By Annabelle Zhou,
The Davis High School Blue and White Foundation honored the eighth class of inductees into the Davis High Hall of Fame at a dinner held at the UC Davis Conference Center on Saturday, Sept. 19. This year’s inductees were Calvin Crabill, John Whitcombe, Catherine Stevens Watters, Tyler Schilling and the 1961-62 men’s varsity basketball team.
At the beginning of the evening, attendees socialized in the hallway while hors d’oeuvres and wine were served. One of the Hall of Fame dinner’s traditions is to employ student volunteer servers, who add a “touch of Davis High” to a room full of DHS alumni. Once attendees were seated at the dinner table, the students served a three-course meal before the ceremony began.
This year, many high school students from the current men’s and women’s basketball teams came out to support the Hall of Fame inductees, especially the former basketball team.
“It’s nice to be a part of the community and see how others have contributed,” junior basketball player Tessa Malone said. “It’s also a good way to bond with my basketball team, and in this year’s case, meet some of the basketball player inductees!”
After dessert was served, the ceremony began with a video to introduce each inductee before he or she spoke on stage.
Crabill was inducted under the faculty/staff category for his legacy as a math teacher at DHS and for writing many textbooks, one of which DHS still uses today.
Crabill’s family, seated at a front table, beamed with pride as he spoke.
“I’m super proud of my grandfather and of the school just because I went to Davis High too, so it’s really special to get to see him get this award, and also to realize the effect he had on my own education and how I learned there,” said Crabill’s granddaughter Cecilie Stuelpe.
Whitcombe, inducted as a friend/benefactor, was honored for creating some of the Davis bike paths, conducting housing projects and contributing to the construction of DHS’ new stadium.
Watters, inducted for fine arts, was honored for her world-renowned work as a botanical artist. She is also a teacher and curriculum developer in Woodland.
Schilling, inducted as alumni at large, is the founder and CEO of FMC Schilling Robotics, which has its headquarters in Davis and routinely supports DHS’ agricultural mechanics program. He discovered his love for robotics at Holmes Junior High and his passion stuck. Schilling also contributes to and mentors the Citrus Circuits robotics team at DHS, which won the robotics world championship last year.
The robotics team put together a trophy, picture and a shirt as a thank-you award, which recently-graduated Da Vinci student and robotics team alumna Petra Favorite presented to Schilling.
“[Schilling] helped our team a lot this year and it was really amazing to get to see him recognized for everything he’s done; it’s really inspirational to see someone who’s working on robotics in the real world who came from the same place we’re coming from,” Favorite said.
The 1961-62 men’s basketball team was honored for being the only undefeated men’s basketball team in DHS history. The feat was especially impressive because the DHS team, assembled from a student population of only 320, defeated powerhouse Downey High of Modesto, a school with 2,000 students.
The entire team, including the manager and descendants of the coach, was called up to the stage, where 1961-62 basketball team member and former DHS coach Ralph Villanueva (inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010) expressed gratitude on behalf of the team.
The dinner event was organized by a Hall of Fame committee that begins planning for the next year immediately after the current dinner is finished.
In January, a three-month period of nominations begins. Anybody can nominate a Hall of Fame inductee for one of the five categories–faculty/staff, friend/benefactor, fine arts, alumni at large and athletics–as long as the nominee graduated ten or more years ago.
Lynne Yackzan, a member of the Hall of Fame committee, plays a pivotal part in organizing this event. Yackzan and DHS graduate Jason Fisk, a former NFL player and Blue Devil football coach, began the Hall of Fame tradition eight years ago, and are both members of the Hall of Fame themselves
“I didn’t notice actually, until my own kids were at Davis High and you see these incredibly smart genius kids and I think, ‘What happens to them when they graduate? What do they do? Let’s find out,’” Yackzan said.