Standing in the hall of fame

At the Downey High School theatre, on June 5, Alida Bouris and Yanna Bouris are added to the Hall of Fame. Bouris was recognized for her lifetime of academics and her involvement with the organizations of HIV Elimination and AIDS Research Center, and Bouris was recognized for her achievements at Downey, working in a biotechnology industry, as well as for being an intellectual property lawyer.

Sophie Prettyman, Staff Writer

Important members of the community, city council members, school board members, families, and Downey students gathered together at the Downey High theater on Friday, June 5, 2015, as six alumni were inducted into the Downey High School Alumni Hall of Fame during a special ceremony. The honored individuals, who have been alumni for at least ten years, received recognition for their achievements, accomplishments, and contributions in areas such as business, philanthropy, education, and the military.

Mr. Harris’s Video Production class created slideshows honoring each inductee and briefly detailing their accomplishments.

“We were so excited to meet them [the people whose slideshow she worked on with her partner],” junior film student Lidia Rios said. “We were kind of starstruck and they were so nice.”

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony included performances from the Downy High School Jazz Combo group and Jazz Choir, led by Mr. Olariu.

Twins Yanna and Alida Bouris, alumni from the class of 1991, were the first to be recognized at the ceremony. Yanna Bouris received her BS in Molecular from UC Berkeley and attended Stanford Law School. She is an intellectual property lawyer at Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear. Alida Bouris obtained degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia University. She is an award-winning assistant professor at the University of Chicago and has positions in organizations such as the Chicago Center for HIV Elimination and an AIDS research center.

“I want to thank all the wonderful teachers I had here,” Alida Bouris said in her acceptance speech. “Teachers are often undersung heroes.”

Bob Winningham, an alumnus from the class of 1973 as well as a successful businessman and active member of the community, received the award posthumously. He was remembered by friends and his award was accepted by family members.

Grant Neilan, who graduated from Downey High in 2005, was inducted in recognition for his service as a Navy SEAL who has served with distinction on several combat deployments. He is studying to earn a BS in Criminal Justice.

Michael Kearns, class of 1977, received a posthumous award for his activeness in the Downey High community as well as in the city community and in the other cities in which he lived. He had Down syndrome and participated in the Special Olympics as a teenager and into his 30s, receiving numerous awards. In addition, Kearns threw out the first pitch at two San Diego Padres games. His family came to remember him and accept the award on his behalf.

Larry Myers, class of 1957, was inducted into the Hall of Fame for his volunteer work and leadership. He survived polio and raised $1,250,000 with the Rotary Club to eliminate polio and received the Rotarian of the Year award in 2003. Myers works as the Director of Pharmacy at Ukiah Adventist Hospital and has volunteered for associations such as the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and Boy Scouts.

“My time here [as a Downey High student] gave me compassion and I learned that everyone can make a difference in the world,” Myers said in his acceptance speech, in which he also thanked the Downey teachers for their services and talked about the progress being made on the fight to eradicate polio once and for all.

The inductees will have their pictures hung in the Hall of Fame in C-building alongside those of Viking alumni inducted in the past.