A military intelligence officer, a girls’ sports pioneer and a music industry mogul will be the first inducted into the Littlestown Hall of Honor.

After a 31-year career protecting American soil, Sharon Hedges will return to her roots when she is one of three honored during a halftime ceremony at the Littlestown Homecoming football game on Friday.

“I can’t believe it, but I’m honored that they chose me,” said Sharon Hedges, a retired colonel in the United States Air Force.

Hedges, a 1982 high school graduate, will be joined by Chad Smith, a 1990 graduate who is now the chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, as well as family members of Kay Crouse Sentz, a 1947 graduate and trend-setter for women’s sports in the 1960s before Title IX existed. Sentz died on Nov. 3, 2020, at the age of 91.

When Hedges was in school, she was part of a small class that all played sports, participated in band and chorus, and grew up together, she said. That familiarity with a tight-knit team of like-minded individuals served her well when she joined the military, she said.

During her career, she was deployed to support military missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, but turned her focus toward the homeland following the events of Sept. 11. She earned a masters’ degree in homeland security from American Military University, one of her four total educational degrees.

“Deployment was stressful but we always were part of a group of people in a similar situation,” she said. “You form bonds in situations like that. Those bonds continue because we all went through the same thing together.”

Now in Gettysburg, Hedges is living out a second career as a pianist, performing in high school and community musicals and providing lessons.

Smith was valedictorian of his class and attended the Governor’s School for the Arts, participated in all-state chorus and was on varsity club while at Littlestown. He earned a degree in European history at Tufts University, and also received a masters of music in opera performance at the New England Conservatory of Music. While there, he was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and an apprentice at the Central City Opera Company.

Among other recognitions, he was a guest presenter at the Royal Palace Amsterdam, named Music America’s 2016 Innovator, and has had profiles written about him in the New York Times, LA Times and the New Yorker.

Sentz took part in athletics and earned her claim to fame when she was inducted into the East Stroudsburg College Hall of Fame for basketball and field hockey. She returned to Littlestown to teach physical education and health for 35 years.

Sentz went on to win more than 20 gold medals in the State Games, and a gold in basketball and bronze in javelin in the 1993 Baton Rouge, Louisiana Senior Games. In 2000, she took part in the U.S. National Senior Sport Classic in San Antonio and won gold in basketball. As a reward, she got to play against the Harlem Globetrotters. She’s a member of the Adams County Hall of Fame for her field hockey coaching, and earned the Littlestown Living Legacy Award in 2016.

In addition to being honoring inductees during halftime, the Thunderbolt Foundation aims to enshrine members in a touchscreen virtual museum that will be featured in the high school lobby.

The first class of the Hall of Honor was elected by a governing body consisting of seven members. Five were district or community representatives and at least one was a school district employee or representative.

Alums must have graduated from the district at least five years before being nominated, and have spent at least two years in the district.

They must show they demonstrated significant achievements in humanities and arts, science and math, education, business, technology and engineering, athletics and contributions to health, welfare, or human rights of their local, state, national or international community.

Nominations are accepted annually and will remain on the ballot for five years.

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