(Jan. 31, 2019) – Wooster City School District (WCSD) is excited to celebrate the first annual Charles Follis Day on Feb. 3 in appreciation of one of Wooster’s most accomplished graduates.
In coordination with national Black History Month, Follis will be recognized during Wooster High School’shome basketball game on Feb. 5 and as the main subject of the WHS Performing Arts Center’s display case.
Follis, who is the namesake of Wooster High School’s Follis Field, was the first black professional American football player. He was also the first black catcher to move from college baseball onto a black professional baseball team.
Last year, Athletic Director Andy Kellar, high school Principal Tyler Keener, and senior student Henry Wright, traveled to the Ohio Statehouse as guest of Representative Scott Wiggam to witness the official signing of House Bill 229, which deems February 3 as Charles Follis Day in the state of Ohio.
Wright will deliver a short speech at the home basketball game on Feb. 5, providing a window into Follis’s life story and sharing details from the group’s visit to the Ohio Statehouse.
“In honoring Charles Follis at the upcoming home basketball game, we hope to raise awareness about Follis and his many achievements,” said Kellar.
Moreover, Follis will also be the subject of an Ohio Historical Marker, which will be established at Follis Field this coming summer. Markers are erected by local community sponsors in partnership with the Ohio History Connection (OHC) and describe the people, places, things and events of Ohio's past. Approximately 50 new markers are completed each year.
“We are eager to celebrate Charles Follis as part of Black History Month and all year long, as more people in the Wooster community become aware of his history and the impact he made on Wooster and the world of athletics,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs.