Eight alumni are saluted on Wall of Honor | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Eight alumni are saluted on Wall of Honor

Question: What high school has alumni who include a Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano, a physicist who discovered “phonons,” a man who was the “Winemaker of the Year” at an international wine competition, and an off-Broadway producer and composer? Don’t look too far, because it’s our very own South Tahoe High School. Yes, our local educational system produces a fine variety of upstanding citizens, and this year eight of them will be honored for their success and contributions.

In a collaborative effort between the South Tahoe High School Associated Student Body, the STHS Alumni Council and the Lake Tahoe Educational Foundation, celebrated graduates will be showcased in the “Wall of Honor.” The Wall, which will be displayed at South Tahoe High School, will commemorate those graduates who have gone on to excel in their chosen field. The recipients for this year will be honored at the Celebration of Education dinner to begin at 6 p.m. May 25 in Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Special Events Center. In addition, some of them will spend time at the high school visiting classes where, as a student, they were influenced in their chosen career paths.

The names, year of graduation and title of each recipient will be etched into a glass wall at the high school, a project that will be completed over the summer.



Principal Marcia Kaster is excited about the project.

“I believe it’s important for students attending South Tahoe High to see the successes of former graduates.” she said. “The hope is to inspire them to do great things in the future and to show them that the preparation they get here leads them to future success.”



Anyone desiring to attend the Celebration of Education on May 25 should contact Del Laine at (530) 544-6249 or LaineTahoe@aol.com.

Some students may be surprised by which honoree comes into their class. When the recipient of the Winemaker of the Year award was interviewed by the media, he made it very clear that his high school chemistry teacher was greatly responsible for his career choice. The physicist who discovered “phonons” was most known for his standing in the varsity cross country ski team when he graduated from high school. Needless to say, teachers never know what may prompt or encourage a student in their life’s path.

In this, the first year of the Wall of Honor, there are eight inductees:

— From the class of 1965, our recipient is Steven Coulter. Coulter’s career covers over 30 years as an elected official, journalist and businessman. He spent 20 years as vice president of Pacific Bell responsible for technology, philanthropy, public and social policy issues. In that capacity he managed a national staff responsible for state and federal stakeholder relations, corporate communications, and consumer advisory processes. He has received numerous national awards for outstanding projects with minority organizations and leading consumer organizations. Before joining Pacific Bell, Coulter served four terms as State Assemblyman in Nevada. He is a former radio and TV journalist, university instructor, small business owner, and served in the US Army. He retired from Pacific Bell in 2001 but continues to be active in helping San Francisco rebuild its public library system, having spent a dozen years as a Library Commissioner. He works as an independent consultant to philanthropic and consumer interest groups, and business on public strategy and funding. He has been responsible for directing millions of dollars in contributions to HIV/AIDS organizations and many other California philanthropic and civic institutions.

— The class of 1966 is well represented by Raymond Hoff. Hoff is a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is also director of the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology. He has 29 years of experience in atmospheric research. His research interests are in the optical properties of aerosols and gases in the atmosphere and the pathways and fates of toxic organic and elemental chemicals in the environment. He has been central in formulating major research programs on Differential Absorption, airborne and spaceborne lidar, volcanic emissions, atmospheric transport of toxic chemicals to the Great Lakes, atmospheric visibility, Arctic Haze, and dispersion of pollutants. He has led or participated in more than 20 major field experiments, has authored 72 journal articles and book chapters, 84 other refereed works and numerous public presentations of his work. Hoff obtained a bachelor of arts degree in physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1970 and a Ph.D. in physics from Simon Fraser University in 1975. He has conducted research at UMBC, Environment Canada, NASA Langley Research Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Research Laboratories.

— The class of 1970 holds the honor of having Dolora Zajick as one of its graduates. Zajick was in pre-med at the University of Nevada, Reno, when she joined the chorus of the Nevada Opera. Gaining the attention of director Ted Puffer, she studied with him and finally switched her major to music. She graduated from UNR with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music before going to the Manhattan School of Music in New York. She won the Bronze Medal in the 7th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and was accepted into the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program. She made her operatic debut of consequence with the San Francisco Opera starring as Azecena in “Il Travotore.”

This launched her to international stardom, which has included performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Italy’s La Scala, and Paris’ Opera Bastille.

— Michael Magliari, who graduated in 1975, is currently a professor of history at California State University, Chico. Magliari received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of California, Davis. His areas of specialization are California history and the American West. In addition to teaching and research, he is the director of the Chico History Department’s Certificate in Public History program. He created the program in 1993 and teaches its two core research seminars: the Archival Research Seminar and Introduction to Public History. He published “John Bidwell and California: The Life and Writings of a Pioneer, 1841-1900” in 2003 with co-author Michael J. Gillis. He recently received the 2005 Ray Allen Billington Award from the Western History Association for his article “Free Soil, Unfree Labor: Cave Johnson Couts and the Binding of Indian Workers in California, 1850-1867.”

— Graduating in 1977, Richard Holmes went on to graduate with honors from the California Institute of Technology in 1981 in physics. He was supported by a Stanford Fellowship while pursuing a Ph.D. at Stanford University in operations research, and received his M.S. in 1983. He has contributed to a book on differential equations, and has published about 50 papers in scientific journals and proceedings. In 1986 he predicted the existence of spin-one and spin-two optical phonons, which were subsequently observed, and has published many other papers in optical and atomic physics. He has authored 13 patents in these areas.

He is currently president of two companies, one which specializes in the aerospace industry, the other in telecommunications. Holmes is listed in recent editions of “Who’s Who in Engineering and Science,” “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World” for his contributions in science and engineering.

— The class of 1978 is proud to have two Wall of Honor recipients. The first is Eric Rockwell who, after majoring in music and theater at California State University, Sacramento, went to New York City in 1983 to find his fortune. Adept as a pianist, saxophonist, clarinetist and vocalist, he worked hard in several “off-off-off-off-Broadway” shows. He began composing shows in the 1980s and worked in summer stock theater. Rockwell has written plays, including “Don’t Touch That Dial” and several children’s shows, including “Golly Gee Whiz” (a parody of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney musicals) and “David and Goliath.” Most recently he and collaborator Joanne Bogart have composed a musical titled “The Musical of Musicals – The Musical!,” which skillfully parodies several famous Broadway shows. The show ran sold-out performances in several off-Broadway theaters beginning in December 2003 and made its west coast premier at the Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach in the summer of 2005. Currently, the show is touring in London.

— Also a graduate from 1978 is Stuart Harris. Harris entered the United States Marine Corps in 1980. Upon graduation from San Diego State University in December 1982 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He has since been assigned to Kaneohe, Hawaii; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; the USS Saratoga (CV-60) in Mayport, Fla. (from which he was part of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm); and Fort Knox, Ky. Promoted to major in June 1994, he was assigned to Quantico, Va., and served in the Amphibious Warfare Technology directorate. In April 1997 he was reassigned to Okinawa, Japan, where he served as Executive Officer, Combat Assault Battalion, 3d Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel and was deployed to the Philippines, Korea, and Thailand. In June 2001, he assumed command of 2d AA Bn, 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C. He deployed with his battalion to Kuwait in February 2003 with the 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF). In March 2003, he crossed into Iraq as part of the I MEF Ground Combat Element and participated in the seizure of Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Redeployed back to the United States in June 2003, he relinquished his command and was assigned as a student, Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University, Washington D.C., receiving a master’s degree in national resource strategy. Promoted to his present rank in July 2004, Col. Harris is detailed to the U.S. Department of State as deputy director for programs in the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, Bureau of Political Military Affairs. He travels worldwide to former and current conflict areas, managing the U.S. government’s landmine and unexploded ordnance removal programs.

— Jeff Stewart, class of 1983, began his interest in wine with a trip to France and a high school chemistry teacher whose enthusiasm was contagious. He enrolled in the University of California, Davis. Throughout his academic career Stewart did internship work at Robert Keenan Winery and in 1988 received his degree in Fermentation Science, Viticulture and Enology from UCD. Having held winemaking positions at Laurier, De Loach, Mark West, Kunde and La Crema, he has a wealth of experience and a reputation for quality. In 2002 he was named Andre Tchelistcheff Winemaker of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. He entered 11 wines in the competition, which is the nation’s largest. The wines included Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah, and Stewart’s winery came away with 9 medals total. He is the vice president and winemaker of Buena Vista Wineries.


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