It was clear that Bend High School's alumni assembly was about much more than just recognizing six accomplished graduates.
The Friday morning event was a celebration of a community and the distinguished individuals that have emerged from it.
“There was only one high school in the area back then, so this isn't just an event celebrating Bend High. It's an event celebrating Bend.” Bend High counselor Gary Whitley said.
This is the fourth year that the school has honored accomplished alumni during its homecoming. Alumni were recognized at a homecoming assembly in the gymnasium and at a reception.
“I hope that students see the diversity in the alumni here and take away that it's not only one kind of student that goes on to make a big impact on the world,” Darla Wood-Walters, class of 1970, said. “I hope that through this, they realize that if you follow your passion, anything is possible.”
Wood-Walters was recognized for her contributions in education. She was a teacher in Bend-La Pine Schools for 32 years. She received awards from the International Reading Association and the Bureau of Education & Research, and was recognized as an AAUW Distinguished Educator.
“People don't go into education for the awards, so I think it's a good statement that a teacher was recognized,” Wood-Walters said.
John Barton was honored for his contributions to science and technology. He graduated in 1975 and is now a vice president at Intel. He said he gained many of the skills that he uses to lead his 2,000 employees in the hallways of Bend High.
“In high school, I didn't belong to just one clique. I made my way around to all of them,” Barton said. “I built my instinct for making connections here.”
Leon Devereaux Jr. graduated in 1941 when the school was located in a different building downtown. Devereaux was a Navy combat pilot in World War II and was awarded the air medal.
After the war, he came back to Bend and worked for Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Co. Inc. for 38 years. Devereaux was also a Bend city councilor, and served as mayor of Bend — then a much smaller city — in 1968.
He recalls a time in 1950 when there was a feeling that the town might just “fold up and roll away.”
“Bend has gone beyond our wildest dreams,” Devereaux said. “We had no idea it would be like this back then. I'm very proud of how it's expanded.”
Dr. Steven Bailey, a cardiologist who graduated in 1969 and has been listed in the top 1 percent of cardiologists in the United States by US News & World Report, and Dennis Sullivan, who graduated in 1944 and competed in football and track for coaches Len Casanova and Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon before beginning a successful track and field coaching career himself.
Georgann Winslow Chase, class of 1950, was recognized posthumously for founding the nursing program at Central Oregon Community College and for her contributions to the local community.
“It gives me a lot of hope and makes me feel like I can do anything,” Kate Kennedy, 18, a high school senior, said. “I'm starting at BHS, but I see now that I've got the whole world ahead of me still.”