Hordes of former Bisons (aka Sunset High School graduates) turned out Saturday to celebrate their school's 90th anniversary with a day filled with events and a few surprises. While many of them had moved far away, they didn't want to miss the opportunity to meet and mingle with classmates they may not have seen in decades.
Greeted by current teachers, administrators, and a hard-working alumni association led by President Doris L. Murphy (1970), plus enthusiastic members of today's cheerleading, Bisonettes, and dance teams, many of the alumni who attended wore their school colors of purple and white. Also welcoming the alumni was Bill Melton, a former cheerleader (1958), later serving many years as Dallas County Treasurer as well as the voice of the Dallas Cowboys and other sports teams. Melton, who also served as emcee for the school's 50th anniversary in 1975, again served as emcee for the program in the old auditorium.
Melton, who now lives in Estes Park, Colorado much of the year, said, "I learned the meaning of Bison Spirit from Principal C. C. Miller, and I have never forgotten the true meaning of 'Spirit, Knowledge, Friendship'...what a wonderful life lesson."
Joining him at the podium were several dignitaries, including Dallas Independent School District's interim superintendent Michael Hinojosa, also a Sunset HS grad 40 years ago. Hinojosa has been chosen to again become DISD Superintendent, a position he held several years earlier. Also attending were Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, State Representative Roberto Alonzo, a Dallas City Council representative, and others who read proclamations honoring Sunset's milestone anniversary.
There were 1,400 students and 39 teachers when Sunset first opened September 21, 1925 as the second high school in Oak Cliff. On May 28, 2014, Sunset HS received the City of Dallas Landmark designation by vote of the Dallas City Council and in April, 2015 the Texas Historical Commission named Sunset a Texas Historical Landmark. Those markers were installed following the morning program.
The audience cheered the oldest members to attend the 90th anniversary, who represented the classes of 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1938. They also cheered dance numbers performed by the Dallas Tap Dazzlers (directed by Fran Dempsey, '57) and the school's new dance team before hearing the school's beloved Bison (in a voice that sounded suspiciously like that of Bill Melton's) speak to them again.
Everyone then adjourned to the Byron Rhome Field House for the dedication honoring the school's longtime Coach, now deceased. His son Jerry Rhome, former Sunset standout who became a professional football player, was on hand to honor his father and talk to some of today's players.
After touring the school's classrooms, many of those attending headed for popular 12th Street restaurant La Calle Doce for a long lunch and an afternoon of visiting and reminiscing with former classmates and friends.