The work and dedication of three former Longview ISD students will continue for years after an unveiling on Friday.
Longview ISD presented three honorees with an inscribed brick at the annual Distinguished Alumni Ceremony at the high school’s Lobo Foundation Plaza.
This year’s winners 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 entrance to Lobo Stadium, was started in 1997 with the help of the Longview ISD Foundation. This area contains many bricks inscribed with the names of former students who have had an impact on their school and community.
“The foundation honors you for your many successes. Your engraved brick will be a lasting tribute to you and your Longview ISD roots. The foundation sincerely hopes that its support of LISD will enable today’s students to achieve the level of achievement achieved by today’s honorees,” said Crista Black, President of the Longview Foundation. ISD, presenting the bricks to the three winners.
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 from here from this campus. To be fundamentally rooted for what we think is forever… It’s hard to put it into words; it’s kind of unreal,” he said. “I’m so grateful to be in this stadium. Obviously that’s where I became Trent Williams, and for that to come back on repeat, it’s unreal.
Williams has underwritten and sponsored many programs and initiatives to benefit the students and staff of Longview ISD as well as his hometown and said he is grateful to Longview ISD.
“I’m still on cloud nine. Longview is everything to me, and for that to be reciprocated means a lot to me. I can’t thank LISD enough,” he said.
Williams hosts a free annual youth football camp 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 you do when no one is watching is the most important work. I think being motivated and holding yourself accountable is the key to success,” he said.
Williams also mentioned how the structure of LISD’s athletic and academic programs shaped it into who it is today.
“It had everything to do with me being able to go straight to college and play as a freshman and go straight into the NFL as a rookie, I think I was prepared and Longview prepared me,” said he declared.
To be chosen as distinguished alumni, candidates must have excelled professionally 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 past honorees, volunteer members of the Distinguished Alumni Committee, and the District Community Relations Office.
Ray, another winner, began teaching at Longview ISD in 1974 before becoming the Gifted and Talented District Coordinator and District Testing Coordinator in 1994. A year later, she became Executive Director of the Longview ISD Foundation. , a role she still holds. In 2008, Ray became a college counselor and scholarship coordinator at Longview High School, which saw her launch the College and Career Center.
Pope is currently Vice Chairman and CEO of Texas Bank and Trust. He has also been recognized for his community service, receiving the Citizen of the Year Award from the Longview Chamber of Commerce in 2007. Five years later, the Boy Scouts of America of the East Texas Area Council awarded him and to his father, the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award.