South Houston senior Getzani Mogul, a member of the school's NJROTC, prepares to deliver a bouquet of roses to one of the family members representing a SHHS graduate killed in the line of duty. Seated to the right are family members of fallen graduates and other members of the first class of inductees to the school's new Hall of Honor. All photos on this page by Candace Ahlfinger, Britta Gamino and Alex Gladney-Lemon.
'Acknowledging Our Legacy,' Trojans Pause to Pay Tribute
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John Hartman, a 1970 South Houston High School graduate, wasn't able to attend his alma mater's Hall of Honor dedication at the school on Thursday night. Confined to a wheelchair, Hartman watched the ceremony at his Pasadena home on his computer via a live Internet feed.
As the names of 55 esteemed South Houston graduates were called, Hartman was inspired to write a poem about his school. He shared it with friends and old schoolmates on Facebook. His final verse read:
Most of us did,
as we were expected to do,
Graduating after four,
without much of a clue,
Each going separate ways,
to try something new.
For in each of us,
Crimson and Gray flows through… Trojans Forever!
Thursday night, those "separate ways" converged for scores of South Houston grads in a ceremony that was at times joyful, poignant and solemn -- and altogether innovative.
Just four hours before the event, South Houston video tech teacher Scott Cundiff and campus technology guru Paul Hartweck completed work on an Internet hookup that allowed other alumni, such as Hartman, to view the ceremony live.
An estimated 450 people turned out to watch as 55 graduates -- most from the 1960s and 1970s -- were inducted into the school's new Hall of Honor. Even on short notice, at least 50 others logged on to watch the event via the Internet.
With Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and five school board members in attendance, the Trojans paid tribute to a starry cast of honored doctors, lawyers, educators, judges, reporters, religious leaders and former athletes, and several others who have excelled in other areas.
"This night," said South Houston principal Dr. Steve Fullen," is about acknowledging our legacy."
Bob Fawcett, a former South Houston High assistant principal who served as emcee for the event, said the Hall of Honor represents an "unbroken chain of men and women who provided a past worth celebrating, and an inspiration for the future of this school."
Thirty-six of the 47 living inductees attended the event. Several others were represented by family members.
Emotions spilled over at the end of the reading of the roll of inducted graduates when the names of six fallen soldiers were read, all former South Houston students who were killed in action while serving in the military. Four of the six were represented by family members.
Rose bouquets were presented by cadets from the South Houston NJROTC to Cleotilde Soriano and Gwynn French, both mothers of fallen soldiers. Mrs. Soriano's son, Armando Soriano, was killed in 2004 while serving in the army in Iraq. Mrs. French's son, Douglas French, was killed in Vietnam in 1966 while serving in the Marine Corps.
Douglas French's brother Randy also attended.
Two sets of sisters also received roses. Edgar Page, killed in 1968 while serving in the army in Vietnam, was represented by his sisters, Alma Page Calk and Betty Page White.
Austin Haverkamp, who died in Vietnam in 1968 while serving in the army, was represented by two sisters, Suzanne Londenberg and Janet Suarez, as well as a brother, Eugene Haverkamp.
Those on stage and in the audience gave the family members a standing ovation after all were introduced.
Inductees and guests later moved to the hallway adjacent to the school's Reinartz Center for the formal unveiling of the 30-foot wall featuring plaques of all the honored grads.
As NJROTC cadets removed the curtain covering the wall, the South Houston choir song both verses of the school's alma mater. The second verse, apparently dropped sometime in the late 1970's, was sung in public for the first time in over 30 years.
Cadets then rang the school's Victory Bell in a final, one-minute tribute.
Dr. Fullen earlier offered the main address.
"Tonight we set aside a portion of this building to remind us of where we have been," Dr. Fullen said. "In so doing, it is my hope that current students, and generations of students to come, will walk down that Hall of Honor and have a stronger sense of where they are going."
A response on behalf of the honorees was offered by Emory Gadd, inducted as a Hallof Honor member from the Class of 1965.
"We, on this stage, are just a few representatives of the hundreds of graduates who went before some of us and the hundreds and thousands of those who have followed after us," said Gadd, now the youth minister at Sagemont Church.
"As we have considered this distinction, each of us have thought about many of our classmates who were just as deserving and in many cases more deserving, in our eyes, of this honor."
Said Gadd: "The inductees tonight thank you for remembering us and knowing our names... As each of us here continues to do life, let the Victory Bell ring in our heart -- and continue to ring the sound of victories, value, and purpose."
The school also formally opened its new Class Gallery at the far end of the Hall of Honors. Panorama photos dating back to the school's first graduating class in 1959 were recently retrieved from storage and mounted on several wall sections. Photos from all but two classes from 1959 to 1999 were on display Thursday night.
School officials are still trying to locate a photo from the Class of 1989, the only one needed to complete the collection. Seventeen photos were missing when the project began. Alumni helped fill in the gaps by donating photos or loaning them for reproduction.
Selections to the Hall of Honor were made by the school's baccalaureate committee, which is assigned the task of adding at least one, and no more than five, additional inductees each year. The committee will soon begin taking nominations for inductees to be added in May.
Fawcett, now the director of student services for the Pasadena ISD, said this first group of inductees will now fill a role as important as any they have taken on in the past.
"There are generations of future students we will never know by name or by face," Fawcett said. "They will enter the doors of this campus, walk these hallways, and they will learn in these classrooms. They will - as they look at the pictures and read the stories of these graduates in the Hall of Honor - they will know us."
At his home in Pasadena, as the names of his former schoolmates were being read, John Hartman put a title on his poem. He called it "One and All."
We stand together,
Hall of Honor inductees rise in a standing ovation for family members of four South Houston graduates killed in military service. Family members (left to right) are Gwynn and Randy French, the mother and brother of Douglas French; Cleotilde and Enrique Soriano, the parents of Armando Soriano; Suzanne Londenberg, Eugene Haverkamp and Janet Suarez; siblings of Austin Haverkamp; and Alma Page Calk and Betty Page White, sisters of Edgar Page.
Cleotilde Soriano, the mother of Armando Soriano, and Betty Page White, the sister of Edgar Page, get their first view of memorial plaques to fallen service personnel.
(Left) Mary Zanowiak, mother of Hall of Honor inductee Paul Zanowiak, Class of 1965, accepts a bouquet of roses in memory of her late son, while her granddaughter, Zanowiak's daughter Kendall Antonelli looks on; (middle) members of the NJROTC present colors while Randy French, brother of fallen hero Douglas French, and Cleotilde and Enrique Soriano, parents of fallen hero Armando Soriano, rise to attention in the background; (right) Don Meador, Class of 1959, rises as his name is first to be called.
Ceremony emcee Bob Fawcett introduces Karen Sherman Dorris, Class of 1969, for the invocation.
(Left) Noted attorney Joel Swanson, Class of 1963, answers to the roll call; (right) Karen Sherman Dorris, Class of 1969, offers the invocation.
Inductees answer to the call of names: Cheryl Williams Bolen, Class of 1964; Bob Allen and Emory Gadd, both from the Class of 1965.
Herman Williams, Class of 1964, listens as a summary of his career achievements and contributions to the community is read aloud.
Is there a lawyer in the house? Legal eagle inductees included retired State District Court Judge Suzanne Covington, Class of 1967; former Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Richard Willard, Class of 1965; Southern California intellectual properties attorney Mike Lindsey, Class of 1969; and U.S. District Bankrupcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur, Class of 1970.
More inductees from the 1960's: Class of 1968 scholarship director Herman Munster III; UH-Downtown professor Jane Hickerson Thielemann-Downs, Class of 1968; Pasadena community leader Terry Brotherton, Class of 1969; and The Rev. Karen Sherman Dorris, Class of 1969.
(Left) San Jacinto College coaching and administration icon Ron Rucker, Class of 1960; (right) noted Air Force and Boeing test pilot Wayne Lutz, Class of 1968.
Moving into the 1970's: former college basketball coach Gary Moss, Class of 1970; nursing researcher Lupita Palos, Class of 1971; semiconductor innovator and company start-up specialist James Carter Hall, Class of 1976.
Channel 13 reporter Cynthia Cisneros, Class of 1978; noted estate attorney Ken Vanway, Class of 1970; and Susan Cobb Duff, the mother/manager of actress/singers Haylie and Hilary Duff, Class of 1971.
Former Pasadena City Councilwoman and community leader Dana Johnson Philibert, Class of 1985.
Two NJROTC cadets present roses to Suzanne Londenberg and Janet Suarez, sisters of Austin Haverkamp, one of the fallen soldiers inducted into the Hall of Honor.
Randy French comforts his mother, Gwynn French, as inductees and audience members pause in silence to honor her son, Douglas French, killed in Vietnam in 1966.
John O. Harris, Class of 1978, with Jean Harris, a proud mom.
South Houston orchestra director George Crandall leads a reception performance for arriving guests.
Guests gather in the Reinartz Center before the start of the Hall of Honor dedication ceremony.
Susan Cobb Duff, Class of 1971 and a Hall of Honor inductee, poses with South Houston student helpers.
South Houston senior Janeth Cervantes helps a guest browse through a Palladium yearbook. Each year's Palladium was on display in the Reinartz Center.
Portions of the Hall of Honor, just beyond the main entrance at South Houston High School.
(Left) Judge Suzanne Covington, Class of 1967, receives a red-carpet escort from the NJROTC; (right) visitors examine photos in the new class panorama section of the Hall of Honor.
(Left) SHHS faculty member Danette Jolliff, Class of 1985 (third from left) joins students at the sign-in table; (right) cadet sentries stand guard in the Hall of Honor prior to the unveiling.
(Left) Emcee Bob Fawcett and (right) Dr. Steve Fullen, SHHS principal, at the podium.
(Left) Guests get their first view of the Hall of Honor; (right) guests gather in the Reinartz Center.
Guests crowd into the Hall of Honor after the unveiling.