It was a celebration of orange and black Tuesday at A.C. Brase Arena with the annual Central High School All-School Recognition Banquet.
It was only fitting in the end that it turned into a toast for a man who many say bleeds orange and black -- 'Mr. Tiger' Terry Kitchen.
Somewhere between the announcement of the Darla Pannier Award recipient -- Sarah Hyslop -- and Lou Muegge Award winner -- Trevor Blattner -- the proceedings hit an unexpected detour when Central principal Mike Cowan took the podium. Central's Hall of Fame had just opened its doors to five former standouts with the inductions of Thomas Brennecke, Cory Crosnoe, Bill Atchley, Steve Mosley and the 1962 state baseball champions.
As Kitchen -- a former Central athlete, Tigers baseball coach and current athletic director -- began to get up to introduce the final award, Cowan sent a simple command his way.
"Coach, sit down!"
He comically launched into a vintage Kitchen fire-and-brimstone impersonation.
"I feel something coming over me . . .," Cowan said, shaking as he mocked an earlier Kitchen tirade that bled orange and black.
Added to the Hall
Cowan then announced that Kitchen, who turned 50 just a day earlier, was the latest inductee. A red-faced Kitchen buried his face on the table, occasionally wiping tears, as Cowan paid tribute. For once, a stumped Kitchen was short on words when he took the stand.
Kitchen said afterward he didn't think he was eligible, being the athletic director and on the hall of fame selection committee.
"I was just shocked," Kitchen said. "That caught me off guard and I was speechless, but what an honor. Man, what an honor. This is the highest honor I've ever received here at Central High School. I'm just so proud to be an employee of Central High School and work for the Cape Girardeau Public Schools. What an honor."
Kitchen was a former Lou Muegge Award winner, an honor bestowed to Blattner, an all-state goalkeeper for Central's soccer team and two-time all-state tennis player.
"It's humbling," Blattner said. "It's great to have a chance to be along with some of the names on the list -- O.J. Turner, Ross Conner, the guys I looked up to the last four or five years. It's great to be in the same category as those guys."
Hyslop, who also won the girls' scholar athlete award, was second-team all-state her senior year in basketball after leading the Tigers in scoring and rebounding. A 5-foot-10 center, Hyslop, will play basketball next year at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The Pannier Award is given in memory of former Central basketball standout Darla Pannier, who still holds most of the school's records.
"From what I've heard she was a great person and player, so it's a great honor to get an award named after her," Hyslop said.
Central all-state soccer player Jon Mark Thompson was the recipient of the male scholar athlete award.
Dustin McKinnis and Sarah Wernsman received the All School Booster Club Scholarships.
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