The work and dedication of three former Longview ISD students will live on for years after an unveiling Friday.
Longview ISD presented three honorees with an inscribed brick during the annual Distinguished Alumni ceremony at the Lobo Foundation Plaza at the high school.
This year’s honorees are Kay Ray (Class of 1970), Rogers Pope Jr. (Class of 1985) and Trent Williams (Class of 2006).
The Lobo Foundation Plaza, which is near the home entrance to Lobo Stadium, started in 1997 with the help of the Longview ISD Foundation. This area holds numerous inscribed bricks with names of alumni who have made an impact on their school and community.
“The foundation honors you for your many successes. Your inscribed brick will be a lasting tribute to you and your roots of Longview ISD. The foundation sincerely hopes that the support it provides LISD will enable today’s students to achieve the level of success today’s honorees have achieved, ”said Crista Black, president of the Longview ISD Foundation, as she presented the bricks to the three honorees.
Williams, who plays offensive tackle in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers, said the feeling he had was one he couldn’t quite put into words.
“The feeling is indescribable. A place where I spent some of my best times of my life, some of my best memories come right here from this campus. To be basically ingrained for what we think it’s forever … It’s hard to put it into words; it’s kind of unreal, ”he said. “I’m just so thankful to be in this stadium. Obviously, this is where I became Trent Williams, and for it to come back full circle, it’s unreal. “
Williams has underwritten and sponsored numerous programs and initiatives to benefit Longview ISD students and staff as well as his hometown and said he is grateful for Longview ISD.
“I’m still on cloud nine. Longview is everything to me, and for that to be reciprocated, it means a lot to me. I can’t thank LISD enough, ”he said.
Williams holds an annual free football camp for youth and continues to give back to the district. He added a few words of advice for current students.
“Just keep your head down, keep working. The work that you’re doing when nobody is looking is the most important work. I think being self motivated and holding yourself accountable is the key to being successful, ”he said.
Williams also mentioned how the structure of the athletic and academic programs of LISD shaped him into what he is today.
“That had everything to do with me being able to go straight into college and play as a freshman and go straight into the NFL as a rookie, I think I was prepared and Longview prepared me,” he said.
To be chosen as a Distinguished Alumni, nominees must have professionally excelled in addition to serving the communities in which they live, according to the district.
Honorees are then nominated at-large and chosen by a committee of previous honorees, volunteer Distinguished Alumni Committee members and the district’s Community Relations office.
Ray, another honoree, started teaching in Longview ISD in 1974 before becoming the district’s gifted and talented coordinator and district testing coordinator in 1994. A year later, she became the executive director of the Longview ISD Foundation, a role she still holds. In 2008, Ray became the college advisor and scholarship coordinator at Longview High School, which saw her launch the College and Career Center.
Pope is a current vice chairman and CEO at Texas Bank and Trust. He has also been recognized for his community service, receiving the Longview Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award in 2007. Five years later, the East Texas Area Council Boy Scouts of America awarded him and his father di lui the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award .