Reader Contributed Schools Sports

Conard Alum Says West Hartford Public Schools Are ‘A Citadel of Learning’

Betty Remigino-Knapp (center) with Hall High School Adminstrative Assistant Maryanne Seguro (left) and Conard High School Administrative Assistant Kerry Roller at the CHSCA Banquet. Submitted photo

This article has been submitted by James A. Johnson, Conard ’60, and has been dedicated to West Hartford Athletic Director Betty Remigino Knapp who has been honored as the 2016 Athletic Director of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.

Betty Remigino-Knapp (center) with Hall High School Adminstrative Assistant Maryanne Seguro (left) and Conard High School Administrative Assistant Kerry Roller at the CHSCA Banquet. Submitted photo

Betty Remigino-Knapp (center) with Hall High School Adminstrative Assistant Maryanne Seguro (left) and Conard High School Administrative Assistant Kerry Roller at the CHSCA Banquet. Submitted photo

Submitted by James A. Johnson

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” – Vince Lombardi, Coach Green Bay Packers

For the uninformed Betty Remigino Knapp is retiring after 20 years as the West Hartford Athletic Director. As the Track Coach at Conard High School, she won state titles in 1978 and 1979. At UConn she had an exemplary record as Head Cross Country & Track Coach and many other accomplishments.

What do Fred Hornbruch and Jimmy Johnson have in common? They were in homeroom together for three years, members of the basketball team, and were captain of the track and basketball teams, respectively. They were more than just athletes at Conard High School in West Hartford, CT. This article is not about points, rebounds, field goals, rushing yard,s or the quarter mile run. This story is about what participation in sports has done for them in their adult lives.

Fred Hornbruch. Submitted photo

Fred Hornbruch. Submitted photo

Fred was a bona fide All-State Football player and Co-Captain of the Track Team at Conard. As genuine student-athlete he graduated from Yale University and later earned an MBA degree at Stanford University. Since the mind and body work in tandem Fred has participated in a bevy of Triathlons over the years. Today Fred is a career coach offering entrepreneurial advice and consulting to start-up organizations. He helps to bridge the gap from where you are today to where you want to go. Visit Fred at www.PhileasFoggsVentures.com and www.FredHornbruch.com to see what he can do for you.

Frequently, I have been asked how I got to be James A. Johnson, Esq. First, my father has the same name. He was born in Hartford and attended public schools. My mother was born in Bridgeport. This union produced three girls and this writer. Second, both of my parents were professionals.

Classmate Mark Blount and his wife. Submitted photo

Classmate Mark Blount and his wife. Submitted photo

What I did at Conard and in the Central Connecticut Interscholastic League (CCIL) was take a game that was essentially horizontal and occasionally vertical and made it supremely vertical and diagonal. And there it remains to this day. In rebounding, I was very quick to the ball, taking rebounds with one hand and whipping an outlet pass to Billy Julavits on the wing.

Self Image

Each of us carries within a mental picture of ourselves. This self-image is our concept of the kind of person we are. Self-image is the foundation upon which character and personality are developed. Failure in life is inevitable. The key is how you react to failure. A leader is never subdued my failure because he or she realizes that success is failure turned insight out.  Remember that every failure and adversity carries within it the seed of an equivalent benefit. If you can recognize that seed and plant it into action – you will have an abundant harvest in the future. If you do not believe me, ask Fred Hornbruch. For those of you who have a healthy self-image, try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Self-esteem is the key to living a better life. This is the reason I share information with you.


Simply put, West Hartford Public Schools consistently rank very high among surveys of the Best Schools in America. Ask the admission officers at Yale if my statement is accurate. Moreover, another one of our classmates not only graduated Yale, but is a professor at Yale – right now.

Keep in mind, Faith is not about everything turning out okay; Faith is about being okay no matter how things turn out. No matter what similarities or differences Johnson and Hornbruch have, it is their love of sports that brings them together. It is the vehicle by which life lessons are learned and good memories linger.

How to win and more importantly how to lose are crucial survival techniques. Failure is the index to life and is one of life’s testing devices. It is also the measure of success power. How we feel about ourselves affects every aspect of our lives. Self- image is the all-encompassing secret to success or failure. How did Hornbruch and Johnson handle failure? We will never know the plethora of failures and disappointments each endured. Insight into this question can be gleaned by past achievements and what they are doing today. Fred Hornbruch is a career coach in business and publishing. Jimmy Johnson is a successful attorney licensed in Massachusetts, Michigan and Texas. Keep in mind, success is a journey not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.

In closing, my mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, and some style.

About the Author

James A. Johnson is an accomplished trial lawyer and concentrates on Entertainment & Sports Law, serious Personal Injury and Insurance Coverage. Jim is an active member of the Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas and Federal Court Bars. He can be reached at www.JamesAJohnsonEsq.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »