Merced County Times Newspaper
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Golden Valley set to celebrate inaugural Hall of Fame event

Golden Valley High School has turned 25 years old and this noteworthy anniversary is being marked here Feb. 8 with the first-ever Outstanding Alumni and Staff Hall of Fame Dinner.
Golden Valley High School has turned 25 years old and this noteworthy anniversary is being marked here Feb. 8 with the first-ever Outstanding Alumni and Staff Hall of Fame Dinner.

Golden Valley High School has turned 25 years old and this noteworthy anniversary is being marked here Feb. 8 with the first-ever Outstanding Alumni and Staff Hall of Fame Dinner.

Kevin Swartwood, principal of the Childs Avenue campus, said many people are surprised the school has been around for a quarter century and are eagerly anticipating the dinner.

Ten notable alumni or early teachers and administrators are being honored as the first Hall of Fame nominees.

The dinner will be held at the Merced County Fairgrounds Pavilion, with a social hour from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and a catered tri-tip and chicken dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Hall of Fame inductees include the first principal, Ralf Swenson; original administrative assistant Donna Ivy; the first band director, Greg Christianson; retired teacher and aquatics coach Rob Strickland; 1997 graduate and Merced Mayor Mike Murphy; 2002 graduate and retired professional baseball player Doug Fister; 1999 graduate and business owner Sue Emanivong; 2007 graduate and professional football player Christopher Randle; 2000 graduate and two-time All-American volleyball player Jacqueline Robinson Huggins, 2000 graduate and two-time All-American volleyball player; and 1997 graduate and attorney Aaron Castleton.

Swartwood expects all of the inductees except Huggins to attend the dinner. And he says there are enough outstanding people to keep adding 10 Hall of Fame honorees in successive years.

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration during the 2019-2020 school year, a group of alumni and staff established the Golden Valley High School Alumni Foundation. The foundation’s goal is to extend the positive influence the school has had in the lives of its alumni and elevate the aspirations of its current students. The dinner spotlights alumni and past staff members who have made significant contributions to the school and/or their community.

Unlike other similar community dinners, the objective is to recognize not only athletes, but also Golden Valley alumni and staff who have made significant contributions to the GVHS legacy and their communities.

Ticket prices start at $50 per person with reserved tables and sponsorships available. Tickets are also available online at Eventbrite.com under “GVHS Hall of Fame Foundation Dinner ” or by going to the Golden Valley High School Website and clicking on the Foundation tab.

Swartwood said it is hoped to make the Hall of Fame dinner an annual event. Jerry Stillahn, teacher and basketball coach, will be the master of ceremonies for the event. Sponsorship opportunities are available, include a VIP sponsorship for $2,500; Gold for $1,500 and Cardinal for $1,000; for more information, call the school at 325-1800.

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