Peacetime Bulletin: The Hall of Fame
You really shouldn’t wish to be honored on the board just yet, because all the people on there are already dead–leave it in the will. The honor hall board situated in the main office, those black and white pictures surely you have passed, the non-descript pictures of past teachers and students that were honored before the 2nd millennium. The people from that time way back have no history describing them besides the pictures and rare yearbooks dedicating themselves to several of the administration that ruled our own halls.
To you, it seems like this sort of info on these people would be passed around like a story of legend. Sadly, much of the information available has been destroyed or hidden behind paywalls to newspaper archives that share their names that describe accomplishments they grasped on their own. I started the research well beyond the time of their deaths but felt myself looking at a past I could visibly see. None of the names on there belong to the founders of Eagle Rock High School, that great class of 27’ which opened up our current sports teams, the Eagles Scream, and theatre class within the first year of opening. Eagle Rock as a neighborhood and school acknowledge these people.
Evidence of this is the plaques lining our halls, grounds, and auditorium which are dedicated to the graduates who gave up their lives in World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. People should be proud that we are students of a school with very famous alumni from another decade of pupils, reminding ourselves of the great things that have been done on this campus, actions beyond words we all can strive to do.
Robert Ellis Kelly
Robert Ellis Kelly was the second principal of our school and became part of it in the years ending WW2, 1945. Honorably discharged at the rank of lieutenant, he taught soldiers trajectory and mathematics in the Army Air Corps. Prior to his service for America, he was vice-principal of Lafayette Junior High and Dorsey Senior High School. After leaving ERHS in 1954, Kelly found himself working with the board of education, a path that would lead him to be Superintendent of LAUSD. He passed away in 1995 and is buried in the Inglewood Cemetery.
Mr. Ed Born or “Mister B” as was known by his students was a math teacher at ERHS. At the time of teaching, he was around his mid 40’s and retired from the school alive. Interested in the wilderness and photography, he shared the same interests of going outdoors and hiking across America similar to Mr. Henberger. Mister B is such a legend that during one of his travels with hand-crafted gear, he encountered a bear of which he befriended and spent the rest of that trip with him. He went to UCLA for his degrees in teaching, and USC for a master's degree in Ceramics. He also built his own home from scratch, served as president for an art association, and made training films for athletics.
A side note–since this board was built probably around 2000, most if not all students remembering Ms. Babson, our first principal, have passed away. That is why she is not up there with the rest.
Going over the rest of the teachers, there is a pattern of service for our nation. Ben Friedman, a math teacher for ERHS, served time in the US Army for quite a while. When he was discharged he earned the title of Captain by then and had previously gone to the University of Alabama for his master's degree; however, he was born in Connecticut and drifted his way over to LAUSD at some point in his career. Afterward was he a studio teacher for a while until his retirement. Dories Bergslien was a past librarian during 1988, passed away in 1997. Kathy Bachand was remembered for being a creative English teacher, giving it her all throughout her stay at ERHS.
"First be a gentleman, then a student, and then an athlete." were the words of Morey Elmore, a coach of both basketball and for track and field of which he coached some of our past record-holders such as Dick Schenz (vaulter of 11’ 9”) and Ralph Potter (An all-league Guard for basketball). He earned a Masters at USC where he continued after to earn his credentials for teaching off a scholarship he received afterward. During his stay at USC in 1932, he was coached by Dean Cromwell who was famous for coaching several winning Olympic athletes in years 28’, 32’, and 36’. Morey also served in the Army Air Corps as a physical education trainer for soldiers during the year of 1942. He left the service presumably in 1945 and started to teach in ERHS for the majority of his teaching career.
George Myrick and Joe Balanzo were both students honored. This does mean that you could be on there but considering the overlying facts that no one has yet to be added again, or that in order to be up there as a student you need to go above and beyond for who you are. George Myrick was one of those students that excelled at being an athlete (football) and student. After graduating in the year of 1964 he became a navy field medic, serving in a marine corps unit. He attempted to save the lives o,f soldiers even after being shot at and only leaving when all were evacuated, unfortunately he lost his life during service.
Gil Espino was a football/ track & field coach here at ERHS and had major successful athletes for shot put. John E Lanz was a long time administrator registrar serving under Babson, Robert Kelly, and Sutcliffe during his stay, the job of the registrar was to keep records of the school they worked at, this was before the day in age of computers and mass organization through simple electronic filing. Les Fredrickson was a coach, Mr.Harada was a teacher, Terry Sudlow graduated in 71’ and was a varsity football player, Peter Campbell ran for Varsity Track & Field, and Stephan Nance was also a teacher.
John Rinaldo was born in Elgin, Illinois around 1928 and at a very age played the trumpet, continuing to earn a degree at the University of Illinois in music. Before he taught at ERHS, he worked at Buckley Highschool, Illinois before moving to Los Angeles in 1968. There he found himself teaching at our school and very quickly turning our jazz band into one that would gain statewide fame. Using contacts over the years besides teaching like servicing in hotels of Los Angeles did he get professional people to mentor his students which would go onto becoming professional musicians themselves. His classes participated in Festivals and competitions to improve themselves and garner respect through the success they had during his career. He retired in 1987 and continued to play his trumpet up to 1990 due to illness, he passed away in 2000.
Concluding this story about them yet not their legacy that has left a piece of goodness feeling, or improvement to the school they were a part of for a time. Deserving their own articles are the young men who fought in WW2, Vietnam and Korean Conflict but I will simply acknowledge that people like that still made it on that wall, George Myrick is proof of that. John Rinaldo no matter how far away his years of teaching were made history out of Eagle Rock is one of the greatest schools in Nation teaching jazz. And the teachers, Robert Kelly, or Morey Elmore that saw parts of war, heard or saw it, and had to bring a post World War Two school into peace.