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The new name of the building was officially revealed to be the Dr. AJ Sellett Memorial Gymnasium at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday at L-P.
“The biggest thing that it comes to, when you’re going to name something for someone, is about service,” L-P athletic director D’Wayne Bates said. “Statistics are great but I think at the end of the day it’s service and not just athletics. We’re talking academic, community and the bigger picture of things.”
Sellett graduated from L-P four months shy of his 15th birthday in 1934. After earning a Bachelors in Science at the University of Illinois and graduating from Loyola School of Medicine in 1943, Sellett served as a captain of the Medical Corps in World War II.
Once he was through with school and aiding the wounded in war, Sellett came back to La Salle and started a medical practice in 1947. He served as a volunteer doctor for L-P and allowed many athletes to be Cavaliers.
“What Dr. Sellett did, he served the district,” Bates said. “The biggest thing from what I read about him is just what he did for our students. The medical check-ups, whether they were a student and couldn’t afford it or an athlete who needed a physical, he did what he had to do to get those kids the medical attention they needed over a long period of time.
“You look at something like that and he served the district and did it for free. I can argue for a lot of coaches, former (athletic directors) and former athletes. It looks good, but in essence, this came from our board president, ‘we’re paid to do that’. I think the fact that he served and did it for free, not just for L-P but the Illinois Valley, makes him very deserving of the honor.”
He was also on the L-P School Board from 1964-84, including three times as board president. Sellett was on the board when the construction of the gym, now named after him, came to place.
Sellett ran his practice for 55 years before shutting the doors in 2002.
The eight-person committee that selected the Dr. AJ and the new name of the gymnasium consisted of Superintendent Steve Wrobleski, school board members Jim Quesse and Rose Lynch, Booster Club co-presidents Jodi Weber and Mary Black, Lady Cavs basketball coach Hollis Vickery and L-P teacher Georgia Stohr.
“We had a number of really good names to consider,” Wrobleski said. “I think with Dr. AJ, really the number of folks who nominated him, he was a true Cavalier through and through. Through the communities deliberations, we really felt that Dr. AJ exemplified the qualities and the characteristics the committee established as far as what we wanted to use to determine who to name the gym for.”
The packet of information handed out by L-P Director of Communications Matt Baker said more than 20 different names were nominated to replace the West Gym.
Wrobleski said the decision wasn’t made by vote, but by discussion and consensus as the committee members gave their opinions and reactions to each of the 20-plus people. Also, the board had previously decided to name the building after an important community figure such as many of the other L-P facilities instead of naming it a general name such as The Cavalier Gym.
The official unveiling to the public will be a basketball game that the board feels would have meant something to Dr. AJ, who never missed an L-P home game and catered to the entire area—the St. Bede basketball game Jan.28.
“We’re excited about that because Dr. AJ had a lot of impact in terms of the families—kids, parents, grandparents—who attended St. Bede,” Wrobleski said. “We felt that would be a true community celebration where there is inevitably Dr. AJ has had as much impact on St. Bede in terms of his medical practice as he has here at L-P High School. We felt it would be a nice way to honor him and his family.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220=6995, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance
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