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Mercer going into VHSL Hall of Fame
SoVaNow.com / July 14, 2014A retired Halifax County High School journalism teacher will join the newest class of inductees in the Virginia High School League’s Hall of Fame.
Linda Mercer, one of eight inductees in the class of 2014, is being honored for her contributions to high school journalism. During her career at HCHS, Mercer received several prestigious yearbook awards, having started her work in journalism education in 1970 under the tutelage of Richard Fitz, known for his work as a pioneer in scholastic journalism.
Mercer taught journalism and English at HCHS until her retirement in 2004.
A second journalism teacher, Mary Kay Downes of Chantilly High School, also has been named to the Hall along with Frank W. Cox, a principal with the Virginia Beach Public Schools.
Four other 2014 honorees are athletic coaches: Marie Crump, softball coach at Powhatan High School; Stan Morgan Jr. cross country coach at Midlothian High School; Steve Ragsdale, football coach at Giles High School; and Rich Serbay, football coach at James Monroe High School.
The eighth honoree is Cecil Hurst, commissioner of the Cardinal Basketball Officials Association.
The announcement of the VHSL Hall of Fame selections, made public on Friday, noted Mercer’s career accomplishments: She began her work as advisor for the HCHS student newspaper and started the yearbook at then-Halifax County Junior High School in 1970. She continued to advise both publications until 1988 when she transferred to Halifax County High School, where she taught journalism and was the advisor to both the yearbook and the newspaper.
Until her retirement from teaching in 2004, she taught at the fall and spring workshops for the Virginia High School League, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and other journalism workshops.
She is a founding member of the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisors and was one of the first to volunteer when the association began its mentoring initiative. In addition to mentoring journalism teachers at both the middle and high schools, she has also been a judge of the VHSL’s annual Creative Writing contests.
She continues to judge yearbooks for the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and the National Scholastic Press Association.
Other honors and achievements include the award of the Gold Key by the Columbia Press Association and the Lifetime Achievement for Advising from the Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Association and the Virginia Journalism Association’s Thomas Jefferson Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Education.
A native of Holyoke, Mass., Mercer graduated from Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. in 1969. She has since taken postgraduate courses in journalism at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Ohio University and the University of Iowa.
Contacted yesterday, Mercer said she had been informed a couple of weeks ago that she would be named a 2014 honoree. She said she understood that association members had contacted former students who recommended her for the honor, along with her former high school principal, Larry Clark.
Richard Fitz, her predecessor and mentor, was inducted in 1998.
The new inductees will be honored at the 25th Hall of Fame ceremony Oct. 15 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Charlottesville.
Sponsored jointly by the Virginia High School League and the Virginia High School Coaches Association, the Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the rich heritage of outstanding achievements by students and adults in sports and activities within the public high schools of Virginia.
CommentsWell deserved!!! Congratulations from one of your first students.
- By Bunny Propst on 07 / 14 / 14
CommentsCongratulations, Ms. Mercer. Absolutely one of the best teachers I had all through school. And remember? I was there your first year, too. With Bunny. And I could go on with accolades for hours, but I'll stop now
- By Antoinette Watkins Satterfield on 07 / 14 / 14
Comments9th grade English '72-'73 and I remember how much you loved Simon and Garfunkel and particularly "Sounds of Silence"!
- By chuck hatcher on 07 / 14 / 14
- By Carolyn Kirkman Harmon on 07 / 16 / 14
CommentsYou make us proud! Congratulations Merce.
- By Judy Connor Smith on 07 / 17 / 14
CommentsCongratulations, Linda. Those of us in Alumni Relations are very proud of your accomplishments! Karrie, Miriam, Jerry and Jo Anne
- By Jo Anne Jennings on 07 / 17 / 14
CommentsA well deserved honor! I am proud of you.
- By Brenda Smith on 07 / 17 / 14
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