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Opening of SHHS Hall of History Planned for Fall; Alumni Donations Sought

Opening of SHHS Hall of History Planned for Fall; Alumni Donations Sought
Posted on 02/16/2015
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Two of South Houston High's earliest graduates, Billie Shirley Murphy, Class of 1960, and Genia Long Ripley, Class of 1962, offer their contributions to the new SHHS Hall of History. Murphy donated a flute she played in the first Trojan Marching Band. Ripley donated the letter jacket and letter sweater earned by her late husband, Billy Ripley, who played on the Trojans' first football, basketball and baseball teams.
side box 2In the fall of 1957, Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House and Elvis Presley was atop the rock ‘n’ roll charts. Houston had no major league sports teams. And no one had ever heard of NASA, Fidel Castro, hula hoops or the Beatles.

In October of 1957, South Houston High School opened its doors to students whose families had moved into the globs of subdivision housing on Pasadena’s mushrooming south side and along a post-war transportation marvel, the Gulf Freeway.

That bit of suburban bliss has dramatically changed over the past half-century. But now school officials, in partnership with South Houston alumni, have unveiled plans to preserve the academic and social heritage of South Houston High and surrounding communities in a unique campus museum.

South Houston High’s new Hall of History represents the final phase of an initiative to capture and preserve the school’s rich past, one that extends from the “wonder years” of the late 1950s and 1960s, to the “Junkyard Dogs” era in the 1970s, to the “Big Red Express” traditions that emerged in the 1980s and hold true today.

Primary funding for the museum has been provided by Bob Allen, a 1965 South Houston graduate and the Trojans’ first all-state football player. A member of the Pasadena ISD Athletics Hall of Fame and South Houston’s Hall of Honor, Allen was a standout player at Texas Tech before entering into a successful business career.

Set to open on Oct. 16 – South Houston High’s 2015 Homecoming Day – the Hall of History will permanently exhibit dozens of vintage photographs and memorabilia donated by Trojan alumni and former faculty members.

“I don’t know of another high school heritage project that compares to this in scope or scale,” said Dr. Steve Fullen, South Houston’s principal.

“Our Hall of Honor programs have been an enormous source of pride for our school and has had a profound impact on our student body and faculty. This promises to be the crown jewel of our preservation efforts.”

Donations of memorabilia from all eras are now being accepted. For the convenience of alumni who wish to donate items, a drop-off time has been established for Fridays, between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., any school day through the end of the school year.

Those wishing to donate are asked to contact Al Carter, Class of 1970 and the Pasadena ISD’s alumni development coordinator, at ahcarter@pasadenaisd.org.

“We’ll be glad to arrange alternative drop-off times, or even pick-up times, if the person lives in the immediate area,” Carter said. “We would like for all alumni, or family members who come into possession of items related to South Houston High School, to take stock of what you have and consider donating it to the museum.”

Items could include wearing apparel, sports gear, old photos related to high school events, pennants, stickers, rings, pins, souvenirs, programs, ribbons – and, of course, old yearbooks.

“We are always interested in old yearbooks,” Carter said. “Some of the older ones are somewhat rare. Plus, we are constantly coming across books that are in better shape than the ones we have. And surplus yearbooks enable us, from time to time, to sell books to raise money for the Hall of History.”