By Nick Goralczyk
AKRON – The finishing touches are done and a local legend now has his legacy firmly cemented right where it belongs, at the heart of Tippecanoe Valley High School. The Jeff Shriver Viking Room was officially dedicated Friday evening in a special ceremony at the school prior to the Bell Game between rivals Tippecanoe Valley and Rochester.
The room, what was at one time Shriver’s classroom, was remade into a meeting room for Valley’s administration several years ago. Since Shriver’s passing, a project had been underway to re-dedicate the room in his honor. Friday’s ceremony included members of Shriver’s family as well as friends along with Valley administration.
Superintendent Blaine Conley gave an emotional speech to start the dedication and then led visitors into the newly dedicated room. The room is filled with Valley memorabilia, an eye-catching mural of a viking ship with Shriver at the helm and several plaques. The mural, painted by Valley grad Mariah Kaminsky in 2019, was the first portion of the renovation to the former Viking Room.
One of the plaques is for the newly introduced Jeff Shriver Viking Award. The award is for teachers in the Valley corporation that go above and beyond in helping the Valley community. The inaugural winner of the award was Micah Lukens, who had a huge role in helping get the room in order.
At the center of the room is a large, wooden table fashioned by Shriver and Lukens out of the old light poles from Smith-Bibler Memorial Field.
“A lot of work went into this,” explained Valley principal Brandon Kreska. “Teachers put in a lot of time, students were involved as well. The brains behind it was the Hughes family, Gene, Terry and Bea Hughes. They thought we needed to do something special for Shrive.
“This is really just a meeting room for the entire corporation, a lot of big decisions are made in that room. Shrive had such a big impact that we just felt like this was the right thing to do with dedicating this room to him.
“We were lucky to get some local donors to help make this happen,“ continued Kreska. “Pike Lumber and Craig Welding were huge in helping to get this done. We’ve got some signage in the room, a nice floor that our students put in and then, of course, the table made by Shrive, Micah and a few others. There is just a lot of nostalgia in that room.”
Shriver’s son, Ben, put up the sign up above the door at the beginning of the dedication. Another plaque is fixated outside the room with a quote from Shriver. At halftime of Friday’s game against Rochester, the Shriver family was recognized at midfield.
Jeff Shriver passed away in December 2019 after a battle with liver cancer. He served as a teacher in the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation for 29 years, teaching government, economics and social studies among a host of disciplines. He also made his mark as a football coach, serving nearly 30 years with the Vikings in several components, including head coach for nearly a decade as well as guiding the newly-formed Unified Flag Football team to a state finals appearance in its first year.