Soft Jazz played as dozens gathered at the Barbara Worth Country Club & Resort near Holtville on the evening of Nov. 17 for the Holtville High School 13th annual Green and Gold Hall of Fame Gala.
The ceremony honored the organization’s 2018 inductees, including former Holtville High athletes Eric Fjeldsted, Michael Rubin and Stephen Rodrigues, pioneers Geraldine Hartshorn and Ruth Savage, and businessman Alex Madriaga.
Additionally, the late Jesse Thomas “J.T” Boswell was posthumously given the Hall of Fame Award for his service to Holtville Unified School District. A World War II veteran, he worked as district head of maintenance. He died in 2016.
Madriaga has provided his services to the Imperial Valley for more than 22 years through his business, A.M. Desert Storm Concrete.
“I’ve been a general contractor for 43 years. The news that I was being inducted into the Hall of Fame was certainly a surprise to me,” Madriaga remarked with a chuckle.
He added, “It’s an honor to be remembered for some of the work we’ve put into the community. I want to thank the community in particular for showing their support and helping develop my business. Having your trust is my greatest honor.”
Another Hall of Fame inductee, Rodrigues, said, “I’m extremely humbled to be honored in this way, especially after seeing who else is on the list for this year. It’s an honor and very much appreciated.”
Shortly before taking the podium and introducing himself to the audience, Holtville High Principal Anthony Arevalo acknowledged the special occasion.
“On behalf of Holtville High School, we’re proud to acknowledge the inductees,” he said. “As a school, it’s an honor to have them be a part of our legacy both during their time as students, and watching them progress into the people we are honoring tonight.”
Continuing the “Remembering the Champions” recognition that debuted in 2008, the event also feted the 1974-1975 and 1975-76 Vikettes drill teams that won state championships.
The Champions recognition is for various significant victories Holtville High’s athletic teams have accomplished. Since its inception it has honored 25 CIF champions, providing some former athletes with the CIF rings they never received.
Teachers of the Year Maria Elena Vega from Finley Elementary, Diana Reyes from Holtville Middle School, and Erika Leon Lopez from the high school received desk awards and stipends.
The event also featured a silent auction with a variety of objects up for bid. Notable among these was a helmet and a signed, authentic jersey, from Royce Freeman, an Imperial High School graduate who now plays for the NFL’s Denver Broncos.
The Holtville High Jazz Band was present in full force to provide entertainment, and was joined by The Clark Baker Band. “We’re going to be playing Blue Bossa, Vehicle, Let the Good Times Roll, Poison, Brickhouse, and then the fight song to top things off,” said Jazz Band Director Yvonne Moreno.