Hall of Honor role models keep legacy of alma mater alive

Published 10:05am Wednesday, July 30, 2014

As society devotes more and more time to texting and social media, it seems that good, old-fashioned face-to-face communication, including mentoring and role modeling, is getting harder and harder to find.

That’s why it’s so important to tell the history of our local heroes and heroines in hopes that younger residents will learn from their achievements and be inspired to carry on their legacy.

Twenty-four area role models were honored this past weekend as members of the 2014 Hall of Honor of Alexander High School. The Hall of Honor was established in 2006 to educate and document the history of the school and its graduates.

Named to the 2014 Hall were John Bell, Class of 1961; Isiah Bracy, 1960; Maggie Gipson Bracy, 1959; Dan Brown Jr., 1960; Leatrice Collins Buie, 1944; Joe L. Cain, 1947; Maxine Dillon-Dillon, 1968; Patricia “Pat” Dow, 1965; The Rev. Dr. Jerry Durr, 1970; Barbara Brock Estavan, 1968; Eugene Humphrey, 1968; Ida Robinson Jenkins, 1970; Robert A. Johnson, 1946; Robert Markham, 1963; J.W. Morgan, 1950; Rose Mary Pickett-Williams, 1963; Lawrence Lee Prater, 1943; Thomas J. Reed,, 1945; Angeline Smith Roberson, 1955; Eric Sanders, 1965; John Alton Sartin, 1955; Bernice Haynes Smith, 1960; Eddie Smith, 1966; and Frankie Weathersby-Jones, 1947.

The 2014 honorees have served as members of the armed forces, as educators, principals, school district administrators, public officials, coaches and businesspersons. Some have achieved national distinction in their careers. One, a chemist, developed a chemical later patented by Ford Motor Company.

Another was a researcher who developed diagnostic tools for identifying abnormal hemoglobin and the AIDS/HIV virus. Many have had the honor of teaching and mentoring young people for many years.

Alexander High School was merged into Brookhaven High School during integration, and the former AHS building now serves as Alexander Junior High School. Although no longer granting 12-year diplomas, Alexander High School’s strong legacy lives on through its history and the accomplishments and service of its graduates.

As an incentive to the upcoming generation, we suggest members of this year’s and previous years’ Halls of Honor consider starting a mentoring program at their old school. Or, if a formal mentoring program can’t be worked out, perhaps they might consider participating in programs during the year to meet with students and explain how they achieved success and why they chose to serve as mentors.

We are proud of these outstanding Brookhaven citizens and hope they will get involved in this way and encourage today’s students.