Anoka High School announces 2021 Hall of Fame class
(09/23/2021) Anoka High School (AHS) has announced its fifth Anoka Tornadoes Hall of Fame class. The 2021 class celebrates the accomplishments of Anna Arnold Hedgman (1918), Henry Hill Jr. (1962), Bob Fenwick (1964), Erica Barks-Ruggles (1985), Bill Leach (Educator) and Megan Manthe (2001).
The 2021 class will be honored Oct. 15 with a community meet and greet reception from 5-6 p.m. at the Anoka Legion. Following the meet and greet, honorees will head to Goodrich Field where they will be recognized at 6:35 p.m. before the 7 p.m. football game versus Park Cottage Grove High School. Honorees will also be recognized from their seats at halftime.
The Anoka Tornadoes Hall of Fame was scheduled to induct a class in 2020, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first hall of fame class, a group of 24 individuals, was enshrined in 2011.
The purpose of the hall of fame is to recognize individuals that have outstanding accomplishments at Anoka High School and to provide a link between the past school members and the future. Former athletes and participants must have been out of school for seven years or more. Coaches and directors must be retired.
For more information on hall of fame or to nominate for future induction classes, visit the Anoka Tornadoes Hall of Fame website.
Meet the newest members of the Anoka Tornadoes Hall of Fame:
Anna Arnold Hedgman (1918)
When Anna Arnold Hedgman was a child, her family moved to Anoka where the Arnolds were the only black family in the community. Her father created an environment that prioritized education and a strong work ethic. Anna described her childhood in Anoka in her 1964 autobiography, The Trumpet Sounds. She remembers Anoka as a, “comfortable Midwestern town with the traditional main street.” After graduating from Anoka High School in 1918, Anna was accepted into Hamline University. She graduated four years later with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, the first African American to earn a degree at that institution.
By 1948, Anna worked on the Harry Truman presidential campaign and had served in the cabinet of New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. She was the first black woman to hold that position. By the early 1960s, Anna was well-respected as a civic leader and helped A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plan the 1963 March on Washington, which brought over 250,000 people to the nation’s capital.
By the 1970s Anna was a frequent lecturer at African and U.S. universities. She also wrote two books about her life’s work, The Trumpet Sounds (1964), and The Gift of Chaos (1977). Both Howard University and Hamline University have awarded Anna honorary doctorate degrees.
Henry Hill Jr. (1962)
Henry Hill Jr. was an exceptional athlete, excelling on the Anoka High School track team. Henry lettered three years in track and was named the co-captain of the track team his senior year. Henry also participated in football, cross-country and wrestling. He was the basketball team manager in his junior and senior years and was a member of the National Athletic Scholarship Society. Henry’s classmates elected him their senior class president, and he graduated from Anoka High School in 1962.
Henry attended Minnesota State University, Mankato (then-Mankato State College) where he was a member of the track team for four years. He was named the most outstanding athlete at a major conference track meet.
Henry graduated from college in 1967 and was accepted into the Army Officers Candidate School. Upon completion of OCS, Henry was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the U.S. Army. Sadly, Officer Hill lost his life,heroically leading his troops into battle in Vietnam.
Bob Fenwick (1964)
As an Anoka High School student from 1961-64, Bob Fenwick was Editor of the “Anokahi,” an AFS Finalist, a member of the National Honor Society and the National Athletic Scholarship Society, a Merit Scholar, and Honor Graduate. He was also an accomplished singer and earned seven “A” ratings at State Music Contests.
Bob earned seven athletic letters with two in football, two in basketball and three in baseball. He was a leader on two state basketball tournament teams. Bob led the Anoka baseball team to the state consolation championship in 1963, hit .600 in 1964, and was named all-state in 1963 and 1964. Bob went on to play baseball at the University of Minnesota and eventually in the Major Leagues.
Bill Leach (Educator)
Bill Leach taught English at Anoka High School for 32 years, 20 as the department leader. During his career, he served on numerous district committees and curriculum writing teams and filled roles ranging from one-act play director to assistant baseball coach to awards night moderator. Bill also served as athletic equipment manager and game-night site director for many years. In 1999, he received the Teacher Outstanding Performance award from the Anoka-Hennepin School District. His tireless dedication to Anoka athletics led to honorary membership in the Anoka High School Lettermen’s Club in 2006.
Bill has also been the “Voice of the Anoka Tornadoes”, announcing all but four home football games since 1978, boys’ basketball for more than thirty years, baseball since the opening of the new Castle Field, and occasionally for boys’ and girls’ gymnastics and the Anoka dance team. He also announced for the Anoka marching band at prominent professional sporting events.
Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles (1985)
Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles is an active-duty career diplomat with 30 years of service in the United States diplomatic corps. She has been honored to represent the American people on four continents.
Ambassador Barks-Ruggles grew up in Anoka and was Valedictorian of her Anoka Senior High School class of 1985. She is an honors graduate of Swarthmore College and an Honors Masters Degree holder from the National Defense University. Ambassador Barks-Ruggles was a varsity swimmer in high school and college, ran track, played French Horn in varsity band and orchestra, and participated in the Debate Club.
Ambassador Barks-Ruggles currently serves as the Senior Bureau Official for the Bureau of International Organization Affairs (IO) at the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Megan Manthe (2001)
Megan Manthe lettered 13 times at Anoka High School. As a cross country runner, she earned five varsity letters, was selected as team captain for both junior and senior seasons, was all-conference five-times (three-time conference champion), and was all-section four times (two-time sectional champion). She still holds the Anoka High School 4K record.
In basketball, Megan earned four letters and was selected as team captain. She was a two-time all-conference selection.
In track and field as a 400m, 800m, and relay specialist, she earned four varsity letters, was all-conference champion 12 times, all-section champion 10 times, and all-state eight times. In 1999, she was anchor leg of the state winning and school record setting 4x400 meter relay team. She led Anoka High School to the state championship in 2000. Megan was state champion in both the individual 800m and state record-setting 4x800 meter relay team in her senior season.
Megan also graduated with four academic letters and a 4.6 grade point average in 2001.
Megan received a full scholarship to the University of Kansas Cross Country and Track & Field teams where she gathered four Big 12 All-Conference honors. An Academic All-American, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry.
Megan received her medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, completed her orthopaedic surgery residency training at the University of Florida, and received further fellowship training from the Mayo Clinic in complex hip and knee arthroplasty surgery. She is currently one of the 2 percent of orthopaedic arthroplasty surgeons in the country that is female.