AZTEC — Herb Stinson has been eager to recognize prominent Aztec High School graduates since seeing Farmington High School's Hall of Honor near the school gym.
On Friday evening, all of his work paid off.
The first five inductees into Aztec High's Hall of Honor were recognized Friday evening during halftime of the school's homecoming football game against Albuquerque's Manzano High School.
"We are very proud we can do this. It's overdue," said Stinson, Aztec High football team's defensive coordinator. "We have an old and good school system in Aztec, and we have people who have contributed to society. I'm thankful we were able to spearhead this and get it rolling."
The inductees took to the field at the beginning of halftime. As the crowd cheered, Stinson and Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter presented them with plaques.
In the Hall of Honor' inaugural year, the committee selected five Aztec High graduates who have made significant contributions in their fields of work or in the community.
The inductees were:· Former New Mexico governor and current New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers;· Former Aztec High wrestling coach and past Aztec mayor Jerry Parker;· Former Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent James Magee· Dr. David Gonzales; and· U.S. Air Force Col. Edward Clements, who died in August 2004.
Carruthers said he was surprised when he learned that he would be inducted. He added that it was special to be in the first class of inductees.
"My first thought was how well prepared I was for things that happened to me after I left Aztec High School," Carruthers said.
Stinson was unable to start the Hall of Honor in the mid-1990s. But after 12 years as wrestling coach at Bayfield High School in Bayfield, Colo., he returned to Aztec High last year. And he was eager to try again to start the hall.
After taking a group photo, Parker said it was a tremendous honor to be inducted into the Hall of Honor.
"I've always lived in Aztec. It's my love," Parker said. "There (are) a lot of my old students in the bleachers tonight, so it's really great to be here."
The school district's board approved the project late last year, and Stinson organized a committee that met for the first time in January. The committee consists of current and former Aztec High administrators and staff, as well as Aztec City Commissioners.
Next year, four more members will be inducted into the Hall of Honor. In 2015, there will be three, and, starting in 2016, two people will be inducted each year.
The permanent Hall of Honor will be located in Aztec High's Lillywhite Gymnasium at the end of the trophy lobby.