Left to right, Gary Warner (Class of 1972), Stefani Parks (Class of 1989), and Steve Denman (Class of 1975) are all current members of the
Tehachapi High School Hall of Fame. The school is seeking new nominations from the community. Photographs courtesy of the Tehachapi News.

THS Seeking Hall of Fame Nominations

Posted by Mark Powell, The Tehachapi News on January 11, 2010

Tehachapi High School is currently seeking nominations for its Alumni Hall of Fame, which boasts four current members but hasn’t selected a single new inductee in almost 10 years.

Funding for programs like the hall of fame “fell by the wayside,” during the school’s administrative turnover and hectic move to a new campus, said former THS Activities Director Sharon Sterk.

The school now, however, plans to honor its newest inductees in September during the Warriors’ first home football game.

Community members can nominate any THS alumnus who has had an outstanding career which has resulted in a direct and significant impact in his or her field for at least five years, according to THS.

The deadline for submitting nominations is April 30, principal Cary Johnson said.

Warrior football Head Coach Steve Denman (class of 1975) and Tehachapi Junior Miss Director and former THS Cheer Coach Stefani Parks (class of 1989) were inducted in 2001.

Donna Schmidt-Dieterle, 1967 THS valedictorian and former dean of students, was inducted in 2002. Former Tehachapi Unified School District board President Gary Warner (class of 1972) was also inducted in 2002.

“(The hall of fame) honors people who give back to the community and the school,” Denman said. “Mr. Warner is one of the classiest, most honest guys I know.”

Denman said Tehachapi was filled of deserving nominees.

“There’s plenty worthy,” he said. “I was lucky enough that someone put my name out there.”

There have been many people affiliated with THS - parents, staff, former students - who might not have received recognition for the school’s successes, Denman said.

Those are the people who “make everything go every year,” he said.

Schmidt-Dieterle said she was surprised when she was selected in 2002.

“It was a wonderful honor to be included,” she said.

Schmidt-Dieterle said she was unaware THS had not inducted any new members since that time.

She said she was happy to hear the program was being revived, and gave Johnson credit for aiding its resurgence.

“It think it’s great,” Schmidt-Dieterle said. “(Johnson) is a great advocate for boosting school morale. It’s great to see again.”

Sterk said THS began its hall of fame plans in the late 1990s as part of its Renaissance Program, which was helped recognize exceptional students and staff.

Renaissance students solicited donations from community members to help pay for many of the related costs.

When the school moved to a new location in 2003, along with a series of administrative changes, funding for the Renaissance Program no longer became a priority, Sterk said.

“We lost a lot of things that year,” she said.

Johnson, still beaming after the school received a California Distinguished School Award, told Sterk he planned to renew plans for the hall of fame, she said.

“I’m happy to see all of this reinstated,” Sterk said.

Note: People wishing to nominate someone for the Tehachapi High School Alumni Hall of Fame should visit the THS website www.teh.k12.ca.us and electronically submit an Alumni Hall of Fame Recommendation Form. Nominations must be submitted by April 30, 2010.