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High School Confidential

They Were Smart. They Were Cool. They Were Jocks. They Were Nerds. They Were In The Year Book. And We Found Them

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In the movies, unpopular teenagers often take solace in the fact that the cool kids will be less successful in later life. While the star quarterback develops a beer gut and the homecoming queen gets fat, the geek grows into his scrawny frame and the ugly duckling becomes a swan.
But is that what really happens?
We hitchhiked down Memory Lane, finding native Memphians in their high school yearbooks, and what we discovered is that many of the people who are successful now were successful back then. Maybe not popular, necessarily, but successful. Isaac Hayes was voted “Most Talented.” writer and MIT professor Alan Lightman was a county science fair winner.
The following pages are a sampling of actors, politicians, musicians, and notable people about town, as they were during high school. Some were jocks, some cheerleaders, some math majors. But they all smiled for the camera and wondered — as we all do — what the future had in store for them.
See if you can guess who they are.

* The year denotes the date of the photograph in the annual, not the year of graduation. For some of these students, we weren’t able to locate their senior-class yearbook.

— This former editor of White Station High’s newspaper recently wrote a book, but it’s her other lines that have made her famous.
White Station, 1969

— Once voted “Most Talented” — he was a Mid-South Fair talent winner his senior year — this Highstepper even appeared in a few small roles in movies.
Treadwell, 1965

— Known as Max, she was voted “Best Typist” and was the secretary of both her junior and senior classes.
Booker T. Washington, 1945

— This former Shelby County Commissioner was in the Latin Club, the Pep Club, and something called the Order of the Redman.
Central, 1967

— This former warrior ought to be in the pictures. She was in the Honor Society, the Pep Club, and treasurer for the Quill and Scroll.
Central, 1968

— Sports in Memphis wouldn’t be the same without this man.
Booker T. Washington, 1966

— A founder of the Memphis Digital Arts Cooperative, he lettered in Cross Country in high school.
White Station, 1997

— No one would get “Live at the Garden” without the help of this Grammy-nominated Memphian. In high school, she was in the Glee Club and the school’s production of “Oklahoma”.
White Station, 1963

— As a student, he was a Hall of Famer at Central and a member of the football team, the band, and the Spanish Club, but it’s his burgers that are legendary now.
Central, 1962

— This former “Mustang” shoots for the moon, as well as people and pets.
East, 1967

— Because of her twinkle toes, people have been swept right off of their feet.
St. Agnes, 1965

— A onetime industrial arts major, he was bass-ic to the Memphis sound.
Messick, 1959

— She keeps old buildings standing, but she isn’t a carpenter.
Lausanne, 1967


— As class president three years in a row, this legendary guitarist really “Stax” up.
Messick, 1959

— This wild-haired professional partyer once listed his ambition as education.
Christian Brothers, 1969

— this educator won first place in various science fairs, was a national merit semifinalist, and was a member of the tennis team, as well as serving on the cast and crew for the school’s productions of “Our Town” and “The King and I.”
White Station, 1966

— With “outstanding senior,” sophomore class president, junior class vice president, and Key Club president on his resume, it’s no wonder this downtown restaurateur later spent over 10 years on the memphis City Council.
White Station, 1966

— Once a busy high schooler — her activities included the Latin Club, the French Club, the Pep Club, the Speech Club, the Student Council, and several musicals — this former Memphian has made people miserable.
White Station, 1966

— Now married to another one of our notables, she knows all about the restaurant biz.
St. Agnes, 1966

— Forty years ago, he was on the newspaper staff and a member of the Speech Club, the Latin Club, and the Latin tournament. Now, instead of parsing sentences, he helps give them out.
Central, 1968

— This beauty was in the French Club, the Glee Club, and the Pep Club before going on to soap star fame as the glamorous Liza Sentell on the daytime serial “Search for Tomorrow.”
Central, 1967

— This native Memphian has the power of the pen.
White Station, 1986

— this notable performing-arts teacher was a thespian, in the Order of the Redman, president of the band, and a member of the Speech Club.
Central, 1967

— Inexplicably known as “Merf the Surf” in high school, he once wanted to be an architect.
Lester, 1969

— Whenever we think of our favorite restaurants in the Bluff City, we automatically think of her.
White Station, 1970

— This former math major may not have had anything to do with “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” but “Coast of Marseilles” and “Volcano” were all him.
Treadwell, 1966

— Work by this local artist has been featured in “Newsweek,” “Forbes,” “Fortune,” and “Memphis” magazines, and he’s helped Memphis in May honor a country or two.
Whitehaven, 1962

— Once known as Jimmy, this former panther went on to lead county government.
Messick, 1959

— she may have a face for tv, but her voice is for radio.
Hutchison, 1968

— This legal eagle’s clients have included Logan Young III, Tiger basketball player Jeremy Hunt, and “Hustle & Flow” actor Anthony Anderson.
White Station, 1970

— This 1994 “playboy” Playmate was voted “Senior Class Beauty.” We can see why.
Germantown, 1987

— This Blue filmmaker was voted Central’s “Most Likely to Succeed” in 1983.
Central, 1983

— This former lunchroom monitor turned a profit, so to speak, and then went to work on 5th Avenue.
White Station, 1969

— Among other gigs, this feature reporter used to give Memphis its wake-up call.
St. Mary’s, 1967

— Among other gigs, this feature reporter used to give Memphis its wake-up call.
St. Mary’s, 1967

— The “Mouth of the South,” he majored in vocal music.
Treadwell, 1965
Fashion designer Dana Buchman, Musician Larry Raspberry, Civil Rights leader Maxine Smith
Linda Rendtorff, Local Film and Television Commissioner Linn Sitler, Southern Heritage Classic founder and local Grizzlies partner Fred Jones
Filmmaker Morgan Jon Fox, Songwriter Mary Unobsky, Huey’s founder Thomas Boggs
Photographer Jack Kenner, Ballet Memphis founder Dorothy Gunther Pugh, Donald “Duck” Dunn
Steve Cropper, Memphis Heritage executive director June West, “Commercial Appeal” writer Michael Donahue
mit professor and writer Alan Lightman, John Vergos, Actress Kathy Bates
Memphis Restaurant Association executive director Wight Fulton Boggs, Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, Late actress Sherry Mathis, “Commercial Appeal” columnist Wendi Thomas, Frank Bluestein, chair of Germantown High School’s Fine Arts Department, Former MLGW chairman Herman Morris
Karen Blockman Carrier, Singer/Songwriter/producer Keith Sykes, Award-winning illustrator John Robinette, Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, WKNO broadcaster Kacky Walton, Defense attorney Leslie Ballin
Traci Sikkink, Filmmaker Ira Sachs, Former Saks, Inc. CEO Brad Martin, Denise DuBois Taylor, Isaac Hayes, Wrestling promoter and former Gentrys singer Jimmy Hart

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