SHHS Inducts 20 Into New Teacher Hall of Honor

SHHS Inducts 20 Into New Teacher Hall of Honor
Posted on 10/08/2013
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Teacher Hall of Honor inductees and family representatives gather on stage at South Houston High for a photo to commemorate the dedication event.
053Twenty former South Houston High School educators  among them 99-year-old Margaret Lodge, the school’s first librarian – were formally inducted into the new South Houston Teacher Hall of Honor on Oct. 1 during a dedication ceremony that brought around 400 family, friends, colleagues and former students to campus.

Lodge, who will turn 100 on Dec. 17, received a rousing salute in the school auditorium when her name was called. Dennis Keim, her caretaker and former student, moved her wheelchair to center stage as the ovation began.

Three other original South Houston faculty members were also inducted, including 88-year-old Harry Morgan, the Trojans’ first football coach.

Among 11 inductees honored posthumously were Thomas Gorsuch, the school’s first band director, and James “Jimmy” Barber, an assistant football coach on the school’s first teaching staff who later became principal.

All nine living inductees attended the ceremony as did representatives of 10 of the 11 deceased inductees. Also in attendance were Dr. Kirk Lewis, Pasadena ISD superintendent of schools, and school board members Jack Bailey, Marshall Kendrick, Mariselle Quijano-Lerma, Fred Roberts and Nelda Sullivan.

After a 30-minute reception, the event moved into auditorium for the formal induction of the 20 former teachers. Bob Fawcett, a former South Houston assistant principal who recently retired as the district’s Director of Student Services, served as emcee and read the roll of inductees. Tributes from alumni were read after each teacher’s name was called. Dr. Steve Fullen, South Houston’s principal, provided the main address.

The invocation was given by Bill Newcomb, one of four former head football coaches to be inducted. In addition to Morgan and Newcomb, the late Ray Cleckler and Dick Nance were installed. Both Newcomb and Nance later became directors of athletics for the district.

The inductee response was given by Janet Barnett Reed, whose 41-year tenure at South Houston is the longest in the school’s 56-year history. Reed, who retired in 2008, noted that she is the only one of the 20 inductees to have worked with each of the other 19.

Gorsuch was one of three performing arts teachers to be inducted. The late Richard "Tom" Myers and Sally Schott, whose back-to-back tenures as South Houston choir directors stretched 42 years, were honored.

Other inductees from the school’s early years included chemistry teacher Dennis Skarda, math teacher Dorothy Williams and John “J.T.” Lyday, an American history teacher whose South Houston tenure lasted from 1963 until his retirement as lead counselor in 1987. All three are now deceased.

Four English teachers were selected, including three whose careers were an integral part of the South Houston experience in the 1960s: the late Ina McDaniel, the late Carolyn Perry and the late Hanna Timmons, fondly remembered for her speech classes and for her work with South Houston debate teams. 

Kathy Dittmar, another inductee from the ranks of South Houston's English Department, was one of three inductees whose long tenures ended in 2008. In addition to Reed and Dittmar, inductee John White retired in 2008 after 31 years as a South Houston history, economics and sociology teacher.

Another inductee, JoAnn Stringer, retired in 2011 after 24 years as a science and biology teacher at the school.

The inductee roll call ended on a somber note with a tribute to Walter "Jerry" Dunaway, who died in 2011 at the age of 51. Dunaway, who established and coached the school's highly regarded fencing program, spent 24 years at South Houston as a science teacher and coach.

After the roll call, the inductees returned to the Hall of Honor area to view the unveiling of the Distinguished Faculty and Staff section, a ceremony conducted by the South Houston NJROTC. Student groups also participating in the event were the choir, band, orchestra, cheerleader squad, drill team, video tech and publications.

Additional inductees will be selected annually and honored at the Trojans’ homecoming game each fall.

Inductees (center) Dick Nance and Bill Newcomb with Board of Trustees member Fred Roberts (left) and the Rev. Emory Gadd (right).

Jeanette Myers, widow of inductee Tom Myers, is greeted by a member of the South Houston Jannettes.

Inductee Kathy Dittmar meeting with friends at the reception.

Reception in the Reinartz Conference Center on campus.

Patti Cleckler, widow of inductee Ray Cleckler, chats with inductee Bill Newcomb.

South Houston Principal Dr. Steve Fullen delivers the main address.

Lois Williams and Dorothy Perkins, daughters of inductee Dorothy Williams.

Jo Lyday, widow of inductee John Lyday, and their daughter, Roxane Lyday Short.

Patti Cleckler, widow of inductee Ray Cleckler, and their daughter, Sandy Cleckler.

Inductee Janet Barnett Reed and her husband, Gordon Reed.

Inductee Sally Schott.

Inductee Kathy Dittmar with husband Bill Dittmar.

Inductee JoAnn Stringer and daughter Mary Stringer.

Inductee John White.

Charlotte Eads, widow of inductee Jerry Dunaway, and his sister.

(Left) Carol Barber, widow of inductee Jimmy Barber; (middle) inductee Harry Morgan; (right) Janet Barnett Reed offers the inductees' response.

Inductees and families respond to a final standing ovation from the audience.

Cadets from the South Houston NJROTC pull back the curtain to unveil the Teacher Hall of Honor plaque display.

The nine living Hall of Honor inductees: JoAnn Stringer, Kathy Dittmar, Sally Schott, Janet Barnett Reed, Margaret Lodge, Harry Morgan, Bill Newcomb, Dick Nance and John White.