Acknowledging the Viking Alumnis

Acknowledging the Viking Alumnis

Introducing this year’s Hall of Fame inductees in the B-building theater, on May 25, principal Tom Houts explains the importance of the event. Downey High School has upheld this annual tradition for 13 years.

Roy Mendoza, Co-Editor-in-Chief/Copy Editor

Upholding the annual tradition, Downey High School held the 13th Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, on May 25, in the B-theatre. This year’s event included inductees from the class of 1956, 1979, and 1986.

At the beginning of the presentation, principal Tom Houts took center stage to welcome each of the guests that arrived to support the inductees. After a brief pause used to sing the national anthem, each of the guests sat down awaiting the introduction of one of the newest members to the Hall of Fame.

First to be inducted was Doug Rittenhouse from the Class of 1979. Although Rittenhouse was unable to make it to the ceremony due to a tragedy in his family, he was sure to send over a video of himself talking about how Downey High School influenced his future.

Being musically talented, he took part in the Viking band, Drumline, Concert Band, and the Jazz Rock Band. After high school, he decided to pursue a career that incorporated a bit of his love for music: video production and broadcasting. Rittenhouse then went on to producing several short films, live events, music videos, and rock music stadium tours.  As the video came to an end, an honorary plaque and t-shirt were given to his representative.


Second on the list was Class of 1986 graduate Arthur J. Ochoa. Longtime friend Arthur La Plant was called upon to talk about some of the significant achievements that have happened throughout Ochoa’s life.

After leaving DHS, he attended the University of California and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history. From there, he attended Yale Law School and graduated in 1995. After years of working his way up, Ochoa became the senior vice president for Community Relations and Development at the Ceder-Sinai Health System. In 2005, he launched a 7-year $350 million dollar endowment campaign. In 2010, the program concluded two years ahead of schedule and $7 million dollars over the desired amount.

Once La Plant stepped down, Ochoa was called up to receive his plaque. He briefly talked about his memories in high school, incorporating the fact that he was on both the water polo and the swim teams. Ochoa was very thankful for the help and support he received from his teachers, and went on to mention he wouldn’t be who he was if it wasn’t for his time at Downey High.

Rather than moving on to the next inductee, Mr. Houts introduced the school Jazz Choir. The group went on to singing “Testimony”. Each of the members made a specific noise that added to the musical ensemble. Senior Randell Milan sang most of the individual pieces to the song, and was an asset to making their song a success.

Third on the list was Dr. Mary Stauffer. Although she isn’t a DHS graduate, Mrs. Stauffer has greatly impacted the school campus. Many of the school programs, such as The Downey Legend online newspaper and the engineering program, were brought to life thanks to her generous financial support. Rather than just donating the money, Mrs. Stauffer visits the classes to see how everything is going.


When asked why she donated the money, Mrs. Stauffer answered saying, “I’m simply making an investment in the future.”


Last on the list was John Peter Mahlstede III, often referred to as Jack, from the class of 1956. After high school, Malstede went to Orange Coast, J.C., BYU and graduated from Long Beach State college with his B.A. and eventually attended Azuza Pacific College—where he earned his M.A. Career wise, Jack decided to become a football coach. He has coached for a total of 34 years, and has led various teams to seventeen league championships. In the last 21 years, his teams made it to the CIF playoffs twenty times.


Mahlstede is a dedicated father, grandfather, and friend to all of his loved ones. He even had the opportunity to coach his sons, and his grandsons throughout their years in high school. In the words of Mahlstede, “If I had to do it over again, I would do it in a heartbeat.”


As the ceremony came to a close, Mr. Houts went up once again to congratulate each of the inductees. Their hard work and commitment brought them to success, and this in itself is commendable. Hopefully, students that walk across the C-building will look at the faces of these inspirational people and aspire to go great lengths after life at Downey High School.