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Six individuals join the BHS Hall of Fame

The Burnsville High School Hall of Fame Class of 2011 represents the tremendous breadth of success achieved by members of the BHS community both at the school and beyond.

2011 Inductees are graduates Mary Ajax, Adam Bailey, John Bergman, Tom Osieski, Amy Stromwall and John Sullivan.

“The Hall of Fame honorees serve as an example of the quality education that BHS provides and has fostered over the years and as role models for current students and staff to achieve their own success,” according to Dave Helke, principal.

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.

2011 Inductees are:

Mary Ajax, a 1970 graduate of BHS, is the president and chief executive officer of 360 Communities. After graduating from Mankato State University (MSU) with a degree in psychology in 1974, she began working for 360 Communities (formerly Community Action Council) where she oversaw the expansion of the agency’s work in violence prevention including the first safe home in Dakota County built specifically to meet the needs of domestic violence victims. Under Ajax’s leadership, 360 Communities has become a significant presence in Dakota County with programs focused on school success, violence prevention, welcoming newcomers and building community. Ajax, who was recognized with the Minnesota Medical Associations “Stop the Violence” award in 2005 and with the MSU Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award in 2007, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Fairview Minnesota Valley Care System, chaired the Burnsville Noon Rotary and served as chair of the United Way Council of Agency Executives.

Adam Bailey was active in football and golf during his attendance at BHS. Graduating in 1994, he was named all-conference honorable mention in football in 1993 and 1994. He went on to play football at the University of Minnesota where he earned a degree in law enforcement. He now works as a police officer in the St. Paul Police Department and has twice been honored with the rare Medal of Valor. Bailey continues to support Burnsville football by returning to talk with the team about his experiences and about how important it is to have strong values and good morals for success in life.

John Bergman, class of 1965, played varsity football, basketball and baseball during his high school career. He was also a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Council, wrote for the school newspaper, served as drum major and was a member of the Homecoming royalty. He received his undergraduate degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and an MBA from the University of West Florida. Bergman was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve where he served until his retirement in 2009 as Lieutenant General. He flew helicopters and was a flight instructor until he left active duty in 1975. He continued in the Reserve and held posts in Rhode Island, Illinois, New York, Kansas, California, Louisiana and Germany. He served as chairman and secretary of the Navy Marine Corps Reserve Policy Board from 2001-2003 and as director of Reserve Affairs in Quantico, VA. In 2005 he assumed command of Marine Forces Reserve/Marine Forces North headquartered in New Orleans where he was responsible for training and readiness of approximately 100,000 Marine Corps Reserves and for representing the entire Marine Corps to the US Northern Command. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Joint Meritorious Service Medal, Single Mission Air Medal with Combat ‘V’ and numerous unit awards.

Tom Osiecki started the Burnsville boys' hockey program in 1966 and coached at BHS for 24 years. During that time, his teams were section champion six times, state runners-up twice and state champions twice. He was named Minnesota Hockey Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1986 and was inducted into the Minnesota High School Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame in 1995. He took a break from coaching high school hockey from 1990-1995 while he worked as a National Hockey League scout for the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars. He returned to BHS in 1996 as the girls' hockey coach. He then started the St. Olaf women’s hockey program and coached there from 2000-2004. He was recognized as the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2002. He returned to BHS and coached the girls team again from 2004-2006. He is a recipient of the Cliff Thompson Award, given to members of the hockey community who make outstanding contributions to the sport in Minnesota. Osiecki also coached football and baseball in the 1960s He also served as head coach of the BHS badminton team and won four state championships in that capacity.

Amy Stromwall is a 1989 graduate of BHS. She attended Hamline University where she was a Presidential Scholar from 1989-1993 and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1993. She was named a Division III All American swimmer in 1992 and 1993 and the National Collegiate Athletic Association Female Athlete of the Year in 1993. She holds school records in two events and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. She was also recognized as the Walter Kenyon Biology Award winner in 1993. Stromwall graduated from the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine in 1999 and now works in the area of sports medicine. She was recognized as one of the area’s "Top Doctors” by Mpls/St. Paul Magazine in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She serves as a physician for the Minnesota Twins, USA Swimming, Indy Racing League and the Indy 500. Stromwall was also a member of the U.S. National Amateur Triathlon Team from 1994-1996. She is a product tester for the Nike running department and served as a tester for the Speedo triathlon department.

John Sullivan, now deceased, was a student at BHS from 1979-1982. “Sully,” as he was known, was the team manager for football, wrestling and track and field. He continued working with the teams for more than 20 years, even after he moved to a group home in West St. Paul. He was described as “the spirit of the Braves/Blaze.” Sully’s presence at practices and games was an inspiration to team members. He cheered the teams on with lines like “State line road” and “Love you, guys.” His enthusiasm for the teams was contagious and team members rewarded him for his dedication with a letter jacket and cowboy hat that he wore to all the games. Many BHS sports followers remember Sully as the consummate fan and he was much appreciated for his unflagging and enthusiastic support of the athletes and their teams.

Posted: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 10:00