Education feature: Clovis Municipal Schools honors alumni

Courtesy photo Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht, who graduated from Clovis High School in 1967, is now the senior appellate judge in active service in Texas.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis Municipal Schools is honoring notable graduates for the first time this year.

The program, called the Hall of Honor, is an extension of the CMS Education Foundation and alumnus association. Four graduates in four categories will be inducted into the Hall of Honor at a banquet Saturday.

Inductees include Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht; co-founder of Pixar Animation Alvy Smith; professional baseball player Cecil Davis; and Nick Brady, the “Voice of the Wildcats.”

The categories are Government and Public Service, Business and Industry, Sports and Entertainment and Top Cat.

Alumnus Association President Lendra Hailey said the nominees are CHS graduates who have “maxed out” their career.

“These are people who have reached a level no one else has,” she said.

Hailey said the focus is to inform CHS students about what they can accomplish with the education they receive at Clovis Schools.

“It makes the phrase ‘You can do whatever you set your mind to’ a little more meaningful to them,” said Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm, who started the program.

Hailey said Seidenwurm started talking about creating a Hall of Honor and most people were supportive of the idea.

“One of the things I love about Clovis is you can plant some good ideas and there’s always someone to run with them and that was the case with the Hall of Honor,” Seidenwurm said.

Seidenwurm said she was surprised a district the size of Clovis didn’t have an organized alumnus association. She said most medium to large size districts have something similar to the Hall of Honor.

Hailey said various departments and organizations within the district will be involved with the banquet.

“The more people we get involved, the more this will grow and be something people pay attention to,” she said.

The position of the Hall of Honor display is also intended to draw attention. A display case in the lobby of the high school will include a plaque with each of the winners names, a biography of each and a high school and current photograph.

“It’s going to be really neat,” Hailey said. “The students will see what successful people walked the same halls they’re walking.”

The Top Cat Award has slightly different requirements than the other three, Hailey said. The Top Cat Award is given to a person who is not necessarily a CHS grad but that has dedicated their lives to Clovis Schools and the community.

Each of the nominees will be represented at the banquet except Hecht. He said he was disappointed that he couldn’t attend but was honored and humbled by the nomination.

It’s a wonderful thing to be favorably remembered by your high school,” Hecht said.

Hecht was born and raised in Clovis and attended Yale University and Southern Methodist University Law School.

While at CHS, Hecht said he thought he was going to study math and become and engineer.

“During my freshman year in college I realized I was not as good at math as I thought I’d be,” he said.

A longtime family friend was a lawyer and that is what turned Hecht into the law, a job he said he enjoys.

“It’s fascinating. I get to try to do the right thing in every case and I shape Texas law and in some cases the law of the country. It’s a great opportunity,” Hecht said.

Hecht said he no longer has family in Clovis so he no longer visits.

“When I went back east to Yale for college, the students there were from high schools from all over the United Sates and the world. I realized my education at CHS was excellent preparation for my college experience,” he said.