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LaBrae honors Alfred Lopez

January 6, 2024

The Tribune Chronicle reports (January 5, 2024)
LaBrae renames gymnasium after Alfred Lopez
LEAVITTSBURG — LaBrae schools recently honored the legacy of a former superintendent, high school principal, science teacher and coach.

The Alfred Lopez Gymnasium was dedicated in honor of Alfred Lopez last weekend. His two daughters, Lisa Gregory and Michelle Fraelich, both of Champion and LaBrae graduates, accepted on his behalf.

School Superintendent Anthony Calderone said many people remember Lopez and his rich history in the community, having worked for Braceville and LaBrae schools for many years.

He said Lopez began as a science teacher and coach at Braceville High School in 1956.

Calderone said Lopez was a principal and superintendent for Braceville schools before Leavittsburg and Braceville merged to form LaBrae around 1970. Lopez became the high school principal before taking over as the superintendent of the new school district.

“He was a high school principal until 1975 and then became superintendent and served until his retirement in 1987,” Calderone said. “So many of you know the impact he had on the students who graduated from Braceville and LaBrae. But more importantly, he had a greater impact in his role serving with the Ohio High School Athletic Association. He was a professional educator who understood the value of education and educational athletics.”

Calderone said Lopez worked diligently to ensure opportunities for all student athletes, including females.

“He played a pivotal role in granting opportunities for young girls in softball, volleyball and basketball, not only locally, but on a greater scale statewide,” Calderone said.

Lopez served with the OHSAA for more than 40 years.

Calderone said because of Lopez’s impact locally and across the state, the Board of Education felt his legacy should be remembered by naming the gymnasium after him.

Fraelich said she and her sister were proud to know their father was being recognized.

“It’s so overwhelming to know he is being honored in this way. He is very deserving of this,” Fraelich said.

She said her father’s impact was felt throughout the history of the school district.

“He did a lot for this school system,” she said. “He worked with the board on the consolidation of the district. He worked with the state to make athletics possible for boys and girls.”

Board President Russell Sewell said, “Al was very involved in the schools in so many ways. He was known by many in Braceville Township and Warren Township. He was known across the state.”

Sewelll said he remembers being in Las Vegas with Lopez and he was even recognized by people there.

“He was so well-known for all he did with athletics. He attended all the events when he was a principal and superintendent,” Sewell said. “He was always supported by whatever he did. If you needed anything, you could ask Al.”

Calderone said Lopez was inducted into the Trumbull County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.

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