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Renton High Committee to Honor 12 with Distinguished Alumni, Friends Awards

The October 5 ceremony is the second installment of what organizers hope to be an ongoing event to celebrate the best and brightest from Renton High School.

The Friends of Renton High School Alumni Association is honoring 12 people this year to add to the Wall of Honors at Renton High School.
The Friends of Renton High School Alumni Association is honoring 12 people this year to add to the Wall of Honors at Renton High School.
Their names have not yet been released, but 12 people - a combination of graduates of Renton High School plus those considered friends of the school who've made significant contributions to the wellbeing of its students - will be honored in a ceremony in October by the Friends of Renton High School, the school's alumni association.

This second "Wall of Honors Awards Ceremony" follows the inaugural celebration of 23 honorees in 2011 that also coincided with the school's centennial. Among the first to be recognized were Class of 1920's Henry Moses, a son of the Duwamish family that welcomed the first settlers to Renton and was a four-sport athlete; Class of 1994's Aretha (Hill) Thurmond, a four-time Olympic track member; and Class of 1973's Sally Roffey Jewell, former CEO of REI and current Secretary of the Interior under President Obama. (The full list of the honorees is below.)

This year's award winners span a timeline from 1919 to 1980, organizers said. More than 50 RHS alumni nominations were initially reviewed by the Awards Committee, which were then narrowed down to 19 and again to the final 12.

"We were very pleased with the number and quality of nominees for our awards," said Don Custer, Awards Committee Chair and 1953 RHS graduate. The former mayor of Renton was also among the 23 honored in 2011 and views the program as a prime builder of pride and tradition for the school while providing positive role models for both students and alumni. "I am personally proud of the record of RHS in helping to produce so many success stories of graduates excelling in their chosen fields and contributing so much to their communities," he said.

The awards are broken down by the categories of "Distinguished Alumni," "Athletic Hall of Fame," and "Friends." To be eligible for the first two categories, the nominee had to have attended or graduated from Renton High School. The latter category is broader. The honor is given for outstanding services and contributions to the educational community by those including teachers, coaches and administrators. 

The October 5 ceremony is open to the public on a no-charge reservation basis. The program begins at 3 p.m. Dress is informal and refreshments will be served after the program. Reservations may be requested at FriendsofRentonHighSchool@gmail.com or by mail at P.O. Box 4011, Renton, WA 98057-4011, or by phone at 253-470-6795.

Nominal donations are encouraged to help defray expenses.

Editor's Note: Patch will help the committee to announce the names of this year's winners when it is ready to reveal them. Stay tuned.

2011 Wall of Honor Award Recipients:

Distinguished Alumni:
  • Eugene Aitken, Class of 1955: Internationally known conductor and musician
  • Val Caniparoli, Class of 1969: Internationally known performer, artistic director and choreographer
  • Earl Clymer, Class of 1947 (1943): Renton mayor 1988-1996
  • Charles Connor, Class of 1974: Commercial residential developer
  • Ronald Crockett, Class of 1957: Restored horseracing in Western Washington at Emerald Downs
  • Donald Custer, Class of 1953: Renton mayor 1964-1969
  • Charles Delaurenti, Class of 1931: Renton mayor 1975-1980
  • Gary Faull, Class of 1962: Attorney
  • Raymond W. Howard, Class of 1928: Educator, coach, administrator
  • Sally Roffey Jewell, Class of 1973: CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc. and current U.S. Secretary of the Interior
  • Cynthia Richter LaFever, Class of 1969: National advocate for servicemen and women with traumatic brain injury
  • William K. Longwell, Class of 1954: Educator, environmentalist and author
  • Quinton Morris, Class of 1996: Internationally known concert violinist and educator
Athletic Hall of Fame:
  • Jerry Belur, Class of 1971: Track and Field - Hurdles
  • William L. Donckers, Class of 1969: Football and basketball
  • Henry Moses, Class of 1920: Basketball, baseball, track
  • Mark W. Prothero, Class of 1974: Swimming
  • George R. Reed, Class of 1958: Football
  • Kimberly Nelson Searing, Class of 1978: Tennis, volleyball
  • George R. Strugar, Class of 1953: Football, basketball
  • Aretha (Hill) Thurmond, Class of 1994: Track and field, discus
  • Clarence Williams, Class of 1961: Football, basketball
  • George Ziegenfuss, Class of 1935: Basketball

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