George Voskerchian, class of 1950, is an inductee into Bennett’s 2008 Sports Hall of Fame in the category of Special Achievement. Voskerchian spent more than 35 years as a football official, including appearances at many Thanksgiving Day Harvard Cup Championship games. He officiated gridiron college games, as well as high school games, during his long tenure. Included in his list of awards is a Referee Of the Decade Award by WNY High School Sports in 1 991 , the John D. Burns Memorial Award, Section 6 Football Federation Award, NY State Association of Certified Football Officials Merit Award, and numerous citations recognizing his commitment to high school sports. During his athletic career at Bennett, Voskerchian lettered in football and track. In the fall, he displayed his churning scatback speed at running back. Legendary coach Fred Braun recognized Voskerchian’s versatility by using him on the interior line as well, depending on specific situations. Voskerchian played in the most famous high school football game in Buffalo High School annals. A record crowd of 51 ,988 fans jammed Civic Stadium on a chilly October 21 evening in 1 948 to witness the epic battle between Bennett and arch rival Kensington. Voskerchian’s speed transferred well to the track during the spring as he gained first team All-High honors as a member of the championship Bennett 880 relay team, which included Jack Scherer, Pat Dunford, and Jerry Schweibel. Voskerchian enrolled at UB upon graduation from Bennett, where a knee injury prematurely ended his football career. George ran track at UB in the 1 00 and 220 yard sprints. Voskerchian is also a member of the Harvard Cup Hall of Fame and was inducted into the UB Hall of Fame as the Russell J. Gugino Award winner. The Gugino Award honors alumni who, through time and resources, have made significant contributions to UB’s athletic program. Voskerchian currently lives in Amherst.
John Zeitler was one of Bennett’s outstanding athletes. He lettered for four years in baseball and three in basketball and football. He made All-High in football and baseball his senior year and was second-team All-High in basketball. In football his senior year, he led all city scorers with six touchdowns. In baseball he pitched all of Bennett’s games, recording five wins and one loss. He beat Riverside, 3-2, in the Cornell Cup championship game. The previous baseball season, 1 949, he was named second team All-High as an infielder when he batted .580.
Zeitler also starred on the Bennett American Legion baseball team that in 1 949 lost to Timon, two games to one, for the Erie County championship. Timon went on to win the New York State title.
Following his graduation in 1 950, Zeitler was faced with a tough decision. He was offered four-year athletic scholarships to Colgate and Michigan State. He choose Michigan State, where he played three seasons as a third baseman in an era before freshmen were allowed to play varsity. As captain in his senior year, he led the Spartans to the Big Ten championship and a berth in the College World Series. He hit .385 in the CWS and signed to play professionally in the Detroit Tigers’ farm system.
He did two things with the bonus money he received from the Tigers. He bought his mother a fur coat and his father a new car. Zeitler played two seasons of pro baseball and another five of semi-pro with Simon Pures of the Buffalo Muny League. He was recognized for his excellent play with Simons by being named to the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame.
After his pro and amateur baseball career, Zeitler entered the priesthood. Today, he is pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Lakeview and recently directed the building of a new $4 million church.
Don was a three sport athlete at Bennett participating in basketball and track, as a pole vaulter. he was best known, however, as a tough two way end in varsity football. Don was named first team All-High in both the 1948 and 1949 seasons for the Tigers. Don played on the 1948 squad that lost to Kensington before a still City of Buffalo record crowd for a sporting event, of over 52,000 spectators. Following his high school career, Don earned a football scholarship to Cornell University where he played one season. In January of 1951, with the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula, Don enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp. Don received the “Purple Heart”, in service to his country. After service, where Don did play some football at Camp Lejeune. He then enrolled at the University of Buffalo. There, a football injury cut his football career short.
Don’s work career was as a Sales Manager in the automobile industry, and later as a financial advisor with the Morgan Stanley firm. Don and his wife of 56 years, Mary Lou, reside in Palm Harbor, FL and have 5 children. Today, Don is a singer in a barbershop quartet, and is involved in a prison ministry, Kairos, an international organization in 31 states and 9 countries.