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Kern, Fisher to be inducted into FSD Hall of Fame
Wallace A. Kern and Bill Fisher will be honored by the Frankenmuth School District this fall.
The fourth annual FSD Hall of Fame Banquet will be held on Friday, October 13, with a noon luncheon at the Bronner Performing Arts Center.
Kern will be honored as a Distinguished Alumnus and Fisher as a Champion for Children.
Kern and Fisher will begin their long weekend by dining with the Frankenmuth Noon Rotary Club on Thursday, October 12. Following their Friday luncheon, the two will ride in the 6pm Homecoming Parade and be recognized at halftime of the football game between the Eagles and Caro.
Tickets for the luncheon will be available next week. Call the FSD Office at 652-9958 to reserve a seat.
Wallace Kern has led a fascinating life, which is one of the reasons why he has been chosen to be honored. From farming to fighter jets, Kern has done it all, and what makes his story so inspiring is that his success has not come easily.
Kern grew up on an 80-acre farm just outside of Frankenmuth. He began his education at St. Lorenz Lutheran School in 1946, only knowing one word in the English language: butter.
His school experience was trying; he struggled with a speech impediment, stuttering, and his classmates bullied him mercilessly for it. His stuttering affected his self-esteem, and even though Wally has battled with its effects on his life since his school days, he now realizes that his stuttering made him more determined to overcome its debilitating effects. It made him work harder and want more.
At a time when many farm kids quit school after eighth grade, Kern found a passion in math and science. In these fields, Kern found a language in which he could fully immerse himself, one he could completely understand.
Kern also credits a special teacher, Mr. Robert Wallen, for having faith in his abilities as a math student. When Wally’s mother expressed her doubts about his chances of passing algebra, teacher Wallen convinced her to let him give it a shot. He passed the class successfully, which paved the way for increasingly difficult math classes and foreshadowed a spectacular career where equations and algorithms were just a part of his job.
Having grown up on a farm, Kern already fostered an intense curiosity about machinery, a curiosity that, in combination with his new scientific interests, would eventually propel him to the kind of career that most kids only dream about.
After graduating from Frankenmuth High School in 1958, Kern earned a bachelor’s degree with a focus on physics and mathematics. After attending Michigan State University with a graduate assistantship in physics, Wally began work as an electrical engineer on the Gemini program at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis.
For the rest of his career, he would work on highly-technical, cutting-edge projects in the golden age of the aerospace industry.
After his work on the Gemini and Skylab programs, Kern worked on some of the most capable military jets of the last half century, including the F-18 and F-15. He has worked on the guidance systems for Tomahawk missiles and smart bombs.
During his 39 years as an engineer, Kern has indeed worked on projects that everybody has heard of, but few truly understand, and he accomplished all in spite of scoring “quite low in academic proficiency tests upon entering his freshman year of college.”
“Wally is the definition of our small-town spirit, never giving up in the face of adversity, delivering more than he promises,” FSD Superintendent Adele Martin said.
Wally and his late wife Ann, and their two children, Katherine and Michael, spent many enjoyable summers touring Europe and exploring their genealogical history. Now retired, Wally still spends time gardening, woodworking, and studying local history, in addition to an avocation he picked up in high school, photography.
Bill Fisher is a man who has passed on his hobbies, passions and pursuits for future generations to enjoy. At Frankenmuth schools, Fisher works tirelessly to ensure that his love of archery and trap and skeet shooting remains fun and viable for years to come in the Frankenmuth area.
Fisher is the head volunteer for the FOX Club (Frankenmuth Outdoor Xplorers), and in that role. he coordinates the events, completes paperwork, writes grants and pays bills.
𠇊lthough Bill credits the many great volunteers who make this a great program and share his passion to introduce students to shooting and hunting, the FOX Club’s success is directly attributable to Bill’s connection with students and parents. He is the leader of the program,” E.F. Rittmueller Principal Kristen Hecht said.
Because of his love of shooting and hunting, Fisher is happy to help out whenever he can, showing up early and staying late to help students who need a little extra one-on-one time, and setting up special appointments for those who are interested in getting started in archery or shooting. He is patient and kind while enforcing the rules rigidly, teaching all kids that they can have fun, but they must treat weapons with great respect.
Fisher is proud to note that approximately 1,200 students and parents participate in FOX Club activities every year.
“His greatest enjoyment is seeing the smiles on the students’ faces when they break the first bird on the trap range and turn around and give their parents a thumbs up, or when they hit their first bullseye on the archery target,” Martin said.
“Seeing his love of archery and shooting perpetuated and watching them bring joy to a whole new generation makes Bill a champion, but his patience and understanding when dealing with kids is what makes him the 2017 Champion for Children,” Martin added.