Teresa participated on 8 varsity squads at Bennett from her sophomore year through graduation, 2 volleyball, 3 swimming, and 3 girls track teams. Of these 8 teams, amazingly, 7 of them won the city championship in their sport. Individual accomplishments include All-High awards in swimming for the 100 yard breaststroke and the 1 60 medley relay. The times of 1 :1 9.1 for the breast stroke and 1 :41 .7 for the relay were both city records.
In track, Teresa was All-High in the 880 yard run, the 2 Mile relay, and the high jump. Played a large role with 3 undefeated track teams, Teresa set city records again in the 880 run with a 2:30.5 clocking, and the high jump with a leap of 5’4″. Her effort in the high jump earned her a place in the N.Y. State track meet in 1 981 , representing Section VI. Teresa was voted “Outstanding Female Athlete” at Bennett in 1981.
After high school, Teresa attended Alfred U. and Canisius College. She continued her athletic career by participating in volleyball and track in college
Darius Pridgen ‘81, is an Air Force veteran who received his B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from Buffalo State College and his M.A. degree in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College.
To be nominated for the Msgr. John Zeitler Memorial Award, individuals must possess an extraordinary dedication to Community and Family Life as well as an outstanding reputation as a spiritual leader in the community. This year’s nominee, Bishop Darius G. Pridgen, certainly manifests these fine qualities.
Bishop Pridgen is a mentor, community leader and organizer as the Senior Servant of True Bethel Baptist Church located in Buffalo. This church provides the community with food, clothing and shelter through their Taste of Faith Pantry and the Clothes Closet which extends help for individuals in need during difficult times. In 2015, under the Bishop’s leadership, a Mobile Outreach Van and Information Opportunity Bus were created to serve multiple areas
in the city. During the same year, Darius led the effort to build a Dollar General in the neighborhood.
Bishop Pridgen is also known as Buffalo Common Council President Pridgen. He is the first known cleric to be elected to public office in Buffalo’s history. He was first elected to the Buffalo Board of Education, where he served as Chairperson of the Big 5 School Districts and the Student Support Committee. He also served as Chair of the Rules Committee on the Council and currently is a member of the Board of Trustees at Medaille College.
To quote Bishop Pridgen, “I am called to build people who will build a community and who will change the world.”
John Nwachuku, a 1981 Bennett graduate, was All High 1st singles in tennis as a freshman and then as a sophomore at Burgard High School. After transferring to Bennett High School for his junior and senior years he again made All High first singles in tennis both years. This accomplishment borders on the miraculous. As far as is known no local Buffalo High School tennis star has ever accomplished this feat of being the number one Buffalo high school tennis player for four years in a row. Nwachukwu, who was and still is built like a body builder, relied on his punishing and powerful ground strokes to completely over power his opponents. “I owe a great amount of my success in tennis to Hank Banas, my tennis coach at Burgard, and Brian Vickery, my tennis coach at Bennett.” Nwachukwu was also instrumental in developing his brother Ross who became one of the greatest tennis players in WNY history. For the past 34 years he has been a hero as a Buffalo fireman. He has has three children that he is very proud of. They are: Noah 23, Michael, 18, and Tiffany 16.