Hall of Fame Inductees 2003
Bonnie Burns Arcari
Bonnie Burns Arcari, a 1986 graduate who was a three sport star in volleyball, basketball and softball, earning ten varsity letters in her career at PHS. Bonnie was one of the pioneers in the advent of women’s sports at PHS leading her softball team deep into the state tournament. Bonnie was a standout on the hardwood where she set a single game scoring record of 36 points and scored over 1,000 points in her career at PHS. She was also an all conference member of the volleyball team. She attended Springfield College and E.C.S.U. playing softball and basketball. She continued her involvement in youth sports in the recreation department in the Town of Cheshire and is currently the proud mother of three children, ages 6, 4 and 2.
David Higgins, a 1976 graduate who was known for his exceptional overall athletic abilities. Dave was a four sport star at PHS, playing football, basketball, diving and baseball. Dave was a versatile member of the talented 1976 football team as a halfback, receiver and punter. Dave was a free spirited bolt of lightning guard on the basketball team until he joined the swim team as a diver. But it was on the Plainville baseball diamond where he earned ALLSTATE honors as a shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Devils. Dave went on to lead the local American Legion team in hitting, striking out only three times during the season. He is currently a scratch golfer in his spare time.
Richard Jester, a 1941 graduate who excelled in basketball and baseball at PHS. Dick was captain and top scorer of the 1941 quintet leading the team to an 18-3 record and to the semi-finals of the 1941 class B tournament. His teams had a won loss record of 68-6. Dick was a member of the All Tournament team as a senior. He was also a shortstop and pitcher for the baseball team. Dick went on to college at UCONN, but was drafted and became an accomplished military pilot. He retired as a 30 year veteran Navy Captain. Dick resides in South Carolina and was unable to attend tonight’s event.
Ron Jones, a locally, statewide and nationally recognized coach who recreated and refined Plainville baseball as we know it today during his coaching tenure (1976 to 1984) at Plainville High School. His won loss record of 153 wins against 40 losses remains a benchmark for all local teams. Ron Jones was named the 1983 American Baseball Coaches New England District I coach of the Year. He coached the Blue Devils to two State Championships including a perfect 23-0 in 1983. His 1984 Blue Devils were ranked 15th nationally by “Collegiate Baseball” newspaper. Ron also coached at the college level at E.C.S.U. and has helped numerous students of the game through his volunteering with both groups and individuals.
Len Mirizzi, a 1955 graduate who was a two sport star in football and basketball. Len enjoyed a stellar career as a halfback on the football team where he established the school record with a 99 yard run from scrimmage and earned honorable mention ALLSTATE in his senior year. He was also captain of the basketball team and recipient of the Villardi Memorial Award. Len went on to become a high school teacher and coach. Len was voted class athlete in his senior year and earned the New Britain area CYO football award in 1954.
Fernando Otero a 1939 graduate who is considered one of the finest athletes of his era. Fern played baseball, track, football and basketball. At 6 feet tall, 230 lbs., he was a monster of a man who once played every play both offense and defense for the Blue Devils football team. He was also a star on the 1937 undefeated and un-scored upon football team. He was a power hitting catcher in baseball hitting balls in excess of 450 feet. He was center on the basketball team and a leader in field events such as shot put and discus. After graduation, he served in the Marines. Upon his return to Plainville, Fern was the “hired gun” for the Trumbull Electric baseball teams traveling throughout New England with the team in the industrial league. Honored Posthumously.
Charlie Palmer, the imposing teacher and coach who instilled the lessons of sports, sportsmanship and life to all of the student athletes who had the good fortune to play football at Plainville High School. Charlie came to Plainville from The University of Georgia as asst. coach for Ted Knurek in 1952 and became head football coach in 1956, a position that he held until 1968. He remained a fixture at Plainville High School as Athletic Director until his retirement in 1984. Charlie was known to his players and students for his concern and compassion, blended with the perfect blend of discipline.
Walter Shelton, a 1968 graduate who excelled in football and basketball. Walter was a talented multidimensional football star who as team captain excelled as a halfback and quarterback who earned ALLSTATE honors as a senior. He was also captain and a lightning quick guard on the hardwood for the Blue Devils and also played baseball for the Blue Devils. After Plainville, he attended S.C.S.C. where he earned All New England honors in football and later played with the Hartford Knights and Washington Redskins. Always one to work with youth, Walter moved to California, changed careers becoming an educator and received the 1997 California Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year Award.