Dec. 15, 2018
After years of collecting, categorizing, and caring for the Geneva Vikings’ rich athletic history, Geneva High School is unveiling a new, digital athletics archive to the community — and inviting them to help close gaps between the years.
The GHS Athletic Archives website is now displayed at the GHS Contest Gym Foyer on a large, touchscreen TV mounted across a locally handmade trophy case. Its location is ideal for fans to gather and interact with while attending home games and activities, says Athletic Director Dave Carli. “We have such a rich athletic history in Geneva,” he said. “We are now trying to display that tradition in one location.”
Carli had learned of such a digital archive from other high schools. So, he turned to Assistant Athletic Director Matt Hahn. “Matt has just run with the project. He takes such great pride in his work.”
Hahn, who also is the social studies department chair at GHS, combined his passion for history and sports and poured it into this project. He says he began gathering photos and records several years ago that had been found throughout halls and corners of the school. He then began organizing, and cross-referencing. “It will never be finished,” he said. “It’s been a labor of love — more work than anticipated, but it’s worth way more than anticipated.”
The website is also accessible from any computer or mobile device, so community members can browse from anywhere in the world, Carli added. The site is organized into three main categories of accolades: Athletes, Teams, and Hall of Fame. Under the Athletes section, the categories displayed include All-Conference, All-State, and State Qualifier. Under the Teams section, visitors can search by Sport, Graduation Year, or Award (Conference Champions, Regional, Sectional, or State). Under Hall of Fame, visitors can search by Individuals or Teams.
Some of the records date back as far as the 1920s, but there are gaps that remain, and the community is encouraged to help source information or provide copies of photos if they have them tucked away in scrapbooks or newspapers. “We are asking that our community visit the website, browse the categories that exist, and send us copies of any photos or names that you may have that are missing,” Hahn said.
Community members are asked to allow the high school time to collect and cross-reference all submissions. While the high school would love to collect all sports history, to keep the project manageable they ask only for submissions that fall into the categories that currently exist on the website.
This project also could not have been realized without the support and generosity of many others, Hahn and Carli agree. The Geneva Vikings All Sports Boosters purchased the touchscreen monitor and software for this project. Geneva parent Tom Kohorst hand-built the immense wooden shelving case that will eventually house school trophies and awards. The school district’s technology and operations & maintenance departments offered their expertise to install the TV and lighting units. And countless staff and community members have already contributed photos and information to help enrich the site contents.
This is the first time Vikings’ history has been captured in this way, said Carli. “You would have to go to the library archives otherwise, but it wouldn’t be displayed and organized in such a rich way.” The website also displays the current athletic schedule and the department’s Twitter feed.
“This is for our community,” Carli said. “We hope everyone enjoys seeing and celebrating these athletes from long ago.”