Jefferson HS celebrates 80th anniversary

Jefferson High School celebrates 80th anniversary

      Some of the honorees included, from left to right, Boone Powell, Maj. Gen. 
           (Ret) Alfred  Valenzuela, Toni Thompson, Ed Garza, Joaquín Castro, and Laura Saldivar.

Some of Jefferson High School’s most prominent alumni were honored on Feb. 16 in celebration of the school’s 80th anniversary.

Alumni from each of the school’s eight decades were highlighted, among them: Bernard Rapoport, founder of American Income Life Insurance Company; Boone Powell, renowned architect; Joaquín Castro, state representative; Julián Castro, San Antonio mayor and Ed Garza, SAISD school board president and former San Antonio mayor. 

Thomas Jefferson High School opened in 1932 and is considered the “crowning jewel” of the Monticello Park neighborhood. The school’s striking Spanish-Moorish architectural style has attracted international attention, providing the backdrop for movies and commercials, and has been featured in prominent American and European publications. Its architectural beauty also contributed to the school being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Those honored at the event include:

1930s – Bernard Rapoport, who in addition to founding the American Income Life Insurance Co., he is also known for being an advocate for education and literacy, and for his philanthropy. His granddaughter attended the event on his behalf.

1940s – Bob Polunsky, San Antonio’s first film critic to broadcast on both radio and television. The numerous media outlets for which he worked include the San Antonio Light and San Antonio Express-News daily newspapers, as well as KENS and WOAI television stations.

1950s – Boone Powell, lead designer and principal in charge for Ford, Powell & Carson Architects. His notable works include designing the Tower of the Americas and creating the River North (River Walk expansion) project.   

1960s – Maj. Gen. (Ret) Alfred Valenzuela, whose distinguished awards include the Bronze Star Medal and the Soldier’s Medal. His post-retirement work includes creating an educational foundation for at-risk children and for the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty.  

1970s – Toni Thompson, SAISD associate superintendent for the Human Resources Department

1980s – Ed Garza, SAISD school board president and San Antonio mayor between 2001 and 2005

1990s – Joaquín Castro, state representative, District 125, and Julián Castro, San Antonio mayor

2000s – Laura Saldivar, executive director for Teach For America in San Antonio

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