served District 87 as a substitute teacher at BJHS and BHS. As her family expanded, her community involvement began. Stevie was on the ground level of Beyond the Books Educational Foundation and has helped raise significant funds to provide grants for teachers in District 87 and Unit 5. Serving God is first in her life followed by politics, needlepointing, and playing duplicate bridge.
Colin B. Manahan V dropped out of school after completing 9th grade and entered the military at the end of World War II. He graduated with his GED and served in the Korean War for four years before earning his Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees and completing PhD coursework. He taught geography and history in District 87 from 1967-1993. Mr. Manahan served as BHS’ Director of School Activities, as well as Pep Club and Student Council Sponsor. After retiring, Colin taught at Heartland Community College and continues to read to elementary school children at Corpus Christi Catholic School. Mr. Manahan and his wife raised five children who are all college graduates.
Carole Ringer earned her Bachelor of Music and Master’s Degree in Music Education from Northwestern University before teaching in Illinois, Iowa and Washington. Carole served on District 87’s Board of Education from 1985-1997. She served as General Manager of the Bloomington-Normal Symphony, Director of Development for the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and BroMenn’s Foundation for Mennonite College of Nursing. Carole has served on the boards of more than 25 community organizations, including her role in the implementation of Beyond the Books Educational Foundation. Carole is the proud mother of three; her son, Dr. Andrew Ringer, was inducted into the BHS Hall of Fame in 2015.
Carol Struck earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Culver Stockton, and her Masters of Science in Special Education as well as her PhD in Educational Administration at Illinois State University. Dr. Struck served District 87 as a teacher, Principal, Principal Facilitator, and Interim Superintendent. Among her career highlights are serving as Director of ISU’s 150th Anniversary Celebration, Interim Director of the Children’s Discovery Museum, and Interim Director of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts. In retirement, she chaired the Board at Benevilla, an organization in Arizona, which provides social care and support services for seniors, adults with disabilities, children, and those who care for them.
Carole Thornton earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Benedict College, her Master of Science from Washington State University, and her PhD in Mathematics Education from Indiana University. Dr. Thornton joined ISU’s faculty in 1974 and was committed to students and teachers in District 87 and other regional districts by being a contributing author of the Addison-Wesley Math Series used in D87 for many years. She visited classrooms and provided workshops for teachers, and every teacher in District 87 learned about her approach to mastering basis facts, which raised student achievement in math across the district.
Bloomington High School Hall of Fame
Ruth Ahlenius graduated from BHS in 1926 and received her Bachelor of Science in Education from ISU. Ruth taught at Washington and Lincoln Elementary Schools before becoming an Administrator in 1943. She served as Principal at Lincoln, Edwards and Washington Schools as well as Irving Junior High/Elementary School. Ruth led the district through the transition of Irving Elementary to a junior high school and back to an elementary school. Ruth served in education for forty years in District 87 as well as many education and community organizations. Her high school yearbook mentioned her “fiery red hair”, which was perhaps an indication of her determination and leadership. Ruth passed away in 1985.
Davin Harris graduated from BHS in 1988 before receiving his Bachelor Degree in Communications from the University of Illinois. Davin worked for State Farm before pursuing his real estate/broker’s license. In 2013, he and his wife established VP Operations for BDS Sports, an NBA agency who manages several NBA players. Davin handles business operations, deals, and recruits players while being a top performing realtor (top 30) in Atlanta, GA. Davin dedicates time to the community by serving the elderly, single mothers, and “Cool Dads Rock”, a non-profit dedicated to building and supporting strong fathers and male figures in the Atlanta community.
Eva Jones graduated from BHS in 1948. After graduating from Cortez Business College, she married and had seven children. In 1971, Eva was elected to the District 87 Board of Education and became the first African American and woman to do so; she served as Board President from 1977-1978. In 1979, Eva became the first African American elected to the Bloomington City Council. Eva served the community in many capacities, and in 1983, she received the B-N Human Relations Awards for her involvement in local civic and governmental affairs, and the Illinois Municipal Human Relations Association’s annual award. Eva passed away in 1987 at the age of 57.
David Skillrud graduated from BHS in 1973 before attending Illinois Wesleyan University, SIU School of Medicine and the University of Minnesota where he earned his Master’s Degree in Medicine. Dr. Skillrud spent six years as a Mayo Clinic Resident and was the first pulmonologist in Bloomington/Normal. His career includes Private Practice in Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, and he is a staff pulmonary physician at several area hospitals. Dr. Skillrud has published 17 articles in World Medical Literature and has seen over 25,000 patients. His love for District 87 has reflected in his six children as they attended District 87 schools; his youngest daughter is currently a junior at BHS.
Barbara Waddell graduated from BHS in 1954. She was hired as a teacher’s aide and, due to her talents, was encouraged to pursue a degree in education. While raising five children, she earned her BS in Education. Barb served District 87 as a teacher from 1974-2002, twenty-seven of those years as an Early Childhood Child Care Program teacher. Barb is described as one of the most caring and accepting people, helping students strive to improve their lives. Barb ran the ticket booth for Bloomington High School home games for many years; her positive interactions with those attending was wonderful public relations for BHS.
Clay Wheeler graduated from BHS in 1984 and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the College of the Ozarks. Clay joined the Bloomington Police Department in 1991 as a patrol officer and has served on the Crisis Response Team, as a hostage negotiator, Field Training Officer, and as a Detective in the Criminal Investigation Division. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2007 and Chief of Police in 2018. During his tenure, he received numerous awards and several Letters of Commendation regarding his exemplary work and service to our community. Ensuring the safety and security of our citizens is paramount to Chief Wheeler.
Christin Wurth-Thomas graduated from BHS in 1999 and attended the University of Arkansas on a track and cross country scholarship. She was an SEC champion in cross country and in track and field’s 1500 Meter Run. In 2008, Christin represented Nike and the USA in the Beijing Olympics in the 1500 Meter Run, and in 2009, she became the 4th American woman to break four minutes in the 1500 Meter Run placing 5th in the World Championships. Christin was inducted into Arkansas’ Hall of Fame in 2016 and in the Arkansas Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2018.
It's great to be in District 87 because of these individuals!