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Trio added to Wall of Fame

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Sunnyside School Superintendent Rick Cole visits with a smiling Patricia Loera, who was surprised with the Wall of Fame honor during Friday's dinner.

The Sunnyside School District honored its three newest members of the Sunnyside High School Wall of Fame during a ceremony this past Friday.

- Harry Pryde, class of 1948, was selected to the Wall of Fame for his work and advocacy on behalf of affordable housing. He formed the Pryde Corporation, which developed and built homes, apartment complexes and office buildings.

Pryde, a basketball player while at SHS, also established a scholarship at the UW for graduate students and was the first builder from the northwest to be elected President of the National Association of Home Builders. Pryde, who died in 2009, is also a member of the National Housing Hall of Fame.

- Patricia Loera, class of 1986, was selected to the Wall of Fame for her work as a senior program officer for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her work involves making grants that are aimed at increasing the number of minority youth who graduate from high school ready for college.

Loera was also praised for her advocacy for civil rights and educational opportunities. She has served as the legislative director for the National Association for Bilingual Education.

- The third inductee into the Wall of Fame this past Friday was James (Jim) Bell, class of 1982.

Bell, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, was celebrated for his success first at West Point, where he graduated in the top 5 percent of his class.

Bell's accomplishments include two tours of duty in Iraq, 10 years as a field artillery officer and 12 years as an Army information technology officer.

The Bronze Star recipient retired from the military in 2008 and today Bell is an information technology consultant for the U.S. Army.

Loera, Bell and Pryde's widow, Ann, all credited the experience of growing up in a small town, hard work and their education in Sunnyside as keys to their success.

The Wall of Fame dinner at Bon Vino's was a surprise to Loera, whose family kept it a secret until the last moment. She was led to believe she was in Sunnyside just for the graduation service.

"They just told me we were going to have dinner together before graduation," she laughed.

Loera praised her parents' commitment to a better life for their children, emigrating from Mexico. "I'm extremely grateful and humbled," she said. "The opportunity I have today is because of the opportunity I had here."

Bell praised the sense of community he experienced while growing up on a farm in Outlook.

He also praised long-time Outlook first grade teacher Bobbi Quigley, who is retiring this month after 54 years in the classroom. "She set me on my path," he said. "I believe in small communities and public schools."

Following Bell's remarks, Sunnyside VFW post commander Bill Ingram saluted him. "It's quite an honor to meet a person like Jim, a Lieutenant Colonel and the caliber of person he is," Ingram said.

Ann Pryde said her husband would have been very humbled and proud to receive the Wall of Fame honor.

"He grew up on a Depression-era farm and he worked hard on behalf of affordable housing," she said. "It was his way of giving back."

Shortly after Friday's Wall-of-Fame dinner, the three recipients were invited to attend the SHS graduation ceremony, where each one was introduced to the class of 2011 and the crowd in attendance.

 

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