Graduates of Bozeman High School have gone on to do some remarkable things, and for the first time they will be recognized in the school with a public display called the Hall of Honor.
"We've had so many amazing people come through the Bozeman schools system," Dawn Allinger Lewis, who's coordinating the project, said last week.
It's important that today's students know this, she said, so "they can dream and become anything they want to be."
Five men have been chosen as the first to have their names placed in the Hall of Honor.
One is a Stanford political scientist and top advisor on Russia to President Barack Obama. Another is a Duke University heart doctor and cardiac researcher. A young alumnus in his 20s is working with the White House. Others are being honored for their humanitarian work in the community and years of contributions to Bozeman schools.
The five will be guests of honor during homecoming week. The Hall of Honor will be unveiled on Sept. 16, right after the 4:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting to celebrate completion of the school's reconstruction and unveil the Hall of Honor.
That evening there will be a celebration at the Hilton Garden Inn, at which the five honorees will speak. The next day, Sept. 17, they will briefly address students at a homecoming assembly, ride in the afternoon homecoming parade and finally be introduced to fans during halftime of that evening's football game.
The project is a combined effort of the Bozeman Schools Foundation, which raises money for the schools, and the 3-year-old Alumni Association, which is trying to reconnect Hawk alumni with their school.
The Hall of Honor is under construction in a prominent spot on the south wall just inside the school's new entry.
Already up on the wall is the motto: "Honor the Past, Inspire the Future."
When finished, the display of wood and granite will feature a
large cast-bronze tree by alum
Harrington, and a digital touch-screen that will show hundreds of
photos of past students and even video from football games. The
names of honorees will be inscribed on metal leaves attached to the
The first honorees are:
- Michael McFaul, BHS class of 1981, a Stanford University political science professor on leave while serving on the National Security Council, is a principal architect of President Barack Obama's "engagement" policy with Russia. He was chosen in the meritorious service category.
- Dr. Mark Winchester, Hawks quarterback from the class of 1965, is a heart physician at the Duke University Medical Center and heart researcher. He was chosen for lifetime achievement.
- Brian Screnar, class of 1993, worked for political campaigns, including the John Edwards and Obama presidential campaigns, became finance director of Obama's presidential inauguration committee, and now serves as the Interior Department's White House liaison. He's receiving the young alumni award.
- Jerry Cashman, who graduated from high school in Minnesota, is being named an "honorary alum" for his 12 years service on the Bozeman School Board and ongoing voluntary contributions to Bozeman schools.
- Gary Tschache, class of 1965, longtime owner of Kagy Korner and inventor of the "Turd Bird" souvenir, is known for giving back to the Bozeman community. He is a winner of the Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce Guy Sperry Award and served as a Lions Club International representative. He is receiving the humanitarian award.
Marilyn Delger, retired Hawthorne School principal and chair of the Hall of Honor event at the Hilton, said Tschache is well-known for his "heart of gold" and helping others, even leaving a $200 tip for a waiter or waitress who's a struggling student.
"This honor is way too much," Tschache, 63, said. "I'm so humbled by this."
Tschache added he likes the idea of honoring Bozeman High grads, "something we should have done a long, long time ago."
"I'm quite surprised," said Cashman, 62. He served on the School Board when it started the Bridger alternative high school program, replaced a superintendent and built Morning Star, Emily Dickinson and Sacajawea schools. He has hired scores of students at his nursery over the years and donates trees to the schools.
"The things I've done on the part of the school district, I think of as what a helpful citizen should do," Cashman said.
The five honorees are all men, which has drawn comments, said Mary Jo O'Donnell, Bozeman Schools Foundation executive director. She said people were nominated and an eight-member committee chose the best person in each category, not considering gender. O'Donnell said she urged people to nominate women candidates next year.
Allinger Lewis, a star athlete in Bozeman High's class of 1987 who went on to compete in the 1996 Olympics, said many people have volunteered their services to build the Hall of Honor, designed by Bechtle Architects.
To raise money to build it, Harrington is selling 100 bronze statues of a hawk for $485 through his gallery.
To attend the Sept. 16 celebration for the honorees at the Hilton Garden Inn, tickets of $35 per person can be purchased online (from www.BozemanSchoolsFoundation.org), or e-mail (info@HawksAlumni.org), or by calling 580-8305.
Gail Schontzler can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2633.