Katy, TX – December 16, 2016 From Jeff Stocks, Principal of Taylor High School:
In May 2015 our graduating senior class officers decided that their class funds would go to the creation of a Hall of Honor which would recognize prominent alumni of Taylor High School. So that summer we launched the James E. Taylor Hall of Honor which is located in a prominent hallway in the school. Our inaugural class of inductees included some really amazing people. (See the blog post from November ’15 for the list.) We invited this inaugural class of inductees to a ceremony which included a pep rally, school tour, and luncheon in their honor, and on-field recognition at a home football game. What transpired was incredible!
The honorees came with spouses, old friends, parents, and even former teachers. In the reunion-in-motion that ensued, we got a glimpse of these prominent individuals as they were in high school – just good, fun-loving normal kids, having a laugh and sharing stories. It reminds us that we cannot predict the arc of a person’s life. We cannot look at a high school student and say, “that person will be _______” (Fill in the adjective.)
So our Hall of Honor reminds us not only of the hard work and commitment that leads to success, but also that this success can come to anyone who wants to work for it. Not one single student who roams the halls of Taylor High School has been eliminated from the running for future greatness. The Hall of Honor is a beacon of hope for all who pass before it.
Last month a committee consisting of school administrators, alumni, former teachers, and current teachers met to select this year’s inductees. The nominations were incredible! We discussed and argued and persuaded. In the end we settled on this remarkable class of inductees to the James E. Taylor Hall of Honor:
Nathan Dagley (’91) Prominent local businessman and community leader. Owner of Dagley Insurance and Encompass Lending Group. He started a youth sports league in Katy to enrich the lives of Katy youth through exercise. He is always giving back to the community that has given so much to him.
Russell Faldyn (’82) Longtime educator, active community member, and Ambassador for Taylor High School. Russell is a member of the first graduating class from Taylor. He has worked in education for 30 years, 10 of those as an administrator at Taylor. He is currently the Director of Community Education and Elections at Katy ISD.
Dr. Brandon Gunn (‘92) Prominent physician at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Associate Medical Director of Proton Therapy and Associate Professor, Dept. of Radiation Oncology. He was named Chief Resident, Radiation Oncology, UTMB Galveston in 2008; Most Outstanding Resident, UTMB Galveston 2009.
Dr. Lawrence “Lance” Hindt (’83) Superintendent of Schools, Katy ISD. Former Superintendent, Allen ISD and Stafford ISD. Dr. Hindt served as Head Football Coach at Dulles High School, Principal of Dulles High School, and Assistant Superintendent in Fort Bend ISD.
Dr. Richard Knabb (’86) Director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida. He received his Bachelors’ in Atmospheric Science from Purdue, and a Masters and Doctorate in Meteorology from Florida State University.
Dr. Azra Ligon (83’) Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School. Director, BWH Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory. In her work she has conducted critically important research and published dozens of articles and studies on cytogenetics and the treatment of cancer.
Kim Newton (’83) Los Angeles-based television writer and producer. In her 20 year career, Kim worked on, or wrote for many TV shows such as The X-Files, Las Vegas, and The Blacklist. She was featured in a 2006 New York Times article titled, “My Mother the TV Writer.”
Serving as the principal for Taylor High School fills me with pride every day. The experience of working with our students, staff, and community; upholding the traditions that have stood the test of time; working to find ways to keep improving and stay up to date, is always rewarding. But nothing has inspired me like discovering the amazing life trajectories of our former students. It is humbling and reminds me of the awesome responsibility that comes with being an educator, for as talented as the above recipients are, none of them got to their level of prominence without a nudge, push, or shove from a school person. So to you school people: when we honor our alumni we also honor you.