The Gilbert Event Center at Eastern Oregon University served as the school’s temporary library in 2014-15.
Today the facility does not lend books, but Saturday night it was filled with La Grande High School graduates whose accomplishments speak volumes.
Many of LHS’s finest alumni and athletes were saluted at the Gilbert Center during the annual LHS Tiger Booster Hall of Fame Banquet and Induction Ceremony. The Tiger Booster Hall of Fame was created to honor outstanding alumni, teams and community supporters who have “made La Grande proud.”
Those inducted into the Tiger Booter Hall of Fame Class of 2019 were Doug Trice, named Outstanding Male Athlete; Kaci Boylan, Outstanding Female Athlete; Delmer Hanson, Outstanding Alumni; M.J. Goss Motors, Outstanding Community Supporter; and the 1985 boys track and field team. Retired LHS Principal Andrea Waldrop was also was touted, being inducted into the Tiger Booster Wall of Fame.
Doug Trice, a 1970 LHS graduate, was recognized for his athletic accomplishments and his work as a Special Olympics volunteer. He was a star running back for the LHS football team in the late 1960s and later made his mark in the football
program at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, from which he graduated in 1974. At WOU, then named Oregon College of Education, Trice graduated as the school’s all-time leader in all purpose yardage. He had more than 5,000 yards on runs from scrimmage, receiving and punt and kickoff returns.
Joe Brogdon, a retired LHS teacher and coach, said at the banquet that he once asked the late Doc Savage, a highly successful football and track coach at LHS for about 20 years through 1987, who was the best athlete he ever coached.
“He didn’t hesitate,” Brodgon said. “He said, ‘Doug Trice.’ I asked why and he said, ‘Because he could do so many different things.’”
Trice has been commended many times for his work as a Special Olympics coach. In 2007 he was named an assistant coach for Team USA at the World Games in Shanghai, China. That same year he received a Governor’s Gold Award from Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski for his work in Special Olympics.
Trice credits La Grande High School’s track and field program with giving his Special Olympic athletes important support. He noted that his athletes are allowed to use LHS’s track for workouts when the Tiger track team is also practicing. Trice said LHS is the only high school in the state he knows that does this.
Kaci Boylan, a 2004 LHS graduate, was a volleyball star at LHS who led the Tigers to a third-place finish in 2002 and another state tournament berth in 2003. She was introduced by Teresa Dowdy, the Tigers’ head volleyball coach when she played at LHS. Dowdy said she was excited about having the opportunity to introduce Boylan until learning she had only three minutes to speak.
“I can’t tell how awesome this young lady is in just three minutes,” Dowdy said.
Boylan led the Tigers to records of 27-12 and 37-5 her junior and senior years, respectively. She was named second team all-state her senior year and to the all-state tournament team her junior year. Boylan was also a first team Greater Oregon League selection both her junior and senior years.
“She was so skilled. It was amazing,” Dowdy said. “She was a tremendous force at the net.”
Boylan was also a tremendous teammate, according to her coach.
“I can’t think of one time Kaci had a bad attitude,” Dowdy said. “She instilled everlasting team spirit. She always gave 100% and expressed a pure love of the game.
Boylan has nothing but fond memories of her volleyball career at LHS.
“Aside from starting a family, it was the best experience of my life,” she said.
Boylan credits Dowdy’s guidance with playing a critical role in her successful high school career.
“She really is the reason I’m here,” the inductee said.
Delmer Hanson was chosen as the Outstanding Alumni based on his community service. Hanson, a 1969 LHS graduate, served as a member of Island City’s city council from 2004 to 2018, the last four years as mayor.
Hanson’s community service work started long before he joined the city council. In 2001 he was named Island City’s citizen of the year, and in 2002 he was chosen to participate in the torch relay for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Hanson was selected to run in the torch relay because of extensive work he had done with Union Pacific Railroad to promote safety.
His generosity also extends to LHS’s softball program, which he helped start in 1989.
“He has touched a lot of lives,” said Hanson’s son, Jake, who introduced his father at Saturday’s event. “I’m so thankful I can call him my dad.”
The former Island City Mayor said he felt very honored to be inducted into LHS’s Tiger Booster Hall of Fame.
“This is an awesome night for me,” he said.
Goss Motors’ induction into the hall of fame recognized the many steps the La Grande company has taken to help LHS during its long history.
The Tiger Booster Club was started with major help from Mark Goss, the owner of Goss Motors. Goss said he started the club with Ron Arritola, Bob Butler and Jeff Weaver. Goss speaks humbly of his contribution though, crediting the La Grande School District for building on the foundation he, Arritola, Butler and Weaver established.
“The school district has taken it to the next level,” Goss said.
Scott Carpenter, the La Grande School District’s director of educational programs and emcee of the hall of fame induction banquet, noted that Goss Motors provides vehicles to the school district for its driver education program at a significant discount, provides vehicles for Special Olympic trips and has donated at least three tons of food to school district and community food drives. Carpenter added that Goss Motors makes donations to many fundraising drives in the community.
The 1985 LHS boys track and field team was inducted in recognition of its second-place finish at the state track meet. The Tigers scored 30 points at state to finish tied for second with McKay of Salem, just four points behind Willamette, the state champion. The Tigers’ state meet scorers were Bob Heitstuman, who won the state pole vault; James Terry, who placed fourth in the 400 meters; its 1,600-meter relay team of Terry, Andy Tarvin, Jackie Abram and Mike Jagelski, which placed second; and its 400-meter relay team of Heitstuman, Terry, Tarvin and L.B Anderson, which also finished second.
Rich Hedges, then the track and field head coach, said the 1985 team was remarkably talented, and many of the school records set by its members still stand.
Tarvin spoke highly of the team’s coaches, which also included Brogdon, Dan Kavet and Ken McGee.
“They affected me in such a profound way,” Tarvin said.
Andrea Waldrop was introduced for her Wall of Fame induction by LHS Principal Brett Baxter. He lauded Waldrop for her generous nature.
“It is her caring, selfless service I love,” he said.
He also praised her work ethic.
“She has (put in) more hours at LHS than anyone I’ve worked with,” Baxter said.
Waldrop said that to be named to the Wall of Fame is a great honor considering that people she has high regard for, including retired LHS principal Roland Bevell, are part of it. The Wall of Fame honors LHS staff members for their “lifetime of service and commitment to the Tiger Spirit.”
Waldrop worked for 35 years at LHS, 25 as a teacher and 10 as an administrator, the last three as principal.
The retired educator, who still fills in as a substitute at LHS, has only positive thoughts when she reflects back on her time at LHS.
“I’m so lucky to have had a career I enjoyed,” she said.
Saturday’s event was the fifth annual induction for the LHS Hall of Fame and Wall of Fame. The first was conducted in November of 2015 at the Gilbert Event Center about six months after it had temporarily served as EOU’s library while the university’s Pierce Library was being renovated.