Hall of Fame » Class of 2023

Class of 2023


Steven Val Alvidrez was born January 24, 1960. He leaves behind his wife Ramona, son Steven, and daughter Kristin. Steve graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1978. He attended Bakersfield College in 1980 and received his Associates of Arts Degree in General Studies. He then received a scholarship to Sacramento State and graduated in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Administration of Criminal Justice. In 1985 Steve became a Deputy for the Kern County Sheriff's Department where he had various special assignments. Steve was awarded with Deputy of the Year in 1989 presented by Moose Lodge #2178. Also, he received the State of California Attorney General Certificate of Commendation in 1989 from the KCSD Attorney General Office.

In 1990 Steve started as a Police Investigator for the Kern High School District Police Department. His first assignment was at South High School. After several years at South he was moved to Centennial High School. In 1999 Steve was promoted to Chief of Police for the Kern High School District. 

Steve volunteered for several different organizations. Such as, Big Brother-Big Sister of America, CSUS Child Care Center, NOR Youth Tackle Football, Boy Scouts of America Den Leader, BASA Girls Softball League, not to mention he was a dance dad. Steve was always going above and beyond. Steve enjoyed coaching and mentoring young kids and adults. 

At the age of 18 Steve and a good friend of his coached a JBA (Junior Baseball Association) team called the Mooney’s. While Steve was working for the Sheriff's Department he and other deputies coached a Jack Frost Football Team called the Elks Club Antler’s with Steve being the head coach. It didn't end there, when he found his footing at South High School, he assisted the freshman football team. The next two years he became head coach for South High’s freshman football team. Steve then got involved with the baseball program and coached the JV baseball team. He then assisted the varsity baseball team. After leaving South High, he also helped assist the varsity baseball team at Centennial. 

Steve was taken from us way too soon and he was a great husband, father, son, brother, and friend. Although he was a Driller he would always say his heart is at South High School. It is with great honor you have chosen Steve to be in South High’s Hall of Fame. 


Rick Davis finds joy in serving his community. From musician to public safety to business ownership to government, Rick has a diverse past or as he has said “my life is like a sampler plate – a little bit of everything.”    

Born and raised in Bakersfield, Rick attended local schools, graduating from South High School in 1967.  He continued his education at Bakersfield College and CSUB where he was honored as “Outstanding Graduate from the School of Public Policy and Administration. Rick’s South High days were deeply rooted in fine arts with participation in the Rebel Band, where he served as the drum major, choral and drama activities.  Those experiences cemented his lifelong commitment to the arts and entertainment.  

Rick spent several years working on the road as a professional musician.  In the late 70’s and 80’s he owned a local music store and performing arts school along with a recording studio and production company.  He spent several seasons as the music director for Bakersfield Civic Light Opera and culminated the 80’s back on the road working with major acts including Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band.  

In 1990, Rick started a new chapter in his career with local government.  He blended his creative and business skills in his service to the County of Kern.  During that time, he designed, constructed, and launched KGOV television allowing the public to see how their government really functions.  He co-produced the live worldwide television coverage of the Historic SpaceShipOne flights coordinating with the Discovery Channel, AOL, NASA TV and legendary Hollywood Producer Robert Weiss, to provide the on-air signal for the most watched Live Web Cast in the history of the Internet as of 2004.  Rick was also the County’s Film Commissioner working with Hollywood to attract many major movie studios to film in Kern County.  

Rick has had a decade long leadership and mentoring role with the Historic Fox Theater.  The Fox continues to be the cultural center of the community with its volunteers committed to the continuing restoration and maintenance of this community treasure.   

In 2018, Rick co-produced a Hollywood movie entitled “Oildale” which has been released worldwide, again placing our community in the international spotlight in a positive way.  He continues to stay involved in the arts and music scene and recently co-produced and performed at the Kern County Cancer Funds “Media Music Jam” where the effort raised $95,000 to help local cancer patients.  

Rick and his wife Lillie have five adult children, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild.   Their family spans careers in California’s judicial community, data and communications engineering, nursing, an electrician, business management and the international entertainment industry … truly a diverse family.  

Rick is joining his brother Mike as the second set of brothers inducted into the South High School Hall of Fame. 


Ken Fahsbender was hired to be the inaugural band director at South High School when it opened in 1957. He wrote the alma mater and composed two SHS fight songs. The first President of the faculty wives was his wife, Mary Fahsbender. They formed many close lifelong friendships from his time at South.

At the district’s request Ken agreed to leave South High, after two short years he went to Bakersfield College to be their band director. He recruited band members from local high schools to build the Renegade band. In December of 1961 when the Renegade football team played in the Junior Rose Bowl, the Bakersfield College Renegade Marching Band received the Sweepstakes Award in the Junior Rose Bowl College Band Competition, symbolic of being considered the finest junior college marching band in the nation. They went on to travel and play as a Band of the Day at the Seattle World’s Fair in May 1962.

Following top recognition of the BC band the leaders of Bakersfield College chose Ken to begin a program as an academic leader. Ken had completed his Master’s program at Illinois in 1954. He was offered a Kellogg fellowship to earn his Doctorate at Stanford University. Ken took his family on a two-year sabbatical leave to Stanford to complete the coursework. On Ken’s return to BC he was head of counseling.

In 1970, Ken was hired by the University Of Delaware to be their chairman of the Music Dept. After four years Ken and his family wished to return to California and he was hired as Dean of Education at Bakersfield College.

In 1976, Ken and Mary started Stockdale Music. Ken’s final position with the Kern Community College District was as Assistant Chancellor. He retired in 1981 at the young age of 53. Upon his retirement he devoted his attention to Stockdale Music full time until his son Bryan took over.

In his retirement Ken enjoyed traveling with his wife, Mary, and visiting former students and friends in the British Isles and Switzerland. They took many family vacations to Maui with their children and grandchildren. He also enjoyed conducting local musicals at Harvey Auditorium and playing golf until he lost his eyesight to glaucoma.

Ken and Mary have three children, Bryan, Sandy and Lori. They have eight grandchildren and twenty great grandchildren. Ken and Mary were married for 65 years before she passed away. 


Jeanine Gutierrez (Sharp) was a proud member of South High School’s graduating class of 1982. She left her mark at South High as a gifted and hardworking multi-sport athlete. Excelling in volleyball, basketball and softball, she was a starting player in each, earning a spot on the varsity volleyball and basketball squads her sophomore through senior years, and was a stand-out all four years on the varsity softball team. Jeanine received multiple awards and recognitions for her talent during her time at South High. In addition to earning a varsity letter for each sport she played, she was also awarded Most Outstanding Player seven times in volleyball and softball, was First Team All-League and named All Area-SYL all four years in Softball and for Volleyball in 1980. Jeanine completed her impressive athletic high school career receiving the distinguished Coca Cola Outstanding Athlete Award, was a Tyack Award nominee and was awarded the CIF Lifetime Achievement pass.

After graduation, Jeanine went on to pursue her education on an academic scholarship to UCLA but returned to Bakersfield to attend Cal State Bakersfield where she became a walk on starter in volleyball, was a recruited member of the CSUB softball team in its inaugural season and in her junior year tried out for the tennis team. Impressing women’s tennis coach Gloria Friedman, Jeanine was offered a full ride athletic scholarship. In her senior year Jeanine helped the women’s tennis team reach the regional finals and was the #6 D2 undefeated singles tennis player and received All Conference recognition. She graduated from CSUB with a BS in Physical Education. Jeanine continued to make valuable contributions to the Bakersfield community through her career in higher education and participation in multiple local sporting events such as cycling groups and the Volkslauf mud run, which she completed multiple times. Jeanine also remained an active tennis player, continuing her success becoming a nationally ranked doubles player as well as a Senior Open finalist.


After marrying her husband, Bobby, in 1995, Jeanine received her highest honor by becoming the mother of her two daughters, Gabriella and Michaela, which she says by far is her greatest award.

Honored by South High’s Hall of Fame induction Jeanine hopes the legacy she leaves for other students at her alma mater is not the memory of any award or recognition she earned but rather the mindset that led to her success. She humbly says, “I never set out to win awards or get recognition—I never even thought about it. I always had the attitude to work hard, do my best, help my team win and to never give up. That’s it.”


Harlan Hill was born and raised in Atwater Village section of Los Angeles. As a boy growing up in the 1930s he enjoyed delivering the local paper and being a Boy Scout. In his teens, he worked as a box boy at the local grocery store.

Harlan graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles in 1945. Although World war II had just ended, he was drafted into the Army in November of 1945. He served in the Army for one year and was honorably discharged in 1946.

Harlan then enrolled at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He was fortunate to be able to afford college thanks to the G.I. Bill, which paid his tuition. He ran track and joined the Phi Gamma Delta Education. He later went on to receive his M.A. form Oxy in 1954 with his thesis on the “History of the Ridge Router”.

Harlan began his teaching career at Shafter High School in 1951. During his time at Shafter he developed many long-term friendships with fellow faculty members. These included three future South High Faculty: Ken Fashbender, Don Murfin, and Hank Moroski. But the person he met at Shafter who had the greatest impact on his life was his future wife, Ida May(Maizie) Collet, who had started to teach at Shafter until 1959, but Maizie had to transfer to Bakersfield High as the school district did not allow married couples to teach at the same school at the same time.

In the Fall of 1959, Harlan transferred to the recently opened South High. At South, Harlan taught U.S. and World History along with geography and World War II elective course. He approached teaching with a military rigor and motto of “Neatness, Completion, Accuracy”. He taught with passion as he felt an understanding of history was critical for a person to be contributing citizen of our country. His tests were known to be challenging and often featured essay questions which require students to have a thorough understanding on the causes and effects of historical events. He also remained a lifelong learner as he took advantage of the school district’s sabbatical program to further his study of history at Long Beach State (1965), Oregon College of Education (1966), University of Washington (1967), and Arizona State (1968).

While at South, Harlan and Maizie raised their family with the arrival of Frank and Matt, who were both future graduates of South. In fact, as Maize had become a counselor at South in the mid-1970s, the family of four commuted to South together from 1977-1980.

Although very dedicated to teaching, Harlan also served as the “Voice of the Rebels” for the football games in the 70s and into the 1980s. He once became so excited with the action on the field that he chipped his tooth on the microphone.

Harlan retired from teaching in 1990, having taught for 31 years at South. He and Maizie decided to escape Bakersfield heat and move to Eugene, Oregon and later Pullman. Washington where they were happy to spend time with their family and especially their three granddaughters. Harlan never lost interest in studying history and current events as he was an avid reader of Civil War Times, National Geographic and Time magazine.

Maizie passed away in 2018 and Harlan remained committed to supporting his family until his passing in April of 2023. Before his death, Harlan was happy to learn of his selection to the South High Hall of Fame and was honored to be recognized by the school which played such a significant role in his life.


Coach Robert Lathrop started teaching in the Kern High School District as a long-term substitute at Bakersfield High School in 1962. Afterwards he was hired by then Principal, Grant Jenson, to be a U.S. Government and Social Studies teacher at South High School when he joined the staff in the fall of 1963.

During Coach Lathrop’s 40-year career at South High School he was a teacher of Geography, Physical Education, Health, Dean of Students, Football Coach, Varsity Wrestling Coach and Varsity Baseball Coach. He additionally was an advisor for the school’s Key Club. He coached and served as an assistant coach for numerous League and Valley Championships in both Wrestling and Baseball. Coach Lathrop retired from teaching in 2003.

After retirement, Coach Lathrop remained active by refereeing wrestling matches and umpiring softball games. He also was a timekeeper for football. He was an avid fishermen and hunter. His greatest joy was his family, he and his wife of 56 years, Donna raised three boys, Steven and twins Michael and John. The twins are also South High alum!


Nguyen X Nguyen- South High Graduate class of 1986. 

Mr. Nguyen X. Nguyen, Ph.D. serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of Cosemi Technologies, Inc., finalist for 22nd Annual OC Tech Alliance High-Tech Awards in Consumer Devices & Software Category.

Dr. Nguyen is a leading expert in the field of compound semiconductor device technologies. He has over 17 years of experience in both compound semiconductor product development and foundry operations management. His expertise ranges from specialized high-power electronic devices (HFET, HBT, etc.) to high speed, optical communication, integrated circuits (InP HBT ICs). 

Dr. Nguyen began his career at HRL Laboratories where he pioneered several key innovations using GaN HFET for applications in high-power electronics. He serves as a Director of Cosemi Technologies, Inc. He has over 25 publications in referred journals and three awarded patents. Dr. Nguyen received his Ph.D. from the University at Santa Barbara (Class of 1996).


Scott Thomas, M. Ed., is a proud graduate and alumni of the School High School “Rebels”, Class of 1970. Scott began his musical journey at the age of three by taking up the drums and continues to this day playing in numerous bands in the Portland, Oregon area. As a member of the SHS Rebel Band and orchestra for all four years, Scott then joined a local show group by the name of “Sundae Afternoon”.

In 1979, Scott became the Graphic Artist for the Honorable, Bruce Babbitt, Governor of Arizona. After a five year stay, Scott then was asked to teach Architectural Design for Phoenix College, the Deer Valley Unified School District, and finally at the Dysart Unified School District in Phoenix, AZ.

During Scott’s 42 plus year teaching career, Scott’s students garnered six National Association of HomeBuilders National Championship wins, six SkillsUSA National Championship wins, 25 AZ SkillsUSA State Championship wins, and 25 AZ SkillsUSA Regional Championship wins.

A feat yet to be matched by any high school, college, or university Architecture Program in the United States. 

In 1999 and 2004, Scott was awarded his Bachelor’s Degree and Masters Degree in Career and Technical Education from Northern Arizona University.

In 1999 marked the year that Scott was asked by an international publisher, Goodheart-Wilcox, Publisher, Inc. to author an architectural textbook, Architecture: Residential Drafting and Design. Scott’s book is available at Barnes & Nobles Booksellers, Amazon Prime, and college/university bookstores worldwide. Not too bad for a former drummer in the “Rebel Band”.

Scott has been married to his wonderful wife, Karen, for over 47 years and proud father of Dr. Tiffany Thomas-Ronhavde and grandson , Kiernan.

Scott and family now live in Oregon.

Forever a “SHS REBEL”!



Brian Williams - Class of 1981

Brian was considered to be the best athlete they had the privilege of coaching by a number of the South High coaches during his four  years at South.  He was a four year starter on both Varsity Basketball and Baseball.  He was a three year starter on the Rebel football team. Brian even found time in the spring to compete in a number of track meets and scored enough points to earn a Varsity Letter.

  Brian earned a number of awards during his Varsity career including Most Valuable Player in both basketball and baseball and Most Outstanding Player on the football team.  He was a quiet leader on each of the teams he played on and was a true team player.  Brian not only exhibited great skill as an athlete, he was a true example of a gifted athlete.  

Brian was a good enough baseball player to be drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers after his Senior year in high school.


Debbie Wright began her career on October 6, 1975, at Community National Bank (Community First Bank).  At the end of her first week, she married the love of her life, Chuck.  After many years and a series of promotions, she rose to the position of Vice President, Human Resources Director.  She was the second African American to gain the level of Vice President and the first woman to do so.  As Director, she was responsible for the supervision of department staff, administration of the company’s personnel policies and procedures, managed recruitment and hiring, employee performance evaluation and salary program, health insurance and salary budgets, employee discipline, terminations, and employment disputes.  She also managed the employee health plan, retirement program, disability, industrial injury, and unemployment claims. 

In 1993, the bank was sold and after considering her long-term employment prospects, she made the decision to leave.  In April 1994 after completing nearly 20 years of service, she resigned.  Debbie states that her time at the bank was a rewarding experience and was honored to have worked with a wonderful group of people. 

 Determined to be a “stay at home” mom, her daughters (Staci and Erin), decided she had presented them too many projects, and lovingly requested she go back to work.  An acquaintance told her about the position of School Office Supervisor at South High School.  She was encouraged to apply and told if hired, she would again make history as the first African American to be hired in this lead office position at a Kern High School District site.  She applied and on June 6, 1994 was hired by Principal Elaine Jamison. 

Throughout the years, Debbie worked with many great educators and support staff.  Principals Elaine Jamison, David Yanney, Mike Zulfa, Lee Vasquez, and Connie Grumling gave her the opportunity to work closely with them and learn a great deal about the workings of a high school campus.  As School Office Supervisor, she served as secretary to the principal and provided clerical support to Assistant Principals.  She was the recording secretary for the school Site Council and Management team, liaison to Custodial and Cafeteria Supervisors, provided clerical support to staff, assisted with compiling information and preparing school surveys and reports, managed student scholarship program, supervised front office staff and assisted staff, students, and parents.  She helped in all areas of the school office including Attendance, Dean’s Office, Counseling and Registration.   She set up the school retention and archive program, served on the school safety team and assisted with campus activities and club events including the school’s Annual Black History Assemblies and Luncheon. 

Debbie’s most special memories include singing with the school choirs at assemblies, enjoying the many Drama and Choir performances, joining in as the band marched through the hallways on home football game days, and assisting with Black History events including the Annual Black History Luncheon.  After 23 years Debbie retired on June 30, 2017.

During Debbie’s 42-year career, she had the opportunity to work at two great companies where she felt respected, loved, and supported by the many wonderful people she was privileged to work with.  Debbie stated, “I count myself blessed to have a wonderful husband and family who supported me throughout my efforts.”  Currently Debbie is enjoying retirement by taking trips to the beach, visiting family out of town, family get-togethers, cooking, baking, singing, and reading.  Her most treasured time is spent with her grandchildren.

66Varsity Wrestling - 1966 Valley Champions Coaches Joe Seay and Bob Lathrop, Team T. Williams, B. Seaborn, R. Heath, V. Varner, E. Walker, J. Sloss, C. Ivey, L. Culliton, T. Estrada R. Simmons, J. Martin, J. Bispo, E. Henderson

Coached by Joe Seay and Assistant Bob Lathrop

Team members: Tom Williams, Bill Seabourn, Roy Heath, Vernon Varner, Eugene Walker, Jack Sloss, Cliff Ivey, Jack Bisbo, Cliff Stock, John Martin, Richard Simmons, Tom Estrada, Lee Cullington, Ed Henderson.

Awards: Team Captains Roy Heath and John Martin, Most Outstanding Wrestler Richard Simmons, Most Improved Wrestler Bill Seabourn.

Team was 11-1 in Dual Meets outscoring their opponents 405 -191

Tournaments: Pre-season 1st, Madera 1st, SYL 1st, Central Section 1st

Boasted 4 individual Valley Champions.

67Varsity Wrestling - 1967 Valley Champions Coaches Joe Seay and Bob Lathrop, Team J. King, J. Finch, E. Walker, J. Sloss, B. Seabourn, L. Little, T. Williams, W. Williams, M. Padilla, T. Estrada, P. George, R. Henderson, C. Ivey

Coached by Joe Seay and Assistant Bob Lathrop

Team members: Tom Williams, Larry Little, Bill Seabourn, Eugene Walker, Jack Sloss, John Finch, Jack King, Cliff Ivey, Tom Estrada, Mark Padilla, Wallace Williams, Preston George, Ron Henderson, Steve Smalley.

Awards: Team Captain Eugene Walker, Most Outstanding Wrestler Cliff Ivey, Most Improved Wrestler Larry Little.

Team was 7-3 in Dual Meets

Tournaments: Novice 1st, Madera 1st, Bakersfield College 1st, Mira Costa 1st, SYL 1st, Yosemite Divisional 1st, Central Section 1st

Boasted 2 individual Valley Champions.