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Flanked by Pasadena ISD school superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis and South Houston High Principal Dr. Steve Fullen, Bob Fay cuts the ribbon to officially open the school's new Hall of History museum. Fay served as South Houston's first "Hector" mascot and graduated with the school's first senior class in 1959.
Bob Fay, South Houston High’s original “Hector” mascot, cut a ceremonial red ribbon on Friday, officially opening the school’s Hall of History museum and launching the biggest on-campus homecoming celebration in school history.
The festivities carried over to Friday night when six alumni and former teachers were added to South Houston’s Hall of Honor rolls in a pre-game ceremony at Veterans Memorial Stadium. And the Trojans provided the perfect finishing touch with a 21-6 homecoming victory over Pasadena with nearly 500 alumni watching from the stands.
Dr. Kirk Lewis, the Pasadena ISD’s superintendent of schools, and South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen spoke at the Hall of History ribbon-cutting that morning.
Dr. Lewis emphasized the importance of preserving the school district’s rich heritage. Dr. Fullen said South Houston’s preservation project -- which began five years with the launch of the Hall of Honor and now concludes with the opening of the Hall of History -- has provided a tremendous positive impact on how current students and teachers see their school.
School board members Marshall Kendrick and Kenny Fernandez also attended, as did several other school district officials.
With that, about 400 alumni, former teachers and guests began a day-long stream of visitors into the Hall of History, an 800-square foot museum built for the purpose of preserving the academic, extracurricular and cultural heritage of the school and the community.
The Hall of History was assembled with the help of more than $30,000 in contributions from South Houston alumni, in concert with the school’s alumni association. Start-up funding for the room renovation and display cases came from Bob Allen, a 1965 graduate and the school’s first all-state football player. The museum is dedicated to Allen.
The museum contains nearly 250 wall photos and roughly 500 items on display in glass cases dating back to the school's opening in the fall of 1957. Some alumni even brought memorabilia items to donate during their homecoming visit.
Visitors packed the courtyard for a hot dog festival and helped greet the Fightin’ Trojans cargo trailer, which pulled into the parking lot to take up its new permanent berth. The trailer was acquired two years ago with alumni paying the bulk of the acquisition and decorating expenses.
Alumni and guest then packed the Reinartz Center on campus for a ceremony honoring the six Hall of Honor inductees and also Jamie Hugo Ashby, a 1969 graduate and the 2015 winner of the David M. Ainsworth Alumni Spirit Award.
Teachers inducted were Barbara Coon, a former math and physics teacher who later became head counselor; Ella Gauthier, a former math teacher who later became success coordinator; and George Neal, a former Houston Police Department officer who in 1977 became the school’s first law enforcement instructor. Neal also served as head baseball coach at South Houston.
Alumni inducted were Larry Willoughby, Class of 1969, a Nashville record executive and a successful singer and songwriter in his own right; Bob Garner, Class of 1971, a successful rancher, entrepreneur and host of a popular alumni retreat each spring; and Bill Hughes, Class of 1980, a comics illustrator and independent sci-fi fantasy filmmaker.
Hughes introduced a DVD highlighting his current film projects, including the award-winning “Matt Mercury and his Rocket Rangers” series.
To the delight of those attending, Willoughby performed his song, “Building Bridges,” which reached the country music charts in 1984 and was later covered by Brooks & Dunn in collaboration with Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. That single was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006.
More than 100 alumni attended the afternoon “Beat the Eagles” pep rally. The highlight of the rally was a performance by a group of alumni twirlers, organized by Ashby, a twirler in the Trojan Band during the late 1960s.
To wild applause from both alumni and students, the twirlers gave a flawless performance during the playing of the Trojan fight song. The performance was the first opportunity for many current students to see twirlers in action. Twirling was discontinued as a school activity in the 1980s.
Fay, a member of the Trojans’ first graduating class in 1959, spent the entire day in his “Hector” costume. At the pep rally, he participated in his annual ritual of instructing the current “Hector” in how best to generate school spirit.
“You have done well, Grasshopper,” the master told his pupil.
The twirlers repeated their performance during pre-game ceremonies at the game. The honored alumni and teachers were again recognized during on-the-field introductions.
Larry Willoughby, Class of 1969 and a Hall of Honor inductee, performs his Grammy-nominated song, "Building Bridges," in front of a packed audience in the Reinartz Conference Center on campus.
Hubert Winters II, Class of 1964 and commander of American Legion Post 521 in Pasadena, takes in the exhibits in the Hall of History. A Vietnam veteran, Winters paid a visit to the museum en route to the funeral of a fellow vet.
Two members of the SHHS Teacher Hall of Honor, Debbie McNabb (top) and JoAnn Stringer, re-enact the peace sign displays shown in a two-decades-old photo (far right) in the Hall of History.
Original "Hector" Bob Fay joins South Houston band members, cheer and drill participants in welcoming home the band cargo trailer to its permanent berth in the campus parking lot. Alumni donations led to the acquisition of the trailer two years ago.
Jan Teer Schwartz, Class of 1967, points to a Hall of History photo showing her in a biology class during her high-school years.She is second from the left in the photo. Schwartz, who flew in from Colorado for homecoming, later performed with the alumni twirlers.
Allen Sory, Dobie High's first principal, tours the Hall of Honor with his daugher, Sheryl Sory Tous, South Houston HS Class of 1975.
Al Carter (right), Class of 1970 and main organizer of the Hall of History, points out some museum features to school board member Marshall Kendrick.
Larry Willoughby, Class of 1969 and one of three Hall of Honor alumni inductees, looks over the Hall of History.
Jamie Hugo Ashby, Class of 1969 and organizer of the alumni twirlers, struts her stuff during the "Beat Pasadena" pep rally. Behind Ashby is Sherri Pavey Harris, Class of 1979.
The alumni twirlers congratulate each other after their sterling performance to the Trojan fight song at the pep rally. Melinda Maldonado Emmons (front), Class of 1979, waits to greet Sherri Pavey Harris, Class of 1979. Left to right in the background are Jan Teer Schwartz (1967), Denise Ball Carter (1980), Sally Maldonado Wingard (1976), Jo Ellen Meador McCall (1971) and Jamie Hugo Ashby (1969).
Trojan alumni show their spirit during the pep rally.
Bob ("Hector") Fay offers advice to the Trojans' current-day mascot.
Alumni whoop it up in response to the twirlers' performance.
Well-represented at the school and at the game, the Class of 2005 shows off its banner.
The two oldest homecoming celebrants: Ed Linthicum and Bob Fay, both Class of 1959.
Hundred of alums show their backing for the team at the homecoming game, won by the Trojans, 21-6.
Twirler Sally Maldonado Wingard, Class of 1976, comes to attention during the playing of the national anthem. Behind Wingard are Denise Ball Carter (1980) and Jan Teer Schwartz (1967).
Bob Steubing, Class of 1971 and president of the South Houston HS Alumni Association, joins Principal Dr. Steve Fullen in presenting a plaque to Jamie Hugo Ashby, Class of 1969 and the 2015 winner of the David M. Ainsworth Alumni Spirit Award.
Among the Hall of Honor inductees recognized during pre-game festivities: former teacher and administrator Barbara Coon and her family.
Teacher Hall of Honor inductee Ella Gauthier and her family.
Teacher Hall of Honor inductee George Neal, accompanied by his two sons.
Alumni Hall of Honor inductee Larry Willoughby, accompanied by his wife Janet Howard Willoughby. Both graduated from South Houston in 1969.
Alumni Hall of Honor inductee Bob Garner and wife Lori.
Alumni Hall of Honor inductee Bill Hughes with his wife, Heidi, and South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen.
Ainsworth Award winner Jamie Hugo Ashby is escorted onto the field by her husband, Bill Ashby, Class of 1968.
SoHo's alumni twirlers pose before the game: Jan Teer Schwartz (Class of 1967), Sherri Pavey Harris (1979), Yolanda Francisco (1979), Jamie Hugo Ashby (1969), Sally Maldonado Wingard (1976), Denise Ball Carter (1980), Jo Ellen Meador (1971) and Melinda Maldonado Emmons (1979).