West High School’s Hall of Fame board has announced that nine people and three teams will be inducted into its Hall of Fame in March as members of its 2018 class. The inductees are:
Hazel Ellis, a staff member at West for 31 years: She taught Spanish before becoming a counselor and then head counselor. Also served as a guidance consultant for the Kern High School District.
Ron Lauria (class of 1968): Lauria was a four-sport athlete who garnered many awards, including the Sam Lynn Award in 1968. He taught in the Kern High School District for 37 years and was the first West High student to return to teach at West.
Tarus Mateen (class of 1985): Mateen is a world-renowned double-bass and electric bassist who began his professional career at age 12. He is known in the world of jazz as a genius on bass. He currently plays in the Washington, D.C., area.
Van Thurman (class of 1979): Thurman was an outstanding, three-sport athlete at West, whose awards include the Sam Lynn award in 1979. He worked in the criminal justice system in Kern County for more than 20 years.
Dave Titsworth, longtime athletic director: Titsworth was a two-sport athlete in high school and a catcher at Bakersfield College and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he was All-Conference both years. At West, he taught PE and coached football for 25 years and baseball for 15 years before serving as athletic director for another 11 years. He was an assistant football coach at BC for 3 years.
Don Vettel, longtime teacher and coach: Vettel, honored posthumously, was a 33-year teacher and forensics/debate coach who won state and national recognition, as did his award-winning teams and individual students.
Jim Wren, former athletic director: Wren was an outstanding high school track and cross country athlete, was a history teacher and highly successful cross country, track, and basketball coach at West. He became an athletic director, dean of students, and vice principal at West before serving at the district office and later becoming principal at North High.
Donny Youngblood (class of 1968): Youngblood enlisted in the army following high school, serving in Vietnam. Joined the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in 1972. He was elected Sheriff-Coroner in 2006 and again in 2010 and 2014.
David Zulfa (class of 1985): Zulfa was an award-winning speech and debate student, who practiced law for 14 years before being appointed to the California Superior Court. He now serves Kern County in Bakersfield and the East Kern area.
The West High cross country team of 1967 had an undefeated season and won the first-ever school Valley championship.
The cross country team of 1968 won the Valley championship. The team’s score of 42 points is a Valley meet record that still stands today.
The 1971 cross country team went undefeated and won the Valley.
The dinner and induction ceremony will be held on March 10, at Stockdale Country Club. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased by check, payable and mailed to the Kern Community Foundation (include WHS HOF on the memo line), 3300 Truxtun Ave., Suite 220, 93301. For credit card payment and event information, go to www.westhighvikings.com. Contact Garrett Ming (332-3600) or Warren Hall (809-7277) with questions.