When fall rolls around, it is time for schools to not only get excited about sporting games like football, but it is the time when most schools recognize former students and sometime teachers who distinguished themselves in their chosen field.
The Denison Alumni Association has been following this tradition for many years and 2018 is no different. This year, a reception is planned to recognize these outstanding honorees at 5:30 p.m. Thursday following the Denison High School Homecoming Parade in downtown Denison. The reception will take place in the commons area of Scott Middle School, the former Denison High School at 1901 South Mirick.
Honorees will be recognized prior to the 7 p.m. Homecoming football game the following night, Sept. 28 at Munson Stadium. This year, the Alumni Association will honor four individuals and an entire ladies volleyball team and its coach.
Elaine King Recer, a 1990 graduate of Denison High School is described as an incredible athlete. Volleyball coach Saundra Hess-Hinsley and the entire 1989-90 Volleyball team are being honored and are being included in the DHS Sports Hall of Fame.
Recer was selected to the 1987 and 1988 first team all-district volleyball teams and received the District Most Valuable Player, All-Region, All-State and the KLAKE Scholar Athlete awards as a senior in 1989. After college, she maintained an outstanding career as a coach and educator at Howe, McKinney, Allen, Frisco and Melissa. She improved all programs that she touched, winning numerous district champions, and advanced deep into the playoffs. Currently, she is a care manager and nurse for Humana.
When she found out that she was nominated for the award, she said she also wanted to recognize her teammates and coach and that is what the Alumni Association is doing.
The 1989 team was the most successful athletic team in Denison ISD, and the only female team to reach the state semi-finals in any sport. Coach Hess continued an outstanding career as a coach and some of the team members went on to play college volleyball. Most still are in contact with their teammates and have kept a close bond with one another and their coach.
Sharon Scott of McKinney, a 1967 graduate of Denison High School, is to receive a Denison Alumni Distinguished Alumni award. She has been president since 1980 of LifeSkills for Positive Living, a consulting/training/counseling firm. She developed one of the most highly respected refusal skills program in the nation, “Peer Pressure Reversal,” and personally trained over 1 million people in 42 U.S. states and Australia, South Africa, Turkey, Malaysia, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, the Philippines and Micronesia in its proven techniques.
Scott developed and implemented “Positive Peer Groups” in numerous elementary and secondary schools across the U.S. and designed the highly successful STOP program in Plano in 1983 following their cluster of teen suicides. She developed the SWAT (Students Working All Together) teams in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford high schools in 1986 that resulted in the first decrease in the number to alternative school for drugs in 10 years. Both programs continue to operate.
A well loved and devoted couple, who both taught at Denison High School, Sylvia and Keith McBrayer have been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, jointly.
Their nominator said “It would be difficult to find two people more devoted to the education of Denison youngsters and the enrichment of their lives. While both taught for many years, they have continued to serve the community after retirement.”
From 2005 to the present, Sylvia Rambo McBrayer has been a homebound teacher for Denison ISD and from 2002-2003 she taught English and Theater at Bland ISD in Merit, where she motivated students to pass the TAKS test and directed a one act play. She also served as adjunct professor at SOSU and at Grayson College. Teaching theater, English, speech and customer service and directing more than 75 productions while teaching other educators to use customer service skills in the classroom and Developed Invisible Student Program for suicide prevention and teaching leadership classes from 1973 through 1999 at Denison High School.
The nominator for Keith McBrayer said he had known the teacher since he was in junior high and still is in contact with him 40 years later. He described his former teacher as the epitome of what a teacher should be: a selfless innovator who dedicates all his efforts to teaching. He said Keith McBrayer has the ability to transfer his love of history that comes easily to him whether playing a board game to explain a battle, dressing up in costume to create a mood or playing money games when he taught economics. His approaches were unique to capture his students’ interest.
From 2012 to the present, Keith McBrayer has been educational director at the Harbor Wildlife Museum. He has sponsored many high school groups of students and directed numerous programs for students. He took students to Washington, D.C. four times and students to Europe 12 times. He has been honored numerous times for achievements as a teacher and, coached Boys Club football, baseball and soccer and Girls Club soccer in Denison.
The reception is open to family and friends of the honorees as well as former Distinguished Alumni who were so honored in past years.