Northwestern High recognizes its own

15 leaders inducted into school’s Hall of Fame

D. Kevin McNeir | 10/3/2013, 9 a.m.
There’s something special — almost magical — about being a student and subsequent alumnus of Miami Northwestern Senior High School.
Arnold Montgomery, director of ETO Schools; School Board Member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall; Larry Williams, Alumni Association president; and Principal Aristide, accept an award on behalf of the new Hall of Fame members. Photo by D. Kevin McNeir

There’s something special — almost magical — about being a student and subsequent alumnus of Miami Northwestern Senior High School. At least that was the clear message shared last Saturday evening when the 2013 Hall of Fame Banquet was held. The event, and always-anticipated celebration hosted by the Northwestern Alumni Association, is an annual gathering where graduates of the school are inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame.

And based on the capacity crowd that filled the school’s gymnasium, located in the Lee R. Perry Sports Complex, the Hall of Fame Banquet is something that has grown very near and dear to the school’s alumnus and friends.

Service awards went to the following: Dr. Shelby Chipman, William E. Clarke III; Raejean Howard-Lee, Dewey Knight III, State Representative Cynthia Stafford, William “Billy” Thurston, Larry T. Williams and Traci Young-Byron. Athletic awards went to: Vernon Carey, Olrick Johnson, Jr. and William Wilcox. Honorary awards were presented to: Carmen Jackson and Roger Coffee, Sr. Finally, two alums were given emeritus status because of their work as pioneers in the formation of the alumni association: Sallie Bradshaw Williams and Nathaniel “Spooky” Miller.

“Tonight is about the honorees and what they all represent — the spirit of the village and Bulls Country,” said Dr. Steve Gallon III, a former Northwestern principal, a 2004 Hall of Fame inductee and the evening’s guest speaker. “Tonight also shows that while we can score touchdowns and jump hurdles, some of us have other talents as well — from business owners to elected state officials. We honor the talents and achievements of all of you.”

More from the Northwestern family

Northwestern Principal Aristide was excited as he talked about his students and promised that despite the naysayers there would be some good news in the spring.

“We had over 300 kids come out for our SAT preparation class last Saturday morning,” he said. “This year’s students are even more serious about academic achievement than last year’s graduating seniors. I predict that when the school grades are announced, for the first time in history Northwestern will receive an ‘A.’”

Words from the honorees

“I know my mother and father are smiling down from heaven and I take this award an reinforcement that I am doing the right things,” McKnight said. “I am here because of my parents, my community and the teachers and coaches I had here at Northwestern.”

“My parents were both Northwestern grads too and one thing about being a student here, is that we were also taught how to be proper ladies and gentlemen. No other school in South Florida can match the achievements of their graduates like Northwestern. Whenever I travel, if there is one other Bull in the crowd, we can proudly sing our alma mater together.”

“When we first tried to form an alumni association, the principals were not receptive to our meeting in the school, so we met in our homes,” Sallie Williams said. “There were real educators that made a difference in our lives, like Dr. Peavey who made sure a group of us kept hard at work for four years so we could go to college. And he found a way for us to afford it. I was one of those students. That’s why helping the next generation has been so important to me.”

“Sometimes you have to speak for what’s right and what’s wrong — if not you may not have a chance to do anything to change the direction of your life or those that follow you later,” Miller said. “We were determined to always speak up.”

A special award was presented by Northwestern alumni and school board member, Dr, Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall from Arnold Montgomery, director of ETO Schools, and Aristide to the Alumni Association President, Larry T. Williams in honor of the 2013 Hall of Fame inductees on behalf of Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Public Schools superintendent.