Return to Irvin Class of '67 Page

(Copied in entirety from the Irvin High School Website)

Irvin High School opened in September of 1959.  It was named for Dr. O.C. Irvin, Dr. E.H. Irvin, and Mr. C.M. Irvin.  All three of these gentlemen made great contributions to the El Paso School Board, and their combined efforts spanned a 76 year time period.

In 1882, Dr. O.C. Irvin became the secretary of the first school board.  One of his dreams was to have a good high school in El Paso.  Dr. E.H. Irvin was a physician in El Paso.  He served as president of the school board in 1913 and 1913.  Dr. E.H. Irvin made El Paso High School a reality to help El Paso's overwhelming growth problems.  Mr. C.M. Irvin graduated from El Paso High School in 1921.  He served as a member of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, and was the president of the school board from 1955 through April 8, 1958, when he retired.

At the time of Irvin's opening, Mr. H.E. Charles was the Superintendent of El Paso Public Schools.   Mr. Cecil S. Bean was Irvin's first principal, and Mr. Boyd was our first assistant principal.

In the 1960's

The rocket was chosen as our mascot because of Irvin High's close affiliation with the military.  On that same line, the patriotic colors of red, white, and blue were chosen by the coaches and school board to represent Irvin pride.

At its opening, Irvin held classes for grades 7 through 12.  In 1960, the seventh graders were no longer a part of the student body.

The first person to graduate from Irvin was Janice Burchfield Brooks.  Her graduation ceremony took place on January 21, 1960, and we've never had a mid-year graduation ceremony since.

The first president of the student body was Greg Rystad ('59 - '60).  Our first Homecoming Queen was Joyce Dickson ('61).  The National Honor Society has been an integral part of our student life from almost the beginning of Irvin's existence, the first induction being in 1961.

The first Irvin-in-Orbit pageant and coronation ball was in the spring of 1962; Cindy Elmore was the first queen.  Over the years the pageant and dance has been held in the Irvin Main Gym, the Hilton Inn, The Top of the Inn Holiday Inn, the El Maida Shrine Temple, the Fiesta Hall, The Vista Del Sol Hall, and in more recent years the Centennial Club on Fort Bliss and the Camino Real Dowtown.

Irvin-in-Orbit Royalty From the Past


2002    Brian Dunlap and Edika Granados
2001    Edward Milan and Cynthia Gomez
2000    Bingo Gil Favela and Rosemary Caigoy
1999    Joseph Lewis and Vanessa Colon
1998    Emory Crawford and Candice Hughes
1997    Raul Zubiate and Lisa Leyva
1996    Jose Escobedo and Monica Ramirez
1995    Marc Cortez and Monica Amaro
1994    Mike Torrez and Ana Lopez
1993    Orlando Munoz and Susana Fernandez
1992    Carlos Antunez and Luordes Villa
1991    Jody Landry and Camille Gilbert
1990    William Davis III and Lili Wolff
1989    Fernandez Ortega and Karla Chavez
1988    Maria Teresa Aguirre
1987    Margarita Gomez
1986    Rhonda Street
1985    Cecy Gonzales
1984    Silvia Monarrez
1983    Yolanda Sifuentes
1982    Julie Morgas  
1981    Diana Valdez
1980    Mary Lou Telles
1979    Cindy Rivera
1978    Rebecca Froetschel
1977    Tammy Bagley
1976    Christina Garcia
1975    Polly Gonzalez
1974    Peggy Glass
1973    Maureen O'Leary
1972    Patsy Carreon
1971    Mary Jane Ownbey
1970    Lyndee Sue Evans
1969    Patty Avritt
1968    Tisha Jane Linam
1967    Pam Wimsatt
1966    Sandra Avritt
1965    Mary Roen
1964    Hazelle Beier
1963    Linda Balk
1962    Cynthia Elmore 


The first Basketball Queen, Phyllis Brown, was crowned during the 1968-69 school year.

The Observer, our school newspaper, and the Orbit, Irvin's yearbook were both started in 1960.  Those students who hunt down every Irvin story and strive to report the current events surrounding Irvin High can display their journalistic talents by working for the Observer.  It is still in print, and distributed freely among students and faculty.  A compilation of the year's events and greatest memories are still found in the Orbit as well.  Unlike the Observer, the Orbit has a price, which currently is around $45 to $65 annually.

The band has always been an integral part of the spirit of Irvin High School.  The flag corps adds to the beauty and excitement of the half time programs of the varsity football games and pep assemblies.  Presently the band is directed by Donald Wood.

The Irvin orchestra, which numbers around 40 is conducted by Mr. Ricardo Paz.  Mr. Michael Wolfenbarger is the choir director; our choir numbers about 50.  Both groups win competitions within the city regularly and send some students to state competitions.  Our dance troupe, Illusions, is taught by Ms. Gladys Ferrari; these girls and boys provide entertainment at pep assemblies, at half time at basketball and football games, perform in the community, and have a program in the spring of each year.

Lynn Shirley wrote the Fight Song in 1961 and graduated with the class of '63.  We don't usually hear the students sing it at pep rallies or games, but it is definitely still a band favorite.

Irvin Fight Song


Fight, Fight, Fight
Add glory to your name
Oh, let's show them all
How to do it right
We're going to win this game
Team work and spirit
Will make you shine
When E're we play the game.
If ever we lose
We will never complain
But forever to win our aim

Alma Mater

The Alma Mater was written in 1965 by a member of the class of '66, Fred Moon.  This song is sometimes played at our graduations.  The words to it are:

Irvin High School, hail to thee
Red, white, blue in majesty
Honor, truth and loyalty
Spirit formed from this our creed

With our heads held high with pride
Even when like turns the tide
As we pledge our loyalty
We will always honor thee

In 1962, we inducted the Club Panel, which governs all of the clubs at our school.  The Club Panel promotes positive activities and ideas expressed by our club leaders.  Members of student government form the panel, and it is an interclub organization, designed to influence the communication between all clubs.  This invites collaboration and encourages common activities between the clubs.  The diverse clubs and organizations here at Irvin revolve around the interests and development of our students, and inspire each student to display his or her Rocket pride.

Also in 1962, Irvin hosted its first foreign exchange student, Jacqueline Faddoul from Lebanon.  We liked her so much that we dedicated the 1962 Orbit to her.  Since then, the foreign exchange program has enlightened many of our students as well as the students who have come to stay with us from various countries across the globe.

The J.R.O.T.C. at Irvin was formed in the 1962-1963 school year.  Its program includes:  Color Guard; Boys Drill Team; Girls drill Team; Rifle Team, which has competed at the state level several times; a Saber Guard; Orienteering; and the Officer's Club.  The first Military Ball Queen was Sylvia Hernandez, class of 1962.  Females were not formally enrolled in the J.R.O.T.C. program until 1973.  Presently the J.R.O.T.C. is under the command of Sgt. Major Allen Wright and Sgt. Major William Vicars.  The J.R.O.T.C. program is one of the best, not only in the school district, but throughout the state.


In 1963, the Irvin stadium was completed.  On September 14, 1963 the stadium held its first football game against the Jefferson Foxes.  We may have lost our first two games, but we went on to win every other game that season.

The tradition of the football rivalry between Irvin and Andress was initiated in 1964.  Since that time, Irvin has claimed the helmet 23 times, Andress 16 times.  The football record is listed below:

The Traditional Northeast Battle for the "Helmet"

































































Our first invitational track meet was held in 1963.  Our boys ran fast enough to hold the district champion title throughout most of the 80's and 90's.  Our boys track coach is Keith Paulson and the girls are coached by Jimmy Silvaggio.

The population boom Irvin experienced in 1963 necessitated the addition of two twenty-roomed wings, which extend from the Main Building (the "A" and "C" wings).  In 1965, "D" wing was added to the southern side of the Main Building.  The concession stand in the stadium, the foyer of the main gym, and the automotive shop and metal trades buildings were also added in 1965.  We no longer have the automotive shop.

If you attended Irvin in its early years, you would remember the unique method in which students walked from class to class.  Until the late 1960's students could only walk in one direction in the halls:  clockwise.  Certain stairways allowed traffic to travel upwards, while others allowed the students to walk downstairs.

By 1969, students who were in grades 7 and 8 were distributed among "feeder" schools in the area, and Irvin High directed its education to students from grades 9 through 12.

In the 1970's

In 1976, George Perales won the 1st medal in the State Wrestling Tournament, and became the new 105 pound City Champ.  Tammy Imel was crowned the 1976 Homecoming Queen, and the girls' Cross Country team ran its first run that year.

In 1977, the Irvin Alumni and Ex-Students Association was formed after a fruitful reunion of the class of '67.   The association strives to continue the spirit and sense of pride surrounding school activities.  The Alumni association has done much to help decorate the campus with Rocket-pride filled memorabilia.  The association has constructed useful mementos such as the podium that is used by speakers, students, and instructors at assemblies and programs. 

They also added exceptional artistic pieces to Irvin including the reconstruction of the mosaic tile representation of a rocket and the Franklin Mountains.  They used pieces of the original mosaic (removed when they moved the stage and added a dance room to the gym), which was located on the west side of the main gym, and have hung their addition on a wall near the principal's office.  To honor classmates whose lives were taken during the Vietnam War, the association retrieved and framed the pencil etching of each classmate from the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In the 1980's

In 1983, Magoffin and Canyon Hills Junior High schools added ninth grade, thus taking our freshmen with them.  During that time, our offices and library received a make over.  The "C" wing became the new home for the Study Hall.  In 1984, the Auxiliary Gymnasium was erected, and the Academic Decathlon team was instated.

Dr. Steve V. Elrod was named Outstanding Ex in 1985.  He graduated from Irvin in 1965, enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and served four years on the fast attack nuclear submarine Queenfish in the western Pacific Ocean.  He is an accomplished scientist, and published many scientific papers in the fields of toxicology, carcinogenicity, and neuropharmacology.

In the fall of 1988, our freshmen returned, and a speech auditorium with 200 seats and a modular stage was added with the new "B" wing.  Its dedication was on September 22, 1988.  The wings were all renumbered at this time.  By late 1988, every classroom in the school was equipped with air conditioning.

In the spring of 1989, Mickey Wilhite, the President of the Alumni Association at the time, collaborated with President Ronald Reagan to obtain a two stage Nike Hercules guided missile.  It was donated from the Red Stone Arsenal in Alabama, is 39 feet, 10 inches in length, and originally weighed 10,700 pounds.  The U.S. Army at Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range has supplied the other rockets displayed on campus.

Edward C. Barrett was named Outstanding Ex in 1989.  He graduated with honors from Irvin in 1968, and went on to the University of Texas at El Paso where he got his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering.  He then obtained his Masters in Engineering Administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Barrett was responsible for the design and construction of the U.S.N.S. Comfort.  This was one of at least 40 U.S. Naval Ships during the time he spent as Director of Ship Design and Construction Division for the Military Sealift Command in Washington, D.C.

In 1989, the Academic Decathlon team had led El Paso, Ysleta, and surrounding areas for all five of its first years of existence.  They took home 63 out of a possible 108 medals that year.

In the 1990's

In 1990, the Irvin wrestling team was 2nd in the district.  Seven members of the team qualified for the state competition.  Also that year, the girls Junior Varsity basketball team played an entire season undefeated.

In 1992, the Irvin Alumni and Ex-Students Association went a step further to help honor and award scholarships to hard-working students.  To ensure that there will be monies to award students in the future, the association established a $15,000.00 Permanent Endowment Scholarship Fund with the El Paso Independent School District that year.  So far, they have awarded an estimated 50 scholarships to well deserving students.  This permanent endowment was obtained by a few members of the Alumni doing numerous fundraisers such as several Amigo Airsho's, selling roses for Mother's Day, membership drives, etc.

List of Scholarship Recipients

78 --- Gorman, Michelle                95 --- Chavez, Jaime
79 --- Briones, Mario                95 --- Flores, Ariel
80 --- Gonzales, Joel                96 --- Garcia, Francisco
80 --- Nunez, Maria                96 --- Laspada, Anthony
81 --- Almanza, Manuel                96 --- Marlin, Shanelle
81 --- Hughes, Rebecca                96 --- Zimmerman, Stephanie
81 --- Lovelady, Peter                97 --- Albert, Diane
81 --- Mirror, Samuel                97 --- Gonzales, Darlene
82 --- Bocanega, Adriana                97 --- Weick, Timothy
82 --- Morgas, Julie                98 --- Driscoll, John
86 --- Figueroa, Katherine                98 --- Hughes, Candace
86 --- Melgoza, Pauline                98 --- Smith, Vanessa
87 --- Bermudez, Mercedes                99 --- Aguilar, Noemi
87 --- Curtin, Katherine                99 --- Burciaga, Betzabel
88 --- Enge, Gary                99 --- De La Riva, Andres
88 --- Hoang, Son                00 --- Gonzalez, Angelica
88 --- Rodriquez, Lorena                00 --- Medina, Gustavo
89 --- Hoang, Long Bao                00 --- Ramos, Hilario
89 --- Orellana, Marisol                00 --- Tucker, Leslie Janelle
90 --- Johnston, Melissa                01 --- Driscoll, Nicole
90 --- Mendiola, Carla                01 --- Geach, Lindsay
91 --- Azcona, Sandy                01 --- Joseph, Michael
91 --- Pitblaado, Jeffrey                01 --- Munoz, Joshua
91 --- Wilson, Christopher                01 --- Tenneson, Arianne
92 --- Burciaga, Alejandra                02 ---  
92 --- Hill, Karla                02 ---  
92 --- Marquez, David                02 ---  
92 --- Rodriguez, Samuel                02 ---  
93 --- Ramirez, Maria                02 ---  
94 --- Escobedo, Luis                02 ---  
94 --- Rivera, Jacqueline                02 ---


Dr. Yolanda Lagunas, a physician who specializes in obstetrics, gynecology, and infertility, was named Outstanding Ex in 1994.  She graduated from Irvin in the top 2% of her class of 1973.  After that, Dr. Lagunas attended Texas A & M for two years, then graduated with honors from the University of Texas at El Paso.  From there, she went on to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1982.  In 1979, while in medical school, she joined the Army.  Dr. Lagunas completed her internship and residency as a captain between 1982-86.  She was then promoted to Major and received the Army Commendation Medal for her work as the chief of OB/GYN in 1988.  She was the medical director of Planned Parenthood of El Paso, and a mentor for Project Care.

In 1996, the boy's basketball team, coached by David Castillo (class of '76) reached the final 8 in state playoffs, which is the farthest any team has ever gone.

Irvin saw some more physical changes in 1998.  The rocket sign contributed by the senior class of 1961 remained by the "A" wing (the wing closest to Sanders Street) until the fall of 1997.  Irvin students in the metal shop replaced it with a new one.  Art students contributed their paint to it, and landscaping surrounds it, thanks to the students in the Science Club.  Other graduating classes have donated their time and hard work to improve the physical beauty of Irvin.  Many rose bushes have been added around the campus, marble benches grace the grounds, rubber entrance mats lay in front of the doors, intricate murals are found on the stairways, and computers were given to the library.

In 1999, the boys' soccer team won the district championship.

Since the Turn of the Century

Leo Cancellare was named Outstanding Ex in 2000.  He was Principal and Athletic Director of Cathedral High School.  Mr. Cancellare was involved with the Capital Campaign.  This campaign opened with 9 classrooms, 3 science labs, new offices, and a new gym/cafeteria complex.  He was inducted into the El Paso Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.  Mr. Cancellare died of cancer on April 2, 1999.

Dr. David Archer was named Teacher of the Year in 2000.  Dr. Archer is a math teacher and artist whose wit earned him the title.

In 2000, students involved in the mass communication areas of Irvin were incredibly busy.  Their hard work produced 8 newspapers, one 244-page yearbook, more that 30 broadcasts, and one literary magazine.  Some of the students associated with these projects also enjoyed a trip to Anaheim, California.

2000 was also a big year for Irvin's Special Olympics.  Members of our team worked hard and reached many goals.  In fact, we took home 40 medals from the El Paso Independent School District's Special Olympics that year.  Our outstanding students won 16 gold, 16 silver and 8 bronze medals.

Irvin's Close-Up Program a program designed to allow students to see politics in action sent six of our students to witness President George W. Bush's inauguration in 2000.  When our students returned from Washington D.C. the Observer produced a 16 page community issue and sent it out to 5,000 northeast homes.  In addition, Crystal Dominguez, a student who participated in the program, produced a 20-minute special broadcast explaining the events she witnessed.

Irvin lost two important teachers and their principal to retirement at the end of 2000:  Principal Robert Bransford, Tony Shaw and Mary Ellen Goldfien.  Mr. Bransford was Irvin's principal for 3 and a half years.  He promoted the block scheduling, school renovations, and mandatory identification cards for all students and staff.  Tony Shaw was the head football coach for over 25 years.  During his time at Irvin, Coach Shaw led the Rockets to win 8 district championships and 7 bi-district titles.  The Rockets also played two undefeated seasons under his guidance.  Mary Ellen Goldfien was employed at Irvin for 28 years.  She transformed the Home Economics Department and brought it into the next millennium by implementing the Baby and Me Program.

2001 brought a few more changes to Irvin High.  Some new rules were instated.  For example, sophomores reached a new level of privilege.  Along with the upperclassmen, they are now allowed to leave campus for lunch.  Also, a new stipulation in the dress code states that facial piercings are no longer permitted on the faces of our students while on campus. Furthermore, every student is required to have an I.D. card at all times.  This is to ensure his or her right to be on the school grounds.  Additional security officers are present to enforce these rules and assure the safety of everyone here at Irvin.

Patricia Woody Shelton was named Outstanding Ex for the 2001 school year.  After graduation form Irvin in 1974, she received her bachelors and masters degrees in Business Administration at the University of Texas at El Paso.  Shelton went on to become the first woman president of the El Paso Natural Gas Company, where she has worked for roughly 20 years.  She has held many offices in that company, including being the first woman president of Finance, and the Vice President of Rates and Regulations.  She also has many professional certifications and is involved in many community service activities.

Other Outstanding Exes

Bagley, Taffy



Barrett, Edward


Design Engineer

Boozer, Karen Propst


Student Activities Director

Bowers, Terree A.



Cancellare, Leo



Elrod, Steve



Finks, Allen


Volunteer Extraordinaire for Irvin

Haguewood, Cheryle Yonkin


Banking Executive

Harris, Linda Thompson



Jacobson, Susan Herzmark


Executive Director

James, Frank T. 


Construction Business Executive

Jiron, Ernie


Electrical Engineer

Jiron, Martha 



Lagunas, Yolanda



Massey, Ann James 



Shelton, Patricia Woody 



Shenk, Michael 



Sridaromont, Kathryn McAdams



Thomas, John



Torres, Juan


Torres, Juan

Vera, Robert



Wilhite, Janet Taylor-Becknell



Wilhite, Mickey R.


Law Enforcement

Woodberry, James


Marine Biologist

Yetter, Jackie Guadagnoli




(Our apologizes if we have omitted anyone; please let us know if there are any corrections to be made)


Some notable athletic moments occurred in 2001 here at Irvin.  While we've always had a Rocketman team mascot, 2001 was the first year we included a Rocketwoman.  Amber Whearley and Christopher Redfearn cheered the Rockets on at all of last year's games.

Our wrestlers were the district champions for the first time in 7 years.  We made headlines in the El Paso Times by beating Andress by a total of 57-30.

Irvin's 2001 football season was dedicated to Terry Nichols, a graduate of the class of 1997, Nichols died in a car accident in May of 2001.  Terry was attending Texas A & M at the time of his death.

We resurrected our spirit club in 2001, the Rocketteers.  Ed Torres is the sponsor of these enthusiasts.  The club members show their Rocket pride by decorating the parking lot before football games and organizing parties, projects, workshops and gatherings.  They are also a major part in organizing the Homecoming Parade for the past two years.

Graduations at Irvin have been held in different sites on campus to hold our growing number of graduates.  Initially, the graduation ceremonies were held in the Main Gym.  They then moved to the Irvin Memorial Stadium, and are now held at the Don Haskins Center (formerly the Special Events Center) at the University of Texas at El Paso.  Since Irvin opened we have held 43 graduations, and have handed out over 18,300 diplomas.  Graduation requirements have also been altered, requiring students of El Paso Public Schools to pass a state exit test in reading, writing, and math (the T.A.K.S.).  Students must pass all course requirements and accrue 24 course credit units.

The population drop stimulated by the opening of a new high school in northeast El Paso caused a change in our UIL classification status.  The UIL ruling caused Irvin to drop from a 5A school to a 4A school.  Beginning with the 2002-2003 school year, this ruling will affect all UIL sanctioned activities.

Irvin students have excelled both academically and athletically through all the years of our existence on the district, state, and even national levels.  Our overflowing trophy cases are a testimonial to Irvin's striving for excellence in music, speech and debate, drama, journalism, cheerleading, academics and sports.

Irvin's history is a combination of striving for excellence and pride in our school, its accomplishments by our students, and its administrators, counselors, librarians, faculty, coaches, staff, and Alumni.

When we leave the borders of the school and go on to become the world's lawyers, teachers, athletes, artists, doctors, and leaders, we'll have the memories of our high school years to look back at and remember with fondness.


We all may not have common backgrounds, but we do have our identities as Proud Rockets of Irvin High School


Copyright 2007, All rights reserved