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Special Forces sergeant named 2016 Distinguished Alumni at Tigard High

This year’s inductees into Tigard High School’s academic hall of fame could be counted on one hand.

In fact, you only need one finger.

The school announced on Friday that Army Sergeant First Class David Nieradka would be inducted into the school's wall of Distinguished Alumni on April 29.

Each year the school inducts former students into its academic hall of fame, which recognizes graduates who went on to successful careers.

Nieradka Started in 2014, Inductees have included state legislators, Hollywood producers, scientists and business executives.

Nieradka graduated from Tigard High School in 1990 and currently lives in Lacey, Wash.

Nieradka, who serves in the 4th Battallion in the Army’s 1st Special Forces Group, has been deployed all over the world over the last 20 years, including South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Nepal and Mongolia. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, according to Tigard High School.

Nieradka is a two-time Bronze Star Medal recipient. He has also received a Purple Heart and four Army commendations, including one for valor.

Nieradka’s accomplishments didn’t just come from the battlefield. Nieradka is a two-time U.S. Open All-American wrestler, who placed sixth place in the 1998 world team trials and fifth place in the Olympic trials in 2000.

A ceremony is planned for Friday, April 29, where Nieradka will be recognized for his service. A plaque and high school photo of Nieradka will hang in the school’s cafeteria, complete with a biography of his accomplishments.

The goal, school officials say, is to honor the students who came before, and to inspire current students to follow their dreams.

"May they serve to remind us of the potential in all of us to transform knowledge and skill into action for the benefit of others, and may their lives continue to inspire current and future generations at Tigard Senior High School” reads an inscription above Distinguished Alumni Wall in the school's cafeteria.

Have an idea for next year’s additions? Nomination forms are available on the school's website or can be picked up at the school.

Meet the Tigard High School distinguished alumni

2016: David Nieradka

2015: Jim Howe, Robert Ragel, Dean Clark, Brad Cloepfil, Paul Philips, Mike Lester

2014: Harry Carsh, Kathy Lee Forhling, Mark Hass, Kirk Bodyfelt, Jeff Pintar, Christine Draper