Meadowbrook High School’s Wall of Fame gained seven members during a ceremony held Saturday night at Meadowbrook Country Club. The 2010 Class included Jamie Accashian, T. J. Armstrong, Shelley Gilliam Jump, Denise Snader Manuel, Paul Nicklis, Eric Richardson and William Sindlinger.
Student Activities Director Joey Richeson welcomed the honorees and their families, along with the former inductees and other honored guests to an evening that celebrated the many achievements of Meadowbrook students, athletes and coaches. The Chesterfield school boasts six graduates who have excelled at the highest professional level in their respective professional sport, as well as athletes who have made real differences in their chosen professions.
Principal Thomas Ferrell delivered a message to the audience assuring it that Meadowbrook High School was alive and well, with Monarchs continuing to do great things both on and off the playing field.
The voice of Sports Radio 910 and 1983 Meadowbrook graduate Gary Hess enthusiastically introduced the seven inductees. Obviously proud of his alma mater, Hess exclaimed, “Once a Monarch, always a Monarch!”
Jamie Accashian served as head football coach from 1982 to 1990. He thanked Jim Porach for giving him his start both as a coach and as an administrator. Accashian challenged the audience “to not be afraid to volunteer.”
“If you give of yourself, it will always come back to you,” he said. Accashian has spent his entire life giving of himself. His greatest achievement has been leading the development of Chesterfield’s Community High School. A true success story, Accashian and his teaching staff have worked with Chesterfield’s “at risk” high school population, or, as Accashian calls them, “students at risk of being successful.”
T.J. Armstrong led the Monarchs to a state basketball championship in 1994. The soft-spoken Armstrong went on to stardom at Fork Union prior to playing at Rice University. He regretted the absence of his former coach, Mike Sutton, who he called, “the most profoundly influential influence in my life.”
Shelley Gilliam Jump and Denise Snader Manuel followed one another as Meadowbrook’s Athletes of the Year in 1977 and 1978. They each described the era as “the lost years,” as no statistical data was kept at that time in girls high school sports. Jump expressed pride in “being on the cusp of equality for women’s athletics.” Manuel went on to attain all-American status as a lacrosse player at Longwood. She has enjoyed a career as one of the state’s outstanding softball coaches and was chosen by her peers as Midlothian’s Teacher of the Year in 2002.
Paul Nicklis became the first Meadowbrook freshman to qualify for the state wrestling tournament in 1995. He also lettered in football and track. He thanked Meadowbrook for “opportunities that helped me succeed.” He was a bit embarrassed by his status as an all-star competition cheerleader, a fact that he’d not shared with his dad.
A 1990 graduate, Eric Richardson was a four-year letterman in football. He credited his father and coaches for “not allowing me to quit when I thought I knew more than my coaches as a freshman.” Richardson went on to star at Chowan College and came home to serve as an assistant coach on the 2004 state championship team.
The final inductee was William “Uncle Bill” Sidlinger, who was honored posthumously as the voice of the Monarchs from 1964 to 1986. Representing Sidlinger was his wife, Phyllis, and son, John. “Big Daddy would have been honored and humbled by this award,” his son said.
Hess thanked all the Wall of Fame members for everything they had done and continue to do to aid the cause of the Monarchs.
Anyone who would like additional information on the Wall of Fame or would like to contribute in any way, can contact Joey Richeson, student activities director, at joey_richeson @ ccpsnet.net.