IRMO, SC - Irmo High School International School for the Arts Principal Dave Riegel can often be heard saying “Irmo High has a proud past and a bright future.” As a way to honor that proud past, a community committee has been working to create an Irmo High Hall of Fame. This week the inaugural Hall of Fame Class was announced. The class includes: Leeza Gibbons, Jay Burks, B.J. McKie, Courtney Shealy Hart and Marti Suber.
Gibbons is a 1975 graduate and attended the University of South Carolina where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Gibbons is an Emmy Award winning American talk show host and is one of the most well-known pop-culture icons on the air. She served as a correspondent and co-host for Entertainment Tonight for 16 years as well as hosting her own syndicated daytime talk show, Leeza. In 2013, her book Take 2 became a New York Times bestseller. In addition to her impressive background in the field of entertainment and news media, Gibbons is an instrumental advocate for healthcare, wellness and caregiving. She recently was crowned the winner of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, raising over $700,000 for her charity Leeza’s Care Connection, where she has since opened a second location in her hometown of Irmo. The Care Connection offers free services to family caregivers, encouraging them to call on their courage and summon their strength for the long journey ahead.
Burks is a 1985 graduate. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Furman University and Master’s in Business Administration from USC. An accomplished United States Air Force Officer, Burks moved quickly through the ranks being promoted to Brigadier General. BG Burks is still serving in the U.S. Air Force as Director of Manpower, personnel and resources. He also serves as the Chief of Medical Service Corps at the Office of the Surgeon General in Falls Church, Virginia. As Director of Manpower, personnel and resources, he advises the Air Force Surgeon General on all aspects of planning, programming, budgeting and execution for a $42 billion Defense Health Program portfolio, and a $6.2 billion annual budget supporting 2.6 million patients and 75 military treatment facilities worldwide. As Medical Service Corps Chief, General Burks is the senior healthcare administrator in the Air Force and is responsible for accessions, development and management of 960 healthcare administrative professionals in the Corps.
McKie is a 1995 graduate and attended the University of South Carolina where he graduated in 1999. McKie is one of the most decorated Gamecocks in men’s basketball history. A native of Norfolk, Virginia, McKie finished his playing career as the Gamecocks’ all-time leading scorer with 2,119 career points and was honored by the Southeastern Conference as an SEC Basketball Legend as part of its class in 2011. McKie was named the 1996 SEC Freshman of the Year, and is just the 12th player in league history to earn Associated Press First-Team SEC honors for three seasons. The two-time team captain played in 123 consecutive games at the guard position, scoring in double figures 111 times and recording 38 games with 20 or more points. In 1997, McKie averaged 17.4 points per game to lead the Gamecocks to their first ever SEC basketball title. South Carolina appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1997 and 1998. McKie is one of five Gamecock players to have his jersey retired. Following his career at USC, McKie played professionally overseas before being hired as an assistant coach at Charleston Southern University in 2011. He was promoted to the role of Associate Head Coach in August of 2015.
Hart is a 1997 graduate and attended the University of Georgia where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Sports Studies and Communications. Hart swam collegiately for the Bulldogs and later became a two-time Olympic gold medalist at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Alongside three other U.S. swimming teammates, Hart won the 400-meter medley relay and the 400-meter freestyle relay. Following her success at the Olympics, Hart became the head coach of the swimming and diving program at Georgia Tech, a position she has held for the past eight years. She is one of three women to lead a men’s and women’s program at the collegiate level. In the summer of 2013, Hart was inducted into the Georgia Aquatic Hall of Fame, signifying both her achievements as a collegiate All-American and National Swimmer of the Year at the University of Georgia and as a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Hart, who has served on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Committee since 2012, has presided over a fantastic stretch for the Tech program that has seen multiple men’s swimmers compete in four straight NCAA Championships. Over the last four seasons, a total of 14 program records have been established in both swimming and diving.
Suber served as a theatre teacher at Irmo High School for 30 years. During her tenure, Suber taught theatre classes and started both the Drama Club and Thespian Society. She worked her magic engaging students and creating a legacy of excellence. Suber touched the lives of her students by making them feel like authentic contributors to the Arts and taught to reach for the stars. A few of her students eventually went on to pursue theatre arts careers in New York and Hollywood. Other students remained local and continue to touch the lives of current Irmo High students through their work in theatre and film writing. Suber retired in 2010 and continued to volunteer until 2012. Irmo High School’s current theatre director Lauren Sherr carries on the love, commitment and legacy for the performing arts that Suber instilled. Suber was loved by her students and eventually made a tradition of presenting her seniors a framed piece of paper that read “Good is not enough, make it sparkle.”
Riegel said, “Our inaugural Hall of Fame class is indicative of the outstanding students who walk the halls at Irmo High. Whether you are talking about academics, great teachers, the arts or athletics, Irmo High School International School for the Arts shines.”
An induction ceremony for the Class of 2017 will be announced at a later date this year.