2016 Alumni Hall of Fame Biographies
Wendy Clevenger Cory
Ms. Wendy Clevenger Cory, Class of 1988. Ms. Cory, Associate Professor and Associate Chair for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the College of Charleston, is a long way from her days as a CHS Model UN delegate .
A member of the Anchor Club and Drama Club, Ms. Cory also found time to serve as the editor for the student newspaper, the Cleveland High School Chronicle. Working on the newspaper with friends, speaking at the Harvard Model United Nations conference and winning an award at the University of Pennsylvania Model UN were some of Ms. Cory’s highlights of high school. One exciting moment from high school that she recreates for her own students today was watching her chemistry teacher, Mr. Hixson, smash a liquid nitrogen frozen grape with a hammer.
The friendships and confidence that she could go on to do anything with hard work and faith in herself are gains that Ms. Cory received from her time at CHS. She specifically credits Mrs. Lois Wyche, Mrs. Geri Hawes, Coach Richard Shaw, Mr. Terry Hixson, Mrs. Doris Hixson, and Mrs. Alice Hamilton as teachers who made a tremendous impact on her life.
Ms. Cory has enjoyed a successful teaching and scientific research career, working with students to inspire confidence in themselves, especially women and minorities, in science.
From the Class of 1993, Mr. Caleb Crye is the CEO of Crye Precision, LLC, a company he founded that designs and manufactures equipment for the Department of Defense.
Mr. Crye was a student who was active in many activities in his high school years, from Art Club to Student Government. He was very involved in art and is still known as one of the most talented artists to come through Cleveland High School. Mr. Crye was the Vice President of his class his junior year and served as Student Body President his senior year.
The greatest high school memory for Mr. Crye involves getting in trouble for breaking “some apparently important state law that says you can’t re-route school buses”, which is something that became necessary when he and his compatriots were painting the big Raider horse shoes on the main drive into the school. Upon reflection of the greatest impact of high school, Mr. Crye stated that “the job of high school is to get teens to realize it’s up to them to turn themselves into good adults and to provide some basic framework to help them do this. Looking back, I think CHS did a great job providing all students with the tools, environment, and opportunities to become good adults no matter what direction they pursued after graduation.”
Mr. Crye is the founder and CEO of Crye Precision, LLC. His company’s gear is currently in use by all major allied countries throughout the world. They have received over 50 patents on new product designs and have even had one design accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Mr. Crye and his company developed a camouflage pattern that is in use by our armed forces and is credited with saving numerous lives in combat.
From the Class of 1969, Mr. Gregory Davis! Mr. Davis is no stranger to Hall of Fame Inductions, having already been inducted into the Oral Roberts University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Cleveland, Tennessee Old Timers Hall of Fame.
Mr. Davis spent his high school years on the football and baseball fields and the basketball court, going All State in all three sports. He was named Most Athletic in high school and earned a basketball scholarship to Oral Roberts University, where he was named Most Valuable Player.
Mr. Davis’ athletic accomplishments are innumerable. He was awarded the Oral Roberts Presidents Award for Outstanding Athlete in 1972, an All-American Baseball Player in 1973, then was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles Professional Baseball Team in 1973. Mr. Davis was 7th in the nation playing racquetball in the National Tournament in Houston Texas.
Since graduation, Mr. Davis has spent his time serving his community by working with families and groups, community athletic leagues, church choirs, young athletes, speaking in churches, and coaching in summer camps. He has taught in Tennessee (at CHS from 1974-1977), Oklahoma, and Texas, along with coaching basketball and baseball. As if mentoring young minds and young athletes wasn’t enough, Mr. Davis is also a racquetball instructor and assistant manager at a fitness club.
Lieutenant Colonel Lee Fretwell
Lieutenant Colonel Lee Fretwell is our Hall of Fame Inductee who represents the Class of 1982. Once a CHS Raider wrestler, currently retired US Army, adjunct professor, coach, and Director of Veterans Assistance Center Kalispell, Lt. Colonel Fretwell makes his home in Kalispell, Montana.
Lt. Colonel Fretwell was a four year CHS wrestler. His friendships are the greatest memories from high school and he states that he has been able to maintain these close friendships for over thirty years. Mr. Al Miller, AP History teacher and wrestling coach, receives credit as the person who had the greatest impact on him during his high school career. Coach Miller taught him appreciation of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice, all traits that have served him well in a career that not only expected them, but demanded them.
Lt. Colonel Crump attended MTSU upon his graduation from CHS, gaining an undergraduate degree in Political Science. He served his country as a Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry, US Army. He graduated from the US Army, Infantry, Airborne and Ranger School as well as from the US Army Command and General Staff College. Lt. Colonel. Fretwell has fought in every major conflict that this country has been involved with in the past twenty-five years. He is a highly decorated soldier with decorations that include the Legion of Merit, Two Bronze Stars, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Senior Parachute Badge and the Ranger Tab. Lt. Colonel Fretwell added civilian graduate degrees from Webster University, St. Louis, MO, in Human Resource Management, and Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, in Public Administration.
Lt. Colonel Fretwell now spends his time teaching as an adjunct professor at Flathead Valley Community College, coaching wresting, and volunteering for Toys for Tots and other Montana service organizations. He is married to Melanie Fretwell. They have two sons, KC and Lance, and currently reside in Kalispell, Montana.
Mr. Greg Hicks is our Hall of Fame Inductee who represents the Cleveland High School Class of 1992. Once a CHS Thespian who currently serves our community as a highly respected local businessman, Mr. Hicks exemplifies Raider pride.
Mr. Hicks was a member of Thespians, the Spanish Club, and a self-proclaimed professional at “flying under the radar”. He has fond memories of taking a trip to Mexico with Senor Smith (Sr).
Mr. Hick’s most treasured memories from high school include having a tight friend group, teachers who treated students like they mattered, and marrying his high school sweetheart. He believes that the greatest impact his time at Cleveland High School had on his life is that it is where he first realized that the kind of person you want to be is entirely up to you and not what others think of you.
Mr. Hicks has enjoyed a successful life of impressive accomplishments since he graduated from Cleveland High. He has been married for 23 years to Patsy Hicks, an educator at E.L. Ross Elementary, and together they are raising three really great kids, Hannah (Class of 2014), Mady, CHS Senior and Class of 2017, and Will, Class of 2021. He started his own catering business in 2001 at age 27 where he is currently the Chef and Owner. Impressions Catering won Small Business of the Year in 2011 and he was named Small Businessperson of the Year in 2015 by Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. He is a member and ambassador of the Catersource National Catering Conference Education Team, as well as a speaker to over 5000 caterers from around the globe.
Once a CHS band member, today a businessman, board member, and advisor, our inductee from the Class of 1971 is Mr. Alan Lacy. Mr. Lacy represents Cleveland High School honorably in the world of business. Mr. Lacy gained a foundation for his future career through his high school involvement with Beta Club and Key Club. He also participated In the CHS marching and concert bands, as well as a member of the Raider tennis team.
The years of great football and basketball teams during Mr. Lacy’s high school years provide wonderful memories for him as part of the student section. However, his time in band holds the sweetest memories for him. Mr. Lacy was part of the 200 member marching band (out of a total of 800 students in the entire school), which he said was intimidating to the opponents at away football games. Band Director Crill Higgins is someone Mr. Lacy remembers fondly due to his positive influence on the students.
His friend group had the greatest impact of high school, many of whom he still gets together with on occasion. There were about twenty kids who were in honors classes and, for four years, had almost every single class together, making for a very close group. Mr. Lacy states that almost all of them are today enjoying very productive lives.
Mr. Lacy has enjoyed a successful career with several large consumer companies (most notably Kraft Foods and Sears, Roebuck, and Co.). He became the Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Sears in 2000. At that time, Sears had $41 billion in revenue and over 300,000 employees. He sold the company in 2005. Mr. Lacy continues to be involved in the business world by serving on the boards of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (pharmaceuticals), Fidelity Funds (investment management), and Dave and Buster’s Entertainment, Inc., (restaurants and amusements). He has also been involved with several not-for-profit organizations, mostly involved in conservation, such as The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the National Parks Conservations Association in D.C., the California Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and the Big Sur Land Trust. He was honored to have been given the Distinguished Alumni Award by Georgia Tech and to have been named as one of 174 Emory Historymakers in conjunction with Emory University’s 175th anniversary. One of his highest honors, however, came from being given a “Key to the City” of Cleveland from Mayor Tom Rowland in 2002. He currently lives in Lake Forest, IL.
We would also like to take this opportunity to announce the Caron and Alan Lacy scholarship offered at Georgia Tech. This scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who are citizens of the United States and who are graduates of Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Tennessee, with preference given to qualified students with demonstrated financial need. The scholarship shall meet the unmet demonstrated financial need of each recipient. Scholarship may be renewed up to seven additional semesters or until the achievement of a bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first, as long as the student remains in good academic standing. Recipients shall be selected by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
We are proud to honor Mr. James McKissic, member of the class of 1990, as our next Hall of Fame inductee. Mr. McKissic drew from his educational experience at Cleveland High School to become the Director of the City of Chattanooga Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Mr. McKissic was a very involved student in his time at Cleveland High School. He participated in Student Government, Art Club, Band, Theater, and the Newspaper. A lifelong love of international travel was inspired by a trip to Europe with Mrs. Kidwell. Mr. McKissic also fondly remembers exhibiting his paintings at the Hunter Museum, being part of SGA, and receiving the 12th Grade English Award from Mrs. Reiser.
When asked what he feels to be the greatest impact of high school, Mr. McKissic credited three major aspects of his time as a student at CHS. Meeting friends that he continues to have to this day, learning about community service, and falling in love with the arts are all gains Mr. McKissic received here that continue to influence his career to this day.
A graduate of Cleveland State, UTC, and New York University, Mr. McKissic has attended summer programs at Harvard Business School, the JFK School of Government, and even the University of Havana, Cuba. He had a painting in the private art collection of Maya Angelou. Mr. McKissic is a community-minded person, having served on the board of many community organizations related to arts and culture, including the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. He is a founding member of the Sankofa Fund for Civic Engagement, an African-American Giving Circle, and also founded Jazznooga, a music education and historic preservation organization which hosts an annual jazz festival each April. Mr. McKissic was appointed in 2013 to head the Office of Multicultural Affairs for the City of Chattanooga, which focuses on diversity and inclusion in city government.
Our next CHS Hall of Fame inductee is a successful businessman and developer and also holds a prestigious award from the 2010 Nashville Songwriters Association International, the Stephen Foster Award. A member of the Class of 1977, Mr. Aubrey Preston is now a well-known member of the Middle Tennessee community.
Mr. Preston pursued his lifelong passion of preserving important elements of American heritage and landscapes in Colorado, then returned to Tennessee in 1992 where he created, developed, and supported Lieper’s Fork (Strong Community with Music Venue). He led the restoration of Franklin Theatre in Franklin, TN, and organized the 10-Day Americana Experience Music Festival. He has worked alongside the American Music Association to create the American Music Triangle (multi-state tourism project—Nashville-Memphis-New Orleans) and also purchased and restored 30 Square West—RCA Studio A in Nashville, TN.
Mr. Preston is very active in community projects such as partnering with the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce on a variety of community ventures. “Kids on Stage”, a performing arts curriculum for the Williamson County Schools was created, designed, and funded by Mr. Aubrey Preston. Mr. Preston’s leadership has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining culturally rich regional history and he is known as a preservation architect who takes the lead on restoring and renovating historical landmarks throughout Middle Tennessee and the Southern United States.
Mr. Kevin Tucker is a member of the Blue Raider Class of 1993. Mr. Tucker is a long way from the stage of the Little Theater where he spent many hours as a high school Thespian student. He currently resides in Nashville, TN, where he is a Creative Director.
Mr. Tucker was involved in the Art Club, Honors Society, and French Club while at Cleveland High School. He also was a member of the Thespians, Toss Up and Quiz Bowl team, Journalism Club, and recalls running a fictional candidate for Class President. His greatest memory from high school is of the French Club trips to the Biltmore and Nashville.
Cleveland High School played a key role in establishing the creative foundation that Mr. Tucker still builds on today. “Teachers who believed in my (very raw) potential and helped guide me in meaningful directions, and who encouraged creative expression as part of the learning experience were the greatest impact of high school for me,” Mr. Tucker states.
In the years since his graduation from Cleveland High School, Mr. Tucker started a creative agency where he worked with well-known brands including Willie Nelson, Larry the Cable Guy, Amy Grant, Big & Rich, Pepsi, Warner Bros Records, Vanderbilt Medical Center, Healthspring, Gideons International, and Ringling Brothers Circus. He has received several awards for creative work in advertising, packaging, and interactive, including “Best in Show: Interactive” award from the American Advertising Federation, Nashville, in 2016. Mr. Tucker co-created and produced a comedy TV series pilot in 2012, and co-wrote and directed a short film which screened at the Nashville Film Festival in 2008 and was awarded “Best Film” at the 48 Hour Film Project Nashville. Not only a community mentor for the Project Music accelerator at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Mr. Tucker also served for multiple years on the board of the Nashville chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, and co-created the ongoing Think Tank Conference, which has brought some of the most acclaimed design professionals to Nashville each year since 2007.
Mr. Brandon West is a representative of the Cleveland High School Class of 1993. He serves his hometown today as a Physician Assistant after many years as a police officer. Mr. West feels that his greatest memory from high school was graduation day. The greatest impact high school had on his life were the great teachers who pushed him to succeed despite his own apathy and inability to see potential in himself.
Mr. West attended and completed the TN Law Enforcement Training Academy in the years after Cleveland High. He then served the City of Cleveland as a police officer/K9 officer between the years of 2001 and 2011. At that point, he attended Lee University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and won the prestigious F.J. Lee Award, an annual award presented to a senior who demonstrates a high standard of integrity, leadership, service, and academic excellence. He added to his accolades by also winning the Health Science Award.
After graduating from Emory University’s School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, Mr. West gained employment as a Family Medicine Physician Assistant at Kaful Family Practice here in Cleveland, TN, where he currently works.