Fryeburg Academy to induct seven to Hall of Excellence

Fryeburg Academy will be inducting seven members into the Sixth Annual 2015 Hall of Excellence at a ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 10:30 a.m. in the Leura Hill Eastman Performing Arts Center.

The public is welcome to attend this free admission presentation.

The six alumni and one supporter being inducted this year are: Eva Dunn Ward ’49, Jeffrey Brown ’81, Kristen Russell McDermott ’83, Robyn Dunham Ela ’87, David Turner ’88, Wendy Dunham Pope ‘91 and Joseph “Buck” Austin (Significant Supporter).

Eva Dunn Ward

Eva Dunn Ward

Eva Dunn Ward

Eva Dunn Ward is a graduate of the Class of 1949, having graduated at the age of 15. Eva completed four successful years at the Academy, having excelled in academics, athletics, student government and the arts.

While at the Academy, Eva played four years of varsity basketball, four years of varsity softball, three years of tennis and one year of volleyball. She served as the Girls Athletic Council president in her senior year. Eva was also a member of Student Council and was proud to be elected Class Secretary soon after school started her freshman year, a position she held throughout all four years.

Eva enjoyed the arts, as well as having participated in the One-Act Plays, receiving the Best Actress award. Eva participated in Prize Speaking and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Eva attended Westbrook Junior College, graduating in 1951 with an associate’s degree. Eva began working as a medical assistant before deciding to return to college to complete a teaching degree at the University of Maine in Portland, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in 1972. Eva taught fourth and fifth grades in the Fryeburg school district.

After retiring, Eva worked for the Fryeburg Fair for many years, as well as Lake Kezar Country Club. Eva has volunteered countless hours to the community, having served the Brownfield Public Library and Fryeburg Fair as Trustee, Chaplain for the VFW Auxiliary, Brownfield Historical Society, Brownfield Community Church and the Eastern Star. Eva also volunteered for the Literacy Volunteers of America, tutoring adult nonreaders.

In 2006, Eva published a children’s book titled, “Calvin C. Waxwing,” about the rescue of a hatchling Cedar Waxwing by three young children. Although this attempt to interfere with nature was successful, the author raises questions about whether it is a wise practice, since most often the animal is not truly abandoned.

Eva was truly honored in 2010 when her beloved hometown of Brownfield asked her to be their honored Grand Marshall of the parade down Main Street for Brownfield Day Celebration.

Eva and her late husband Howard raised three daughters — Deborah, Diane and Rebecca, all graduates of Fryeburg Academy — and she continues to live in her beloved town of Brownfield.

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown is a 1981 graduate of Fryeburg Academy. Jeff was a three-sport standout at the Academy, where he played football, wrestling and track all four years; totaling 12 letters in all of the sports.

While playing football, he was chosen for second-team running back for the Southern York County League (SYCL) in 1979 and in 1980 second-team linebacker and Honorable Mention running back to the All State Football Team.

He was as equally successful on the wrestling mat. During his four years of wrestling, he received a second place in his weight division at the 1979 Regionals. The next year, he was not only the regional champion, but also the SYCL champion. He placed second at the State Meet. During his senior year, he made a clean sweep including winning the state championship.

During the track season, he was not to be denied, coming in second place in 1980 at the State Prep-School meet and his senior year, he was the State Prep-School champion.

After graduation, Jeff married his high school sweetheart, Denise Sanborn Brown ’82, and they moved to Elemendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska, in 1985, where Jeff was self-employed as a carpenter. There, he could do the things he loved such as hunting, fishing and hiking.

They returned to Maine in 1992 to continue his profession, such as designing and building a 4-foot window of a Flying Eagle for a church in Lovell; as well as sharing his love of wrestling by coaching the Fryeburg Rec Youth Wrestling program from 1992 to 1998. He became Assistant Wrestling Coach at the Academy in 2000. The next year, he moved up to Head Coach from 2001 and 2002. As Jeff describes his most memorable experience at Fryeburg Academy, “It would have to be coaching my son, Buck Hunter Brown, to his 2001 and 2002 state championship titles.”

His love of the outdoors and profession led him to be involved as a representative on the planning board, Saco Corridor Commission and administrative policy guidance along the river corridor.

The three of them returned to their beautiful Alaska, in Delta Junction, where Jeff built their home and was head wrestling coach at Delta Junction High School for a year. He had taken up Recreational Dog Mushing racing from 2010 to 2012, and continues his hunting, fishing and hiking.

Kristen Russell McDermott

Kristen Russell McDermott

Kristen Russell McDermott

Kristen, a member of the Class of 1983, lives in Fryeburg with her husband, David. She pursued her degree in English Literature, graduating from McGill University in 1987. Her competitive skiing career ended at McGill as a result of an onhill collision.

In addition to her athletic prominence while at Fryeburg Academy, she starred in one-act plays, was a member and vice president of the Honor Society, was in the Latin Club, and was co-editor of the yearbook.

Kristen experienced a stellar athletic career, topped by winning the state skimeister crown in her senior year. She lettered in all four years, while winning the prestigious Julie Grace Award in 1983. She was an early all-conference skier at McGill, when her career was cut short by her accident. All-State in her senior year was accomplished. She won a total of 11 varsity letters in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and field hockey.

Kristen is the founder and president of Good Earth Gardening, where she counts as her clients Fryeburg Academy, The Fryeburg Fair, Memorial Hospital, Quisisanna, as well as several private gardens. She has been the recipient of many gardening awards.

Among her many civic community activities, she served seven years on the Fryeburg Planning Board, the Bradley Park Committee, as a land monitor for the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, as well as on the fundraising committee of the Fryeburg Historical Society.

Robyn Dunham Ela

Robyn Dunham Ela

Robyn Dunham Ela

Robyn Ela, Class of 1987, participated in soccer, softball and alpine skiing while at the Academy.

Robyn received the Julie Lynn Grace Award twice and was a state champion in both the slalom and giant slalom in 1986-87. Robyn was nationally-ranked in USSA in the top 50 in slalom and giant slalom while competing in open and FIS alpine races all over New England.

Robyn shared her passion for skiing as a coach of the Lake Region Alpine Team, as well as a junior race coach and head coach for the King Pine Ski Team for nine years. She coached junior racing at Wildcat for three years.

After graduating from Fryeburg Academy, Robyn attended Plymouth State College and the University of Southern Maine as a Psychology major.

Robyn worked as a Customer Service representative at a local bank for nine years, was an Education Technician in SAD 72 for five years and also worked with adults with disabilities for the State of New Hampshire. Robyn is also a volunteer at Special Olympics.

Currently, Robyn is a realtor who resides in Fryeburg with her husband, Rich, and their two children, Courtney and Ethan. Her daughter Courtney carries on the skiing tradition, competing in Special Olympics and capturing the Maine State championship and gold medal.

Wendy Dunham Pope

Wendy Dunham Pope

Wendy Dunham Pope

Wendy is a 1991 graduate of Fryeburg Academy. While at the Academy, she participated in softball, soccer and alpine skiing.

Wendy was a member of the 1989 state champion soccer team, an All-Conference soccer player and captain of the soccer and ski teams her senior year.

Skiing is where Wendy shined. She was the Maine slalom (S) champion in 1988, ’90 and ’91, and giant Slalom (GS) champ in 1988 and ’90. She did not compete in the 1989 Maine State Championships since she was invited to compete in the USSA Eastern Junior Championships. She won the Eastern High School Slalom championship, the New Hampshire Junior1 slalom and GS championships, and had a 12th ranking in the USSA S1 and 14th in GS.

Wendy was nominated as the Portland Press Herald Female Athlete of the Year in 1988. In her senior year, she received the Fryeburg Lions Club Award, the Kiwanis Plaque for outstanding athletic performance and the Julie Grace Award for outstanding skier.

Wendy continued her skiing at Keene State, where she was a two-time NCAA Division II Sl and GS champion. After transferring to Plymouth State in 1993, she was a two-time USCSA Eastern Regional Champion, and was named to the USCSA All American Alpine Ski Team. She was also a member of the Plymouth State soccer team that won the national title. Wendy competed in the Junior Olympics, FIS events and the Nor-Ams in US/Canada as well as training and competing in Austria with the Atomic Ski athletes.

Wendy continued her skiing after college as an alpine racing coach for the Attitash Racing Junior Program in 1997.

Wendy graduated from Plymouth State with a bachelor’s degree in Health Education and was employed by SAU 9 since 1996 in Bartlett, N.H. middle school, and is now currently in Special Education and Program Assistant at Kennett High School. She also tutors for Kennett High School in their special tutoring program.

Wendy lives in North Conway with her two children, Gabriella and Dalton. Gabriella was just accepted to Salem State University this fall in their Chemistry program, and Dalton is a junior at Kennett and plays for the Kennett High School football team.

David Turner

David Turner

David J. Turner

David Turner is a 1988 graduate of the Academy. A 12-sport athlete in football, basketball and baseball, David was a leader among his peers not only in athletics, but through his involvement in student government and SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving).

He was named All-Conference in both football and basketball. When he graduated, he was the recipient of the Buck Austin Football Award, the Harry True Basketball Award and the Cliff Gray Baseball MVP Award. In addition, he received the Graustein and the Erikson Awards. After graduation, David spent a year as the New Hampton starting quarterback and then went to the University of Maine before ending his college career as the Plymouth State starting quarterback and a Plymouth State College Scholar Athlete in 1994.

Currently, David is a Dean at Fryeburg Academy and head football coach. He resides in Fryeburg with his wife, Nicki, and beautiful daughter, Avery.

Joseph “Buck” Austin

This year, the Academy honors, posthumously, its Significant Supporter, Buck Austin, a longtime educator and coach.

Mr. Austin was born in Franklin, Pa., attended school at Madison Memorial in Madison, Ohio, and Bellefonte Academy in Bellefonte, Pa. In 1937, he received his bachelor’s degree from Denison University, Granville, Ohio, where he participated in football, basketball and track. His specialties included English, History, Bio-Science, Math and Physical Education.

Joseph "Buck" Austin

Joseph "Buck" Austin

Buck married the former Evadne Cragin, a Denison University schoolmate.

He taught and coached football and basketball for nine years in Ohio. He was a founding member of the Western Ohio Football League and later the Maine High School Football Coaching Association.

In 1946, he left teaching and coaching briefly to help his father-in-law at his Packard Motor Dealership. He moved his family to Bridgton, where they had summered since the late 30s. He taught and coached football at Bridgton Academy, while Evadne taught at Bridgton Elementary School.

During Buck’s 31 years of coaching (nine of them at Fryeburg Academy), he gave Johnny Pont (FB Coach-Indiana), Tommy Harp (FB coach-Duke), Robert Mitchell, ’64 (FB coach-Vermont) and F.A.’s own Colin Hurd their start up the ladder. At all three schools where he was the head football coach, he was credited with reviving the respective programs, organizing booster clubs and invigorating each community. His trademark was stressing the fundamentals of the game. As one sportswriter for the Zanesville Signal wrote, “His boys who play for him will learn more than just the details of the game.”

At Fryeburg Academy, Mr. Austin’s teams won the state Class C championships in 1963 and the state Class B co-championship in 1965. They won 47 games, lost 21, and tied 3. His 1963 state football championship team was honored at the 2013 Homecoming with players reliving and celebrating fond moments of that year and time with him.

Buck demonstrated in all his teams — basketball or football — a gift for coaching and his ability to inspire young boys with a consistent level of competitiveness, organization and enthusiasm that also has inspired his three sons’ interest in sports and their coaching careers.


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