Hall of Honor inductees remember time at Clovis High

Liliana Castillo

Each year, the Clovis Municipal Schools Foundation and Alumni Association chooses five people to induct into the Hall of Honor.

The awards go to Clovis High School graduates based on achievement in their realm of business. Graduates are chosen because their strengths of character and citizenship serve as models to inspire and challenge today’s CHS students.

The Top Cat award goes to a past faculty member of CMS or a community member who has shown support for Clovis Schools.

Bank of Clovis Chief Executive Officer Randy Harris is being recognized for his work in business and industry, Brig. Gen. Ben T. Robinson (retired) in government and service, Amarillo Sox coach John Harris in sports and entertainment, Norman and Vi Brady Petty also in sports and entertainment, awarded posthumously, and former CHS band director Norvil Howell will receive the Top Cat award.

The induction banquet is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 30 at the Clovis High School cafeteria. Tickets are $30 for individuals, $50 for couples and $150 for tables of six, and are available at the CMS Administration office.

Sports and Entertainment — Norman and Vi Brady Petty

Norman Petty graduated from CHS in 1945 and Vi Brady Petty followed in 1946. The Petty’s were hit recording artists, independent record producers, and pioneers who helped shape modern pop music and changed the sound of rock ‘n’ roll. They founded the Norman Petty Trio, along with guitarist Jack Vaughn. The Petty’s are most famous for their recording studio in Clovis.

Kenneth Broad is the administrator of Vi Petty’s estate. He said that the couple loved their hometown.

“They loved it here in Clovis. He (Norman) chose to live here when he could have lived anywhere,” Broad said.

Broad said he believed the Petty’s would be happy with the honor.

“Norman would probably be very humble about it,” Broad said. “He never felt himself to be as good as what we knew him to be.”

Broad said Vi Petty would be elated and would summon her sister over to help her prepare for the banquet.

“She would be just elated. I can just picture her getting ready for a program like that. She’d be on a top cloud,” he said. “Both of them spent their lives trying to make people happy.”

Top Cat — Norvil Howell

Howell was the CHS band director from 1956 to 1980 and the CMS director of music from 1980 to 1997. His high school bands performed with distinction and honor in New Mexico, six other states and Washington, D.C. He was named to the New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame in 2004, and was the 1988 New Mexico Music Educators Association Music Educator of the Year and a 2001 NMMEA Hall of Fame award winner.

Howell said his time as CHS band director was the most enjoyable of his life.

“I felt like I was helping out. I was affecting their lives in a positive way. I always had a lot of pride in the kids I worked with,” he said. “We were working on more than just music.”

Howell continues to play his coronet daily and at church.

“I was humbled and very honored,” he said of the award.

Howell’s wife Elaine Howell taught English at CHS and he jokes that he felt she was the real teacher in their family. Howell’s sons and their wives are also educators.

“I guess we’re just an education family,” he laughed.

Business and Industry — Randy Harris

Harris, a 1974 CHS graduate, is CEO and president of the Bank of Clovis. Harris was named Clovis’ Citizen of the Year in 2004 and received the Governor’s New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award in 2006, largely for his efforts to help Cannon Air Force Base avoid closure. He was named to the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents in 2009. He has sponsored the CHS 4.0 Senior Recognition Banquet since 1987.

Harris said he feels he is one among his many peers who deserve such recognition.

“It’s an honor for them to do that,” Harris said. “Any successes I have achieved are based on the good people who have helped support me. Any recognition or award is attributed to all the good people that have helped me.”

Harris attended West Texas State University after CHS.

“My memories of Clovis High School were great because I had a lot of great friends,” he said. “It was just an enjoyable time. I enjoyed my teachers and appreciated their sincerity to help.”

Harris said he attended a dozen districts prior to moving to Clovis in 1969.

“CHS was just a great learning environment,” he said.

Harris was involved in Future Farmers of America at CHS.

Government and Service — Brig. Gen. Ben T. Robinson

Robinson, a 1965 CHS graduate, entered the Air Force in 1973. Prior to entering the Air Force, he served as a helicopter aircraft commander for the U.S. Army in South Vietnam, where he flew 350 combat missions. He retired as Commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, in 2002.

Robinson said he was amazed when he was informed of his selection and joked that his friends from high school would be equally amazed.

“I had a lot of outstanding friends from my class of 1965. They are all hall of fame candidates,” Robinson said. “I was deeply honored and somewhat surprised.”

Robinson compares his time at CHS to the movie “American Graffiti.”

“That’s what we were like. We spent many nights dragging Main. I’ve still very good friends with friends from high school,” he said. “That’s a long lasting relationship that was built on something pretty strong.”

Robinson said he was delighted about his selection.

“It was a great place to grow up. We had only one high school so everyone knew everyone,” he said. “There are only two kinds of people in the world. People who are from Clovis and those who wish they were.”

Sports and Entertainment — John Harris

Harris, a 1973 CHS graduate, is the new coach of the Amarillo Sox. A three-time All-American at Lubbock Christian University, Harris was drafted by the California Angels and played professionally for nine years, spending three years in the major leagues with the Angels from 1979 to 1981. He has spent more than 20 years managing and coaching in professional baseball. He was inducted into the Lubbock Christian University Hall of Honor in 1997. He is now the coach for the Amarillo Sox.

Harris said even though he was inducted into the LCU hall of honor, being selected for Clovis’ Hall of Honor goes above and beyond.

“It’s probably one of the biggest honors I’ve ever received,” he said. “I have a lot of fond memories of Clovis.”

Harris moved to Clovis when his father was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base during his freshman year.

“It’s a great town to grow up in,” he said. “Great people. I’ve always felt Clovis was my home.”

Harris said he enjoyed participating in the district’s athletic program.

“It was fun,” he said. “I was fortunate to be around a lot of good people.”

Harris said he deeply enjoyed being able to play sports for CHS.