Five members of the Centennial community were inducted into the Centennial School District Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 28, 2022. The Class of 2022 are Jill Becken, Elizabeth Eaton, Brian Hegseth, Jane McDonald for distinguished service, and Mark Mattson ('84) as a distinguished alumnus.
The district’s Hall of Fame recognizes its alumni and members of the community for their professional accomplishments and commitment to youth and its communities.
“The Hall of Fame Class of 2022 represents commitment to students, families, our Centennial communities, and our country,” said Jeff Holmberg, superintendent of the Centennial School district. “We are honored to induct five individuals into our Hall of Fame this spring to honor distinguished service and an outstanding graduate of Centennial Schools.”
The Class of 2022
Jill Becken, for distinguished service: Teacher and girls basketball coach from 2000-2019. Becken is honored for her dedication and development of a level of excellence of the Centennial Girls Basketball Program, for the caring relationships she built with the many skilled players and coaching staff, and for positively impacting students, giving them experiences and leadership opportunities. Becken’s Centennial coaching career record of 281 wins and 64 losses as head varsity coach for 12 years led to eight conference championships, five section championships and six state tournament appearances (five in 12 seasons) which includes the titles of state runner-up in 2009 and placing third in 2019 when she wrapped up her coaching career. Becken can also claim six, section coach of the year awards and was named 4A State Coach of the Year in 2005.
Elizabeth Eaton, for distinguished service: Student Assistance Program Coordinator from 1983-2019. Eaton is honored for the lasting impact she made on Centennial students and the community and for the creation of programming and opportunities that continue today. Eaton launched a student Peer Leader group, co-founded the Gay Straight Alliance, rallied the community for blood drives, setting donation records while teaching students the importance of giving back to the community. She also worked with Peer Leaders and staff on the Special Needs Prom. She worked to ensure opportunities for all students. Eaton’s impact on the community includes her work with local churches and the development of CONFAB, with a local pastor, to collaborate with the Centennial Area Ministerial Association on local issues and needs. She also worked with partners on responses to community crises: Project Purple which supported the prevention and response to domestic violence, and she organized “Every 15 Minutes,” first offered in 2011 and most recently, in 2019 with the “Arrive Alive” program, in partnership with the Blaine Police Department.
Brian Hegseth, for distinguished service: Centennial High School Activities Director from 1992-2019. Hegseth is honored for creating long-lasting experiences for students and providing them a sense of belonging and feeling connected; for ensuring top-quality programs and opportunities; for guiding and building relationships with coaches; and supporting Centennial High School. Hegseth saw tremendous growth in the communities the district serves while at Centennial and celebrated the first team state championship (boys hockey, 2004) proving Centennial had strong programs. Hegseth’s leadership has been acknowledged as being named a three-time Section Activities Director of the Year, Nominated by the Minnesota Activities Director Association for the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators National Distinguished Service Award for length of service, accomplishments and contributions at the state, local, and national levels; named the State of Minnesota Class AA Activities Director of the Year and the Northwest Suburban Conference Distinguished Service Award; and served as Board Member of the Minnesota State High School League.
Jane McDonald, for distinguished service: Teacher, coach, and curriculum and professional learning coordinator at Centennial Schools from 1985-2018. McDonald is honored for her connections with students to support learning and addressing social and emotional needs, for her work to push staff excellence in education, for her work in and outside the classroom to prepare students to be positive contributors to society, and for shifting the school community to be more collaborative, thoughtful, and inclusive while keeping students and staff at the heart of her work. McDonald was the National Honor Society advisor for several years, focusing not only on the “honor aspect” but also on “society,” encouraging students to give back to their community and become positive contributors to society. McDonald also coached her love of sports as the varsity coach of girls and boys cross country and boys and girls track, and co-led student support groups at the high school for girls who were struggling emotionally and/or socially. McDonald truly supported all students—from learning in the classroom, to coaching, to helping students with social and emotional needs.
Mark Mattson (’84), Retired Chief Petty Officer, United States Navy SEAL, distinguished alumnus: Mattson is honored for his courage and determination to become a Navy SEAL, for giving his very best to serve our country, and for making sacrifices to protect our freedoms. Mattson joined the Navy, enrolling in the Navy Future Sailors Delayed Entry Program while still a student at Centennial High School, signing up to join before the start of the initial training. Mattson served much of his years as a SEAL with SEAL Team 2, a unit stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia that specialized in mountain operations, and because of that training he served deep in the Afghanistan mountains on the search for Al-Qaeda. When not on tour, Mattson was a SEAL instructor at the Naval Special Warfare Command, training the SEAL Team 3 in California. After retirement, Mattson worked as a contractor for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Alexandria, Virginia. Between his service and contracted work, Mattson spent five years in Iraq and five years in Afghanistan.