South Houston senior Christopher Toth, the Trojans' current "Hector" mascot, salutes the memorial for Bob Fay, Class of 1959 and the Trojans' first "Hector." The memorial is just outside the school's Hall of History museum, which Fay helped to dedicate at South Houston's 2015 homecoming, less than a month before his death.
South Houston High will celebrate its 58th homecoming this week with a new principal on board and an old friend on the minds of hundreds of alumni expected to turn out for three major events.
Andrea Wenke, who took the reins of principal last summer, will greet South Houston alumni on Thursday for the school’s Open House festival. Wenke succeeded Dr. Steve Fullen, under whose leadership the Trojans’ homecoming traditions were revived six years ago along with the launch of a school heritage project.
“As the new principal of South Houston High School, I am honored to meet our alumni next week,” Wenke said. “I look forward to homecoming and all the festivities. With the largest alumni association in the district, we are looking forward to a great turnout.”
Dr. Fullen, now an associate superintendent for the Pasadena ISD, took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony last October, during the Trojans’ 2015 homecoming observance, officially opening the school’s new Hall of History, a full-scale campus museum preserving photos and mementoes dating back to South Houston’s opening in the fall of 1957.
Cutting the ribbon last year was Bob Fay, the Trojans’ first “Hector” mascot and a member of the school’s Class of 1959, South Houston’s first graduating class. Decked out in full “Hector” regalia, Fay carried on his traditional role of mascot during the homecoming pep rally that same day.
Less than a month later, Fay succumbed to a heart attack at age 74.
A memorial to Fay, funded by the South Houston’s Alumni Association, will be unveiled at the entrance to the Hall of History, just a few feet from where he cut the ribbon a year ago. Fay will also be honored as the 21016 recipient of the David M. Ainsworth Alumni Spirit Award, presented annually by the Alumni Association, at a lunch-time reception on Thursday.
The reception will also honor five new inductees into the South Houston Hall of Honor – three alumni and two former teachers.
Selected for induction are the late Wayne Armstrong, Class of 1964, who helped developed some of the most important weapons systems in use by the U.S. Navy; Dee Ann Pederson, Class of 1978, an award-winning wildlife photographer and conservationist; and Stewart Russell, Class of 1987, the chief of police for the Pasadena ISD.
Former teachers chosen for the Hall of Honor are Patricia Bundy, business; and Barbara Lee, English. Both served as department heads during their long tenures at the school.
Also set for its official unveiling: a new Hall of History exhibit – “Song, Go On” – which pays tribute to the musicals and concerts from Sally Schott’s 30 years as choral director at the school. The exhibit, which represents an expansion of the Hall of History into the adjacent Hall of Honor, features three glass cases of memorabilia and a swinging panel display with dozens of photos dedicated to individual choir groups.
The celebration of Schott’s three decades at South Houston will continue on Friday night when about 80 of her former students will team up with current choir students for a musical revue – “Broadway Extravaganza II.”
The production is a reprise of the “Broadway Extravaganza” production that marked Schott’s departure from South Houston in 2004.
One of the featured participants in the 2004 “Extravaganza” will return for a performance in next month’s production. Mary Bowen, a 1991 South Houston graduate, is a successful opera singer who lives in New York City and has performed at Lincoln Center and other top music venues across North America.
All proceeds from “Broadway Extravaganza II” will go to the South Houston Choral Department to help fund its 2017 musical, “Once Upon A Mattress.”
Curtain time is 6:30 p.m.
Homecoming ceremonies will conclude on Saturday with the Trojans’ homecoming game against Deer Park, set for 1 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The five Hall of Honor inductees will be introduced in a pre-game ceremony starting at 12:30. Fay will also be recognized during the ceremony.
Thursday’s Open House begins at 10 a.m. and will include tours of the school, student performances and sales tables for school fund-raising items. Free hots dogs and drinks will be served in the courtyard beginning around 11 a.m.
The induction reception will start around 12:30 in the Reinartz Center on campus. Alumni will also enjoy reserved group seating at the pep rally, which starts at 1:45 p.m.
Tables will be set up to sell “Broadway Extravaganza II” tickets and football game tickets. Information will be available from the Alumni Association on the relaunch of the commemorative brick project for the Victory Bell courtyard.
Bob Fay cuts the ribbon on the Hall of History during Homecoming 2015 festivities. Holding the ribbon are Dr. Kirk Lewis, then the Pasadena ISD Superintendent of Schools, and Dr. Steve Fullen, then the principal of South Houston High.
Former South Houston English teacher Barbara Lee (third from left) enjoys a snack with family and former students during the school's 2015 homecoming Open House. Last spring Lee was selected by the South Houston Baccalaureate Committee for induction in the Teacher Hall of Honor.
One of the new Hall of History exhibits this year is a baton and "Trojan Flames" twirlers shirt from the earliest days of South Houston's marching band. Jeanne Tingle, Class of 1961 and a former Trojan Flame, donated the items.
Members of the South Houston High Class of 1961 make a recent visit to the school's Hall of History museum.