Last Friday night was an exciting one for the history books of University City, as the first six inductees of the UCHS Hall of Fame were honored. And the special six alumni are…(imagine listening to a drum roll)...
Matt Brock, ’84, Professional Football Player - New York Jets 1995-1996, Green Bay Packers 1989-1994
Kevin Dow, ’91, Professional Musician - Tony Award and Grammy Award winning drummer for the “Jersey Boys”, performed at the White House, the Queen’s Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame Concert, and with Pete Townsend of The Who
Jenny Gross, ’93, Professional Basketball Player - Head Coach at UCHS from 1998-2002 with a 50-9 record, played professionally in Denmark and Israel, currently UC Davis Head Women’s Basketball Coach
Wayne Lee, ‘86, Chief NASA Engineer - for entry, descent and landing systems to Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity 2000 and 2004, NASA Exceptional Service Medal
Felix Sanchez, ‘95, Olympic Gold Medalist - gold medals in the 400m hurdles in 2004 and 2012 representing the Dominican Republic, four time Olympian, founder of the Felix Sanchez Foundation which assists kids through athletics
The Induction Ceremony at the UCHS Media Center brought out a full house of friends, family, former principals and teachers, community members, students, staff, and city officials. Personally, I felt it was very inspirational to listen to each inductee’s story, and they all attributed their success to the atmosphere surrounding UCHS and living in University City. There were also remembrances of being the new school in town, not really getting much attention and trying to prove ourselves to surrounding neighborhoods. Wayne Lee emphasized that there are “hundreds of accomplished alumni” hailing from UCHS. I really do hope that our current UC students, and other members of the community get a chance to listen to or read about their stories and get inspired to create their own gold medals.
Each inductee was handed their award by current prominent students: Jack Minnick, Ollie D’Amico, Brisham Scott, Eric Chao and Alex Simpson. ASB Vice President Sandon Steidley ended the ceremony with his own inspirational closing remarks. UCHS CSF and ASB students volunteered their time to assist with the ceremony.
And we must not forget how the Hall of Fame came to be in the first place. A group of dedicated community members decided that in conjunction with the new stadium, it was the right time to select outstanding UCHS alumni in order to honor our own, preserve our legacy, and to inspire the young. The Hall of Fame will be portable (travel to different local locations and events such as the upcoming EdUCate Oktoberfest), permanent (UCHS media center), and on the Internet (http://www.sandi.net/Page/28587).
We must pay tribute to the outstanding efforts of the Hall of Fame committee: Ernest Smith, Chairman and past UCHS principal from 1999-2007, Rashmi Bhargava, Anne Tracy Bolton, Cheryl Creagh, Elaine Hanson, Jane Hargrove, Mary Kay Hewitt, Rick Mitchell, Norma Smith, and Ed Yandall. A big thanks for coming up with the idea and helping the project inspire our youngsters. And you if you recognize these names, that’s because they have always been longtime volunteers in the community.
What capped off a very successful event? The varsity football team kicking Southwest’s butt 44-6! Woohoo! The play of the night (or at least the one I was actually paying attention to) was senior Sam Watkins’ interception for a 100-yard touchdown run...the other team wasn’t too happy about that.
The stadium was packed to see the Hall of Fame inductees and witness the official new stadium dedication. Not only were UCHS students and families in attendance, but I saw many families and friends of the Hall of Fame inductees and alumni. There were also quite a few families from the community whose children will be at UCHS in a few years (shout out to the Kennedy’s and the Van Daelen’s).
That’s why the fight to get the stadium lights was worth it - Friday Night Lights at UCHS has already become a community tradition.
Okay folks, I have a lot more to say, but this is getting long and I have to get to my real job. So, I will try to blog about UC more often (got sick earlier this week - stupid summer colds), but you know how it is to be a volunteer. Upcoming topics of discussion: EdUCate’s Oktoberfest – Saturday, October 6, 2:00-6:00pm; UCCA’s beautification efforts, city street maintenance, and whatever else happens in UC.
Hope you enjoyed the All Things UC Blog for LaJolla Patch. Feel free to send me anything UC related at email@example.com.