Polk County Public Schools Announces 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees

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Polk County Public Schools Announces 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees

May 21, 2018

Polk County Public Schools is proud to announce the district’s Hall of Fame inductees for 2018. This year’s class includes a distinguished Commander in the United States Navy, an educator from The City College of New York, the first African-American judge in the history of Volusia County, and a well-respected administrator in local healthcare.

Each will be honored during an invitation-only ceremony on Thursday, May 24, at Lake Ashton Country Club in Lake Wales beginning at 6:30 p.m. Members of the media are welcome to attend; however, food is limited to invited guests only.

The Hall of Fame began in 1985 to honor Polk County Public Schools attendees who have made significant professional contributions in the arts, business, clergy, education, entertainment, government, law, military, medicine, sports or other fields. Inductees are chosen each year from nominees submitted by the public.

2018 Inductee Profiles:

Commander Terry Chauncey began his career with the United States Navy in 1980, achieving the rank of chief petty officer before earning his commission as a limited duty officer ensign in July 1991.  His 32 years of active duty included 18 years at sea and more than seven years of submerged service. His career included service in the submarine force, surface combatants and naval aviation. Commander Chauncey's many achievements include being named runner-up for the Navy League's John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership and receiving the Naval Submarine League's Rear Admiral Frederick B. Warder Award. He is also a two-time recipient of the Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Association Award. Commander Chauncey is a 1978 graduate of Mulberry High School.

Joyce Conoly-Simmons retired in 2011 from The City College of New York after 43 years of service to the institution. She began her career at CCNY as a counselor in the Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge (SEEK) Program, and later became a SEEK faculty member. She retired from CCNY's SEEK Program as the head of the Peer Academic Learning center. In her retirement, she has continued to serve CCNY, teaching as an adjunct professor in the Black Studies Program and volunteering with the CCNY Role Model Program. As a member of the CCNY commencement committee, Ms. Conoly-Simmons assisted in the hooding of many famous persons receiving honorary doctorates, including former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Ms. Conoly-Simmons is a 1961 graduate of Rochelle High School.

The Honorable Hubert Grimes is the acting president of Bethune-Cookman University. Judge Grimes has served as an executive at Bethune-Cookman since 2014, and previously served as the director for the Center for Law and Social Justice at Bethune-Cookman. A highly respected civic leader and university ambassador, Judge Grimes broke racial barriers in 1988, when he was elected as a county judge, becoming the first African-American judge in the history of Volusia County.  Prior to becoming a judge, he worked as an attorney for Central Florida Legal Services, Central Florida Community Development Corp., and his own private law practice. He is a 1971 graduate of Bartow High School.

Joel Thomas is the president and CEO of the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation. Mr. Thomas helped to facilitate the Florida State University College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program at Winter Haven Hospital, establish the hospital's new multi-specialty clinic in southeast Winter Haven, and secure major financial support for the area's nursing training programs. He is the author of numerous healthcare-related professional articles and has presented his writing and research at the national and state levels.  He is a 1975 graduate of Auburndale High.