Hall of Fame Class of 2013
Our first inductee was a long time choral and orchestra teacher in the Greeley community who led her student’s to state and national recognitions in music throughout her time at Greeley West High School.
“For years, the names Judy Atkinson and music were synonymous at Greeley West. If it had to do with excellence in the field of music, you could count on Judy being associated with it. Judy inspired countless students to pursue their passion in music. Some students knew Judy as their choral director, others knew her as the orchestra teacher. Regardless of the venue, her passion for music and her love for young people made her one of the best teachers ever to grace the halls at Greeley West. Judy was also a very active member of the staff at West. She was positive, upbeat and willing to take on new tasks if it meant making Greeley West a better place. Her loyalty and dedication to the staff and students of Greeley West, make her one outstanding selection for the Greeley West Hall of Fame!”
-Jana L. Frieler
The name Holly Bressler is synonymous with education in Greeley, Holly is a life-long citizen of Greeley and a Greeley West Graduate who has been a champion of education at a number of levels. Her service to this community through education reads like a laundry list of programs, committees, and schools that serve Greeley, her latest stop being the Principal at Winograd
Holly has worked for District 6 schools in a variety of capacities in her 30 + year career and is a mentor and friend to countless teachers in the Greeley area. Holly is active in our community inside and outside of the education arena. Her contributions to Greeley are many more than we want to read off here, as are her accomplishments and accolades.
In 2010, Holly received the Women of Distinction Honor from the Northern Colorado Business Report. At that time, Dr. Ranelle Lang, Greeley District 6 Superintendent, summed up what Holly means to our schools. She talked about how Holly Bressler has dramatically improved test scores and how she lends her expertise throughout the district. Her school has become a training ground for new educators and how she promotes professional development for her staff and district.
“We consider her school a ‘model school for leadership’ and often send principals to her doorstep for coaching, modeling and mentoring.”
Jack Bumgarner was a math teacher at Greeley West High School for nearly three decades and was one of the famed “Three Amigos,” along with fellow Hall of Famer Mel Leinweber and Terry Discoe.
Jack was “old school” in everything he did: using chalk, valuing hard work and dedication, and having students “rough it” on their walk to Wesleyan Church during West’s reconstruction.
Students never were able to use the excuse “the teacher won’t help me.” as Jack would spend countless hours tutoring his students outside of class. His patience was a virtue, sitting with students through tears, screams, and frustration until it all came together.
Bumgarner was known for his early mornings – 6:15 to be exact – to get everything in order for his day. Jane Burke wonders if he is sleeping in during his retirement.
Jack Bumgarner is a man who was respected by students and staff alike for his tireless efforts as a math teacher at Greeley West High School. His students know that they could go to him for help at anytime, and his colleagues recognize him as a mentor and strive to be as effective in the classroom as he was. Each year, Greeley West High School recognizes its top math student with an award that bears his name.
Shane Carwin achieved success as both and athlete and as a student. He attended Western State College of Colorado where he excelled in wrestling, becoming a three time NCAA Division II National Finalist, and a National Champion wrestler. Shane was also an excellent football player, having been a two time All-American in that sport. In 1996, Shane was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Football Player of the Year. In 1998, Shane was invited to play in the Senior Bowl as a linebacker, and later went on to participate in the Indianapolis Combine.
Off the mat and the field, Shane was an academic stand out. Three times he was named an Academic All-American. After graduating from Western State College of Colorado with a degree in Engineering, Shane enrolled in the Colorado School of Mines where he received a second Engineering degree. While attending the Colorado School of Mines, Shane also worked as an assistant wrestling coach for two years.
In 2005, Shane began his career in the world of Mixed Martial Arts with a first round victory due to submission by punches. Subsequent fights proved Shane to be a lethal puncher and tactician. His following eleven fights all ended in the first round, several coming in under the one minute mark. Shane currently has a 12-2 career record in the UFC and is the former UFC Heavyweight Interim Champion.
In March of 2011 Shane Carwin was inducted into the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as a Wrestler.
Shane’s life away from the ring is spent with his family in Greeley. Shane has a lovely wife, Lani; a son, Kamden, and daughter Alexis
Paul Conklin began his career at Greeley West High School in 1981 in the horticulture department. Paul’s knowledge of growing greenhouse crops, floriculture, and landscaping quickly became apparent to the students and his enrollment grew. Students not only learned the textbook and hands on applications, but they were presented with an enthusiastic work ethic. By modeling this work ethic, students gained important life-long skills. Many students continued in the horticulture field with summer jobs at nurseries and college studies.
The annual spring plant sale and Christmas arrangement sale earned enough money to self-fund all the enhancements to the program. These events are sorely missed by the community. In 1981 the program had one greenhouse; by 2011 there were five additional greenhouses earned and built by horticulture students. Students who qualified attended state and national competitions with expenses covered by the plant sale proceeds. Thus the Greeley West High School Horticulture Program became a nationally recognized and respected program as they competed against much larger programs from other states in the U.S. These students brought back to Greeley West High School many gold and silver awards
“The entire Conklin family put their hearts and souls into making the program a memorable educational experience for students fortunate enough to have been enrolled in horticulture.“
Waneta Elliott began her career at Greeley West High School as the Home Economics teacher in 1981. She expanded the program and worked hard to include all the students at all levels. From the at teaching experience, she became the “Coop G” or OWE teacher. This program was developed to help “at risk” students at school and to provide them a job in the afternoon so that they could not only earn money but also gain valuable experience in the working world. Waneta would work with students relentlessly to prepare them for job interviews and to help them succeed in their other classes so that graduation was a reality for them. She would go beyond the call of duty, occasionally taking a student “shopping” to buy them appropriate interview clothing out of her own pocket. She worked hard to find them jobs in the community and brought in many community business people to address her classes about work ethic and employment traits.
It would stand to reason that Waneta would get her counseling certificate so that she could offer help and guidance to a larger segment of Greeley West students. She continually attended counseling workshops to keep up with new financial aid requirements, better recommendation writing, and new admission criteria from colleges. She would work on her part of the alphabet during her own summer break to make sure that graduation requirements were met and parents were informed about the status of their students. She was, and still is, a member if the state counseling association and served as President for a two-year term. Her day didn’t end precisely with the closing bell and many weekends, holidays, and regular school days you could find her at her desk working hard for the benefit of her students. We know that for many of us Greeley West is truly a family, and in Waneta’s case it was a family in every since of the word. She was and still is an avid, loyal Spartan.