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Mark Quinlan Inducted into Centennial Hall of Fame

May 09, 2019
Mark Quinlan, center, in wheel chair with John Eret, Tom Breuning, Brian Dietz and Brian Hegseth
Hall of Fame inductee Mark Quinlan with (from left) John Eret, Principal Tom Breuning, Superintendent Brian Dietz, and Activities Director Brian Hegseth.

Mark Quinlan was inducted into the Centennial Hall of Fame on May 9, 2019. The induction was held in the Centennial Performing Arts Center prior to the performance of "Becoming Memories." Quinlan was recognized for his commitment to the District from 1978-2019 as a teacher of language arts, speech, and theater at Centennial High School for 38 years, retiring in 2016, and for his continued dedication to students as director of theater and head speech coach.

Quinlan's career at Centennial includes directing 111 plays, 41 one-act play productions, and 39 musicals. Under his direction, theater and speech students have received numerous awards and honors, including conference speech team champion for 16 years,  and he's coached numerous state tournament qualifiers, including a school record of 21 state tournament qualifiers in one year. 

Quinlan coached the first state champion from Centennial in any Minnesota State High School League activity, and Centennial is also listed in the Minnesota State High School League record book for the most state finalists in one year: six in 1997 and five in 2000 and 2001. He has also coached six students who qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament, and three of those students advanced to the quarter finals, making it to the top 30 in the nation. 

Theater honors include an original participant in the Spotlight Education Program and the 2016 one-act play, "The Sparrow," was chosen to represent Minnesota at the International Thespian Festival.

His leadership, service, and dedication to the profession and the District is outstanding. He was the announcer for Centennial football and basketball games for more than 20 years, was the Centennial Education Association President, hosted numerous invitationals and tournaments, and served on several boards and committees. 

Quinlan was the 1999 recipient of the Centennial School District Outstanding Employee Contribution Award, Minnesota Speech Coaches' Association Class AA Coach of the Year Award, the 2005 Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Outstanding Individual in Communication and Theater Award, and the Minnesota Speech Coaches' Association Distinguished Service Award in 2010. He was awarded the national Speech and Debate Association Fifth Diamond Key in 2014, and is the first inductee into the Minnesota Thespian Hall of Fame.