kearny komets hall of fame

2020

Distinguished Kearny Komets Hall of Fame Inductees

Rick Christian, Class of 1972

David Clements, Class of 1973

Stephen Grooms, Class of 1975

Lorna Randall Hankins, Class of 1975

Clifford Hicks, Class of 1982

Chuck Perpich, Faculty, 1965-1991

Jonathan Perpich, Class of 1974

Victoria Phillips, Faculty, 1970-2003

Jay Trousdale, Class of 1973

Todd Villalobos, Class of 1988

Sharon Clark Smith, Class of 1963, Linda Shannon 12th Person Award

Rick Christian, Class of 1972

Rick Christian, Kearny class of 1972, founded Alive Literary Agency in Los Angeles in 1989 and moved operations to Colorado Springs in 1991. He served 30 years as CEO until his retirement in 2019, following the internal sale of the agency. In his tenure, Alive clients scored 15 New York Times #1 bestsellers and sold more than 250 million copies.

Raised in San Diego and following his graduation from Kearny in 1972, he became a 1977 graduate of Stanford University (communications and creative writing), he also studied at Capernwray Bible School in England and the University of Southern California where he pursued graduate work in professional writing.

It is as a literary agent that Christian became renowned, particularly for his entrepreneurial efforts behind such mega-sellers as the Left Behind series (70 million copies), Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible (20 million copies), Karen Kingsbury’s novels (25 million copies), Todd Burpo’s Heaven Is for Real (13 million), Steve Arterburn’s/Dave Stoop’s Life Recovery Bible (3 million copies), Lisa Beamer’s post 9-11 Let’s Roll (1.5 million copies), Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz (1 million copies), and Ron Hall’s/Denver Moore’s Same Kind of Different as Me (1 million).

He and his wife Debbie have a blended family of seven children and live on a ranch in Black Forest, outside of Colorado Springs.

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David Clements, PhD. Class of 1973, Posthumous Award

David had Muscular Dystrophy. He was the first student in a wheelchair that was mainstreamed into Kearny high school, September 1970. In 1970, motorized wheelchairs were not available. He got his first motorized wheelchair in his senior year. The handicap ramps at Kearny high school were built for David. While in college at USD, David purchased a customized van and learned to drive. David suffered from numerous health challenges and disability challenges which he overcame to continue his quest for a productive life.

David graduated 44th in his Kearny senior class in 1970. He attended the University of San Diego from 1973 through 1977. At which time he was awarded a BA degree in French and English. He graduated fourth in his class at USD and was editor-in-chief of their newspaper.

From 1977 through 1980, David attended the University of California at San Diego and received his Master’s degree. From 1981 to 1989, he continued at the University of California San Diego received his Doctorate of Philosophy.

David spoke English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic. His travels included Luxembourg, France twice, England, Canada, Mexico, and Alaska; all with a wheelchair and respirator. 

David’s awards included: Easter Seals Child of the Year, 1967. Société d Honneur François, 1976. Who’s Who among students in American Universities and Colleges, 75 – 76. UCSD Department Honors in French 1977. Muscular Dystrophy Association newsletter editor, Citation of Merit. Muscular Dystrophy Association achievement award, 1993. David carried the Olympic torch in Coronado in 1984. He handed the torch off to NFL football player Jim Plunkett.

David Clements’ lifetime achievement awards are spectacular based on anyone’s standards.

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Stephen Grooms, Class of 1975

Stephen Grooms, Class of 1975, AT&T business administrator and Senior sales executive. Mr. Grooms has over 32 years of experience with AT&T. This career there was split into two sessions, 1981 through 1994 and 2000 through present day. He has extensive experience in sales and sales leadership, business development, business operations with a continued successful track record in driving topline revenue, generating profits and meeting high performance sales cultures. Mr. Grooms has been well-educated and understands fully AT&T Total Quality Management process and the Six Sigma concept. Six Sigma is a management technique intended to improve business processes by greatly reducing the probability that an error or defect will occur. His leadership is based on total quality management (TQM) and he is adept at strategic planning. At AT&T, Steve has been recognized for his driven and creative management style that creates common vision and fosters peak performance, uncompromising ethics and integrity. He has garnered multiple customer service awards, most notably the Presidents clubs at AT&T – the top 1% of the nation out of 300,000 employees.

Stephen came to Kearny as an assistant football coach in 2009 he attended some Alumni Association meetings and just kept coming back. Steve wound up as a trustee on the alumni board and later served as president. Steve was instrumental in pushing the Hall of Fame into existence. In addition to the Hall of Fame, Steve lead the negotiation for the return of the football uniform stripes, petitioned with the district to get our stadium build date moved up and founded the Kearny Community Foundation, among other things.  

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Lorna Randall Hankins, Class of 1975

Lorna Hankins, Kearny Class of 1974, and graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Ms. Hankins is currently the Executive Director of the Southwest Texas Branch of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) where awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease is the primary goal. She also serves currently as the CEO for the Houston office of the National Kidney Foundation. Previously, Lorna served as Executive Director of the Sickle-Cell Association the Texas Gulf Coast (SCATGC). Under her leadership, their mission was improving the lives of individuals, families and communities impacted by sickle-cell disease. Ms. Hankins primary profession is medicine. However, Lorna’s degree from UCLA was in Law. Consequently, her employment has included trial consulting and mediation of intellectual property cases, along with speechwriting and human resources management.

Ms. Hankins affiliations include UCLA alumni scholars. Texas Association Mediators. Trial consultants of America. University of Houston Dispute Resolution Center. State Bar of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section. Muscular Dystrophy Association, Los Angeles California Cystic fibrosis Association, Sickle-Cell Association of the Texas Gulf Coast. National Kidney Foundation. Houston ballet, Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Lorna’s special skills and abilities are extensive. As a certified mediator she has been trained in helping others reach accord in the midst of divergent and, often, continuously conflicting positions. She has worked with individuals, families, corporations, and numerous other groups. She has facilitated communication and partnership between former disputants by helping them to understand the origin of their discord and how to resolve these issues by working together in an environment of mutual respect and regard for each other’s values and visions. Over the years, she has been a panelist, keynote speaker, and consultant at conferences and symposia related to communications and public relations best practices for imposing one’s related to communications and public relations best practices, public opinion assessment, and persuasion techniques. Lorna’s trial consulting, and, in particular, jury selection has enhanced her ability to understand what motivates behavior and how to reward positive action so that it is sustainable. She is well-trained and always ready to serve at the next.

For a number of years, Lorna has been actively involved with The Links, Incorporated. She has served in almost every capacity up through the National level providing years of service to elevate presence and provide another tool to stay connected and serve.

Lorna Hankins achievements are exemplary for our Kearny Hall of Fame. Because of the quality, caliber and commitment to her endeavors, it is a privilege to have her as an inductee into the Kearny Hall of Fame.

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Clifford Hicks, Class of 1982

After Kearny, Clifford graduated from the University of Oregon where he was a premier Cornerback for their very fine football team. With the NFL draft in 1987, Mr. Hicks was drafted pick number 74 in the third round. His NFL career spanned eight years as a starting Cornerback for four different NFL teams including the Los Angeles Rams, the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets and the Denver Broncos.

Cliff has an intriguing story. He was an outstanding athlete as a Pop Warner football player. He barely played at Kearny. He tried to work at fast food and burned his arm badly. He went on to Mesa College and played football for a couple years. He was then recruited by the Oregon Ducks. He was drafted by the Rams under John Shaw, Rams general manager, also a Kearny graduate in the Kearny Hall of Fame. Thus, began his very successful career in the NFL. The fact that he found his way after Kearny is amazing and that he went on to a big college and pro career could be inspiring to any of the students today. The NFL sent a gold football in his honor that sits in the lobby of the Kearny high school administration office commemorating 50 years of the Super Bowl.

After returning to San Diego, he now works for SDG&E and is a continuing Kearny high school fan.

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Chuck Perpich, Faculty, 1965-1991

Chuck Perpich was a longtime teacher at Kearny as well as a football coach for Birt Slater. He graduated from USC 1955. For many years Chuck was the statistician for the San Diego Chargers. In addition, Mr. Perpich worked at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club for many years. Mr. P also was quite the golfer, he was the schools golfing coach for a long time. In addition, for the Andy Williams open he was quite involved in the organization. He taught many subjects, languages is what he was known for. He could pick-up languages easily. He was most known for teaching Spanish.  A teacher wrote on FB that he was just the funniest man.

Born and raised in a small town outside of Pittsburgh with seven siblings to Croatian parents. He is survived by his loving companion, Janis Campbell; sons, Nicholas and Jonathan; daughter, Lori, her husband Payton; four grandchildren and the many lives he touched.

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Jonathan Perpich, Class of 1974

Jonathan “JP” Perpich is a gifted stage and screen actor. When JP, Chuck’s son, left UCLA in 1981, he began his career as an actor in television.

He appeared in numerous summer repertory productions such as the Good Doctor and the Rainmaker. He was one of the fortunate few as he did nearly 30 guest spots in various shows during the 80’s, including the Incredible Hulk, Riptide, TJ Hooker, Beauty and the Beast, Eight is Enough, Dynasty, China Beach, Paradise, Golden Girls and a variety of TV movies.  He had the lead in a Stephen Cannel series called ‘The Last Precinct.’

His wife Geri, was a graphic designer so they started a small design firm, which became a second career.  He worked as a graphic designer, production artist, and started teaching graphic design programs.

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Victoria Phillips, faculty, 1970-2003

Victoria Phillips was a legendary English teacher to the students at Kearny in the 1970s.

She seemed able to relate to the students, as she was young (seemed like she was just a few years older than we were).  She had a pony tail and mini-skirts!  She understood us, yet she could control the classroom.  Former students recall that she talked to us as adults:  never “talking down” or discouraging people when they had input into the class topics.

In those days, there were electives possible also, and we took a class in Shakespeare from her one semester.  Try to keep a group of 17-year-old interested in that:  she did.

Most of all, she encouraged us in our writing skills.  She encouraged us to keep journals, she read them, and she commented on them. She taught us how to write essays (introduction, body, conclusion).   It would be interesting to know how many of her students went on to be journalists and published authors.

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Jay Trousdale, Class of 1973

Jay is the all – time winning girls basketball coach in San Diego history with 698 wins, four CIF titles, six CIF runner-ups, and 12 Palomar league titles. He is also currently ranked sixth all-time in the state of California with his 698 wins. Mr. Trousdale retired from teaching after 38 years in the Poway Unified School District, with the last 30 at Poway High School. He has been the head girls’ basketball coach for the past 33 years at Poway High School and currently finished season number 33. Previously he taught for eight years at Meadowbrook Middle School and coached girls and boys Junior varsity basketball at Mount Carmel High School. Jay started his coaching career as Boy’s JV Basketball Coach at Kearny High School with his team going 23-3.

Coach Trousdale’s coaching awards include being named the California Coaches Association 2009 state girls basketball coach of the year and the 2018 National Federation of High Schools California State Coach of the Year. He was the Poway High School Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2016. He was the San Diego Coaches Association Coach of the year in 1991 and 1992. He was also awarded Coach of the year honors in 1992 by the North County Times, San Diego Union-Tribune and LA Times. The San Diego CIF awarded him with Coach of the Year honors in 2008.

Jay was an All-Western league guard at Kearny in 1973. Mr. Trousdale played four years at US International University in Scripps Ranch, now Alliant University. Mr. Trousdale began his love affair with basketball and coaching at the Serra Mesa recreation center, and that led to Kearny and beyond. One key trademark with a Trousdale – coached team has been defense. The Poway Titans always have had a variety of ways to prevent offenses from scoring. 

During his years as a physical education teacher at Poway, Jay was known to give his classes a thought for the day each day. They became popular with his students and he always started with: “Always Remember…” He has been known to run into ex-students around the city, in airports, or out of town and will be asked for a thought for the day on the spot!

Mr. Trousdale’s first year of coaching at Poway High was in the 1987 – 88 season. Throughout his 38 years of teaching and coaching with calmness, flair and steady leadership, has guaranteed that his students will always remember him with pride and thanks.

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Todd Villalobos, Class of 1988

Just a couple of months after graduating from Kearny in 1988 Todd started at City College in the radio/tv department. Early in the year former Chargers turned Channel 8 sportscaster Jim Laslavic visited one of his classes and mentioned they needed interns. He made sure he was the first one to call and grabbed the spot. He’s been there ever since.

Todds’ college career took him to Mesa then to SDSU, where he graduated in May of 1995. In addition to going to school, he also had been working as a fill in producer for channel 8, interning for the Chargers during their Super Bowl season, and doing video work for the SDSU football team, as well as working for Prime Ticket’s nightly sports show. The day after graduation he was hired by Ted Leitner to be KFMB’s main sports producer.

In the decades since, he has covered every major local story and national sporting event possible. Super Bowls, MLB Playoffs and World Series, NBA, NHL, NCAA tournaments, Aztecs bowls games and NCAA tournament runs, even the Republican National Convention here in 1996.

He has also been the producer of Channel 8’s Chargers post game show, the highest locally produced show in San Diego, since CBS was awarded the AFC contract in 1998. Todd produced dozens of NFL specials, worked in almost every NFL stadium in the country, produced Charger family profiles, Padres post-game specials, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 nightly sportscasts.

Todd worked with the best in the business, Ted Leitner, Jim Laslavic, Artie Ojeda, Rick Powers, Curt Sandoval, Larry Himmel, Katy Temple, Steve Quis, John Howard and since 2004 Kyle Kraska as the main sports talent.

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Sharon Clark Smith, Class of 1963, Linda Shannon 12th Person Award

Sharon’s family moved to San Diego from Texas when she was already in the 6th Grade. She attended Montgomery Junior High School, and moved from there to high school at Kearny. As a Kearny graduate she became involved in the Alumni Association in 1995. She has contributed her time and energies to the Annual Rummage Sale, Hall of Fame Event, the Annual Car show, and other Alumni activities. Sharon attends monthly meetings regularly.

Early on after joining the Alumni Association she was asked to create membership cards for the association – as she was one of the few members with the skills and the appropriate program on her computer. She was not the first editor of the newsletter, but in 1999, when that position was opened, she was approached by a board member and asked to take over the job. She has been Editor in Chief of our Association newsletter for 21 years. That is 21 years of preparing the newsletter for print each quarter……….. and putting up with articles promised by members, but never received!!

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