Lauren Mallett also contributed to the reporting of this article.
About one decade ago, a group of Malden High graduates got together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school and decided to form the Malden High School Alumni Association. The first president of the MHSAA was former teacher, assistant superintendent, and eventually Superintendent of Malden Public Schools, George Holland. When he passed, Anthony Dickinson was promoted from vice president to president. Dickinson has since been reelected multiple times.
Since the MHSAA was formed, its main focus has been to help students financially and to maximize their experience at Malden High. Dickinson shared that last Christmas, they were able to give out $3000 in gift cards among students in need at the high school. Not only that, the association buys and distributes yearbooks, prom gowns, and even prom tickets.
Dickinson described one time when he was surprised to learn from a teacher that some students did not have enough money to pay for testing. Now, the MHSAA works to provide scholarships specifically for kids that need money for such tests that require it.
Anyone that knows Malden High is aware that it is very much a sports-centered school. According to Dickinson, “sports has been the driving force of Malden High.” For instance, the Golden Tornados Club has always honored the sports athletes of the school: past, present, and future. With this in mind, Dickinson and the other members of the association were determined to honor all the people that have gone on to achieve great things in various other fields.
The MHSAA began honoring people at their first Hall of Fame induction in 2014. Dickinson expressed that this first ceremony was the most memorable one for him. For many reasons, they didn’t know what to expect, but they did know that the nominees consisted of some interesting people. For one, Kevin Cullen, a journalist for the Boston Globe, was nominated. Among the others were news broadcaster Heather Kahn braver, and Phillip Weiner.
Phillip Weiner was someone that Dickinson “knew nothing about,” but when he had read Weiner’s bio and seen his accomplishments, he was “completely blown away.” It turned out that Weiner was a war crimes judge at the Hague, and actually flew in from there to accept his honor.
When the MHSAA first began doing the Hall of Fame ceremonies, it began as an annual event and remained that way until 2018. Eventually, they realized that “it [took] a lot of time to get the inductees [set up]” and to organize the event, so now they are doing it every other year. Up until this point, they have inducted 29 people and are expected to nominate about six to eight people this year.
The only requirements to be nominated for the Hall of Fame is that the person has graduated or attended MHS, and they have been out of high school for at least ten years. The association aims to have one person nominated in each category, but sometimes it does not work out that way. The current categories are as follows: Arts, Business, Community Service, Education, Government, Media, Military Service, Sciences, and Technology.
No one on the MHSAA board has any say in the selection process. Dickinson explained that the selection is done by a committee formed of Malden people, “preferably Malden High graduates.” Applications were sent out to alumni and community members earlier in the year and were expected to be submitted by March 2, this year.
Once all the applications had come in, the Hall of Fame Selection Committee reviews all of the forms and narrows down the nominees. They then report these names back to Dickinson so he can get in contact with the honories and notify them of the news.
This year the ceremony will be held on Friday, May 1, at 6 p.m. at Anthony’s in Malden. All of the money that they raise from the ceremony will be going into their scholarship fund. Before the ceremony, the MHSAA hosts a luncheon with all the inductees in the Gallery, where they will all get a chance to meet each other. After that, they have what is called a “Senior Assembly,” where the inductees get a chance to talk to Malden High seniors, compare their experiences, and share their stories.