The Aurora Alumni Association inducted two into its hall of fame at its annual induction ceremony at The Aurora Inn.
Arthur J. Geigel II was inducted Sept. 27 into the Honored Educator and Staff Member Hall of Fame, and Jake Baechle, Aurora High School Class of 2006, was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame.
To be named to the Honored Educator and Staff Member Hall of Fame, the nominee must have been an outstanding and memorable teacher, administrator, or support staff member who made significant and positive contributions to the success of Aurora students and the Aurora City Schools. Nominees must have worked a minimum of 10 years in the district and be retired for five years.
Geigel was an English teacher at Aurora High School from 1966 to 2001. Born in Columbus, he graduated from Shaker Heights High School 16th out of a class of 335, was the recipient of the Shaker Square Citizenship Award and ranked third in a competitive scholastic award competition earning a scholarship to Hiram College.
At Hiram College he earned a four-year degree in three years, majoring in social studies and English, then joined the U.S. Navy. His college degree qualified him for Officer Candidate School where he ranked 15th in his class of 1,300. As a commissioned officer on the USS Desoto County he participated in active duty cruises in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Eastern Atlantic and St. Lawrence Seaway. His ship played a critical role at Guantanamo during the Cuban Missile Crisis and an uprising in Colon, Panama.
At the end of his active duty tour, Geigel became certified in social studies and started his teaching career in Aurora, where he taught American government in the middle school. Preferring to teach older students, the next year he gained an English certification and accepted a teaching position in English at Aurora High School – a position he continued until his retirement in 2001.
During his tenure at Aurora, Geigel continued his education with additional graduate school courses and workshops at Hiram College, Cuyahoga Community College, Rutgers University, Ashland College, Bowling Green University, Cleveland State University, Kent State University as well as a sabbatical in 1975-76 when he earned a master’s degree from the University of Akron.
Geigel’s career as an Aurora educator was marked by numerous recognitions, awards, and innovative curriculum endeavors, including the Jennings Scholar award, Aurora Teacher of the Year, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and being recognized twice as a Leader in American Secondary Education. He also was honored in 1997 for his students achieving the second highest writing proficiency scores in Ohio.
He was the English Department Chair from 1960 to 1986, served twice on the team that wrote the Ohio Test of Scholastic Achievement, developed the Senior Advanced Placement course, wrote the English Department Handbook, served as a core team member for the Early English Composition Assessment Program, created the Chaucer Project to disseminate vocational information to General and College Prep classes, was selected as a presenter at the Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts 40th Spring Conference, was a core member of the High School for the Future project, and developed the Senior Advanced Placement course.
In his retirement to Meadville, Pa. in 2014, Geigel has been writing poetry, setting up retail outlets, inspecting electronic chips, warehousing, visiting Ireland, and working as a finisher and extrusion line helper in a rubber products plant.
His wife, Mary Gay, died in 2016, but he still continues to pursue a variety of scholarly literature pursuits and personal interests including the Blues, movies, and looking forward to visits from his son, Art Geigel III.
Athletic Hall of Fame
Baechle was one of the school’s most outstanding athletes in track and cross country events from an era of unprecedented achievements by the Aurora High School track team. As a four-year varsity letter earner, he redefined the meaning of champion in a prolific four-year career that culminated with a state championship title in 2006 in the 800-meter dash. He also was a recognized academician who graduated cum laude and earned various CVC academic honors.
He attended the University of Redlands where he earned a degree in business administration and continued his running successes as a 2007 champion in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 4-by-400 relay. In 2008, he was runner of the year in cross country, a NCAA Division III National Qualifier in the 800 meter, and SCIAC champion in the 800 meter and 4-by-400 meter relay.
In 2009, he was a NCAA Division III National Qualifier in the 800-meter, SCIAC Conference Champion in the 800 meter and MVP at the University of Redlands in Track and Field.
He continued his athletic endeavors after graduating from college by completing the thru-hike of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2012 as well as the thru-hike of the 800 mile Arizona Trail in 2016.
He lives in Colorado with his wife, Karrie, where he is a Trails Technician for the U.S. Forest Service.
For more information on the Aurora Alumni Association, see www.auroraohioalumni.com.