Rancho Bernardo High School Hall of Fame welcomes 13 to its ranks

Rancho Bernardo High School welcomed 13 new members to its Hall of Fame.

The Hall, established in 2019 with five members, recognizes alumni for their post-graduation accomplishments, staff who have made significant contributions to campus, and community members who have made significant contributions. It was created by the RBHS Foundation, an effort that spanned 15 years, according to foundation president Jeff Carpenter at its inception.

Due to the pandemic, his class of 2020 could only be recognized during the ceremony last Friday night at halftime of the RB-Del Norte football match. The seven 2020 winners were joined by the six who make up the 2021 class.

Those in the Class of 2020 are former student Eugene Amano, retired Broncos baseball coach Sam Blalock, retired RB Royal Regiment group director Tom Cole, longtime parent volunteers Darlene and Dustin. Dunn, former student Dawn Halfaker and retired RBHS Assistant Principal Bob Speights.

Members of the 2021 class are Friends of the RBHS Library co-founder Shirley Black, retired RB athletic director Peggy Brose, retired RB football coach Bill Christopher, retired staff Carole Morton and Sharon Foley who ran the campus programs office for many years and over Don Jones, retired Broncos track and cross country coach.

Due to their athletic background, an article featuring Amano, Blalock (who was not at the ceremony and represented by a parent), Halfaker, Brose, Christopher and Jones is in the sports section. (Click here for the story.) The biographical information on the individuals below is based on the details shared at the ceremony.

Cole was a music teacher at Poway Unified from 1975 to 2010. Prior to joining the staff of RB High, he taught for 15 years at Mt. Carmel High School.

Among his professional accomplishments, he received the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association in 1988 and the California Band Directors Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He has served as Director of the Southern California Ambassadors of Music since 1996 and took over 175 high school students on a European tour every other summer. He has also taken students to perform in venues across the United States and abroad.

Under Cole’s direction, his bands have been recognized for their excellence at all levels of marching bands and marching bands. He has conducted several selection seminars for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and has served as guest conductor for numerous honorary orchestras.

The Dunns volunteered at RB High while their six children were students, for over 17 years. Their youngest graduated in 2019.

Darlene Dunn was a member of the Gridiron Club board of directors for over 10 years, coordinated concessions at home football games and made numerous improvements to the concession area. She also coordinated senior nightlife activities for football, basketball, volleyball and rugby; and served as president of the Parent Teacher Student Association, helping with everything from Grad Nite to tank building back home.

Dustin Dunn was a member of the football team’s “chain gang” and mentored young men working on their Eagle Scout projects on campus.

Together, the couple’s contributions to the RBHS campus included the creation of the Parents’ Center and they were named Campus Volunteer of the Year in 2019.

After teaching for 16 years in Downey, Calif., Speights joined Poway Unified in 1986 as deputy principal of Mt. Carmel High School. When RB High opened in 1990, he became assistant manager for the Broncos, a position he held for 19 years.

At RB, he worked mainly in the guidance office and prepared the school timetable. He was instrumental in establishing many traditions that still exist at RB High. Speights was “The Voice of the Broncos” in athletic competitions, morning announcements and trivia. He retired in 2009 after 39 years of study.

For 18 years, Black has used his leadership skills, attention to detail, and passion for reading to raise funds for the Rancho Bernardo High School library. She was co-founder of the Friends of the RBHS Library in 2003 and has led its fundraising activities including fundraising for holiday gift wrap at Barnes & Noble and used book sales which have brought thousands of dollars to the library.

Her determination to make the school library excel and support RB students has made her one of the most ardent advocates on campus. She regularly speaks at school events and PUSD board meetings to advocate for the RBHS library.

Morton and Foley began their tenure at RB High as part-time special education assistants when the school opened. When they retired several years ago as full-time staff, the duo ran the campus smoking cessation and mentoring programs and established the programs office.

It has grown to offer support groups, smoking cessation classes and community mentors for at-risk students. Morton and Foley’s efforts provided backpacks and school supplies to students in need, helped families affected by the 2007 wildfires (Morton’s house was among those lost), and organized the gift program. San Diego Chargers / Nike. They also helped students wishing to attend the prom secure tickets, dresses, tuxedos, dates and rides.

Other projects included food drives, Adopt-A-Family programs, and the RBHS Bronco Ambassador program. The duo secured funds to buy food, gas cards and other essentials for needy students and even helped a student find housing.

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