by Rich Rosentreter
Three new members were recently announced as inductees to the Tupper Lake High School Sports Hall of Fame - Faith Bedore McClelland, Joshua Dupuis and Kathleen Bigrow and there will be an induction ceremony taking place on January 20 to honor each one.
The Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1987 by the Tupper Lake student council, under the direction of boys basketball coach Steve Skiff, in order to recognize outstanding athletic achievement, dedication and service among the community, students and coaching staff.
Faith was selected because of her achievements on the basketball team, Josh for his accomplishments on the football and track teams and Kathleen, who passed away in 2014, was selected for her support as a fan and dedication to covering Tupper Lake athletics as a photojournalist.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Hall of Fame and this will be the 25th class being inducted.
The Free Press recently contacted Faith and Josh to get their reaction to being bestowed with the honor of entering the local school’s Hall of Fame. Tupper Lake Athletic Director Dan Brown also provided the some information on the two student athletes.
Faith Bedore McClelland
Faith scored 1,194 points as a member of the Ladyjacks, the most for any female basketball player in Tupper Lake School history. She had 103 three-pointers averaging 1.3 per game. In her career, she had 64 games where she had double figures for scoring out of 83 total games.
Faith played varsity basketball all four years of high school and in her career she was a three-year Division II All-Star, three-year All-CVAC All Star, named to the Press Republican All-Star Team (as a senior). Also as a senior, she was the second leading scorer in the CVAC and netted 402 points during that season.
Faith said she was pleased to be represented among Tupper Lake finest student athletes who have been named into the Hall of Fame and it gives her a special reason to reflect upon the past.
“It is an honor to be inducted into a group that includes so many accomplished athletes!” she told the Free Press. “It brought back so many wonderful memories. As adults we kind of move on with our lives and get caught up in the day to day of here and now. It was nice to take a few moments to reflect on such a wonderful time in my life.”
Faith said that playing sports in the community is a time she will always cherish and fondly remember. She also praised the efforts of everyone involved in organizing and assisting in the school sports programs.
“I loved every single moment of Tupper Lake High School basketball. The smells, the sounds, the fans, my teammates, my coaches who spent endless weekends, evenings, holiday vacations, summers and more to give us the gym time that we wanted. It was such a special time in my life,” she said. “I would do anything to go back in time to play one more game!”
Josh was a 2004 graduate of TLHS. During his sophomore year on the varsity football team he was named to the First-team CVAC All-Star Team as a defensive end. He had 16 sacks and won the Unsung Hero Award that season. In his junior year on the team that won the Class C Division Title, he was named as the Press Republican All Area Football Defensive Player of the Year. Dupuis also was named to the First-Team CVAC All-Star Team as defensive end for the second consecutive year.
Josh also played indoor track throwing the shot-put and was undefeated in league meets. He finished in second place at the state meet. He also played outdoor track and again finished in second place at the state meet.
In his senior year he played on a football team that earned another Class C Division title and Josh received the Outstanding Defensive Linemen Award. During the winter's indoor track season he finished second at the state meet in shot-put for the second year in a row and broke the school record. He earned the Most Dedicated Award for his effort. During the spring's outdoor track season, he threw both the shot and discuss. In shot-put he set a new Section 7 and school record - a record that was stood for 42 years within the section. Joshua broke this record five times during the season. At the state meet he finished in fourth place in the discus and first place in the shot-put.
Kathleen, who worked for the Free Press and Adirondack Daily Enterprise covering sports among other things, passed away in 2014. The Free Press recognized her in an editorial as “Tupper Lake’s premier photographer for decades, was known by generations here as the hard-charging fictional journalist, ‘Brenda Starr.’ She considered it a compliment.”
The editorial also described one of her experiences taking photos of a Lumberjacks football game. She was about 75 at the time.
“One time Kathleen was on the sidelines of a local football game when she was so affixed on the game looking down through her lens, she didn’t notice an errant ball carrier who bowled her over and broke her leg. That didn’t keep her down long though. She was back on the beat a few weeks later- hobbling to get to assignments.”
“Kathleen was one of the most dedicated and hard-working people I've ever known,” Free Press Publisher Dan McClelland said this week.
He said Kathleen, a native of Saranac Lake, began her career as a local photographer, shortly after her marriage to Bert Bigrow of Tupper Lake.
For a time she was the Tupper Lake reporter for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and she loved the local police beat and filed many stories about some of the mishaps and arrests in the community. In the 1950s and 1960s Tupper Lake was covered by a number of major regional newspapers like the Syracuse Post-Standard and the Watertown Daily Times and the Saranac Lake-based daily was trying to break into that market. Kathleen, who sometimes began her stories with “Rumor has it...” and who was never interrupted by the truth, was credited with greatly helping the Enterprise grow its subscriber base during her years there, Mr. McClelland said.
After she left the Saranac Lake newspaper she continued to write local news for the Watertown Daily Times. She also submitted her photographs to the Tupper Lake Free Press for publication on a regular basis.
“In 1977 when John Morris and I purchased the Tupper Lake Free Press one of the best things we did was to hire Kathleen as our part-time photographer. For nearly two decades she covered almost every event in the community, taking thousands of photographs to that end.” Kathleen was up every morning at 5a.m. to develop her photos in her basement dark room. She also worked in the Free Press dark room with a giant Kenro process camera, which converted her photographs through the photomechanical transfer process into screened prints suitable for the offset printing process, he added.
“Kathleen was a big fan of local sports and she attended and covered with her photography most junior varsity and varsity games here. It would be unusual here if you played sports in the 1960s through the 1980s that Kathleen didn't take your team picture.”
“She loved to see kids giving their all to their favorite sports and she dedicated herself to doing her best to chronicle that!” according to Mr. McClelland.
After Kathleen retired from the photography business in the late 1990s, she opened up an antique shop, The Sorting Gap, on Park Street and ran it for at least a half dozen years. It was a place where many older locals stopped on a regular basis to catch up on the news of the day. Conversations routinely centered on Adirondack Club and Resort, of which she was a robust supporter.