Educators, former students and supporters of Golden Valley High School gathered last Saturday night, Feb. 8, to welcome their first-ever Hall of Fame Class during a dinner at the Merced County Fair Pavilion.
Unlike other similar community dinners, the newly established G.V. Alumni Foundation wanted to recognize not only athletes, but also G.V. alumni and staff who have made significant contributions to the school’s legacy and their communities.
An excited Principal Kevin Swartwood said the event reminded him of a big class reunion as many former students attended the event — which included a cocktail hour and dinner — and shared school memories with one another.
The Class of 2020 Hall of Fame inductees included:
- Ralf Swenson, 1993-2007, first Principal
- Donna Ivy, 1994-2001, Original Administrative
- Greg Christiansen, 1994-2012, First Band Director
- Rob Strickland, 1994-2014, Retired Teacher, Aquatics Coach
- Mike Murphy, Class of 1997, Mayor of Merced
- Doug Fister, Class of 2002, Retired Pro Baseball Player
- Sue Emanivong, Class of 1999, Business Owner
- Christoper Randle, Class of 2007, Pro Football Player
- Jacqueline Robinson Huggins, Class of 2000, All American Volleyball Player
- Aaron Castelton, Class of 1997, Attorney at Law
The inductees shared touching and humorous stories of their high school experiences and exploits.
Donna Ivy — an original school staffer who is known for chronicaling campus history to this day — praised her former colleagues, teachers, coaches and students. She said all the students she came to know were like her second family.
“It brings tears to my eyes when I receive a card, phone call, or visit from past students — some of them were struggling a little in school,” she told the audience. “They tell me that they are doing well in life. They thank me for encouraging them, and most importantly, making them believe in themselves. Doing well in life is what we all strive for in teaching our students.”
The 2020 Hall of Fame event comes at a time when Golden Valley High School is celebrating its 25th Anniversary.
To donate to the GV Foundation Fund or to request a Hall of Fame Nominee form for future inductees, email: [email protected]; or call 209-761-8694 / 209- 325-1800.