More than 200 people gathered at Irmo High School’s Center for the Arts September 9 as the school inducted members into its inaugural Hall of Fame class September 9. The ceremony was presented on behalf of the Irmo High School Education Foundation.
The 2017 inductees included: Jay Burks (class of 1985), Leeza Gibbons (class of 1975), Courtney Shealy Hart (class of 1997), B. J. McKie (class of 1995) and retired teacher Marti Suber. The inaugural class was comprised based on specific criteria set by the Irmo High School hall of fame committee, and letters of nomination from the public.
“What a great night it has been inducting these wonderful representatives of Irmo High School into our first ever Hall of Fame class,” said Irmo High School principal David Riegel. “These five individuals impacted the lives of many and truly represent what being a Yellow Jacket is all about. This was such a special moment for not only the inductees, but for the entire Irmo community and it was amazing to honor them and their families.”
Burks is an accomplished United States Air Force Officer who quickly moved through the ranks being promoted to Brigadier General. Burks currently holds a number of positions in the Air Force including director of manpower, personnel and resources. He also serves as chief of medical service corps at the Office of the Surgeon General in Virginia. Burks is responsible for accessions, development and management of 960 healthcare administrative professionals.
Gibbons is an Emmy-award winning American talk show host and is one of the most well-known pop culture icons on television. After serving as a correspondent and co-host for Entertainment Tonight for 16 years, Gibbons was recently crowned the winner of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, where she raised over $700,000 for her charity. Leeza’s Care Connection opened its second location in Irmo last summer, and offers free services to family caregivers, encouraging them to call on their courage and summon their strength for the long journey ahead.
Hart is a decorated Olympic swimmer, winning two gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Following her professional swimming career, Hart has served as the head coach of the Georgia Tech swimming and diving program for the past eight years. She is one of just three women to lead both men’s and women’s programs in Division I NCAA athletics. Over the last four years, Georgia Tech swimming and diving has set 14 program records under Hart.
McKie is one of the best men’s basketball players to step foot on the court for the University of South Carolina. He finished his playing career as the Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer with 2,119 points and was honored by the Southeastern Conference as a “SEC Basketball Legend” as part of its class in 2011. McKie was named the 1996 SEC Freshman of the Year and helped the Gamecocks to two NCAA tournament appearances. He currently serves as associate head coach of the men’s basketball program at Charleston Southern University.
Suber served as a theater teacher at Irmo High School for 30 years. During her tenure, Suber taught theater classes and started both the drama club and thespian society. She touched the lives of her students by making them feel like authentic contributors to the arts and taught them to reach for the stars. A few of her students went on to pursue theater arts careers in New York and Hollywood. Suber was loved by her students and eventually made a tradition of presenting her seniors with a framed motto that read “Good is not enough, make it sparkle.”
WIS TV anchor Judi Gatson emceed the event and the inductees were honored by student organizations at Irmo High School followed by a catered dinner in the school’s “Main Street” corridor. Inductees were also recognized at halftime of the Yellow Jackets football game vs. Laurens September 8.