Hunter Newsom remembers being a "geeky kid" at Bozeman High School, where some inspiring teachers helped him realize his dream of becoming a successful eye surgeon.
The successes he experienced in teacher Gordon Rognrud's marketing class, on the marketing team that competed nationally, and on teacher Anne Sullivan's speech and debate team, "gave me the confidence that I could accomplish and succeed," Newsom said.
"All of a sudden you realize someone believes in you and you succeed in that path," he said this week from his medical practice in Florida.
Newsom is one of five Bozeman High graduates who will be honored Sept. 22 at the second annual Alumni Hall of Honor celebration.
A member of the class of 1989, Newsom was chosen to receive the young alumnus award, though he said he just turned 40 and people have started teasing him about getting old.
Newsom said he remembered vividly an assignment in Rognrud's class to write down his dreams and life goals. He wrote that he wanted to get into the University of Florida medical program, the University of Iowa's residency and practice ophthalmology, just like his dad. Every time he ticked off a major goal, he wrote to Rognrud.
Today Newsom is one of two surgeons nationally recognized for surgical excellence in cataract and implant surgery, awarded by the American College of Eye Surgeons in 2000. He was selected to participate in a 2009 Food and Drug Administration study researching a new Softec lens. He serves on the editorial board of the American Academy of Ophthalmology for cataract education.
The Bozeman Schools Foundation and Alumni Association recently announced this year's five honorees. In addition to Newsom and Mary "Molly " Lineberger, they are:
--Dawn Allinger Lewis, class of 1987, is winner of the meritorious service award. An all-state athlete at Bozeman High in basketball, volleyball and track, she went on to play basketball at Washington State University, where she led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament, was named to the university's All-Decade Team, and was a Pac-10 All-Academic honoree. She joined the U.S. national handball team in 1993, competed on the 1995 team that won a gold medal at the Pan American games and competed on the U.S. team that placed eighth at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She has been head coach of the women's handball team and a TV Olympics commentator.
--Former Bozeman Mayor Don Langohr, class of 1942, is winner of the lifetime achievement award. In high school he was the Hawk Tawk newspaper editor. After graduating, he served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War as an aviation radio technician. He graduated from Montana State College in 1949 and owned Langohr's Flowerland until his retirement in 1979. He has been a city commissioner, American Legion commander, MSU Advisory Board member, president of the Gallatin Historical Society and Pioneer Museum, SCORE president, and served on the boards of Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, St. James Episcopal Church, Museum of the Rockies, and Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce, and a founder of its green coat ambassadors.
--Ten-year School Board Trustee Bruce Grubbs is winner of the honorary alumnus award. A University of Michigan grad, Grubbs came to Bozeman to manage the Sears catalog store, and now owns Rocky Mountain Wireless. He is a former School Board chairman, a founding board member of the Bozeman Schools Foundation, active in Junior Achievement, a Montana School Boards Association director and a Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce green coat ambassador. He worked with the Montana State University College of Technology to start a welding program at Bozeman High.
Gail Schontzler is at 582-2633 or firstname.lastname@example.org.