XENIA — For the first time in the 22-year history of the Xenia Community Schools Hall of Honor annual event there will not be a dinner and induction ceremony.
Limitations on public gatherings and indoor events — which have extended well beyond the originally projected time frame — led to a postponement and then cancellation of the event. This year’s five inductees — who will be officially enshrined today — will be recognized at next year’s ceremony and a virtual induction video will soon be released, according to event organizers.
The recognition plaques for the Rev. Gary G. Chapman, Fred William “Ted” Forbes, Charles R. Purvis, Roger D. “Rock” McColaugh, and David Thompson will be installed in the entrance of Xenia High School and they will be receiving their proclamations and awards. Their achievements and the role they will play in inspiring future generations of students at Xenia High School and within the Xenia Community are not diminished by the lack of an in-person celebration, according to Barbara Stafford, executive director of the Xenia Community Schools Foundation.
Chapman, XHS class of 1981, is being inducted as a veteran, pastor and community servant. Chapman attended Xenia schools for 12 years, where he was Student Council president and lettered in basketball and track, and went on to graduate from Central State University. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant, promoted to first lieutenant and was honorably discharged in 1992. He recently celebrated his 25th year, serving with dedication and commitment, as pastor of Xenia’s Zion Baptist Church. He has served as an intervention/prevention specialist for Xenia Community Schools providing insight and guidance to at-risk youth. He has touched the lives of incarcerated men at the MonDay Community Correctional Institution and is now the Operations Manager at Jeremiah Tree House, a facility for men in recovery.
Forbes, XHS class of 1954, is being inducted as an architect, engineer, civil servant and community leader. Forbes attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a BS in architecture. Later, he attended the University of Dayton Department of Civil Engineering and completed all required degree courses. Forbes was presented the “Exceptional Civilian Service Award” in 1966, approved by the Secretary of the Air Force, for his pioneering research work in aerospace expandable and modular structures. This was one of many recognitions for his work in this area. He worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base from 1964 through 1972, held several positions and authored and presented more than 30 technical research papers in his area of expertise. He then opened his own architectural and engineering firm in Xenia where his firm designed hundreds of projects. Forbes was appointed to an advisory committee of 21 citizens after the 1974 tornado which was known as the “Spirit of 74.”
Purvis is being inducted as an educator and role model. Purvis came to work for Xenia Community Schools as a first-year teacher at Central Junior High School in 1959 and decided to make Xenia both his home and the place to raise his family. He held a variety of positions during his 28-year tenure with the district. These included history teacher, assistant principal and principal at Central, head of federal programs, director of personnel and Title I. He also served, until his retirement, as assistant superintendent from 1983-1987. Purvis coached football, basketball, and track, in addition to starting a variety of new activities such as girls drill team, drama, and a ninth grade choir. He was instrumental in obtaining an expedited insurance settlement for the district after the 1974 tornado, and he checked on students and staff in the various buildings daily while they were housed in other districts. He has been described as a visionary who wanted to be on the cutting edge of new technology. Purvis has remained extremely active after retirement, serving as a transportation director in another district, and racing horses.
McColaugh, XHS class of 1967, is being inducted as a businessman, volunteer and role model. He was a lifelong resident of Xenia and attended Xenia schools, where he earned multiple letters in wrestling and track and field. He then attended Central State University and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1970. He was the president of the McColaugh Funeral Home. He joined his father in business in 1970 and assumed control when his father died in 1998. Under McColaugh’s leadership, the McColaugh Funeral Home became one of the leading funeral providers in Greene County. He was known for his compassion, humility, and good nature. McColaugh helped thousands of people in the community in their greatest time of need. He participated in the annual Xenia High School Mock Accident, fund-raising efforts for the Xenia Community School Foundation, campaigned for Xenia school levies, and engaged in numerous other volunteer efforts such as the YMCA membership drive and the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon. As a member of Faith Community United Methodist Church, he served on numerous committees and joined a mission trip to Guatemala. He died March 16, 2020, and is being inducted posthumously.
Thompson, XHS class of 1989, is being inducted as a leader, community development advocate and role model. Thompson attended Xenia schools from 1976-1989 and graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1993 with a degree in recreation administration. He practically grew up at the YMCA and has devoted his professional career to working at various YMCAs including Toledo (branch executive), Xenia (CEO of the Greene County YMCA Association) and Coffman Family YMCA (group vice-president). Thompson was instrumental in facilitating the merger of the Greene County YMCA and the YMCA of Greater Dayton in May 2008. His leadership was key to the success of the REACH (Recreation, Education, Activity, Community Health) Project, a collaboration between the YMCA of Greater Dayton, Kettering Health Network, the Xenia Adult Recreation and Services Center, Clark State Community College, and Central State University. The successful opening of the new complex in early 2019 resulted in more than doubling of membership at the YMCA and brought new vitality, consolidated resources and pride to the Xenia Community.