Beth Thayer (far right) spoke on behalf of her family at Thursday’s dedication ceremony for John Wanless Memorial Field. Pictured, left to right: Leah Thayer, Ethan Wanless, Nancy Wanless, Curt Bisarek, and Beth Thayer. Photo taken by Nicolette Nauman, HSE Editor.

Hillsboro Dedicates New Softball Field To Long-Time Coach

On Thursday, June 3, the Hillsboro School District held a dedication ceremony for the new softball field, located between the elementary and HS/MS buildings. The field was spurred into creation thanks to a donation made by the Wanless family.

Following this initial donation, additional donations came in from community members, including the Slama family and Andy and Rhonda Peterson. Over the past year, work has been ongoing, with time allotments needing to be made to ensure that both the infield and the outfield were ready for game day.

The decision to dedicate the field in memory of John Wanless, a longtime Hillsboro teacher and softball coach, was one made early on in the process. District officials voted to approve the dedication during their monthly board meeting in January of 2020, with the inciting donations being made in the fall of 2019. 

Curt Bisarek, superintendent for the Hillsboro School District, opened up the ceremony with a quote from Denzel Washington, reflecting on the importance of giving back, of leaving behind a legacy based not on material wealth or accomplishments, but rather on what you’ve given back with the time you’ve had. 

Members of Wanless’ family, including his wife Nancy and his children, Beth and Ethan, joined Bisarek by home plate. Beth delivered a short speech on behalf of her family, detailing the importance of softball in her father’s life and recalling her own experiences with Coach Wanless.

Following Beth’s speech, those present were asked to crack open a can of Coca-Cola and take part in a toast to Wanlass’ memory. And with that, the ceremony came to an end, and the Hillsboro Girl’s Softball team took to the John Wanless Memorial Field for the first time.

“A long-time Hillsboro teacher and softball coach was the starting point [for this project],” Bisarek said during the ceremony. “We hope this field is a fitting tribute to one who faithfully served for so many years.”

Hillsboro Sentry Enterprise

839 Water Ave
Hillsboro, WI 54634

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