Alvarado Junior High School

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Inaugural class inducted into Hall of Excellence

Alvarado ISD recently created a Hall of Excellence so it can appropriately recognize and honor graduates of Alvarado High School and former educators whose achievements, strength of character and citizenship serve as models to inspire and empower today’s learners.

The inaugural class of seven was inducted in September at a dinner hosted by the newly formed Alvarado ISD Education Foundation.

Entering the Hall of Excellence as a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient were Diane Johnson-Behrens, Linda Neeley, John Percifield Sr. and Charlie Phillips. Those earning Distinguished Service Awards were Bobby Tate and Lennox and Mildred Byrd – who family wanted to go into the hall together, as a couple.

Johnson-Behrens was a 1956 graduate of AHS and went on to work for General Electric in the 1960s where she worked on such things as a prototype for what would become a laptop computer and check processing developments like magnetic ink.

Phillips was a 1948 graduate of AHS and had various business endeavors across the county. Phillips made a habit of hiring local workers and delivering holiday dinners to needy families in the community. He also helped several Alvarado students find scholarships for college.

Percifield never went far from Alvarado after graduating in 1963. He has been on the Board of numerous Alvarado and Johnson County civic organizations and was the Alvarado Chamber of Commerce Alvaradoan of the Year in 2013. He also spent time as an educator in Cleburne and Alvarado as well as a stint on the Alvarado ISD Board of Trustees.

Neeley has been a fixture in the Alvarado community for most of her life. She graduated from AHS in 1959 after spending three years as drum major. In 1972 she graduated from Baylor Law School and came back to Alvarado in 1975 to start her own law office. In 2003 she started using her realty license she earned while in college at TCU and a year later bought Realty Executives.

Her impact on the school district was felt through 30 years of service on the AISD Board of Trustees which started in 1986 and ended this last spring.

Lennox and Mildred Byrd spent over 75 years educating students in Alvarado ISD. The Byrd’s spent time in classroom teaching and later, Lennox Byrd made his way into administration.

Bobby Tate was a counselor at Alvarado High School through the 1990s and was instrumental in not only motivating kids to graduate but also continue their education in college.