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Delphos St John

2022 Hall of Fame Inductees

2022 Hall of Fame Inductees

Group photo forthcoming after Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to be held on Sunday, November 27, 2022 at the K of C Hall in Delphos, Ohio.  

Athletic Achievement

Arts/Athletic Achievement - 
Alisha (Anthony) Kagarise, Class of 2006

Alisha Anthony Kagarise was born to Margaret and Stephen Anthony and was one of nine kids to whom sports were just a part of life.  Stephen ran marathons but still had the discipline to get his long runs in between working a full time job, helping ferry kids to sporting events and helping Margaret with the day to day household chores.  All the kids were involved in multiple sports ranging from track and field to lacrosse.  Sports provided all of them with the discipline and values they needed to excel in life.

Alisha started gymnastics at age four and this sport laid the foundation for much of what was to come.  It was gymnastics that gave her the strength, power and discipline to be successful in track and field and later cheerleading.  As a freshman Alisha made it to the state gymnastics meet but at that point she turned her focus to track and field.  She remembers the annual elementary school track meets and fell in love with sprinting and the long jump.  And when St. John’s started junior high track her eighth grade year she knew she wanted to be a part of the team.  She will always remember Coach Dan Hopkins whose dedication helped her develop her skills in the sport.
Her talent in track and field was realized quickly in high school.  In the long jump she finished state runner-up as a freshman and sophomore before taking the crown her junior year, when she set a new state tournament record, and again her senior year.  She set the school record in the 200m dash and was part of the school record 4x100 and 4x200 relays.  The 4x100 relay team finished second at state her senior year and seventh her junior year.  The 4x200 finished sixth her junior year.  She placed sixth in the 200m dash as a junior and qualified for state in the 200m dash as a senior.
After graduation Alisha headed to Youngstown State to compete in track and field for the Penguins.  At YSU she excelled under head Coach Gorby and her jumps Coach Bolha and sprints Coach Townsend.  In her career she finished first in the long jump multiple times and set the Horizon League long jump record with a 6.02m leap as a senior in the league championships.  Alisha won or finished top five in more events than we have room to mention.  As a freshman she earned Horizon League Field Newcomer of the Year in both indoor and outdoor track and earned Horizon League Academic All-League and Scholar/Athlete several times.   In her senior season she earned All-Ohio honors by finishing first in the long jump and triple jump at the All-Ohio Championships.   She was named Outstanding Field Performer at the 2009 Horizon League Indoor Championships.  All of her accomplishments at Youngtown State culminated with her induction into the Youngstown State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2021.  But perhaps her favorite accomplishment while at YSU was meeting her husband Adam Kagarise, an accomplished track athlete in his own right who earned the same degree as Alisha: Doctorate of Physical Therapy.    

Alisha and her husband Adam have three beautiful daughters: Adalyn (6), Kenna (4) and Stella (1).  All are active, love to run with Adalyn and Kenna already following in Mom’s footsteps in gymnastics.  Alisha and Adam started the Austintown Youth Track Program in Adam’s hometown of Austintown, Ohio to share the pair’s love of the sport of track and field.  Currently around 130 kids, preschool to sixth grade, are involved in the program.  Alisha works as a Sports Physical Therapist at Akron’s Children’s Hospital.

Looking back on her time at St. John’s, Alisha feels the education she received well prepared her for college and the principles she learned help shape her character.  Religion remains a huge part of her life and she loves sharing the lessons she learned at St. John’s with her family.  She states, “I am forever grateful for the blessings I have been given and for my education/experiences at St. John’s.”  

Service to St. John's

Service to St. John’s
Claude Bergfeld, 
Class of 1950

Claude Bergfeld was born into a family whose roots in Delphos and St. John’s run generations deep. He was one of seven children of Claude Bergfeld and Helen Caroline “Carrie” O’Neill Bergfeld. His father ran a grocery store for many years and also worked on the railroad. The family all pitched in to work in the grocery store and help pay the bills which became especially important after his father died in an accident at the rail yards in Delphos in 1954.
A 1950 St. John’s graduate, Claude was the last of the Bergfeld kids to graduate. Siblings Mary, Patrick, Caroline, Evelyn and Eugene all graduated before him. A sister, Grace, died at 14. Claude fondly remembers his years at St. John’s, especially his senior year when the Blue Jay basketball team was ranked #1. When asked if he had a favorite teacher he replied, “I don’t want to pick favorites as they were all special in my view. It was a great experience.” After high school he worked at Fruehauf Trailer for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard. After Boot Camp he was assigned to a Weather Patrol Gunboat and spent 15 months on weather duty in the North Atlantic. While at sea he developed appendicitis and, with no surgical facilities on the ship, was flown to Newfoundland for tests then to Norfolk, Virginia for surgery. After recovering from surgery he went to school for Yoeman-Storekeeper in Groten, Connecticut for 26 weeks after which he spent the rest of his service time in Baltimore, Maryland. It was at this time he decided to go to business school and studied business administration and accounting.
He returned to Delphos after leaving the military. He married Mary Agnes Kill and soon had the first of five kids. In 1977 Claude was elected to St. John’s Parish Finance Committee, starting his involvement in the life of the Parish. He was then asked to be on the Core Staff Team and agreed. He was still a part of the Core Staff Team in 1988 when the decision was made to hire a Business Manager for the Parish. Father James Peiffer, St. John’s pastor at the time, asked him to be on the selection team for the business manager. After talking it over with his family Claude decided to apply for the job and was eventually hired as St. John’s first Parish Business Manager. Soon after he was hired it was learned that St. John’s would be losing funding for certain teacher’s salaries which was leading to significant financial losses for the school. It was decided to gather leaders in the Parish to form a Committee to address the issue. Claude helped guide the Committee and the Parish through some very difficult times when the future of the school was uncertain. In true Blue Jay fashion, the Parish rallied. A meeting in the gym to discuss the situation was filled to overflowing with teachers, coaches, Committee members and other members of the Parish speaking and rallying the St. John’s community. The response was beyond expectations and St. John’s schools returned to more solid financial footings. Claude recalls, “It was truly a time in our parish that I was most proud to be a part.”
Health forced Claude to resign from the Parish Foundation Board of Directors after 20 years in 2020. His involvement in the Parish Foundation is something of which he is very proud. He comments, “We have come a long way.” Today he enjoys life with Mary Agnes, his wife of 68 years and his children Steve (Chris), Chuck (Lisa), Don (Beth), Nancy (Ed) Goedde and Linda. He keeps track of eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Service to Mankind

Service to Mankind
David Berelsman, Class of 69

Hello DSJ Alums. I wish to thank the committee members for this nomination. I accept it only as a way to highlight and thank all the people from Delphos and St Johns who have given me the ability and the opportunity to do more. I have been away from Delphos for quite a few years, so allow me to tell you a bit about the miles on my odometer.
I grew up on a small farm halfway to Spencerville, the oldest of eight children. My parents - Linus and Leona Berelsman, a carpenter and superwoman - always stressed the importance of good education, especially our DSJ Catholic education. Setting an example for us, my father, would sometimes study correspondence courses even after a long day working in the sun. And my mother would hold coaching sessions for her children in the kitchen - while she cooked, did dishes, or ironed. They were amazing mentors for us.  
While I was far from the best student, I certainly benefited from my time at St Johns. I have many fond memories of my classmates from 1969, and my teachers especially: Charlie Geddert, John Gunder, Dan Rupert, Robert Arnzen and the Sisters of Notre Dame - all of whom made a lasting impression on me. After graduation, I began studies for a few semesters at OSU. Ten years later, I moved to Washington DC and returned to college. First attending Georgetown, and then George Washington University. Years later when I moved to Florida I did some graduate work on my MBA. And now, even though I have always been a solid C student, I am privileged to serve on the board of a local college and award scholarships to students. Life is funny.
My work career started at WLIO in Lima in 1970. In 1975, I moved to Columbus to continue in television with the local ABC station. Then in 1979, I was invited to join ABC News and moved to Washington DC. I had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest in the industry including Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, David Brinkley and other staff who had attended the top schools in the country. My team earned an Emmy for some of the work we did during those years. From my first job washing dishes at the Wheel Inn, to years later working around the White House, the lessons I learned on the farm, at St Johns, and in Delphos have held up well.  My Minnesota-born better-half, Lyn Cameron, and I met in DC. In 1998, she was offered a chance to start a company in Australia, so I quickly resigned my position at ABC, and we boarded a plane headed to Sydney, and I became one of her first employees at AOL-  Australia. We spent several years building this internet company in “the land down under”. It was an amazing time, and a turning point in our lives.  
In 2000 we returned to the USA and settled in the Orlando area to start the next chapter in our lives:  living back. My wife is a cancer survivor and one of our first projects was working with our local hospital to create an information center for others newly diagnosed with the disease. Lyn and I have always known that we had a responsibility to repay our community when we could.  With the help of my family members, we began awarding scholarships to students at St Johns and Jefferson. We also started working with students to help them make the transition to college. About 2010 one of our earliest scholarship recipients, Jefferson graduate Dulton Moore and I created a lecture for parents and students that we named “The Student Success Seminar”. We held them at the Delphos Library for a number of years before the pandemic. We were able to donate thousands of dollars to graduates heading to college, and hopefully helped them save thousands more with our tips.  In closing, I know much of my success has been due to growing up in Delphos, the support and guidance of my parents, and the help of my family, friends, and teachers.  I am especially grateful for the things I learned here at Delphos Saint Johns
Go Jays.

Professional Achievement

Professional Achievement
Steve Fortener, Class of 1986

Steve (Stu) Fortener spent most of his childhood in his backyard on Seventh Street with a ball in his hand pretending he was playing basketball for the Blue Jays or football for the Fighting Irish.  In many ways, both dreams came true, and he attributes his career success to the teachers, coaches and classmates he had the privilege to meet while attending St. John’s.

Steve is the son of Jim and Sharon Fortener, who still live in Delphos.  His brother, Mike, lives in Indianapolis and was a great role model for Steve on what to do and not to do growing up.  He spent most of his teen years working at Stadium Park
under the tutelage of Jeanne Arnzen.

While at St. John’s, Steve played football, basketball and baseball.  He learned many life lessons while playing for the Jays, both from coaches like Coach Arnzen, Moorman and Huysman, but also from teammates.  He loved hanging out after practice with teammates and lifelong friends Jeff Schwieterman, Jerry Jackson, Tab Fishback, Don Gordon, Mark Wurst, Chris Gunder and too many more names to mention.  He remembers the friendships more than the wins and losses.

Steve attended Bowling Green State University for his undergraduate degree and worked for Marathon Oil Company before getting his MBA at his dream school, Notre Dame.  After Notre Dame, Steve worked at Temple Inland for 15 years, leading several manufacturing and sales operations in Indianapolis, Raleigh, Kansas City and Chicago.  He became a turnaround expert moving his family every few years, but was looking for a permanent place where he and his wife, Jennifer, could raise their two sons, Luke and Kyle.  That is when Notre Dame came calling. Steve started his career at Notre Dame in 2011.  He has held numerous leadership positions at the University and is currently in a role working with University leadership to set the strategic direction for the University for the next ten years and beyond.

In many ways, the Notre Dame community reminds Steve of Delphos St. John’s. Both communities are focused on faith, family and excellence.  He is humbled to be honored by his alma mater and knows many more alums are equally as deserving of this distinction. 

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