Hall of Fame inductees symbolize the best

DOWNEY - Doug Rittenhouse ('79), Arthur J. Ochoa ('86), Dr. Mary Stauffer, Jack Mahlstede ('56) - all high achievers, all reaching and living their dreams, and all now enshrined in the Downey High School Hall of Fame.Rittenhouse couldn't make the ceremony last Friday because of the sudden death of a close business associate, but through a 20-minute video his curiosity, vivacity and love of adventure shone through. He spoke of his interesting TV career as producer-writer, his travels especially to remote areas of China, along with his sojourns to such places as Africa, Russia, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and Bolivia to make documentaries, and his involvement in music. Including his photo image, he came across as a big, burly man with a hefty appetite for life. Friend and classmate Delia Aguirre paid him a tribute afterwards. A Yale law school graduate and currently senior VP for community relations and development for Cedars-Sinai Health System, Ochoa (introduced by school board member Don LaPlante) shared his list of key values that he says have guided him in his accomplishment-strewn journey, some of which are: education ("lifelong learning"), teamwork, humility, and luck. He is 98-year old Giulio Mirabella's grandson on his mom's side; Giulio's story was featured in this paper some two months ago (talk about sturdy stock!). Mahlstede's renown as a football coach resonated among his many friends in the audience, who gave him the loudest cheers. He of course reminisced about his victories and friendships over the years, and paid tribute to his family for their lifelong support. He was introduced by buddy and former Downey High principal Allen Layne. Dr. Stauffer's induction was special as she didn't graduate from Downey High. But because of her legendary philanthropic activities and her inestimable contributions to the community's quality of life, "No one," said Linda Kennedy who introduced her, "deserves it more." Enough said. (She's now 93). The annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony is described as "designed to provide a motivational activity that will engender school and community pride. Further, it will emphasize Downey High's continuum of high achievers by honoring outstanding and noteworthy alumni. Among previous honorees: Robert Ballard, Richard and Karen Carpenter, JoJo Starbuck, Jack Kyser, Kirk Cartozian, Rick Tejo, Dave Gafin, Suzanne Marquez and George Cade.

********** Published: May 31, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 07