Page 1

From 1947 Lariat

Dear Alumni and Other Friends of Will Rogers High School, We hope you will enjoy this souvenir publication, Ride On! Celebrating 75 years of Will Rogers High School. This celebration is being planned and conducted by the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, in close coordination with the school principal and staff. Our events run from the the start of the 75th year of classes, fall of 2013, through the fall of 2014. The school opened for classes September 11, 1939 and was dedicated on November 5 that year. The main purpose of the 75th anniversary observance is to include all of our alumni in celebrating the school’s great heritage.We hope you will attend and will encourage other Roper alumni to do the same. As you might know, Will Rogers was recently designated a collegepreparatory lottery magnet school, offering college credit courses for juniors and seniors, on-campus, in an arrangement with Tulsa Community College, and added 7th and 8th grades. Its name was changed to reflect the school’s new mission, and you will see that reference throughout this publication. But don’t be surprised if some of us nostalgically refer to it as Will Rogers High School. (No, they will not be chiseling a new name in the frieze over the doors of this Art Deco masterpiece, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.) Another purpose of this milestone birthday observance is to inform the Tulsa community through the publicity generated by these events that Will Rogers should be the high school of choice in the Tulsa Public Schools system. And finally we intend to raise a lot of money from our anniversary events and activities, All proceeds will go toward the work of the foundation in supporting the school. If you are not already familiar with the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, formed in 2010, I encourage you to read the article about us on page 32 and explore our website: You may also wish to take an active role in the foundation—alumni or not. Please consider mailing in a tax-deductible donation today using the self-addressed response envelope enclosed with this publication, or online through our website. Be generous. You will be helping the students.

RIDE ON! Celebrating 75 Years

of Will Rogers High School

RIDE ON YE ROPERS! Ride on ye Ropers, ride on to your fame. There’s no foe can daunt you, for you bear Will Rogers’ name. Rah! Rah! Rah! Rope ‘em and brand ‘em, Lead ‘em to corral. Round up those wanderin’ doggies, Central’s grazing in hostile locale!

A publication of the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation Editor and Graphic Design Jan Davies Weinheimer ‘66 A special thanks to Steve Wright, ‘56, and YellowPad Inc. for generously sharing years of research and historical pictures. Cover Design Joe Johnston ‘66 Copy Editors Dotty Martin Merrill ‘66 Laura Pitcock Schaub ‘66

Additional copies of Ride On! will be available for $5 at the 75th Anniversary events.


INSIDE RIDE ON! That Was Then.........6 Hall of Fame...........16 This Is Now.............24 The Foundation......32

He was just a cowboy, but presidents and kings knew and respected him. He never went to college, but when he started to speak, a troubled world would pause to listen. He offered laughter when it was most needed, and under his homespun comments lay an unshakable foundation.

Sincerely, On the cover: Richard B. Risk, Jr. (Class of ‘59), JD President and Founder Will Rogers High School Community Foundation, Inc.

Will’s spirit looks over his namesake as it looked in 1939, when it opened in the middle of a nearly 30-acre cow pasture. 3


through the years

Yearbook distribution day is a highlight of every school year. Decades later, one can pick up a yearbook and be transported back to that time. These beautiful covers stir up just the beginning of our memories. This year we have the opportunity to celebrate the special time we spent at Will Rogers HIgh School. It has been an honor to serve our school, former students, teachers, graduates, neighbors, and friends, as we celebrate 75 years, and honor our namesake. We have been thrilled with the contact so many have made with us, through email, the Foundation website, Facebook, Classmates. com, etc., including wonderful messages of “What a great idea,” “Can’t wait to get there,” and “Please let me know how I can help.“ These communications have been so encouraging as we worked the minutia of planning each wonderful event. Our Foundation’s goal has always been to raise funds to benefit the school, the administration, the education of the students, and in some way, to give back to the place that gave us so much. But we know these fun events won’t just happen and cannot be done alone. We have been blessed with many volunteers who have generously served. And we, loyal to the Gold and Blue, always have fun while we are getting things done. There is still much to do. If you are interested in helping as the year of celebration continues, we have room for you. Send me a note. Now let’s begin a great Ropers’ Party. We have much to celebrate!

Iris Warlick Studenny ‘66, Chair W.R.H.S. 75th Anniversary Celebration

Anniversary Events You Won’t Want to Miss: November 4, 2013 Hall of Fame April 9 & 10, 2014 Round Up April 11, 2014 Individual Class Reunions April 12, 2014 Golf Tournament, School Open House, Tours & Lunch, Antique & Classic Car Show, 75th Anniversary Gala For details, go to 4


That was then...

when the Friday assemblies began with the Pledge of Allegiance, the American’s Creed, and our Alma Mater... by Steve Wright ‘56

Will Rogers High School had a great start. It was built by people of the greatest generation for students who were also part of the greatest generation (1939 - 1945) at home and abroad. And with the changes in 2011 to a college prep program, there’s every reason to believe that the successful foundation of Will Rogers College High School 75 years ago is alive and well today. The 1930s were tough times. The Depression affected everyone economically. In Oklahoma, mostly in the western part, but certainly to some extent in Tulsa, there was the crisis of months and years with no rain and black dust clouds hundreds of feet high. As if that wasn’t enough, war clouds were looming on two fronts - Europe and the Far East. In 1935, Oklahoma took advantage of a Federal Government program providing jobs by helping fund the building of schools and reportedly all 77 counties participated. Tulsa was the first county and Eastside High and Westside High were the first planned in Tulsa. The Government covered 45 percent. The other 55 percent came from Tulsa taxpayers. Initially there was controversy. Many Tulsans thought the School Board was “slightly off it’s rocker” to build on a hill in an open prairie with no houses to obstruct the view to Admiral, Harvard and 11th streets. The Board considered the number of students from feeder schools and anticipated a housing boom. The former happened, and so did the latter, but not until the war was over. Community acceptance to the location changed dramatically in 1936 when it was decided Eastside High would be named for Will Rogers, who was killed with Wiley Post in Alaska in August 1935. Westside High was named for Daniel Webster. Hundreds, probably thousands, helped build Will Rogers High. Every morning out-of-work men would report, hoping to be chosen to do some task that day. Using the finest of materials and a new architecture of the day, yet to be called Art Deco, the construction costs ran about $1.3 million. That didn’t include the land – 26.9 acres purchased for $21,772 from the Turner family, or the $158,000 for the cost of equipment placed in the building. The school, with a capacity for 1,500 students, opened on September 11, 1939 to 1,501 students and a staff of 44 including teachers. The building was becoming a monument and memorial to Will Rogers as well as a fine structure for education. At the 15th Anniversary Open House in 1953, architect Joseph Koberling, eyes glistening, spoke affectionately about his work. “My responsibility in this partnership became the actual designing of the hundred and one features we hoped would make an attractive as well as a functional building. It took many months and many trained minds of numerous specialists laboring together towards a single goal to produce the plans and specifications for this project. “Every single feature, whether seen or unseen had to be carefully studied, analyzed and finally drawn and specified so contractors could bid the job and finally build it into the building you see here today.” (Some of Koberling’s original architectural drawings are pictured on page 12.) Its acceptance in the community was clearly solidified on Sunday, November 5, 1939, one day after what would have been Will’s 60th birthday.

The Tulsa World reported that 10,000 people showed up for a three-hour open house and impressive dedication ceremony that honored Will Rogers and expressed appreciation for the building. The ceremony in the auditorium was broadcast through loud speakers to the overflow crowded into the classrooms. Tulsans came to demonstratively show their enthusiasm for the building, for education, and their respect for Will Rogers. Yet there was no commercial transportation to the site and no parking lots nearby to handle the cars. But the people got there; it was a great day, indeed. It was an exciting time for the students as well. They were part of a new school with new classrooms, launching new activities, adopting nicknames, choosing colors, starting new traditions and new programs. Ropers was selected as the nickname. Original colors were blue and silver, but gave way to blue and gold during the first year. The first Lariat was published, thanks to some financial help and encouragement from parents. The first student view of the auditorium was September 14, the 125th anniversary of Francis Scott Key writing the words for the Star Spangled Banner. And that began a generation of emphasis on citizenship, patriotism and, of course, education. The first Round Up, the all-school musical review, was held March 7-8, 1940. More importantly that year, the school received accreditation from the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges after extended meetings, conferences and interviews. In 1939 the top movies were The Wizard of Oz, and Gone With The Wind. Popular as they were, who would have thought they would still be classics 75 years later. Up until 1935, Will Rogers was the top movie attraction. Following Great Britain and France, the U. S. declared war on Germany in 1941 and hundreds of Will Rogers’ boys were enlisting, even before graduation. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and again the boys were facing life-changing situations rather than the senior breakfast, prom and homecoming. By March of 1943, some 500 students were in the military and three had already given their lives for their country. During 1943-44, 300 students had withdrawn from school to enlist. In June 1945, there were about 1,100 former students in the Armed Forces. - continued

The American’s Creed

I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed, a democracy in a republic, a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies. –Written by William Tyler Page, 1917

Alma Mater

Our Alma Mater, thou art strong and true. Thy name shall live in the deeds thy children do. Thy gift shall be in life our guide. We will be true to thee, WILL ROGERS HIGH. –Written by Bob Canfield, 1948

“I Never Met A MaN I Didn’t LIke.” - Will Rogers


That Was Then...continued

C. Benton Manley 1936-1946

The Principals of Will Rogers High School

O.A.H. Setzepfandt 1946-1950

Raymond W. Knight 1950-1969 Roy James Lewis 1969-1973

Martin McGinty 1973-1982 Richard Cox 1982-1992

James R. Sharpe 1992-1994 Jim Howard 1994-1996 Nora Cook 1996-2005 Tenna Whitsel 2005-2006 Kevin Burr 2006-2009 Lyda Wilbur 2009-2011 Stacey Vernon 2011-2013 Cheryl Carter 2013 - Present


During the war, to save on tires and gas, there were fewer cars in the parking lot, more bicycles in the racks and more crowded buses at 3:30 p.m., the end of the school day. There were collection areas for tinfoil, wastepaper and toothpaste tubes. Students were asked to bring in their weight in scrap metal and steel. When all was weighed in, they almost doubled their quota. Male teachers were called into military service and both men and women worked in defense plants. Labor shortage almost closed the cafeteria, but mothers of students volunteered to help prepare and serve school lunches. During 1946 and 1947, some 70 veterans of World War ll were enrolled to finish high school. Ever wonder why early pictures of Will Rogers High School from the south side were so bare of landscaping? Conservation and rationing were more important during those war years than trees and shrubs. By 1948 landscaping was finished, yet no one felt the school had been neglected. Some things are more important. And today? Just try to take a picture without greenery blocking out some essential part of the building. A good word needs to be said about that cafeteria specialty – bean chowder and cinnamon rolls. You can buy a pretty good hamburger today, but no one does bean chowder and cinnamon rolls like we remember from the cafeteria. (You can try your hand at it. Recipes are on page 10.)

There were outstanding teachers in each department, but certainly several of the more visible ones taught music and theater-drama. The mid-fifties also featured some outstanding student talent. And that talent led to the first-ever amateur production of South Pacific, which had to be held on the Edison High School stage because it was bigger than the one at Will Rogers. Dr. Raymond Knight was Principal 1950-69, longer than any other in school history. So connected was he to Will Rogers, the man, that he was appointed to the Will Rogers Commission in 1963 and served as chairman 1967-78. The early 1950s ushered in a period of student growth that called for school expansion. In the late 1940s eight new classrooms were added as the northeast wing at a cost of $246,000. In 1953 prefabricated classrooms were added on the northwest and west sides of the school. In 1964 a permanent addition on the northwest added 21 classrooms and a girls’ gym at a cost of $715,000. In 1972, the annex building on the southeast corner of the campus opened with 27 new classrooms. By then costs had skyrocketed to $733,000. Aside from structural changes, the most significant change at the school occurred in December 1952. When students broke for the Christmas holidays, they had no idea there would be a big surprise when they returned in January. Aside from structural changes, the most

significant change at the school were the 43 large sepia-tone prints depicting the life and movie career of Will Rogers that were hung, mostly down the east and west corridors on the main floor. Lobby cards were loaned by the Will Rogers Commission in Claremore and enlarged. All funding for the project came from individuals, businesses and gifts from graduating classes. September 1988 ushered in a yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. It began outside on the south lawn with students, teachers and a special visit from 85 yearold Joseph Koberling. It continued with alumni football and basketball games and with the first Will Rogers Hall of Fame Induction. The celebration concluded with a dance at the Tulsa Convention Center, attended by over 1,000 guests. By 1994 the school got window-unit air conditioning. Central air came along in 2007. Before then, the teacher just went to the window and opened it to cool things off. Other changes in the mid-1990s included the refurbishing of the large Will Rogers photographs. They were cleaned, reframed as needed, and protected with plexiglass. Once again, the funding for this project came from individuals, businesses and class gifts through the school’s alumni foundation. During this period, the library was remodeled and lighting and sound system improvements were made in the auditorium. Also cabling was installed throughout the building to support new technology. - continued

The Bellamy Award Probably the most prestigious and coveted recognition came in October 1957 when Will Rogers High received the Francis Bellamy Flag Award. It honored the accomplishments of alumni and merits of the faculty in stressing citizenship and patriotism to students. Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892 to encourage patriotism and to have the American flag flown from every school. The award is given to only one high school in the nation each year and Will Rogers was selected as a representative high school in tribute to the Tulsa Public Schools. Even so, Will Rogers was recognized


as being a high school that had created an outstanding program of developing attitudes, ideals and understandings that are necessary to good citizenship education. And that led to a better understanding of the American heritage and love of country.

- Will Rogers


That Was Then...continued In 2006 a new field house was added replacing some of the north parking lot (and tennis courts of years past) but not completely replacing the old gym, which held memories of great victories, homecoming dances and all school gatherings, like Bob Hope’s visit in October 1963. The old gym is still used for enrollment, career fairs and girls’ basketball practice. The field house cost $5.4 million, making it almost twice the cost of the original structure, plus additions. A successful bond issue in 2010 helped bring about some changes during the 2011– 2013 period. Student lockers, most dating back to the original ones, were replaced in the summer of 2013. Recovered were a few books and notebooks dating back to the early1940s that had fallen behind the lockers, unrecoverable until now. A one-year project replacing about 475 multi-glass framed single pane, steelsupported windows was completed in June 2012. With new energy-efficient, doublepane, aluminum-support windows, there’s been an overall energy savings of 14 percent. All exterior doors, including 14 on the south side, were dismantled, scraped, and repainted to match the original green used in 1939. It complements nicely the exterior art deco colors used in 1939. Additionally, the old cafeteria space on the second floor has been remodeled and converted into two 75-seat, tiered lecture-style classrooms, two computer labs for 28 students each and four smart boards. The new cafeteria? You’ll have to go to the first floor just east of the old “smoke hole” to enjoy a rather contemporary site with some seating available outside in the center courtyard. The smoke hole is a distant memory, especially since Tulsa Public School Board policy banned smoking on all property in June 1987. New windows, new doors, new lockers, new lecture rooms, fresh paint, remodeled library, updated computers and new cafeteria. They’re all part of cosmetic and structural changes that have helped make a 75-year-old gal look and feel like a high school teenager once again.

10 10

The Tamburini Portrait

In January 1954 the most celebrated portrait in the school was made possible through the generosity of Oklahoma City grocery store owner, Sylvan N. Goldman, inventor of the grocery cart in the late 1930s and a personal friend of Will Rogers principal, Dr. Raymond Knight. Fortunately there was no damage from 43 years hanging outside the auditorium, but as a precaution, the original portrait was permanently loaned to Gilcrease Museum in 1997 where there was proper light and better climate control. Now hanging in its place is a very good photographic reproduction. It is thought by some to be the only portrait that Will Rogers ever sat for, but according to officials at the Memorial in Claremore there is not enough evidence to support that fact. It wasn’t like Will to “waste time” posing, as he was so into travels, helping others, movies, speeches, newspaper columns, radio talks and, of course, fidgeting. Will met and was interviewed by Italian painter Count Arnaldo Tamburini when he was a houseguest of a Santa Monica neighbor. As was the case of portraits of famous people, it was probably “done from life” after interviews and from memory and photographs. Ironically it was Betty, Will’s wife, who persuaded Will to agree to the painting, and it was done in July 1935, just one month before Will and Wiley Post were killed.

Then there was the time that... Every high school probably has an informal group of jokesters and pranksters. There are tales about pranks that may or may not have been harmless, but have survived thanks to countless repeating... and possibly some exaggeration or embellishment. Will Rogers High School has had its share and some are legendary.

...Like the time in 1956 when term papers for Madge Gibson’s English class were delivered by armed Brink’s guards. “I can’t imagine what is so valuable about these papers,” she said. But the class obviously thought their “Religions of the World” deserved special handling. It is unknown if the extra precaution had any impact on student grades. Remember the teacher who had a flower box on the windowsill of her 3rd floor classroom? She was always watering even after some prankster planted artificial flowers. Did she not know or was she just going along with the joke by a couple of teenagers and humoring us. In 1943 students were asked to bring in their weight in scrap metal to help the war effort. It was initially successful largely due to an over zealous group who brought in parts of windmills and tractors, The drive was still successful (nearly double the student’s weight) even after farmers came to school to reclaim some of their property that was “inappropriately appropriated.”

Then there was the time, not unlike today when young people camp out overnight to be the first to get concert tickets or to be the first among friends to purchase the latest electronic mobile phone. In the late 1940s, Round-Up tickets were in such demand that students began arriving at 5 a.m. and finishing their sleep on the front steps, determined to be among the first in line. Except one time when 12 daring and hardy souls tried staying all night in the building. By 1:00 a.m. they were discovered by the night watchman. And then the chase began, from the stage to classrooms to the roof with blankets and sandwiches. With victory almost at hand, they reportedly gave up about daybreak. Why the surrender? Maybe it was because as they crossed Pittsburgh Avenue and looked back, they saw the principal, still in houseslippers and wrapped warmly in a blanket, formidably standing on the southeast steps. And, maybe the most famous one of all...THE GREAT GATOR CAPER!

The following story should eliminate the notion that all student pranks in the good old days (at least the 1950s) were chewing gum, talking in class, passing notes and throwing spitballs. It was 1959 and one Will Rogers student had the idea of going to Mohawk Zoo, stealing an alligator and turning it loose in the front hall. As he shared the idea with about seven other guys, they gained confidence rather than intelligence. After seven or eight expeditions to Mohawk, after hours, to “walk among” the alligators in their outdoor pit, they became convinced rather than doubtful about pulling off such a stunt. They were sporting an amazing display of manly-made bravado and more than a little stupidity. It turned out that gator herding is an acquired skill and not all in the group of seven had it or wanted to learn it. One day about 5 a.m., three of them were successful in capturing a gator. They climbed over a three-foot fence, put it in the trunk and brought it back to show fellow perpetrators who didn’t make the final trip. They were eager to take a victory lap around the south oval as a crowd of students gathered. Then it was into the building with their 6-foot, 100-pound trophy and the release in the main hall amidst screams and frantic scattering. Fortunately the boys left a small piece of rope around the gator’s neck, allowing the Dean of Boys the opportunity to drag the gator into the teachers’ lounge for temporary safe keeping. A silent pact kept the blame to the three who were caught. Yes, charges were filed. The judge, maybe remembering a boyhood prank of his own and aided by the boys’ admission of guilt and an appearance of contriteness and relief, dismissed the charges. Despite an attempt to keep the story quiet, it was picked up by the Tulsa World, The Associated Press and many papers, coast to coast. After gaining a little bit of maturity, the boys realized how incredibly dangerous this venture was and how thankful they were to have avoided being maimed or killed. One of the guys imagined what the headline might have been: Teenagers Mauled to Death in Alligator Pit Incredibly stupid stunt goes awry Individual versions may differ slightly, but at the risk of any copycat ideas they will not be published here. - adapted from an account by John Owen, ‘59


Thousands of alumni, hundreds of teachers and many Tulsans knew that Will Rogers High School was a special place, but it took the idea and perseverance of one alumna – Betty Ann Brown Trinka – to make sure the rest of the country knew. On September 6, 2007, Will Rogers High School was formally included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Original Architectural Drawings

Most buildings have state or local significance, but Will Rogers was recognized as having national significance as well. The school is well known for its quality of materials and construction and its fine craftsmanship, as well as its being a modern architectural masterpiece. Many of the features – light fixtures, mural, interior and exterior design – are the same as they were when the school was opened in 1939. The original interior and facade are intact, thanks to those who have maintained and operated the building over the years. When the Tulsa Public Schools began consolidating in 2011, Superintendent, Keith Ballard, recognized that Will Rogers High School, with its rich heritage and beautiful structure, was a special place and recommended that the doors stay open.

Will Rogers, the Man Upon his tragic death in 1935, it was decided to name the new Tulsa high school on the hill for the legendary, beloved, Will Rogers. What a great decision...for students, alumni, teachers, staff and the Tulsa community as well. We know about the school. What about the man? It would be hard to find a state whose native son has made more of an impact on America than did Oklahoma’s Will Rogers. Few have come close to his communication skills or mastered so many venues: stage, motion pictures, newspaper, radio, author, speaker and lecturer. He was an Oklahoma Cherokee cowboy, rodeo performer, trick rope artist, humorist, author, news analyst, journalist, philosopher and America’s first radio commentator. At the time of his death, he was the number one box office attraction and his column was published in more than 600 newspapers. He was a direct link to the original Americans, a country boy, a cowboy and a middle American, even though he spent some 30 years living on either the East or West coasts. Some think that no one before or since related to so many people. He was loved, read, watched, heard and respected by millions around the world. Within days after his death the major radio networks went silent for 30 minutes. Newspapers chronicled his life and his death with up to l7 pages of coverage. Newsreels of his memorial service showed in theaters for weeks. Found in his pockets after the crash was a stub of a pencil, a pocket knife, eyeglasses, a magnifying glass, a program from a rodeo he and Betty had attended a few days earlier, a small cardboard and wood puzzle from the rodeo, and a pocket watch that was still running. He wore the watch tied to an old string; things that a small boy might carry. Simple things. And maybe that’s why Will Rogers was so loved by so many. What an honor to have his name above the entrance to our school. by Steve Wright, Class of ‘56


Does It Matter? Swingin’ a rope. What’s that about? It started out as a tool of the livestock business, and Will Rogers turned it into entertainment, doing tricks that made people smile. Pure fun for its own sake. Can’t we all use that in our lives? At least five days a week we walked into a work of art, a building adorned inside and out with design elements and decorations that somebody cared enough to make perfect. We couldn’t help noticing the carved-stone images of Will, the multi-faceted Renaissance man. In one panel making movies. In others, talking on the radio, flying, cowboying... usually wearing that sly, sideways grin that says, “Life is good.” Does it matter? Of course it does. Anybody who gets such a big dose of such a big man is going to be touched by him. We were reminded to stay young at heart and keep a ready sense of humor. We learned to be patriotic, and that all of us should keep a skeptic’s eye on our government. Will was Oklahoma personified, of European and Native American ancestry. Did that affect how we think about race, community, tolerance, and brotherhood? You bet. A lot of other schools don’t have as much to talk about. They may be named for one-dimensional heroes, or not for heroes at all. Who else has a comedian for a role model? They may not talk about their namesakes as much, because whose namesake fits every situation the way ours does? If you’re talking about world travel, embracing technology, the arts, journalism, friendship... almost any topic, there’s a Will Rogers story or quote. No wonder we heard so much about him. He fits everywhere. We’re reminded every day to remember where we came from. Our minds were emblazoned with jeansand-booted Will, standing on the common red clay of Oklahoma, with horses, cattle, and everyday folks...his favorite kind. There may be no greater launching pad than to grow up in the middle of America. Where people learn to stand tall in the middle of pancake prairies. Where people are formed out of dust, oil, architecture, show business, world leadership, and service to humanity. Where education sends people out to change the world for the better. Of course it matters. We’re walking in the bootsteps of Will Rogers. by Joe Johnston, Class of ‘66

WRHS Hall of Fame Will Rogers High School can boast of an impressive group of graduates who have achieved fame or extraordinary success in their chosen careers. The first class of honorees was inducted in 1989. All thirty-six honorees are shown here, along with a brief description of their accomplishments. In addition to honoring distinguishd alumni, a primary purpose of the Will Rogers High School Hall of Fame is to instill in current and future students the desire to achieve their own successes in whatever endeavors they pursue. Hall of Fame biographies by Nancy Jo Daulton Beier, Class of ‘56

Ernest Moody Class of 1944 Inducted 1989

Robert J. Stuart Class of 1944 Inducted 2009

Ernest Moody is a name known to every Will Rogers senior who proudly wears the Rogers class ring. We all remember lining up early in the morning under the hot August sun to receive our rings. Since 1944, customers have come to recognize the Moody name as synonymous with quality and integrity. It all began with a broken clock that teenaged Ernest and his mother could not afford to repair; the cost was $1.00. A neighborhood watchmaker sold young Ernest the 25 cent part he needed and showed him how to repair it himself. Ernest began to visit the watchmaker’s shop and help with repairs. When the owner retired, Ernest took his life savings of $200, purchased the shop, and Moody’s Jewelry was born. Ernest’s ethic of quality service enabled him and his beloved wife, Mildred, to build Moody’s Jewelry. His love for his alma mater, Will Rogers High School, made him Tulsa’s first high school ring headquarters. Moody’s is still a family-owned company, operated by his five children, with the third generation now entering the business. Moody’s is the largest family-owned jeweler in Oklahoma and is honored to serve our community by giving a portion of every sale to its Route 66 Giving Campaign, which supports over 66 charities right in our own backyard. Ernest spoke often of “gifts of love” and demonstrated it as he gave generously to benefit others. His family is honored to continue this loving legacy in the Tulsa community. Robert Stuart was known as “Jackrabbit” while at Will Rogers because of his 1943 and 1944 state championships in the 100 and 220-yard dash. His 100-yard time was an impressive 9.7 seconds. Robert was an outstanding athlete—track, basketball and football—but it was football that made him a Roper legend. Archrival Central High had held the Ropers scoreless the first three years they played each other (’40, ’41, ’42), but Jackrabbit changed all that when he scored all four touchdowns in the Ropers’ defeat of Central in 1943. He starred at Tulsa University, playing in the Orange Bowl game of 1945, before being drafted into the Army, which led to a West Point appointment. Army was a football powerhouse in the late 1940s, finishing in the top six teams in the nation for five years. Graduating from West Point in 1949, Robert was assigned to the Air Force, where he helped install their first computer system. He left the military in 1955 and worked for Douglas Aircraft in Washington, D.C. and Tulsa. In 1958 Robert joined J. D. Young Co. as a microfilm salesman and is now the chairman of the board. He has been instrumental in the evolution of copiers and printers and streamlined operations for clients such as American Airlines and Phillips Petroleum. Robert is a member of Tulsa Executives Association, was a board member of Holland Hall School and taught Sunday School at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder.

Preston Caruthers came to Tulsa at age three, after his father’s death. Summers were spent working on his uncle’s farm to help support his family. In addition, he held part-time jobs as a newspaper carrier, grocery delivery boy, and in a butcher shop. Trips to the library fostered a lifelong desire for education. After Preston finished his junior year at Will Rogers, where he was class vicepresident, he, like scores of his classmates, answered the call to arms for World War II. Preston’s hard work as a boy prepared him well for the rigors of military life. He continued his studies in English, math and history through military correspondence. Navy Medical Corps School taught him anatomy, physiology and nursing. Preston settled in Arlington, Virginia, where he attended college at George Washington University on the GI Bill. At the age of only 23, Preston started his own construction business, and in the boom of post WWII, was hugely successful because of his talent, energy and business acumen. His crowning achievement was the creation of Belmont Bay in the 1990s—a thriving, beautiful waterfront community only 30 minutes south of Washington, D.C. Preston C. Caruthers Preston is affectionately called “Mr. Arlington” because of his outstanding community involvement, including serving on the Class of 1945 Arlington County School Board, Virginia State Board of Education, Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges and the Advisors of George Mason University. Preston and his wife have provided generous financial support to Marymount College, the Virginia Inducted 2011 Hospital Center Foundation and the National Museum of the United States Army.

Warren G. Guntheroth, M.D. Class of 1945 Inducted 2012


Warren Guntheroth graduated from Will Rogers and received a full scholarship to Harvard University. He earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1952 and began his career in pediatric medicine as a Research Fellow at Harvard from 1953-55. Warren joined the medical staff of the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle in 1957, where he founded the department of Pediatric Cardiology and remained for fifty-five years. At the time of his death in 2012, he was the most senior member of the medical school staff. Dr. Guntheroth’s contributions to pediatric medicine were significant. He was the first American physician to publish a paper calling for the Back to Sleep position for infants, preventing thousands of deaths each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He published hundreds of articles and three books, one of which was translated into five languages. Warren loved mountain climbing and his dogs, and he loved talking about both, so he wrote a book, Climbing with Sasha, his favorite Husky. His autobiography, My Life, Loves and Battles, honored the profound influence of women in his life and saluted the importance of hard work and honesty. Warren was a fighter for social justice and equality all his life and a generous contributor to social justice-oriented charities and political causes. As a medical resident in the 50s, he met two nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital, best friends and roommates, Ellie and Sally. In 1954, he and Ellie were married. They had three sons and a happy marriage until Ellie’s death in 2007. Sally had been around the Guntheroth family for 53 years. She and Warren fell in love after Ellie’s death and were married in 2009. Warren and Ellie both valued education and knowledge. All three children went to college. Two became engineers, and the third became an entrepeneur.

Fred G. Sanders Class of 1945

Inducted 2012

Fred Sanders wanted to study aeronautical engineering after graduation from Will Rogers. Only four schools in the nation offered a degree in that field, and one was Tulsa’s own Spartan College. He completed the four-year program in two years and joined McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis as a design engineer, making $1.22 an hour. After his military service, Fred returned to McDonnell and worked on the F-4 jet fighter at the Northrop facility in California. Future assignments in St. Louis and Florida included design and managerial leadership positions on the Mercury and Gemini space programs; then it was back to California for the Skylab project. Because of his excellent communication skills, Fred was frequently called upon to host tours and provide information to Congress, astronauts and scientists, such as Dr. Wernher von Braun. Fred was awarded the NASA Prestigious Public Service Award in 1974, and was vice president and general manager of the St. Louis division of McDonnell-Douglas Astronautics when he retired in 1988. The engineers held the lives of the astronauts in their hands and astronaut Bill Pogue, pilot of Skylab 4, said of Fred, “This may seem a trivial problem, but as an ‘end user’ of a product, one certainly feels a surge of confidence when people managing the program, led by Fred Sanders, solved even the most trivial problems with speed, dedication and dispatch.” Fred died in 2010.

Paula Combest Unruh graduated from Will-on-the-Hill and attended The University of Tulsa and The University of Arkansas. She soon discovered an active interest in politics, which took her all the way from the Oklahoma Young Republicans to the national political arena in Washington, D.C. Her position as Oklahoma Young Republican National Committeewoman led her to Page Belcher, First District congressman, who offered her a job in his Washington, D.C. office. She ultimately became his campaign manager for many years. Paula’s list of community service and honors include American Red Cross Board, Parent/Child Center, Legal Aid Chairman for Tulsa County Bar Association, Jr. Association of Tulsa Boys’ Home, Tulsa Town Hall Board, president of the Tulsa Philharmonic Jr. Association, president of the Women’s Association and Cinderella Ball chairman. In 1973 Paula was honored by Women in Communications as one of their Women of the Year, and in 1974 the mayor asked her to co-chair the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Bond Issue Campaign, which passed after being defeated three previous times. In 1975, President Ford appointed Paula to a nine-year term on the National USO Board. In 1981, President Reagan appointed Paula Combest Unruh her to serve as the director of consumer affairs for the Department of Energy. President Reagan again appointed her as principal Class of 1947 deputy director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, the first woman to serve in that capacity. She has led internaInducted 2013 tional trade missions to Europe and Japan, and was named executive vice president of the Tulsa Global Trade Foundation.

William L. Lewis Class of 1949

Inducted 2009

Carol Walsh Morsani Class of 1949 Inducted 2009

Frank Morsani Class of 1949 Inducted 2009

William “Bill” Lewis loved baseball and singing, but singing won out and he turned down a college baseball scholarship. Bill became one of the foremost operatic tenors of the twentieth century, performing in every major opera house in the world. His career at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House lasted 35 years, where he sang about 50 performances a year of 140 roles in ten languages. Bill studied voice in Tulsa with Lorna Moore, and while at Will Rogers was an active participant in choral groups and the Round-Up. After graduation, he pursued his vocal studies at the University of Colorado and Texas Christian University. In 1955 he was the national winner in the New York Metropolitan Opera Auditions. He used his prize money to go to New York and continue his studies. His Met career began in 1957 and the rest is operatic history. Critics have described Bill’s performances as magnificent, electrifying, exhilarating, brilliant, superb, sincere, intelligent, admirable and a major triumph—with a passion for diction. Upon his retirement from singing, Bill accepted a one-year contract as an artist-in-residence at the University of Texas, in Austin. His work was so outstanding that he is still there 17 years later. In addition to his work at the University of Texas, Bill is the director of the highly regarded, privately funded Franco American Vocal Academy in France, which provides high-level instruction and performing experience for some 60 college-age singers and musicians. Carol Walsh Morsani and Frank Morsani met at Will Rogers, graduated from Oklahoma State University, and have been married for 62 years. Carol has been extremely active in many nonprofit organizations and served on countless boards. Currently Carol serves on the Foundation Board of the Moffitt Cancer Center. She is a major benefactor and has served on the board of the Tampa Museum of Art. Carol was instrumental in the creation of the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy at the University of South Florida as well as the Merit Society associated with Moffitt. Both Carol and Frank have many prestigious awards, including doctor of humane letters from the University of South Florida, and honorary doctor of letters from Oklahoma State University, which has awarded only 18 honorary doctorates in its 123-year existence. Carol received the Henry Bennett Award for Distinguished Service from Oklahoma State University, as well as the Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction. She shares with Frank the Judeo Christian Humanities Award and the Philanthropists of the Year award from the City of Tampa. In 2002, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce named Carol the Cultural Contributor of the Year. Frank served four years in the Navy during the Korean War. His career was predominately in the automotive industry, ranging from serving as a Ford Motor Company representative to owning a large network of automobile dealerships in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and Nevada. Like Carol, Frank is active in community leadership and philanthropy. Chief Justice Berger appointed Frank to the Prison Industries Council and he served on many boards in Washington, D.C., such as the National Automobile Dealership Association, Board of Import Automobile Dealerships, and the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he was chairman in 1985-1986. He chaired the board of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for nine years. Its largest hall is named for Carol. President Carter appointed Frank to the White House Conference on Small Business; President Reagan appointed him to the Small Business Administration Advisory Council. Both Frank and Carol have endowed chairs at Oklahoma State University, the University of South Florida, University of Tampa and Moffitt Cancer Research Hospital. They endowed the Medical School named in their honor, and the Clinic for Advanced Health Care. They both served on the Community Foundation Board. Their philanthropy has supported the visual arts, performing arts, education, medical research, and humanitarian charities.

Donald “Babe” Chandler Class of 1952

Inducted 2012

Gordon Morgan Class of 1953

Inducted 2013

Neil R. Sparks, Jr. Class of 1954

Inducted 2012

Lynette Bennett (Danskin) Class of 1955

Inducted 2013

Paul B. Davis Class of 1955

Inducted 2012


Donald “Babe” Chandler excelled in several sports at Will Rogers and won a scholarship to Bacone Indian College in Muskogee and played on their National Junior College Football Championship team. He was scouted for a scholarship to the University of Florida and led the nation in punting. He was selected by the New York Giants as the number five pick in the National Football League draft. The Giants won the NFL championship that first year—1956. After nine years with the Giants, Don became a Green Bay Packer, which reunited him with Vince Lombardi who had been a defensive coach for the Giants. The Packers won the NFL championship the first year and won the first two Super Bowls before Don retired after 12 years of professional football. Among his football honors are several punting and scoring titles, and selection to the Florida Gators Hall of Fame, the Giants Hall of Fame and the Packers Hall of Fame. Both The Tulsa World and The Daily Oklahoman selected Don as one of Oklahoma’s Outstanding Athletes of the Twentieth Century. As outstanding as his football career was, Don may be remembered most for his rugged good looks and his television career as one of the original Marlboro men in the early ‘60s. Don made many national television commercials and was a popular public speaker. Don died in 2011, survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters and ten grandchildren Gordon Morgan was an All-State baseball player for Will Rogers in 1953 and upon graduation he was drafted into professional baseball. He played minor league ball for the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, where he earned the nickname Cannonball for his powerful arm. A knee injury, however, ended his pro baseball career. Then Gordon left baseball for the U.S. Army. He later graduated from The University of Tulsa, where he was the varsity baseball coach from 1959 to 1962. Gordon returned to Rogers where he taught and coached from 1962 to 1988, changing the lives of countless young people. He coached swimming, cross-country and baseball (502 wins - 198 losses), winning four state championships. His teams won ten Conference Championships and 13 regional titles. He coached 17 Oklahoma All-State players, three of whom were High School All-American, then went on to play professional baseball, with two going to the major leagues with the New York Mets. After retirement from Will Rogers, Gordon coached nine years at Bishop Kelley High School, where he won three state championships, nine regional and nine conference titles in girls’ softball. He co-founded the Sunbelt Classic Series (now known as the Heartland Baseball Classic), the elite high school baseball series in America—a baseball scout’s dream for the recruitment of excellent players. Gordon was named Coach of the Year ten times by City, Regional and State Associations, and was inducted into The Oklahoma Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Hall of Fame Baseball Coaches, Oklahoma Softball Coaches Hall of Fame and Bishop Kelley Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Morgan died in 2005. After graduation from Will Rogers, Neil Sparks attended Oklahoma State University and was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy in 1959. Following naval flight training, he became a helicopter pilot. In his more than 28-year career, he was deployed ten times on various aircraft carriers, four times to Vietnam waters, flying combat search-and-rescue and support missions. During a fifth deployment in Vietnam, he flew in-country Navy Attack Helicopters, in support of Navy SEALs and River Forces. In July 1967 Neil and his crew flew more than 200 miles into North Vietnam, over heavily fortified hostile territory, to rescue a downed Navy fighter pilot. Under intense enemy ground fire, his helicopter was severely damaged. Nonetheless, after 20 minutes in a hover, he miraculously completed a successful rescue. For displaying unprecedented valor and extraordinary heroism in combat, he was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest award in the naval service, and second only to the Medal of Honor. Neil completed his education at the Naval Post Graduate School, commanded a helicopter squadron in Florida, and was the operations officer of an amphibious assault ship. Neil’s final duty was as the Navy member of the Marine Amphibious Warfare Presentation Team that lectured in 33 countries. Neil was honored as the most decorated member in the 50-year history of Helicopter Squadron Two with 31 medals and ribbons. Neil and Kay Stover, also from Tulsa, were married in 1960 and had a son and daughter. Lynette Bennett (Danskin) was a star at Will Rogers and went on to become a star internationally. During her Tulsa days, besides singing, dancing and playing the piano in the Round-Up and other events at Rogers, she appeared in the Annual Sunrise Easter Pageant. Lynette went on to become an award-winning Broadway, film and television actor/singer/dancer. She has lived and performed in New York City, London and Los Angeles, and starred in productions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and London’s West End. Her films have been shown at the New York and Sundance Film Festivals. Lynette’s Broadway performances include Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand, and The Yearling, starring David Hartman. In London, she played reporter Mary Sunshine in the West End production of Chicago. Other London performances included leads in The Merry Widow, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Magic Flute. Off-Broadway, she starred in The Lion in Winter and Gigi. Television appearances include The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, One Life to Live, As the World Turns, America’s Most Wanted and Married With Children. Lynette’s cabaret act was orchestrated by her former pianist Barry Manilow. Lynette is probably best known to television audiences for her marvelous one-woman show on PBS: Will Rogers’ Romance with Betty and America, performed and written by Lynette. Commissioned by Gilcrease Museum, Lynette also wrote and performed in Home Lands: The Surprising Women of the West. She is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and Who’s Who of American Women. Centrahoma. Ellis, Kansas. Great Falls, Montana. Caddo, Antlers. Harthorne. Jenks. The son of a Methodist minister, Paul Davis lived many places before arriving at Woodrow Wilson Junior High and Will Rogers High School in Tulsa. His art teachers, Mr. Higgins in 8th grade, Ms. Ownby in 9th, and Hortense Bateholts at Will Rogers, encouraged him, as did such ambitious and talented friends as cartoonists Archie Goodwin and Russell Myers and aspiring architects Gerald Cross and Mike Glasgow. A Scholastic Magazine scholarship to the School of Visual Arts in New York and a job at the famed Push Pin Studios led to a long and successful career as an illustrator and graphic designer. Davis’s distinctive work has graced the covers and pages of magazines around the world. Posters for Joseph Papp’s Public Theater earned a special Drama Desk Award and the Three Penny Opera poster is in the collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Other honors include Halls of Fame of the Art Directors Club and the Society of Illustrators, and doctorates from SVA and the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. Solo exhibitions in galleries and museums in the U.S., Europe and Asia include retrospectives in Japan and at the grand opening of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Two were presented at the University of Tulsa and at Philbrook Museum in 1998, with the opening date declared “Paul Davis Day” by Governor Frank Keating. Davis created posters for Tulsa Mayfest 2002 and for Will Rogers High School 75th Anniversary.

Phillip Butler, PhD Class of 1956

Inducted 2009

Nancy Jo Daulton Beier Class of 1956

Inducted 2012

Russell “Roo” Myers Class of 1956

Inducted 2011

After completing high school, Phil Butler graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1961. He became a naval aviator in 1962, flying jets off aircraft carriers in combat during the Vietnam War. On April 20, 1965, his bombs malfunctioned, causing his A4C Skyhawk to explode. He survived the ejection and evaded the enemy for four days, but was captured and became a POW for 2,855 days—the eighth longest-held POW, enduring deplorable conditions and torturous treatment . Only 685 U.S. prisoners survived their ordeals, largely due to the support and encouragement from their fellow American prisoners, and a commitment to the Vietnam POW motto: “Return With Honor.” His military decorations include two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Legions of Merit, two Purple Hearts and the Medal of Valor from Oklahoma. After his release in 1973, he spent eight months recovering and readjusting to normal life, then earned a masters and doctorate of philosophy from The University of California, San Diego. Phil completed his Navy career as an organizational development consultant and professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He retired from the Navy in 1981, and founded Camelot Enterprises, a consulting company working with corporations on team building, interpersonal skills, leadership development and strategic planning. Phil was able to use personal examples from his Navy education, his career, and his POW experiences as a motivational speaker and seminar leader. He continues to contribute—volunteering for community service organizations, serving on the board of directors for more than 20. He exemplifies Live with Honor, defined as respect, commitment and service dedicated to peace and social justice, the environment, and improving quality of life for those less fortunate. Phil Butler’s life defines what it means to be a hero. His autobiography is Three Lives of a Warrior. Nancy Jo Daulton Beier, known as “Jo” while at Rogers, appeared as Bloody Mary in Rogers’ production of South Pacific, as well as soloing in the Round Up and Messiah choir concerts. She began her voice study in Tulsa with Lorna Moore, then studied with Richard Conrad, Boston Academy of Music, and coached with the late Wolfgang Vacano of Indiana University and Teatro Colón, Argentina. Jo made her European debut as Tosca at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater, in Flensburg, (then West) Germany, where she was engaged as dramatic soprano, specializing in the operas of Verdi, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Puccini and Mozart. During her years in Europe, she sang dramatic soprano roles in many German and Danish opera houses, as well as concerts with German orchestras. She performed recitals and concerts in Italy, England, the Netherlands and Canada. In the USA, she has performed with symphony orchestras and regional opera companies around the country, including San Francisco Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, The Opera Organization, and Opera in the Ozarks. Jo also had a varied career in the Broadway genre, performing around the USA in Hello, Dolly!, The Sound of Music, Carousel, Camelot, Man of La Mancha, Once Upon a Mattress, Damn Yankees, Cabaret, and many others. Jo lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she still is actively teaching, performing and directing—in her 70s—and is a sought-after adjudicator for the Washington State Music Teachers Association. She also teaches master classes in Seattle. Russell Myers, was known by his friends as “Roo” while at Will Rogers. He was born in Pittsburg, Kansas and moved to Tulsa, the Oil Capital of The World, in 1946, where his father taught at The University of Tulsa. In Russell’s own words: “I was interested in cartooning as far back as I can remember and always wanted to draw a comic strip. Most of my early training came from drawing in my notebook when I should have been paying attention in class. “After graduating from Tulsa University in 1960, I absconded to Kansas City, Missouri, to work for Hallmark, writing and drawing (hopefully) funny greeting cards. “I submitted my first strip to the syndicates at age 16, while still at Will Rogers. Thus began a steady succession of failures that finally culminated in the sale of Broom-Hilda in 1970, a welcome break from my 15-year-long pattern of rejections. “In 1964, I married Marina and we’re still going strong. We have two kids, Stewart and Rosie, neither of whom have ever been arrested for anything and seem to like us so we consider ourselves successful parents. “We currently live in southern Oregon where I stare out at the Rogue River when not dozing or drawing Broom-Hilda.” Editor’s note: Some of us who his classmates are fortunate enough to have treasured original Roo Myers cartoons in our yearbooks!

Janet Wright Kizziar graduated from Will Rogers and The University of Tulsa, returned to Will-on-the-Hill to teach English and Journalism, then completed her doctorate in psychology at TU. She and her late twin, Dr. Judy Hagedorn, opened a psychology practice, hosted two local TV talk shows and were the first women honored as University of Tulsa Distinguished Alumni. They appeared on network television shows, including Good Morning America and Today, and were interviewed by Larry King, Dick Cavett, Barbara Walters and Tom Snyder. The twins published two books, Search for Acceptance: The Adolescent and Self Esteem, and GEMINI: The Psychology and Phenomena of Twins. Janet’s proudest accomplishment is being a founding member of Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Fresh Start has helped more than 200,000 women in need who are seeking self-sufficiency, and opened a state-of-the-art Women’s Resource Center on October 1, 2002. She remains committed to helping women to help themselves. The YWCA in Phoenix honored Janet at their Tribute to Women for her work in health and healing. She continues to advocate Janet Wright Kizziar, for those dealing with domestic violence, child abuse, AIDS, co-dependency, drug and alcohol abuse, and adolescent pregnancy. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Women, and International Who’s Who in Ph.D. Community Service. Class of 1957 Janet’s favorite quote is from George Eliot. It hangs on a plaque dedicated to her at the Women’s Foundation Resource Center: Inducted 2013 “What do we live for, if not to make the world less difficult for each other?”

Anita Bryant (Dry) Class of 1958

Inducted 1989

Anita Bryant (Dry), singer, TV personality, author, and founder of Anita Bryant Ministries, International, made her debut at two years old, singing Jesus Loves Me. At ten, she had her own TV show. At Will Rogers, she was active in the Round-Up, the choral music program and, as a sophomore, played Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. Anita was a finalist for Miss America, and appeared regularly on such radio and television shows as The Don McNeil Breakfast Club, George Gobel and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. She appeared with Dr. Billy Graham in his crusades, and she and Dr. Graham have the distinction of being the only two people who have appeared at both the Democratic and Republican political conventions. Several White House appearances made her President Johnson’s favorite singer, and he requested that she sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic at his funeral. She toured with Bob Hope, entertaining the troops overseas for seven years and appeared on his televised Christmas Special. Anita was voted the most admired woman in America three years in a row by Good Housekeeping Magazine and was named one of the most influential women in America by the Gallup Poll. Anita was the commercial face for Coca-Cola and the Florida Citrus Commission, and was the first woman inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Her smiling face singing “Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree…” was seen hundreds of times each month on TV. At the age of 26, she was the youngest person ever inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame..


David Gates, the son of a band director and piano teacher, excelled in piano, bass and guitar, and by the time he came to Will Rogers, he was playing in local bands. After attending the University of Oklahoma, David moved to Los Angeles in 1961, working as a music copyist, studio musician and producer for a Who’s Who of recording artists. Success followed when his song Popsicles and Icicles hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The Monkees recorded his hit song, Saturday’s Child. By 1970, he had worked with many leading artists, including Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and Brian Wilson, all while releasing singles of his own on several labels. The second album of David’s band, BREAD, became a breakout success, with the number one single, Make It with You, and was the first of seven consecutive BREAD albums to go Gold. From 1970 to 1973, BREAD charted 11 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, all written and sung by David Gates. The single, Clouds, peaked at number 47 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. A second single, Sail Around The World, reached number 50. In 1975, he released the album, Never Let Her Go. The title track, released as a single, reached number 29 on the Hot 100 chart. David Gates His most successful single as a solo artist, The Goodbye Girl, reached number 15 on the Billboard chart in 1978. His next Class of 1958 single hit, Took the Last Train, reached number 30 on the Billboard chart. The David Gates Songbook was released in 2002. Inducted 1989 Frank Sinatra covered the song, If, in a live performance at Madison Square Garden. Boy George took Everything I Own to the top of the UK charts. David has performed on the stage of Carngie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, and the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, an accomplishment only a few artists have achieved. Gordona Moore Duca received her real estate license in 1971, and was recognized, both locally and nationally, as one of the outstanding realtors in residential real estate. She opened her own real estate firm in 1975, and was named realtor emeritus in 2011 by the National Association of Realtors. During her extraordinarily successful career, Gordona received many recognitions and honors. She was appointed by Governor David Walters to the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission. She was reappointed to a second term by Governor Frank Keating, and served as chair of the commission. Gordona served on the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank board in addition to serving on the boards of the Metro Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority, Tulsa Regional Hospital, Hillcrest Hospital, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Metro Christian Academy, Indian Nations Council of Boy Scouts, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, Cystic Fibrosis, Tulsa Area United Way, Leadership Tulsa, Arts and Humanities Council and the Junior League of Tulsa. Tulsans voted Gordona the Best Business Owner in Tulsa People Magazine in 1988. In 1997 Gordona was named the OklaGordona Moore Duca homa Business Woman of the Year by The Journal Record, and in 1993 she was named Realtor of the Year by the Greater Tulsa Class of 1958 Association of Realtors. She was presented with the PHH Cup in 1992, which is the highest award given by the largest relocation Inducted 1989 company in the real estate industry. Gordona is married to Larry Heiliger and has one daughter, Dawn Duca.

Leon Russell (Russell Bridges) Class of 1959

Inducted 2009

Leon Russell, known as Russell Bridges when he was at Will Rogers, is a gifted artist who has remained popular for more than 50 years as soloist, studio musician, composer and lyricist. Leon plays piano, organ and guitar and sings vocals. His musical training began at age three, and by age 14, his band, The Starlighters, was playing in Tulsa nightclubs. After graduation from Will Rogers, he played for Jerry Lee Lewis at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, then toured with the Lewis band. Leon soon became one of the best studio musicians in the industry and has played and sung with a virtual Who’s Who of rock’n’roll, country, blues and folk music. Some of these solo artists include, David Gates (WRHS ’58), George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Rita Coolidge, Gary Busey (Nathan Hale ’62), Willie Nelson, Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Ricky Nelson, Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Ann-Margret, Dean Martin, Marvin Gaye and Glen Campbell Groups with whom he has performed include The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Everly Brothers, The Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the Righteous Brothers. In 2006 Leon was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, and in 2007 his band, The Wrecking Crew, was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville. Elton John, who acknowledges Russell’s influence on his own career, presented Russell for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Manhattan in 2011.

Stephen Chesebro’ went from winning the title of “Ugly Man” and barely making the football team to proving himself an outstanding student, both at Will Rogers and the Colorado School of Mines in petroleum engineering, then on to the position of top executive of one of the largest oil companies in America. At CSM, he was quarterback of the football team, all-conference baseball, and a member of the golf team. In 1991 Steve was awarded the school’s Distinguished Achievement Medal; an Honorary Ph.D. followed in 1998. In 2009 he was appointed to the Colorado School of Mines Foundation Board of Governors, and in 2011 was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. During Steve’s leadership with Tenneco Oil Company, their technical team developed a revolutionary gas well completion technology that is now the industry standard. In 1994, he helped to lead the formation of the Gas Industry Standards Board that vastly improved the efficiency and accuracy of the natural gas delivery system throughout North America. These same standards are now being applied to the electrical industry. Steve retired in 1997 as chairman of the board and CEO of Tenneco Energy only Stephen D. Chesebro’ to take a two-year position as president and chief operating officer of Pennzoil. Currently, he serves as chairman of the board of Class of 1959 Harvest Natural Resources, Inc., an international exploration and production company. Steve’s impressive business career is almost eclipsed by his outstanding community service—a hands-on commitment to youth Inducted 2011 advocacy programs. He was named Houston’s Child Advocate of the Year in 1996. Steve married Miss Will Rogers XXIII, Dollie Austin, in 1965. They live in Houston and have two children and seven grandchildren.

Richard Counts, M.D. Class of 1959

Inducted 2013


Richard Counts could have been a successful actor, writer, musician or businessman, but thankfully for people the world over, he chose to be a physician. He earned his B.A. and M.D. at Washington University Medical School, St. Louis. Internship and residency followed at University Hospital, University of Washington, in Seattle. He spent two years as a clinical associate in Hematology at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, then returned to the University of Washington, from which he retired in 2008 as professor of medicine, Division of Hematology, and became professor emeritus. Rich established one of the first centers in the U.S. for comprehensive care of hemophilia, a rare, inherited bleeding disorder caused by the lack of a critical blood protein. The Puget Sound Blood Center, of which he was president and CEO, was among the first to produce large quantities of a concentrated form of this protein from volunteer donors. PSBC serves hospitals all over western Washington by providing about 200,000 units of red cells annually for transfusion, and operates a large testing lab which serves four states, performing sensitive DNA testing for infectious agents on donated blood. In 1970, 90% of hemophilia patients were expected to die by the age of 20; today, because of Dr. Counts and others like him, most hemophilia patients enjoy near normal life expectancy and the ability to have careers and families. Rich and his UW colleagues discovered the most common causes of post-traumatic and post-surgical bleeding and developed techniques for preventing this fearsome complication. These procedures have been widely adopted and have significantly reduced the mortality of post-surgical bleeding. Dr. Counts has published an impressive list of textbooks and peer-reviewed papers.

James W. Jones, M.D., Ph.D. Class of 1959

Inducted 2009

Elvin Bishop Class of 1960

Inducted 2012

Linda Chambers Bradshaw Class of 1960

Inducted 2013

James D. Dunn Class of 1960

Inducted 2009

Ronald Radford Class of 1962

Inducted 1992

James W. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., attended the University of Tulsa and was accepted into Tulane University School of Medicine early, on scholarship, where he earned his doctor of medicine degree. He earned his Ph.D. in cell biology, also from Tulane. In 2002 Jim earned a master of health administration from the University of Missouri. Jim’s intern, residency and fellowships took him to Philadelphia General Hospital, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Charity Hospital of Louisiana, and Ochsner Clinic. As a result, he became board certified in general surgery, thoracic surgery, and critical care. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps as a lieutenant commander, 2nd Marine Division, and has variously been professor at the Baylor College of Medicine, chief of surgery at the Houston Veterans Affairs Hospital, and chair of surgery at the University of Missouri. He considers himself most fortunate to have been hired by Dr Michael DeBakey at Baylor College during the “golden years” of heart surgery. Jim is Assistant Editor, Journal of Vascular Surgery and, as an author, has published three books on medical ethics and has more than 370 peer-reviewed publications. A PADI master certification in scuba diving has enabled Jim to visit vaunted dive sites worldwide. In a career spanning 35 years, he performed or supervised over 12,000 open heart operations. Invited lectureships allowed Jim and his bride to travel extensively. He states that his greatest professional gratification has been participation in the education of thousands of medical students and hundreds of surgeons. In the early 1950s, Elvin Bishop used to listen late at night to a radio station from Nashville that played rhythm and blues, between rock n’roll and country-western. Elvin was obsessed with the blues, and when he won a National Merit Scholarship in physics, he chose the University of Chicago, not because it was one of the most prestigious universities in America, but because it was on the south side of Chicago, which was ground zero for the clubs in which much of this music was being played. Elvin was a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1963, the beginning of a long and successful career in music. His first smash hit was Fooled Around and Fell in Love from his 1976 album Struttin’ My Stuff. Elvin’s music includes smoky-tavern, gut-bucket blues, raucous roadhouse rhythm and blues, and rollicking good-time rock and roll. His first live-concert DVD, That’s My Thing: Elvin Bishop Live in Concert, was recorded live at the Club Fox in Redwood City, California on December 17, 2011. It was released on the Delta Groove label in October 2012. The DVD was nominated for Best Blues DVD of 2012 by The Blues Foundation. Elvin lives in northern California and currently works with Delta Groove Productions, which produced his most recent release, the Grammy-nominated The Blues Rolls On, featuring Red Dog Speaks, an affectionate nod to his 1959 red Gibson ES-345 guitar. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 1998. Linda Chambers Bradshaw is known by many in the Tulsa community as the owner of Tulsa World of Gymnastics. Others know her as the one who took Will-on the-Hill to heart, becoming a leading authority on the man, Will Rogers. After graduating from The University of Tulsa with a degree in music, she studied at the Princeton New School for Piano Pedagogy. Linda became a docent at the Will Rogers Memorial and Museum, in Claremore, Oklahoma, in 2008, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Will Rogers Memorial Foundation. She was named coordinator of their first-ever major fundraiser and founded the Rotary-sponsored Will Rogers Gala, which annually honors a person who most exemplifies the attributes of Will Rogers. She was instrumental in protecting and preserving the rare portrait of Will Rogers, by Italian artist Count Arnaldo Tamburini, which was presented to the school in 1954, and hung there until 1997. It was permanently loaned to the Gilcrease Museum in order to provide climate control, light protection and improved security. A high quality photographic copy now hangs in the school. Linda was the first woman to hold the office of president of the Tulsa Rotary Club and has been a major participant in their Water Well project in Nicaragua. She has served as meet director for USA Gymnastics Olympics Qualifying Events; in addition, she has worked with the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the United Way. She has coached Special Olympics gymnastics and served on the board of Tulsa Advocates for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities (TARC). She was an Oklahoma delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1995 and that same year was named Tulsa Chamber’s Small Business Person of the Year. After graduation from Rogers, James Dunn earned a degree in engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines, where he was named to the first team All American Academic Team and later earned a masters degree from Stanford University. In 1966 he began work for TRW at NASA in Houston, as Manager of the Mission Trajectory Control Program supporting the Gemini and Apollo space programs. Colorado School of Mines invited Jim back in 2011 to receive the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. In 1968 Jim returned to Tulsa to run the family business, Mill Creek Lumber and Supply Co., which his dad had started in 1934. He helped to build the business to be the twenty-first largest building materials company in the United States. Millcreek has 11 lumberyards throughout Oklahoma and Kansas and two distribution centers. In addition, Millcreek has divisions for home improvement, kitchen cabinet distribution, structural systems, carpet and tile, and an extensive commercial and architectural millwork operation for the building of large commercial buildings. Jim’s outstanding record of community service includes chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce, chairman of Tulsa Community College Foundation, vice chairman of Tulsa Industrial Authority, Tulsa Public Schools Foundation, Tulsa Community College Foundation, Tulsa Vision 2025, Indian Nations Council of Governments, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and director of the Oklahoma City branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Ronald Radford – known as “Hank” when he was at Will Rogers – is known internationally as the American master of the flamenco guitar. He studied music at the University of Tulsa and began his career as a student of the legendary Flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya. Ron also studied classical guitar with Andres Segovia. Ron is the only individual ever to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in flamenco guitar. He traveled thousands of miles in Spain, immersing himself in the musical wisdom of the Spanish gypsy Flamenco masters. Performance venues include New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington’s Kennedy Center, concert halls and major colleges and universities across the United States. Ron’s highly acclaimed and popular school assembly program, The Power of Ole! – Optimistic Leadership Energy! reaches thousands of school children each year. Ron’s international tours have taken him to 15 countries, from Australia to Switzerland and from Canada to Panama. While serving in the Army in Vietnam, he performed in hospitals, schools and orphanages. He toured for the State Department as a musical ambassador to Mexico, Guatemala and other Latin American countries. His exciting CD: Viva Flamenco! and DVD: Live Your Passion, are available at His music has been downloaded in more than 50 countries worldwide. Ron was born in California, grew up in Tulsa, and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where he continues his career as one of the world’s most successful ambassadors of flamenco music.


Rodger Randle began a distinguished career after Will-on-the-Hill, graduating from the University of Oklahoma, and a earning a law degree from the University of Tulsa. He began public service with the Peace Corps in Brazil. In 1970, at the age of 27, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, followed by election to the Oklahoma Senate in 1972, with re-election in 1976, 1980 and 1984. Rodger was twice elected president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate, the Senate’s top leadership position. In 1988 he became mayor of the City of Tulsa and led the successful campaign to change the city’s form of government to mayor/city council. The vote came after four unsuccessful charter change attempts during the previous 35 years. Re-elected in 1990 by the largest margin in Tulsa’s history, he became Tulsa’s first mayor under the new form of government, marking the most significant change in the City of Tulsa in the previous 50 years. Rodger became professor in the Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma in 1998. He also holds the title of professor and director of the Center for Studies in Democracy and Culture. His many civic activities include president and chairman of the national Board of Directors of Sister Cities International, the Rodger A. Randle, J.D. world’s largest volunteer citizen diplomacy program; locally, he is a past president of various organizations, including Tulsa Class of 1962 Global Alliance, Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations, the Tulsa Philharmonic, and the United Nations Association of NortheastInducted 1989 ern Oklahoma. He currently is the honorary British consul for Oklahoma. In addition, he serves as co-chair of the Bond Oversight Committee of the Tulsa Public Schools. After graduating from Rogers in 1962, James Russell became active in the 1960s civil rights and antiwar movements. He participated in the 1964 Tulsa sit-ins and initiated a successful campaign that included basketball star Marques Haynes to integrate the Sand Springs public schools. In 1966 he became the first editor of New Left Notes, the national newspaper of Students for a Democratic Society. He received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. In a career that has combined critical scholarship with social activism, he has taught at universities in the United States and as a Fulbright professor at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. In 2005 he was named University Professor at Eastern Connecticut State University, the highest honor in the Connecticut State University system. He is the author of eight books, including Social Insecurity: 401(k)s and the Retirement Crisis; Double Standard: Social Policy in Europe and the United States; Escape from Texas: A Novel of Slavery and the Texas War of Independence; and After the Fifth Sun: Class and Race in North America. James W. Russell, PhD About Double Standard, Frances Fox Piven, president of the American Sociological Association wrote, This is a wonderful Class of 1962 book—a sweeping portrait that helps us to understand the differences between the European and American welfare states and why Inducted 2013 these differences are so important.” About Escape from Texas, Johns Hopkins historian Ben Vinson III wrote, “No novel has so astutely captured the mindset of black slaves and their complicated relationships with Mexico during the years leading up to the Mexican-American War. After graduation from Will Rogers High School, Gailard Sartain earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Tulsa. In 1971, he began his entertainment career on KOTV when he created The Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting aka Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi. Gailard was a regular on the popular country comedy music show Hee Haw for 20 years. He has appeared in over 50 motion pictures, notably Mississippi Burning, Fried Green Tomatoes and Elizabethtown. Today, Gailard is also well known for his accomplished work as a painter and illustrator. He designed the cover for fellow Rogers’ Hall of Fame member Leon Russell’s Will o’ the Wisp album. He currently resides in Tulsa with his wife Mary Jo. Gailard Sartain Class of 1963

Inducted 2009


All graduates of Will Rogers High School, living or deceased, are eligible to be selected for induction into the Will Rogers High School Hall of Fame. This includes anyone who left school to enter military service and who is eligible to receive a diploma from the school district pursuant to Oklahoma Statutes. This covers veterans who served during World War II and the Korean War, or other wartime service designated by law. A nomination of an eligible person may be submitted by anyone, regardless of whether the person submitting the nomination ever attended Will Rogers High School. Self nomination is permitted. Nominations must be timely submitted to be considered for a particular induction class. Cutoff dates for nominations and the next scheduled induction cermony date will be posted on the foundation website. Nominations of eligible persons not selected for an induction class may be considered again for the next induction class. To ensure that an eligible person is considered again for the next induction class, that person should be nominated again. The nominee must have made a significant contributions and must be distinguished in his/her chosen profession or industry, including but not limited to Business and Industry, Science and Medicine, Academia and Education, Entertainment and the Arts, Humanities or Literature, Sports, or Government Service and Military; or he/she may be recognized for Philanthropy or Public Service, or a combination of several events or other factors. No announcement of individual selections shall be made until the induction class list is released to the public by the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation.

Susan Eloise Hinton published her first work, The Outsiders, only one year after graduation from Will Rogers. Always an avid reader, her best-selling novel was a result of the dissastisfaction she had with books written for young adults. Countless young people have said that The Outsiders was the first book they had ever read cover to cover, and S.E. Hinton soon became known as “The Voice of the Youth.” She followed The Outsiders with That was Then, This is Now, published in 1971. In 1975, she expanded her short story, Rumble Fish, into a novel, which garnered the entire spectrum of reviews, from “her best book” to “her last book.” Tex followed in 1979. In March, 1983, the movie The Outsiders was released, starring Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane and another of Will Rogers’ Hall of Fame members, Gailard Sartain. In October 1983, the movie Rumble Fish, was released, again starring Matt Dillon and Diane Lane, with Dennis Hopper, Nicholas Cage and Laurence Fishburne. The movie, That was Then, This is Now was released in 1985, starring Emilio Estevez and Morgan Freeman. Susan “S. E.” Hinton In 1988, Susan received the very first YASD/SLJ Author Achievement Award, which was given by the Young Adult Services Division of the American Library Association and the School Library Journal. That same year she released Taming The Star Runner. Class of 1966 In a complete change of direction, her last two books are for children of elementary school age: Big David, Little David, and Inducted 1989 The Puppy Sister. When not writing books, S. E. Hinton loves to ride her horses and spend time with her husband and son.

Tom Harrison, D. Min. Class of 1972 Inducted 2012

David Rader Class of 1975

Inducted 1989

Lee Mayberry Class of 1988

Inducted 2011

Rev. Tom Harrison was born in Norman, Oklahoma. He attended Sequoyah Elementary and Cleveland Jr. High in Tulsa. He has undergraduate and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Oral Roberts University, and a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Oklahoma City University. Tom pastored Vici/Lenora (Woodward District), Sallisaw (Muskogee District) and Sunny Lane (Oklahoma City South District). He has been the senior pastor at Asbury United Methodist in Tulsa since 1993. Tom has served as a delegate to Jurisdictional and General Conferences of The United Methodist Church, and as a delegate to the World Methodist Council. He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary in Tallinn, Estonia; as the alumni chair for Asbury Theological Seminary; and on the Oklahoma Wesleyan Board of Trustees. He has written 12 books called Perceptions which are heard on five Tulsa FM radio stations during the peak morning drive. Tom and his wife, Dana, have three children, Joshua, Jessee and Jeffrey.

David Rader, football star, coach, business executive, and author started his football career as a Will Rogers Roper and went on to play quarterback for The University of Tulsa, where he graduated with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1980. In 1979 he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the National Football League. He later joined the New York Giants. After brief time in the NFL, David began his coaching career in 1983 at the University of Alabama, where he was the coach of the quarterbacks and then, receivers. In 1986 he became the offensive coordinator at Mississippi State University. David came home to Tulsa in 1987 as the assistant head coach at The University of Tulsa. Being named head coach in 1988 at age 31, he was the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I Football. He remained in that position until 1999. During that time, the Golden Hurricane played in two bowl games (winning the 1991 Freedom Bowl and finishing 22nd in the nation). His teams consistently graduated at a higher rate than the campus norm, defeated teams from much bigger conferences such as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas A&M, and had many go on to play in the NFL. David returned to coaching and to the University of Alabama in 2003 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2010, he became co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Mississippi. David is now in Tulsa as vice president of marketing at Pacer Energy Marketing. He and his wife, Janet (WRHS ’75), have three children: sons Daniel and Jordan and daughter Kendal. In the fall of 2011, Rader published his first book, Missing Page from the Playbook: Fundamentals Behind the Physical, Mental and Emotional Elements of Commitment and Emotional Elements of Commitment. Lee Mayberry is one of the most outstanding athletes to have graduated from Will Rogers High School. He led the 1988 Ropers basketball team to a state championship—to date, the last state championship for the Ropers. After graduation from Will-on-the-Hill, Lee played four years for the University of Arkansas and helped the Razorbacks go to the Final Four in Denver in 1990 and win the Southwest Conference title in 1991, Arkansas’ last year in that conference. The following year, the Razorbacks were the Southeastern Conference West champions with a 9-1 record. Lee scored 1,940 points for the Razorbacks. He played on the United States team that won the bronze medal at the Goodwill Games of 1990, in Argentina. Following his college graduation, Lee became a star with the National Basketball Association, playing four years with Milwaukee and three years with Vancouver. In his first four seasons he played in all 328 games on his team’s schedule— a remarkable achievement for a sport as physically demanding as basketball. Lee’s greatest contribution to the sport, however, may be off the court. In 2002, he co-founded Playing with Purpose, a basketball ministry in Tulsa that helps equip boys and girls with the tools they need to succeed in basketball, and in life. Playing with Purpose emphasizes excellence in athletics, academics and, most importantly, spirituality. Lee and his wife, Marla, have five daughters…of course—a basketball team.

“If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.” Will Rogers 21

THIS IS NOW... WRCHS has combined postsecondary readiness, parental involvement, and academic and career advisement to provide a seamless education from junior high school to postsecondary education on a high school campus. In keeping with its progressive history, two new wireless lecture halls and several small conference rooms for students and teachers have been added to provide state-of-the-art teaching technology. WRHS was renamed Will Rogers College High and Junior High School when it reopened its doors in 2011. 22

Building a Culture of College and Career Readiness by Jeanie Newell

reprinted by permission from “Techniques” - April 2013

Will Rogers College High School (WRCHS), an innovative new school located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, opened its doors in the fall of 2011. WRCHS has combined postsecondary readiness, parental involvement, and academic and career advisement to provide a seamless education from junior high school to postsecondary education on a high school campus. In a partnership with Tulsa Community College (TCC), WRCHS students are able to take TCC courses on the high school campus. This allows students to begin their college careers during their junior year of high school and obtain six college credit hours—tuition free—each semester while still in high school. All students have a plan of study that enables them to be on track to be college or career ready. WRCHS has three goals: 1. To improve the urban dropout rate by providing an opportunity for seamless access to postsecondary education in a Tulsa high school. 2. To graduate students who are college and career ready by underscoring the relevance between education and work through early academic and career planning. 3. To use an advisement system that encourages relationships between students, teachers and parents to plan for success. Student Diversity The demographics of WRCHS reflect a democratic selection process. The students selected to attend WRCHS do not go through any type of academic screening process, nor do they need to make any test-score target. Rather, the students who live in the neighborhood boundary have first priority to attend WRCHS; they simply have to agree to the program and any recommended interventions. Any additional seats are filled by lottery, with

students selected equally from the four quadrants of the city. This process has created a diverse student population for WRCHS from the many neighborhoods of an urban school district with more than 40,000 students. Many students who enter WRCHS will be the first generation in their families to graduate high school or participate in postsecondary education. Many WRCHS parents do not speak English as a first language and have very little knowledge of the postsecondary education system. An Advisement Program for All Students The WRCHS administration made a commitment to provide academic and career guidance not only to students, but to partner with parents in this effort as well. As a result of this commitment, the Will Rogers Advisement Program (WRAP) was born. This school-wide advisement program, which has been embedded into the schedule from the school’s inception, ensures all students are counseled for college and career readiness. Teachers advise students in groups of 15–20 during a set time each week. Each advisory period offers information on career, academic and social development for students, in addition to focusing on strong test-taking skills, including test-taking strategies, essential vocabulary and critical-thinking skills. Former vice principal Michael Ballard, who oversees the WRAP program, said he believes that “the key to our advisory program is building relationships between students and staff. Students stay with the same advisor throughout their time at WRCHS, which gives students a constant contact who can help them academically and with career and postsecondary education exploration.” With grants from the Oklahoma Department of Career Tech, the College and Career Readiness Department at Tulsa

Public Schools (TPS) helped train WRCHS teachers and counselors to design plans of study, which are designed upon the students’ academic and career assessments from the ACT, EXPLORE and PLAN tests, career interests and graduation requirements. Students scoring a minimum of 19 on the PLAN in the fall of their sophomore year, or on the ACT prior to their junior year at WRCHS, were allowed to enroll in TCC courses on the campus. Over 40 percent of WRCHS juniors were enrolled in the first three classes offered in the fall of 2012 — U.S. History, Strategies for Academic Success and Psychology. A fourth college class, Nutrition, was added this spring. For the spring semester, over 60 percent of the junior class participated in the concurrent enrollment program, as additional students met the ACT requirements during the fall 2012 semester. Additionally, another 15 percent of the junior class participates in Tulsa Technology Center’s tech programs, with the remaining juniors taking Advanced Placement courses, bringing the percentage of juniors participating in some form of postsecondary work to 100 percent.

“We have worked very hard to help students recognize the possibilities for their future,” former principal Stacey Vernon said. “Many of our students had never considered any form of postsecondary education as an option for them prior to entering WRCHS. For me, talking with students who express a desire to attend a college/technical school—or have qualified to take courses while in high school—is so rewarding. It is truly a life-changing experience for our students.” Students, Parents, Teachers Working Together The plans of study were not only designed to help students, but also to assist parents in understanding the specific graduation requirements for WRCHS and the expectations of advancement each year into the college program. In the spring of 2012, WRCHS parents attended conferences to learn more about these graduation requirements. Provided below is some data from the conferences: • 81% of WRCHS parents attended the conferences in the spring of 2012.

WRCHS students calculate their graduation credits during their WRAP session. Tracy Kouns courtesy Tulsa Public Schools

• 99% of WRCHS parents surveyed after the conferences said they understood the graduation requirements for WRCHS. • 99% of the parents understood why their child decided to enroll in specific classes for the next year and how the plans of study could lead to early enrollment in college classes. “Not only do our programs provide students with the skills and knowledge to be college and career ready, but it also brings the school and families together as partners in the educational process,” Vernon stated. Survey Says To succeed in a college curriculum while still in high school, students must receive excellent advisement, and teachers at WRCHS are trained to help. In coordination with the College and Career Readiness Department at TPS, a curriculum was designed for WRAP to ensure that students had the resources and skills necessary for an effective college and career readiness program. WRCHS students took the six-question “Student College and Career Readiness Survey” as they began their WRAP advisement program in August 2011, and again at the end of the 2012 school year. The questions included: 1. Has any teacher talked to you about your career interests? 2. Has a teacher or counselor discussed with you the exact requirements and courses needed to graduate from high school? 3. Has a teacher or counselor discussed with you the requirements necessary to attend college, technical programs or the military after high school graduation? 4. Has a teacher or a counselor suggested that you list all your school, community or church activities, including clubs, sports, honors, certificates and leadership roles? 5. Have you completed a plan of study? 6. Do you have a relationship with an adult at your school with whom you can talk about your future? On average, positive responses increased by more than 20% by the end of the first year of the advisement program for every grade level. - continued 23

What Teachers Are Saying

WRCHS students attend a pre-enrollment conference with parents and teachers. Tracy Kouns courtesy Tulsa Public Schools

Partnerships Build a Strong College-going Culture The partnership with TCC includes not only bringing college classes to WRCHS, but also providing information on other classes and services available on TCC’s four campuses in Tulsa County. With this alliance, students see the possibilities for career pathways, as well as the two-year degree programs available in the Tulsa area. Along with parents and WRCHS staff, in the spring of 2012 TCC personnel attended the parent conferences, making available information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Students and parents received information on Tulsa Achieves, a program which allows students, upon high school graduation, to attend TCC tuition free for an additional 63 credit hours. Through the partnership between WRCHS and TCC, all WRCHS students will qualify for this program upon graduation. Another opportunity available to WRCHS students is provided through Tulsa Technology Center. With multiple campuses in the Tulsa metropolitan area, Tulsa Tech provides postsecondary-level classes for qualified WRCHS students during their junior and senior years. Other community organizations and postsecondary institutions provided resources to

parents on the financial advantages of concurrent enrollment and early researching of scholarships and financial aid. The Oklahoma State Regents’ “College and Career Planner” and materials from the Oklahoma Department of Career Tech were used also. The Future for WRCHS Students Data collection and analysis will continue to be an important part of the future of WRCHS. At the end of the 2011–2012 school year, preliminary results from statemandated tests showed strong gains in both reading and math at all grade levels. The seventh-grade class of 2012– 2013 will be the first class to matriculate through the full program (through the 12th grade). This student cohort will be closely followed to determine how to continue to provide the best education for students aspiring to begin their college careers early. TPS hopes that this model of seamless transition from junior high though postsecondary education will shine a spotlight on an old Tulsa school with new plans for successful students. Jeanie Newell is the career guidance specialist in the College and Career Readiness Department of Tulsa Public Schools. She holds a master’s in adult and occupational education. She can be contacted at

Students discuss career planning during their WRAP session. Tracy Kouns courtesy TPS


“Being a classroom teacher and seeing the growth of students from the first year of reopening to now has been nothing short of phenomenal. Our students have surpassed the bar in all categories. I believe Will Rogers College High is exemplary in its mission of providing students with college and career readiness by their junior year of high school. I feel fortunate to have met and interacted with my students on a daily basis, and to be part of an extraordinary staff of dedicated teachers.” Rebecca Madden AP World History Reader/ HS Social Studies Department Head

“I love teaching PreCalculus and Algebra I at Will Rogers College High. It is so amazing to watch and be a part of these students’ lives as they realize that college is attainable for most of them if they have the desire. We fill in the gaps with information, education and encouragement. I was so excited when I found out I would be coming to Rogers. My husband, Dean, was a member of the class of 1972 and still maintains many friendships. The day that I learned I had been assigned to Rogers, I was so excited that I put on my husband’s old Rogers letterman’s jacket and met him at the door. Now I share with him the pride of being a Roper!” Tricia Martin Algebra I, Algebra II and PreCalculus “Will Rogers not only empowers students to become responsible adults, but also provides a safe and loving community for the students and the staff as well. I love teaching there. I love our students and the pride that comes with calling myself a ROPER!” Jennifer Lawrence English I, Speech/Debate, Drama I, Drama II and Head Girls’ Basketball Coach

“I was a teacher at Will on the Hill for six years. Today we hear laughter in the halls and see students getting to class on time prepared to learn. Our expectations, along with the positive atmosphere, add so much to the learning environment and our kids are rising to the occasion. I am proud to be a Roper through my association there as a teacher.” Leslie Alden Recently retired Fine Arts

Victory Song March down the field with victory for our school. We will always be true to the gold and the blue showing loyalty to you. Rah! Rah! We give the best that we possess to our school. So here’s a toast to the school we boast... to our own Will Rogers High!


Tracy Kouns courtesy Tulsa Public Schools

Stacey Vernon

Oklahoma Principal of the Year When former principal Stacey Vernon made her morning drive to Will Rogers College High School, she took special delight in seeing the sun rise over the building. “It just glowed,” she says. Likewise, as she talks about the students and faculty she encountered each day, she tends to glow a bit herself. The warm and energetic Colorado native graduated from The University of Tulsa and began her career as a teacher with Tulsa Public Schools in 1992 before serving as an assistant principal and principal at Edison Preparatory School. When Project Schoolhouse was implemented in 2011, she was offered the opportunity to lead students and faculty at the restructured Will Rogers. Formerly identified as an at-risk school, it reopened in the fall of that year as a college magnet junior and senior high school. Students were asked to commit to pursuing college credit from Tulsa Community College in addition to completing requirements for their high school diploma. The stated mission of WRCHS is to empower all students to be college and career ready through high standards and academic excellence, and Vernon is not surprised by the headway the school has already made. In just two years, Will Rogers, 26

comprised of a widely diverse student population, evolved into one of the highest-performing schools in the Tulsa District. The turnaround is largely due to the collaborative leadership style Vernon implemented as principal, where she not only involved the staff and students, but also the parents and community. Her success led Vernon to being named Oklahoma’s Principal of the Year for 2013-2014. According to Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Keith Ballard, “What Stacey has done at Will Rogers is nothing short of miraculous. You need only look at what Will Rogers is today and what it was when she went there to know how deserving of this award she is. Stacey makes Tulsa Public Schools very, very proud.” Vernon credits the teachers who have inspired the students, many of whom are the first in their families who will graduate from high school, and who have had the privilege of earning college credit. She is proud of those who have chosen to accept the challenge of caring about their education and respecting the iconic structure that has seen over 39,000 graduates pass through its halls. “One of my biggest personal challenges was to balance an appreciation of the history and tradition of the school, while striving to prepare students to function in the modern world,” she said. Former Roper and recently-retired 8th and 9th grade counselor, Johnnie Egbert, observed, “In two years, Stacey was able to help bring Will Rogers back to the vibrant place we all remember as former students. She inspired the students and staff to work to their fullest potential and encouraged a rigorous pace with lots of creativity. It has been so much fun seeing what is happening at Will on the Hill. Stacey not only led from the front, but from every angle. We all felt it and achieved more than we ever thought was possible. She was just what Will Rogers needed to move forward and even surpass what we dreamed.” Visitors to the school were impressed that she knew all of the students by name, often stopping to inquire how they were doing, and was in tune with each child’s educational status Student Council President De’Juae Leathers was eager to share her thoughts about Mrs. Vernon’s influence on her life. “Every morning Mrs. Vernon stood at the front door and greeted the students as they walked in. She visited the classrooms when she could and met with our clubs to discuss new ideas for our school. She encouraged us not only to do well in school but also outside of school. We trusted her to do what was best for our student body, our staff, and our Roper future.” Stacey Vernon is still an important member of the Roper family and will continue to have tremendous influence in the days ahead. She was recently promoted to Instructional Leadership Director of the Growing Together Neighborhood, which includes Will Rogers and its feeder schools, Kendall-Whittier and Sequoyah. She will also be working with Webster and its feeder schools, Clinton and Eugene Field. She sees nothing but success for the future of WRCHS and plans to continue seeking cutting edge programs to motivate the faculty and students. “I believe that what has happened at Will Rogers can happen in every Tulsa Public School,” Vernon said with conviction. And when she says it, she makes you believe it really can.

For Cheryl Carter, it was like coming home. The familiar halls welcomed her back, and the reunion with teachers and students just felt right. She returned to Will Rogers to continue what she had started. As a member of the transitional team two years earlier, the Tulsa native and product of the Tulsa Public School system served as assistant principal of Will Rogers College and Junior High School in 2011-2012. After one year at Will Rogers, Carter was named principal of TRAICE Academy (Tulsa Resource and Adolescent Intervention Centers of Excellence), a satellite program that replaced in-school suspension programs at every middle and high school in the Tulsa district. When Stacey Vernon was promoted to the newly-created position of Instructional Leadership Director for TPS, Carter was asked to return to Will Rogers as its principal. “I am excited that Cheryl Carter will be taking over as principal at Will Rogers,” Vernon said. “She is an experienced administrator who was an integral part of the transformation into Will Rogers College High. She is familiar with the vision and mission of the school, and I have the highest confidence in her ability to take over as principal.” The admiration is mutual. Carter is pleased that Vernon will remain closely tied to Will Rogers as the school continues to evolve. “It was a privilege to serve on the transitional team with Ms. Stacey Vernon. The first year was clearly a time of merging expectations on varying levels – from the students, parents, staff and the local community. It was, and still remains, a time for examining and expanding both possibilities and probabilities for students. As with all transitions, adjustments have to be made that don’t negatively impact the integrity of the program,” she said. After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Carter received her B.A. in education from Langston University and her master’s degree in community counseling from Oklahoma State University and has post-graduate hours in education administration. She began her career with Tulsa Public Schools in 1977. Pursuing a life in education seemed inevitable; it’s in her DNA. Her maternal grandparents were teachers, her mother and father taught, both of her siblings teach at the college level, and her son is carrying on the family tradition as a teacher in Texas. Like her predecessor, the new principal has great expectations for the students of Will Rogers College High. “I have a fundamental belief that enhancing an individual’s ability to think critically will have a positive impact on his/her ability to function. Education, in my opinion, is one of the most important institutions of society. It is necessary in order to understand the world – large and small, near and far.”

Tracy Kouns courtesy Tulsa Public Schools

Welcome Home, Mrs. Carter

“Will Rogers College High School has emerged from a rich tradition of enhancing the development of young people. It is my desire and affirmation that this institution will remain relevant to the development of critical thinking skills of our populace in this millennium,” Carter said. “My dream is that these young people will accept the challenge to do the necessary work to move on to the next plateau in their growth, with the courage to face the fear of failure, while recognizing that their growth facilitates a ripple effect that includes not only themselves and their families, but also their educators and the community at large,” she continued. Furthermore, Carter said she hopes that the students will be inspired to reach back and help someone else coming up behind them. Seventy-five years later, the rich Roper tradition is riding on. - by Jan Davies Weinheimer Class of ‘66


What Students Are Saying “Teachers at the ‘new’ Will Rogers treat us like real college students and give us wonderful opportunities which not only help with our academics, but also help develop our interpersonal skills. I’m proud to say that I go to Will Rogers and highly recommend it to other students as well.” — Joshua Mathews Class of 2014 “My reason for wanting to attend Will Rogers College High school was the opportunity to be a part of a high school with advanced studies and to be a part of something new. Little did I know that Rogers would be more than just a high school with college classes and new students. We would be a family...a strong family with the power to achieve anything we set out to do.” — De’Juae Leathers Student Council President Class of 2015 “When I started my 10th grade year at the ‘new’ Will Rogers College High, I began to work so much harder because teachers pushed me and showed me they were not going to let our school fall below its great potential. I believe WRCHS is a great school and our teachers care so much about the students. I have accomplished so much academically and am looking forward to graduating as the first senior class of the ‘new’ Will Rogers College High.” — Bryson Willis Class of 2014 “Will Rogers College High has really come a long way in the last few years. The ‘new’ Rogers has improved in how the students behave and also by their test scores. In recent years you would not see Will Rogers High School named along with Booker T. Washington, but now we’re mentioned right along with them in the newspaper concerning test scores.” — Ruben Urquiza Class of 2014 “The new Will Rogers is very nice. Every student has the chance to earn college credit right on the Will Rogers High School campus. Nearly all core classes and some electives are either AP or TCC. Also we are learning school spirit!” — Tyler Terrio Class of 2014 28

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Tracy Kouns courtesy Tulsa Public Schools


State Champ s Baseba 1968 1973 1978 1979




1941 1956 1958 1988 1996

Cro s Couns try 1947 1948 1956 1957 1959

Footba 1956 1957 1960 1961



Swimm 1956


1943 1944 1945 1947 1948 1949








Will Rogers High School Community Foundation

Giving Back to “Will on the Hill” At the urging of the Will Rogers High School and Tulsa Public Schools administrators, we formed the Will Rogers High School Community Foundation in 2010 as a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity. The school doors opened in the fall of 1939, and in the 70 years following, Will Rogers High School had been without an existing organization to work with the school administration to draw direct financial support from the the public. In the fall of 2009, we began to discuss the idea of a foundation with Kevin Burr, who had just left as principal of Will Rogers, accepting a supervisory role at Tulsa Public Schools, and the new principal, Lyda Wilbur. Employees of the school district may not by law serve as voting directors, but they may serve in ex officio capacity. Our bylaws provide for two non-voting directors, the school principal and the school district superintendent’s appointee. Additionally, some employees of the Education Service Center and school faculty members participate as advisors and committee members. Our directors and advisors, listed on page 34, are distinguished by their own personal achievements and community leadership. Most are alumni; some are not. While we are not an alumni association, we are establishing relationships with the alumni as a most important constituency. Our initiative to form a nonprofit entity was timely because the school had just been designated to transition into a “community school,” which was a concept in education circles that focused on active involvement of the surrounding community in the life of the school, meant to create an environment more conducive to learning. It was still to be primarily a neighborhood school, drawing most of its students from the feeder elementary and middle schools within its geographical area. However, the school district also offered “open enrollment,” giving students the option to attend a school outside their neighborhood. Thus, the word “community” in our name appears not only because of the community school mission for Will Rogers High School, but also because of our openness to broad community involvement. We welcome all who wish to be friends of the foundation. We incorporated in January 2010, and by the middle of that year the new foundation was poised to raise money by sponsoring projects that would not otherwise be funded with tax dollars. Additionally, we offered experienced volunteers to assist in the school’s two assigned specialized curricula, “Community Health and Wellness” and “Law and Social Justice.” The community school experiment, which had begun in 2009, lasted just two years. Only a few students had selected Will Rogers during the community school era and academic performance indicators showed little or no improvement. Student enrollment had been shrinking since its peak in the 60s, and Tulsa Public Schools met that challenge in 2011 by consolidating several schools and closing others. Our building, an Art Deco masterpiece built during the Great Depression, had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Will on the Hill was saved from closure, designated as a lottery magnet school, and renamed Will Rogers College High School. It transferred out existing students who would have been juniors and seniors, and added grades 7 and 8. Incoming students, who must meet certain entrance requirements, are offered the opportunity during 11th and 12th grades to take courses through on-campus Tulsa Community College as part of their high school enrollment. These classess count toward high school graduation and for college credit. (See page 22 for more information.) Foundation funds provide for many needs of the school, including: art supplies, choir folders, piano keyboards, field trips, and sports uniforms.


The Foundation responded by adapting to the change in mission, but without changing ours. It’s still about the students . We actively seek ways to support the school, its staff and faculty, such as mentoring students, providing scholarships and funding classroom projects, so that Will Rogers offers the highest quality public high school education available anywhere. There is now a waiting list to enroll in Will Rogers, and we want to continue to promote it as the school of choice. We benefitted greatly from the active involvement of Stacey Vernon as principal, and look forward to continuing that momentum with Cheryl Carter, the new principal. The foundation already has granted many thousands of dollars for projects requested by faculty members and filtered through the Principal’s Advisory Group, which we recognize as one of our standing committees. (Allocations are shown on the following page.) We grant academic scholarships, conduct public tours of the historic building, and support organized athletics and other extracurricular activities. We have also accepted responsibility for the continued operation of the Hall of Fame, which is not simply to glorify our distinguished alumni, but also to inspire the students, demonstrating that they can achieve greatness even from humble beginnings. We hope our yearlong celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary will rejuvenate the alumni base to encourage their financial support and establish the foundation in the public eye as a significant benefactor of the school and its new mission. We are transparent. Our filings with the Internal Revenue Service are public record. Our meetings are open. We have no employees, as we rely on volunteers. People may join our committees. Please consider making a donation, bequest or endowment to support the work of the foundation. We cannot do it alone. Check our website,, to learn also how you can help in other ways and to keep informed. by Dick Risk, Class of ‘59

What Alumni Remember 40’s

My best friend was Henry Frnka. In our senior year our football team was considered one of the best in the state. When we played Tulsa Central in October 1946 the game attracted more than 14,000 people at Skelly Stadium. During the first half of the game, after tackling one of Central’s ball players, Henry had to be helped off the field. In the locker room at halftime I sat next to him and he kept asking what was the score and who we were playing. Surely something was wrong. He stayed out of the game until the last two minutes, then he asked the coach if he could go back into the game. He carried the ball one time and was hit hard but never got up. He was taken to the hospital unconscious and underwent surgery that night, but died on the operating table. We won the game, but I lost the best friend I ever had. To this day, I still have his picture on the wall in my home. The greatest blessing that I have had out of our bitter rivalry with Tulsa Central High School was that I have been married to their 1947 Football Queen, Virginia Shleppey, for 62 years. Jimmy Dick Rogers - 1947


The 50s were a time of innocence, a time of following the rules, and a time of respect for authority and for each other. We had all been through the austere WWII years, so we were appreciative of what we had and enjoyed the simple pleasure of getting together with friends for a 7 oz. coke (which could last all evening). We would pile in with whoever had an available car to go to “Pennington’s DriveIn” for black-bottom pie and/or fried onion rings, or the drive-in movie. One of the most influencial school activities was the Round Up...preparing a routine for tryouts, rehearsing, fabricating costumes and performing the numbers were not only fun, but provided a strong social bonding, creating life long friends. Jo Anne Meade Lewis - 1955


I remember places at WRHS. On the south side of the campus was the answer to the question “Have you seen Joe Bush?” The young and naïve got quickly introduced. On the north side was the Smokehole, where the thick tobacco redolence clung to the clothes all day. There was the cafeteria, whose high ceiling frequently contained stalactites of meringuedipped straw casings, the scene of many accidental tray-drops which always elicited the loud chorus of “Sophomore!” Tom Gibbons - 1967


I was a generational Roper and the last of my family to go to Will Rogers, which started in 1962 and ended with my graduation in 1977. I knew the fight song as a young child and certainly was well versed in the traditional rivalries by the time I entered the building. So being a Roper and wearing the Dog Iron was never in doubt, like many of my classmates. It is always amazing to run into an alumnus from a different time period and still be able to reflect on our common experiences. Our traditions were the same from one generation to the next and that seems to be the tie that binds. As far as I know, I was always a Roper and will forever be one. Derek Rader - 1977


It’s strange, as students of the ‘80s, many of us did not recognize the uniqueness of the school. We assumed it was a standard school or we wished it was a newer school. Certainly the building was showing her age by then and central air conditioning was only available in the Annex building. I really appreciate all the recent efforts to revitalize our beloved school. My senior year was a grand was 1988, the year we won the state 5A basketball championship and we had future NBA player, Lee Mayberry on our team. In general, the teachers were fabulous...a lot of dedicated, caring mentors for all who walked through their doors. Steve Jones - 1988


A few years back, I traveled back to Tulsa to visit with old school friends. While I was there, I took my children to show them the school. I pointed out the murals, Bas reliefs, and the details that went into the original construction of Will on the Hill. My children laughingly asked if I remembered anything else I learned there. I replied, “Yes, integrity, friendship and respect.” Michael Price - 1990


I remember many days after school spent preparing for the Round Up. I feel very lucky to have performed in such a beautiful auditorium. I also recall the freedom of eating lunch on the marble staircases my freshman year. Sarah VanZandt - 2000 33


Foundation-Approved Academic & Activity Grants

Executive Committee

School Year 2011-2012

Richard B. “Dick” Risk, Jr., JD, President-Chairman From Unrestricted Funds Anita Bryant (Dry), PhD. (honorary), First Vice Pres. CSI Rogers High: forensic science project for Sherryl M. McGuire, PhD, Second Vice President laboratory crime investigations $900.00 William “Bill” Goswick, MS, Secretary James L. “Larry” Beaubien, CPA, Treasurer NOOK (e-book) and Covers: one e-book goes on six Paul W. Thomas, Immediate Past Pres. (non voting) Nooks $800.00


(with term expiration year) James L. “Larry” Beaubien, CPA, 2013 Rev. Darryl S. DeBorde, DMin, 2014 Anita Bryant (Dry), PhD (honorary), 2015 James D. Dunn, 2015 Linda Sellen Frazier, 2013 William E. Goswick, MS, 2013 Jo Anne Meade Lewis, 2014 Frank Marcum, 2015 Sherryl Mellott McGuire, PhD, 2014 David Rader, 2014 Rodger Randle, JD, 2014 Richard B. Risk, Jr., JD, 2013 Iris Warlick Studenny, 2014 Paul Thomas, 2013 Betty Brown Trinka, 2015 Lana Turner-Addison, PhD, 2013 Jan Davies Weinheimer, 2015 Ron Woods, 2015 Stephen M. Wright, 2014 Steve Mayfield, Tulsa Public Schools (ex officio) Cheryl Carter, Principal, Will Rogers (ex officio)


Carol Cumiskey Axley Nancy Jo Daulton Beier Kristine Bridges, JD Philip N. Butler, PhD Preston Caruthers Stephen D. Chesebro’, PhD (honorary) Nora Cook Paul B. Davis Beth Abdo Dennis Gordona Moore Duca Steven K. Gragert Rev. H. Thomas Harrison, DMin James W. Jones, MD, PhD Robert LaBass William L. Lewis Lee Mayberry Carol Walsh Morsani Frank L. Morsani Ronald Radford Gailard Sartain Neil R. Sparks, Jr. Stacey Vernon

Close Up Foundation: four-day Washington D.C, program for 9th graders; participants contributed a significant amount; 7 students, 1 adult $3,000.00 Emergency Food Pantry/Backpack Program: food for weekends: 10 backpacks, food $500.00 Will Rogers Art Deco in This Decade: canvases, acrylic paint; for high-achieving students $770.00 Music Department: Snark tuner/metronomes for practice: tone, pitch, rhythm $1,200.00 Piano Lab Equipment and Supplies: 2 Yamaha keyboards, 5 keyboard stands, 4 music stands, 5 keyboard stools and 3 keyboard pedals $1,460.00 Yearbook: supplement for extra books to sell/raffle


Volleyball Jerseys (15): adequate uniforms for the high school and middle school $630.00 Physical Education: required uniforms for a few students who could not pay $300.00 Coffee Lounge: furniture and décor


Girls Basketball home game uniforms


Total Unrestricted Funds Disbursed


WILL ROGERS HIGH SCHOOL 75TH ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE POSTER by Paul Davis, Class of ‘55 Internationally acclaimed artist and member of the WRHS Hall of Fame


Committee Chairs

Anita Bryant (Dry), Committee on Directors Larry Beaubien, Finance Jim Dunn, Audit Sherryl Mellott McGuire, Development Lana Turner-Addison, Gift Acceptance Jan Davies Weinheimer, Public Relations David Rader, Hall of Fame Darryl DeBorde, Scholarship Iris Warlick Studenny, 75th Anniversary (ad hoc)


Electricity and Magnetism in Advanced Placement (AP) Physics: laboratory materials for experiments in electro statics, DC circuits, resistance, capacitance, magnetism, electromagnetism $352.20 AP Testing Preparation with Pre and Post Test Celebration: AP World History testing club to help students prepare for rigorous college-like exams $400.00 AP Environmental Water Quality Field Trip: for testing three wetlands and ponds in Rogers County $591.85 Marching Band Kickoff: PA system and shoes


Roper Art Deco: canvas for two art classes (one is AP), leading to Roper Spring Art Show $660.00 Will Rogers Darkroom: Equipment for photography program $208.85 Choral Music Folders: 101 3-ring leatherette folios to protect music, provide professional look $1,000.00 Golf and Softball Tournaments: partially funded $811.10 Total Unrestricted Funds Disbursed


From Specified Donations Academic Scholarships: Tulsa Community College fees $1,400.00 Football Team Equipment: helmet reconditioning, training equipment, uniforms, traveling expenses $25,000.00 Marching Band Kickoff: shoes; flags, poles, banners, costumes $1,500.00 San Antonio Technology Conference for Teachers: to increase use of technology in classrooms $100.00 Cheerleading Uniforms: matching uniforms for 10 students $1,100.00 Total Specified Donations Disbursed




---------------------------------------------------------------All grant requests from teachers are initially reviewed by the Principal’s Advisory Group for approval and to certify that tax dollars are not

Principal’s Advisory Group

Cheryl Carter, Principal Kendra Bramlett, HS Assistant Principal Shaun Moseman, JH Assistant Principal Lindsey Starr, HS Assistant Principal

School Year 2012-2013 From Unrestricted Funds

available for them, before they are submitted to the

Available at all 75th Anniversary events and online at Proceeds benefit the Will Rogers HIgh School Community Foundation

foundation. ----------------------------------------------------------------

WRCHS Cheerleaders - Tracy Kouns courtesy Tulsa Public Schools


WILL ROGERS HIGH SCHOOL COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 6363 East 31st Street, Suite 101 Tulsa, OK 74135-5497

Ride on! Celebrating 75 Years of Will Rogers High School, 1939-2014  

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an Art Deco masterpiece on the National Register of Historic...

Ride on! Celebrating 75 Years of Will Rogers High School, 1939-2014  

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, an Art Deco masterpiece on the National Register of Historic...