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HCSD Announces 2024 Husky Hall of Fame Honorees

Several years ago, the Highland Central School District (HCSD) created a Hall of Fame to recognize the achievements of accomplished alumni and dedicated faculty and staff, and to inspire today’s students to do great things with their education. This year’s Alumni Hall of Fame inductees are former local business owner and town councilman William T. Halstead and dedicated public servant James Janso. Retired teacher Larry Hammond is the recipient of this year’s Husky Pride award.

As in the past, this year’s honorees display an impressive level of commitment to the Highland community.

Halstead is a lifelong Highland resident and a 1967 graduate of Highland High School. Growing up, he worked many hours at Vadala’s Pharmacy, which he eventually purchased after graduating from college and becoming a pharmacist. Halstead was a respected business owner who employed many local students and residents, and offered numerous internship experiences before the pharmacy’s sale and his subsequent retirement.

Halstead co-founded a community service organization that was responsible for holding the first-ever “Highland Day” celebration. The two-day festival strengthened community spirit and raised money for local charities and town improvements.

Halstead served as a Town of Lloyd councilman for many years, and has been a dedicated advocate for children with learning disabilities and special needs in Highland and throughout New York State.

Janso, who graduated from Highland High School in 1986, has devoted much of his adult life to law enforcement. He was hired as a corrections officer for the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office at the age of 19, working nights while attending Dutchess Community College during the day. He began his career with the Town of Lloyd Police Department in 1990, working his way up the ranks from patrolman to lieutenant, before being promoted to chief of police in 2020.

Janso is generous with both his time and resources, and is committed to building strong relationships between youth and the police. He helped launch several community programs with the police department over the years, including Cops and Teddy Bears, the Youth Recreation League, Project Child Safe, Project Care, File for Life, and many more.

Hammond was a beloved Highland High School Industrial Arts teacher for 35 years. He inspired students through teaching Metal and Wood Shop, Mechanical Drawing, and Photography until his retirement in 1998.

A strong advocate of vocational education, Hammond firmly believes in the importance of trade skills and has tirelessly championed their value throughout his career. His dedication to nurturing the next generation of skilled professionals is evidenced by the countless local contractors and builders he has mentored and supported over the years, always offering his expertise and guidance without hesitation.

Beyond the classroom, Hammond has been a devoted community volunteer, serving on various boards and committees within Highland, and consistently lending a helping hand wherever it is needed.

The trio of Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the Highland Educational Foundation’s annual Spring Gala dinner dance and silent auction fundraiser, which will be held on Friday, April 5, from 6-10 PM, at The Barn at Indian Ridge in Highland. Tickets are $65 each, with a cash bar. Tickets are available by calling Becky at (845) 234-1522. Proceeds will support teacher mini-grants for projects to benefit HCSD students.

Plaques bearing photos of the honorees will be added to the Hall of Fame wall located at Highland High School, joining the past years’ distinguished inductees.