2014 Alumni Hall of Fame Biographies
J. David Beckler
Mr. J. David Beckler was a member of the first graduating class of Cleveland High School, the Class of 1967. Today Mr. Beckler, a retired TVA Senior Vice President of Labor Relations, lives in Spring City and is currently Administrator of the Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council.
Mr. Beckler was a very involved Blue Raider, serving on the Student Council and as a Class Officer as well as belonging to numerous clubs and organizations. He was a 3 year letterman in football, basketball, and track, also finding success as the football captain, All Tri-State, All State, and honorable mention All-American.
Shared by other members of that historic first graduation class, teachers, and administrators, Mr. Beckler’s greatest memory was that 1966 historic walk from Arnold Memorial School to the newly open Cleveland High School. A true Raider, he also remembers Cleveland High’s first victory over the Bradley Central Bears. Mr. Beckler credits CHS with providing for him a positive start to an adult life where a “can do” attitude prevailed.
Mr. Beckler attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville on a football scholarship, graduating with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. Throughout a 35 year career with TVA, he served his community as a member of the Board of Directors for many non-profit organizations such as Helmets to Hardhats, Center for Protections of Workers’ Rights, Southeast Laborers Health and Welfare Fund, and various other volunteer roles. He was also honored as a member of Cleveland/Bradley’s Old Timers Hall of Fame. Mr. Beckler retired as Senior Vice President of Labor Relations.
William Lee Crump III
Mr. Bill Crump is our Hall of Fame Inductee who represents the Class of 1984. Once a state ranked wrestler, currently the Safety Manager and International Captain/Pilot flying the Gulfstream 450, 550, and 650 for Qualcomm Incorporated, Mr. Crump is a highly decorated Navy serviceman.
Mr. Crump was active in Student Government and was an honors student at Cleveland High School. He also had a very successful wrestling career, honored as Captain and winning district champion twice, region runner-up twice, and earning 4th in the state. Mr. Crump states that, “No other single institution will have a more vested interest in your future and success than the teachers, coaches, and staff of Cleveland High School.”
Mr. Crump enlisted in the US Navy upon graduation from CHS. After recruitment training, he attended Officer Selection and Training Program at Naval Training Center, San Diego. He gained a Bachelor of Aviation Management degree with High Honors from Auburn University, earning various honors and positions during his time there. His aviation career began in 1991 when he was designated a Naval Aviator. Alternating between Flight Officer positions with United Airlines (flying Boeing 737s and 767s) as a reservist and active duty assignments, Mr. Crump spent most of the 2000’s in the cockpit of a plane. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Nobel Eagle, was selected to be an Air Interdiction Agent with the Department of Homeland Security, and was promoted to Commanding Officer where he lead his squadron on 28 international detachments and multiple humanitarian missions. In 2010, Mr. Crump was assigned to the Chief of Naval Air Forces Pacific, where he was promoted to his current rank of Captain.
Mr. Crump’s honors are numerous and include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), the Navy Achievement Medal (three awards), and is most proud of the Battle “E” earned with his fellow shipmates. Mr. Crump established an annual Make-A-Wish event at his former Navy Squadron VR-57. He also volunteers as a cycling therapist with Naval Hospital San Diego working with recovering Wounded Warriors, as well as for the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. Mr. Crump is married to Carol Crump and they have called San Diego, CA, their home for over sixteen years where they live with their dog, Callie.
Traci Dunn Fant
Our next Hall of Fame Inductee is Mrs. Traci Dunn Fant, Class of 1991. Today Mrs. Fant is employed in our local community as an attorney, a career for which she prepared through Governor’s School, Girl’s State, SGA, and other CHS organizations.
A recipient of many superlatives and honors during her high school career including Homecoming Court, Governor’s School, Girl’s State, Cleveland and Tennessee’s Junior Miss 1991, Raider Scholar, Most Likely to Succeed, and Most Popular, this Miss CHS also found time to serve as SGA Vice President, and as a member of the Anchor Club and National Honor Society. Mrs. Fant was a cheerleader during all four years of high school, cheering for both the basketball and the football team.
As for her greatest memory of high school, Mrs. Fant fondly remembers an act of kindness shown to her by an alumnus of CHS and family friend who helped her prepare for the State Junior Miss program. She arranged interviews with community leaders and others in order to practice for the Tennessee Junior Miss program. This selfless act taught Mrs. Fant that she should always give of herself and ask for nothing in return to help others. Mrs. Fant feels that Cleveland High School prepared her for both the successes and disappointments that would come her way in life. The passion of teachers led her to take in as much as possible from each professor and her social relationships emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with positive individuals. Most importantly, staff and teachers showed the importance of caring for others in need.
Mrs. Fant earned a degree in Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University in 1995 as well as a J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1998. She is a member of the Tennessee Bar and State Bar of Georgia, serves multiple community boards, and recently was certified (through Vanderbilt) to volunteer advocacy services to parents of special needs children. Mrs. Fant has been married to her best friend, Charles Fant, for 19 years, and they have 3 children. James Ryan is a CMS student, and Samuel and Solomon are 2nd grade twins at Yates Primary.
Mr. Jim Gibson is a member of the 1972 graduating class of Cleveland High School. This former Mr. CHS currently serves his hometown as co-pastor of the First Baptist Church of Cleveland, TN.
Mr. CHS 1972, Mr. Gibson was an active member of Cleveland High School during his time here. A very busy athlete, he played football, basketball, golf, and tennis, as well as being a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. His successes on the fields and courts carried over into the classroom, however, as he competed in various math competitions and also served his class as a member of student government.
He credits the influence of coaches, teachers and CHS faculty who encouraged, challenged, and taught him so much more than academic abilities or athletic skills, but also how to live life as a productive adult. His greatest high school memories include wonderful friendships, classes he truly enjoyed, and athletic competitions.
Mr. Jim Gibson considers his incredible opportunity to impact lives for eternity as a co-pastor of First Baptist Church to be an outstanding accomplishment since graduation, as well as the gift of a wonderful godly wife and the blessings of ten awesome children.
Dr. Bradley M. Greene
Dr. Bradley M. Greene is a member of the Blue Raider Class of 1990. Dr. Greene is a long way from the pitching mound of Raider Field where he spent many hours as a high school student. He currently resides in Knoxville, TN, where he is an Engineering Consultant.
Dr. Greene was involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Model United Nations. He also was a member of the football and baseball teams and remembers pitching and beating a much-heralded Bradley team twice on their home field during his senior year.
Cleveland High School played a key role in establishing the solid academic foundation that Dr. Greene still builds on today. “Teachers here cared about my learning and taught me HOW to learn, a much more important skill than just acquiring knowledge,” Dr. Greene states.
A member of 2 SEC championship baseball teams at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Greene made the last pitch of his career in the College World Series in Omaha in 1995. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate in Industrial Engineering. Dr. Greene has worked for Nissan North America. He founded and grew a consulting practice “focusing on innovation in organization and system design for business and non-profit organizations”. Dr. Greene has also done work on social innovation projects in areas such as homeless service systems and city-wide marriage initiatives. He has a beautiful wife, Julie, and three amazing kids, Hannah, Jacob, and Sarah Katherine.
Karen Seago Hall
Mrs. Karen Hall, Class of 1990, is well-known to the athletic and academic institution of Cleveland City Schools. She serves today as an instructional facilitator at Stuart Elementary School.
Mrs. Hall’s greatest memory best sums up her involvement with Cleveland High School: “The numerous and wonderful opportunities to wear CLEVELAND on the jersey.” She wore those jerseys for the basketball team, the very first girls’ soccer team, and the tennis team. Mrs. Hall was also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Government, and Key Club.
Many doors were opened to Mrs. Hall after graduation and she sees them as a direct reflection of her time at CHS. She believes that receiving a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee Knoxville to be a manager for Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols was an incredible opportunity that never would have happened without the support and encouragement from the CHS staff.
A 1994 graduate of UTK, Mrs. Hall obtained her Master of Arts in Teaching from Carson-Newman in 1996, as well as a Masters +45 from Lincoln Memorial University. She has had a very successful teaching career, completing 8 years in the 2nd/3rd grade classrooms at Stuart Elementary and now serving that school as Instructional Facilitator. Mrs. Hall is married to fellow CHS graduate Mack Hall (Class of ’87) and mom to CHS freshman Rheagan and Tripp, a 3rd grader at Stuart.
Steve Hartline, Jr.
Sometimes known as the voice of Cleveland, Steve Hartline, Jr., is a member of the 1996 graduating class of Cleveland High School. He is the owner of Mix 104.1 WCLE and Talk 101.3/1570 AM WCLE as well as the morning host on Mix 104.1.
Mr. Hartline began his preparation for his career in radio in the classrooms of CHS, honored as Toastmaster General for Mrs. Hawes’s public speaking class and serving as CHS Basketball PA announcer and broadcasting CHS Baseball on WCLE as a junior at CHS.
Mr. Hartline’s close friendships, many of whom he remains friends with to this day, are his greatest memories. He recalls lunches, football games, pep rallies, and pretending to pay close attention in certain classes while actually doing a “mock” radio program. Mr. Hartline credits the great teachers and staff at CHS for giving him confidence to achieve his goals. He believes his time at Cleveland High School sharpened his focus on what he wanted to do with his life.
After his graduation from Cleveland, Mr. Hartline continued to work at WCLE Radio in Cleveland, then graduated from Lee College with a Communications degree in 2000. He bought the station in January of 2008, continuing a tradition of excellence in radio. Mr. Hartline married Jennifer in 2005 and has a daughter, Reagan (age 5) and a son, Holden (age 2). He loves the Cleveland community and the great relationships he enjoys with people here on a daily basis.
William Scott Hicks
We are proud to honor Mr. Scott Hicks, member of the class of 1977, as our next Hall of Fame inductee. Mr. Hicks served his community well as a business owner and community leader in the years following his graduation from Cleveland High School.
A member of various clubs including Art, Interact, C Club, FCA, Spanish, Jaycees, and Student Senate, Mr. Hicks also found time to play Varsity Basketball for four years, named Captain his senior year, Varsity Football, Varsity Golf, and TAPS.
His greatest memories from high school ranged from road trips with the CHS Athletic teams, the American History Video Project Video (a reenactment of a battle scene and army camp featuring the Gutter Gang), his Senior Class trip (a Bahamas cruise), making the game-winning shot in a basketball game, and representing CHS in a state golf tournament. The Gutter Gang also featured prominently in his high school memories. The years at CHS provided the foundation for the core of Mr. Hicks’s character—a character grounded in a genuine concern for everyone in his path. Here he began the journey toward becoming the man whose life was referred to as “a life well lived”, in character and deed.Mr. Hicks went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a B.S. in Business. He was named National Sales Manager for Stanley Industrial Hardware and Salesman of the Year in the appliance industry. Mr. Hicks involved himself heavily in community organizations such as the Advisory Council for the Lee University Business Department, PTO president at Mayfield Elementary, Cleveland Middle School, and Cleveland High School. He supported many local charitable organizations and was a willing helper to any individual in need, evidenced by his membership at First Baptist Church of Cleveland where he served as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, member of several committees, leader of numerous Bible studies, and several international mission trips. Mr. Hicks loved Jesus Christ and lived a life of worship and service to his Savior. He was married to Robin Hicks for 33 years and was the proud father of two children, David Hicks (Class of 2002) and Laura Hicks Harris (Class of 2004), as well as grandparent to Brooklyn and Jackson Hicks and Hadley and Hayes Harris. Mr. Hicks passed away in 2013, but he will always be remembered as a True Blue Raider.
Ms. Brenda Holder is a representative of the Cleveland High School Class of 1996. She is a Special Olympics athlete and is employed as a long-standing crew member at Jenkins Deli.
During her years at CHS, Ms. Holder enjoyed her physical education classes with Mrs. Zandra Morris where she had the ability to improve her Special Olympic skills. She also thrived as a member of the choir under the direction of Mrs. Shirley Pace. She was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and participated in the very first group of Work-Based Learning students at Cleveland High School under the guidance of Mrs. Gayle Hiddleson.
Ms. Holder’s great memories from high school involve the time she spent with the many friends she made while at Cleveland High School. They always included her and made her feel like she was part of the school community. She also feels that high school taught her to believe in herself.
Ms. Holder has won several first and/or second place awards at the Area and State Special Olympics in bocce. She furthered her education by attending Trousdale School where she was nominated by her peers as Snowball Queen. Ms. Holder is involved in many community service activities and is a crew member at Jenkins Deli, a position she has held for the last 13-14 years.
Our next CHS Hall of Fame inductee holds a football state championship ring as well as the distinction of serving as Senior Class President. A member of the Class of 1969, Mr. Ray Kimsey is now an Atlanta, Georgia, architect.
Mr. Kimsey was an active student during his time at Cleveland High Schools. He played on the varsity football team, including the 1968 State Championship team. He was president of the Interact Club, and a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club. His senior year, Mr. Kimsey was president of the senior class as well as Class Valedictorian.
The 1968 football victory at Oak Ridge High School is the memory from high school that Mr. Kimsey has never forgotten. He believes Cleveland High School impacted him by teaching him the value of discipline and tenacity as well as how to appreciate a diversity of backgrounds.
Upon graduating from CHS, Mr. Kimsey attended and graduated from Yale University in 1973 and obtained a Master of Architecture in 1975. He worked in Chattanooga, TN, at Franklin Group Architects where he planned and designed Red Clay State Archeological Park. Since 1981, he has served as Principal Architect at Niles Bolton Associates, a 140 person architectural firm in Atlanta, GA. He designed the Flagship Olympic Village component for the 1996 Olympics as well as having planned and designed over 50 projects in China. Mr. Kimsey participates in many professional associations. He has been married for 38 years to Kathleen Thomison Kimsey and they have two daughters, Anna Kimsey Edwards and Greer Kimsey. He will soon add “grandfather” to his list of titles, as his first grandchild is due September 20!
Scott "String" Kress
Mr. Scott “String” Kress” is our Hall of Fame Inductee from the Class of 1977. From the halls of CHS to Fortune 500 companies, Mr. Kress is currently the Implementation Manager of Unum, US.
Mr. Kress’s high school years were filled with tennis matches, Fellowship of Christian Athletes gatherings, Junior Jaycees, Drama Club, and Art Club meetings. Mr. Kress is part of a storied tradition of Blue Raider life; he remembers going door to door with his mother getting signatures for a petition to build Cleveland High School. His oldest brother made the march from Arnold onto a dirt road called Raider Drive as Cleveland High School opened its doors in 1967. His greatest memory from high school was a senior trip cruise to the Bahamas.
Cleveland left a lasting impact on Mr. Kress in the form of the lifelong relationships that were formed with classmates and teachers. He had teachers who not only pushed him academically, but also took an interest in him personally. Mr. Kress credits CHS with having prepared him for the next stage of his life.
Upon graduating from CHS, Mr. Kress attained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Advertising) from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He has worked for three Fortune 500 companies in his professional career, Maytag Corporation, Xerox Corporation, and for Unum for the past thirteen years. Mr. Kress also served CHS for over 10 years as a basketball announcer.
Adonia Johnson Latham
Mrs. Adonia Latham graduated from Cleveland High School in 1984. From the color guard to the business world, Mrs. Latham has enjoyed an illustrious career in the banking industry over the past twenty-nine years, all of it in our local community.
Mrs. Latham was a member of the color guard as well as being a varsity cheerleader. She also served as the manager of the girls’ basketball team for her entire four years of high school. Athletics was only part of Mrs. Latham’s involvement, however, as she also was a member of the Student Government committees during her sophomore, junior, and senior years.
The magnetism of Blue Raider pride is apparent in Mrs. Latham’s greatest memories of high school. She especially enjoyed cheering at the state championship game against Brentwood Academy her junior year, Bradley-Cleveland week, pep rallies, and the marching band trips. Mrs. Latham emphasizes the relationships she formed with teachers and classmates as making a permanent impact on her because “in life, you never know how one word, one hug, or one act of kindness or one person may impact you”. Mrs. Joyce Ann Warren was her biggest “she-ro”!
A 1987 graduate of Cleveland State, 1997 graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan College with a B.S. in Business Administration and General Management, Mrs. Latham also graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Southeastern School of Banking in 1998. She has earned numerous awards in her field including the Million Dollar Club in 2013.
Col. Curt B. Prichard
From the Class of 1989, Colonel Curt Prichard is a United States Air Force Healthcare Executive currently serving as CEO and Commander of the 20th Medical Group. He is based at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.
Col. Prichard was a student who was active in many activities in his high school years, from Academic Olympics to Tennessee Tomorrow. He was very involved in the arts, as a member of the CHS Drumline and Concert Band and a Thespian. Col. Prichard enjoyed roles in the fall plays, class playoffs, and the spring musicals.
The band trips and competitions, honors classes, and fun times with friends inside and outside of the classroom are the greatest high school memories for Col. Prichard. His time at Cleveland High provided lessons such as the value and importance of teamwork, the positive results of self-discipline and a strong work ethic, and the need for self-confidence but not overconfidence.
Col. Prichard obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, a Master of Health Administration from Baylor University, and is Board Certified by and a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He holds the honor of having been the first US Air Force officer selected to serve as Administrator of the White House Medical Unit. Col. Prichard was also awarded a Bronze Star Medal for deployed service as Administrator of Craig Joint Theater Hospital on the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Col. Prichard is blessed with an amazing wife and four beautiful children.
Mr. Scott Prichard, a member of the 1991 graduating class of Cleveland High School. Once a member of the award-winning Blue Raider Marching Band, today he is employed by The Boeing Company as an electrical design engineer.
A talented musician, Mr. Prichard was a valued member of the marching and concert bands during his time as a Cleveland High School student. He summed up his years at CHS as being one collective greatest memory because there were too many wonderful moments to narrow it down to one.
Mr. Prichard credits his time in the bandroom and on the marching band field as being the defining impact on him as a high school student. Through learning to work with a large team toward one goal, band instilled discipline and a lifelong love of music, all of which have served him well as an adult.
This love of music and band carried over into Mr. Prichard’s college years, as he was a member of the University of Tennessee’s “Pride of the Southland” marching band. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Aeronautical Science, and followed those with a sixteen year career in the space industry. Mr. Prichard has earned numerous NASA awards throughout his career.
Melissa Turner Wagner
From the Class of 2000, our next Hall of Fame inductee is Mrs. Melissa Wagner! Mrs. Wagner is a voice very well-known to most of our area, as she is an on-air radio personality with WUSY, US-101.
Mrs. Wagner spent her high school years on the sidelines with the cheerleaders, in the choir room with Renaissance and Silhouettes, and participating in activities with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She believes that there is nothing better than cheering on a Friday night for a CHS football game. Some of her best memories also include the yearly choir trip to Orlando to perform at Disney.
Activities such as cheerleading, show choir, and classes like Contemporary Issues with Coach Miller, Public Speaking with Mrs. Puckett, and many English classes deserve the credit for challenging Mrs. Wagner to speak her mind in a respectful and correct way and to step outside of her comfort zone and approach a crowd. She sees this as the biggest impact Cleveland High School made on her.
Since graduation, Mrs. Wagner has been awarded the Country Music Association Small Market Personality of the Year in 2010 and 2012. She also earned the Academy of Country Music Personality of the Year in 2010 and the Country Radio Seminar Personality of the Year in 2012 and 2013. She holds the title of hosting the highest rated afternoon radio show in Chattanooga. Mrs. Wagner lives in Ooltewah with her husband, Brad, and their two young sons, Easton and Landon.