BHS Hall of Fame Class to be inducted Oct. 8
An expanded class of 11 individuals will be inducted into the Burnsville High School Hall of Fame in 2021 after selection and induction were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The newest Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a free public ceremony on Friday, Oct. 8, in the school’s Mraz Center for Performing Arts. A reception will take place at 5 p.m. followed by a program at 5:30 p.m. and recognition during halftime at the football game that night.
The Hall of Fame Committee has selected the following for induction into the Burnsville High School Hall of Fame:
- Tori Dixon, Class of 2010, professional volleyball player
- Catherine French, Class of 1975, engineer
- Christine Hills, Class of 1985, pediatrician
- Ronald Holzhacker, Class of 1979, political scientist and professor
- Traci Laliberte, Class of 1985, child welfare practitioner, researcher and policy advocate
- Angela Rodel, Class of 1992, literary translator
- Martin Rothrock, Class of 1986, Air Force colonel and national security expert
- Vicki Roy, District 191 School Board member, community volunteer
- Peter Stathopoulos, Class of 1979, author
- Dave Wicker, Class of 1979, high school athletics administrator
- Cheryl Wunderlich, Class of 1982, author
The BHS Hall of Fame was established in 2006 as part of the school's 50th anniversary celebration. It is a way to recognize those who have made exceptional achievements in their field, significant contributions to Burnsville High School and unique contributions to their community on a local, state, national or international level. For more information, visit www.isd191.org/halloffame.
Tori Dixon, Class of 2010, is a professional volleyball player and member of the United States national volleyball team. In high school, Dixon earned four all-conference, three all-state and one All American awards from 2006 to 2009. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2014 having been named second team All America in 2011 and first team All America in 2012 and 2013, and helping the Gophers to the sweet sixteen of the national volleyball tournament in 2011 and 2013, and the elite eight in 2012. Since graduating, she’s earned 13 medals as a member of the USA national volleyball team and qualified for two Olympic games. Dixon also serves as a mentor and coach at volleyball camp for Give It Back Foundation.
Catherine (Wolfgram) French, Class of 1975, is a civil engineer recognized nationally for contributions in advancing her professional field. At Burnsville High School, French was vice president of the National Honor Society and active in soccer, track, yearbook and German club. She holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering, and became the first female professor in civil engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1984. She’s been honored for her teaching, leadership and research, including being named an American Society of Civil Engineers Distinguished Member in 2018, and the Women in Transportation Studies Minnesota Woman of the Year in 2017. French served as principal investigator and led the creation of the Multi-Axial Subassemblage Testing Facility in 2004, a first-of-its kind facility sponsored by the National Science Foundation to study earthquake engineering. Her research on reinforced and prestressed concrete structural systems has led to new guidelines to improve public safety.
Christine Hills, Class of 1985, is a renowned pediatrician and community volunteer. At Burnsville High School, she was a member of the Chamber Chorale, band, and track and field team. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and cultural anthropology in 1989 from the University of Minnesota, where she also earned her doctor of medicine degree in 2004. She is currently the president of the Children’s Heart Clinic and has been recognized in Minnesota Monthly’s “Best Doctors” issue. In 2017, she was chosen for the Minnesota Marfan Hero Award, having been nominated by the family of a child who was her patient and thanks to her work as an advocate for children with Marfan Syndrome. Hills is also a longtime volunteer with the Burnsville - Minnesota Valley Skating Club, and was recognized as the clubs volunteer of the year in 2020.
Ronald Holzhacker, Class of 1979, is a political scientist and professor, having spent most of his career studying and influencing policy around sustainable development, climate change and human rights. In high school, Holzhacker was a National Merit Commended Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota before getting a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1997. He has served as a visiting scholar at prestigious universities around the world, including the Sorbonne in Paris, the Science Center in Berlin, the University of Melbourne, and at Columbia University’s Institute for Human Rights in New York. He is currently the founding director of the Groningen Research Centre for Southeast Asia with research focused on sustainable development.
Traci Laliberte, Class of 1985, is a child welfare practitioner, researcher and policy advocate. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Minnesota State-Mankato, a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. Currently the Executive Director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, she has dedicated her career to supporting children and families, including by providing research to the Minnesota Legislative Taskforce on the Protection of Children and working to pass bi-partisan legislation for meaningful change in training and support for the children’s protection workforce. For her work, Laliberte has earned numerous awards, including the Outstanding Service Award from the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health in 2019.
Angela Rodel, Class of 1992, is an award-winning and internationally recognized literary translator. During her time at Burnsville High School, she participated in several activities, including Youth in Government and Model UN, and she was a member of the National Honor Society. She earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Yale University and received a Fulbright Scholarship to study linguistics at Sofia University in Bulgaria, an experience that greatly influenced her future career. She continued her studies in Bulgarian folk music and eventually founded her own translation company, becoming the leading literary translator from Bulgarian to English with seven of her translations published in the US and United Kingdom. Rodel has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant, a PENTranslation Grant, and won the 2016 AATSEEL Prize for Literary Translation. She has served as executive director of the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission since 2015.
Martin Rothrock, Class of 1986, is a colonel in the United State Air Force colonel and national security expert. At Burnsville High School, Rothrock was named outstanding offensive lineman for the 1985 state football champion team and served on the student council. He graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1990 and has earned four master’s degrees, including a masters in strategic studies from the US Naval War College, graduating with distinction in 2013. A two-time recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for outstanding leadership in a combat zone, Rothrock has also earned the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. During his career, he has managed programs or units that have been selected six times for Department of Defense Antiterrorism Awards and has also earned multiple volunteer appreciation awards for his service.
Vicki Roy is a longtime community volunteer and leader in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191. She served as a member of the District 191 Board of Education for 17 years, including 6 years as chair. In her decades of volunteer work, she has created and supported programs and organizations that directly benefit students, teachers and schools, as well as influenced education policy and funding. Roy has served on the Association of Metropolitan School Boards Executive Committee, the Alliance for Student Achievement, the Minnesota School Boards Association, the board of Parents United for Public Schools, former Rep. Jim Ramstad’s Education Advisory Committee, the Burnsville Economic Growth Committee, Foundation 191 and many more. She was a volunteer in the BHS Career Center for 10 years and proctored Advanced Placement tests for 30 years. She has been a driving force behind many District 191 programs, including Read for the Record and the BHS Hall of Fame. Roy earned the Burnsville Community Builder Award in 2005 and 2014, and District 191's John Coskran Volunteer Award in 2016.
Peter Stathopoulos, Class of 1979, was a writer and entrepreneur. A graduate of Yale University with a degree in 19th Century French Poetry, Stathopoulos had his work published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and New York Times. In his professional career, he created the first nationwide network of dentists for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. He was diagnosed with ALS at age 55. Before his death from the disease in 2021, he wrote “Traveling with the Fates: Vignettes from a Trip to Greece,” a memoir of his experience living with ALS and exploring the meaning of life in the context of classical Greek history and philosophy.
Dave Wicker, Class of 1979, is high school athletics administrator, teacher and coach. At Burnsville High School, he participated in football, hockey and baseball, before continuing his education at Bemidji State University, where he was a member of the baseball National Tournament Team, co-captain and elected to the team hall of fame. Wicker has spent his career in Minneapolis Public Schools as a math and physical education teacher, as well as coach, leading multiple teams to state tournament appearances. He’s been named region Athletics Director of the Year twice, selected to coach multiple all-star teams, and was elected to the Patrick Henry High School Hall of Fame in 2014.
Cheryl Wunderlich, Class of 1982, is an author and service coordinator. While at Burnsville High School, she was student council president, a member of the National Honor Society, played tennis and participated in band. Wunderlich earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and became the first female drum major at a Big Ten Conference school. She served as the Communications and Logistics Coordinator for “Hope for the Himalayas,” organizing five team service trips to Nepal to improve health care and education infrastructure and aid in earthquake recovery. Wunderlich is also the author of several devotional and Bible study books, including “Sacred Rest: Finding the Sabbath in Everyday Life.”