More than a few Woodrow Wilson High School Wildcats have sent reminders in recent days that Saturday marks the landmark's 80th birthday: The day starts with a 10 a.m. parade from the Lakewood Shopping Plaza to the city-designated landmark and ends with a battle-of-the-bands shindig at Eddie Dean's. And somewhere in the middle -- beginning at 12:30 p.m. -- the school inducts its latest batch of grads into an estimable Hall of Fame that already includes everyone from Carroll Shelby (Class of '40) to Burton Gillliam (Class of '56) to Mr. Peppermint hisself (Class of '44). Here's a nifty recap of the school's myriad greats.
This year's inductees are, yet again, an estimable lot -- everyone from the man whose margarita machine now resides in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to a Pulitzer Prize-winner to a former member of the American Ballet Theatre to, well, Steve Miller. This year's Hall of Fame ceremony may last longer than most: Not only is the list a lengthy one at 20, with most expected to show (Miller's a dunno-yet), but at the beginning there will be a tribute to Shelby, who's also serving as the grand marshal for the parade -- and that will be preceded by a historic breakfast featuring most of the Hall of Famers past and present.
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"From the very beginning, friendliness was established as a tradition" at Woodrow, says Kyle Rains, friend of Unfair Park and Hall of Fame inductee back in '99. "When we're all out together, no matter our age, we're gonna start talking Woodrow -- and all the spouses start with the eye-rolling. It's not a cult." He laughs. "It's more like a fraternity."
At this point, I'd like to remind everyone that Meat Loaf, Brenda Vaccaro and Mike Nesmith went to Thomas Jefferson High School.