They came from mostly humble backgrounds and took diverse paths to success in life. But the 13 men and women chosen as this year’s inductees into the Sweetwater District Alumni Hall of Fame shared a common trait a tremendous will to succeed.
That inner drive, shaped during their formative year: at Sweetwater schools, will be recognized at a Dec. 6 awards gala. The honorees serve as an inspiration to today’s more than 37,000 district students in grades seven through twelve and more than 43,000 adult learners.
“It is with great pleasure I announce this year’s outstanding alumni,” said Jerry LaRussa, chairman of the district’s Alumni Hall of Fame committee. ‘Their individual and collective accomplishments are something we can all take pride in.”
Since opening its doors in 1922, the Sweetwater Union High School District serving Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Otay Mesa, San Ysidro and South San Diego has grown to become California’s largest secondary school system. Generations of South Bay youth have attended the district’s 22 middle, junior and senior high schools, and the Alumni Hall of Fame celebrates and showcases the positive difference its students have made.
Over the district’s 80-year history, more than 100,000 students have graduated from Sweetwater schools. Graduates have led scientific advances served in local, state and national government, come back to teach in Sweetwater schools, built prosperous businesses and even brought home Olympic gold.
This year’s Alumni Hall of Fame honorees will be recognized at an awards dinner Fri., Dec. 6, at Loews Coronado Bay Resort. Ticket information is available by calling the Sweetwater District at (619) 691-5578.
The 2002 Alumni Hall of Fame honorees are:
Joanne Delos Santos Lorence, CPH 1980
A nuclear, mechanical and environmental engineer with the U.S. Department of energy, Los Alamos Laboratory, New Mexico.
Dr. Lilia Bartolomé, SUH 1975
A nationally renowned scholar in multicultural and minority education and a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Donnie Edwards, CVH 1991
Star linebacker for the San Diego Chargers (#59) who also played six years with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Danny Saleaumua, SUH 1982
Spent 12 years in the NFL, anchoring the defensive line with the Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks.
Wayne Sevier (deceased), SUH 1959
Quarterback for Don Coryell at SDSU, special teams coach with the San Diego Chargers and quarterback coach with the Washington Redskins.
Allen Hall, SUH 1947
Chairman of the National Media Literacy Program who also produced special programs in radio and television, including Bozo’s Circus for 28 years.
Norma A. Diaz, MOH 1980
Chief Executive Officer of the Community Health Group, San Diego County’s largest locally based HMO. Has worked in this field since the age of 14.
Leonard Villarreal, SUH 1969
Television newscaster for Channel 10, weekend anchor, general assignment reporters, host Channel Leadership Award.
Dr. Susan Galvin, HH 1992
Air Force Captain received the Soldier’s Medal for Heroism for efforts at the Pentagon on 9/11.
Roy Cazares, SUH (dropout), Sweetwater Adult School grad 1961
Retired Superior Court Judge; After earning his high school equivalency diploma through adult school, he went on to graduate from SDSU and Harvard Law School.
June Moeser, SUH 1940
First policewoman in Chula Vista and Imperial Beach, first female Marshall in the South Bay, and the first woman foreperson of the Grand Jury.
Visual & Performing Arts
Mario Lopez, CVH 1991
Co-anchor of The Other Half, an NBC daytime talk show; leading role in television series Saved by the Bell.
Tommy Sablan, CPH 1982
National Radio producer of the year 2001, 2000, producer of San Diego’s top-rated radio morning show, Jeff & Jer, for past 15 years.