Bostic, Human, Fowler, Stephenson to be enshrined
This year the Clinton High School Wall of Fame will induct four new members. They are Paul “Jenks” Bostic, Susan Fowler, W.D. Human, and William “Bear” Stephenson.
Established in 2004 as part of the school’s centennial celebration, the Wall of Fame seeks to honor CHS graduates who have distinguished themselves in their careers, as well as non-graduates who have had a significant influence on the school.
Traditionally, the nominees ride in the homecoming parade and are inducted in a ceremony prior to the football game. This year homecoming is Oct. 25.
Jenks Bostic graduated from CHS in 1967. While there, he lettered in baseball, football and basketball. More than a half-century later he still calls Clinton his home. During that time, he has been a leader in the areas of business, commerce, and community service.
Bostic attended Carson-Newman University on a baseball scholarship. He graduated in 1971 and was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates – a fete accomplished by few in any other C.H.S graduates. He married his high school sweetheart, Dudley Hoskins, while playing in the Pirates farm system. They have been married for 48 years.
After his short baseball career, Bostic was employed by Regions Bank. During his three decades there, he served several roles including President of the Anderson County area, President of areas outside of Knoxville, and President of Tri-Cities. He completed his career in Knoxville as Executive Vice President of retail operations, managing 130 offices in East Tennessee and North Carolina. He was selected from 25,000 Region’s employees to receive the prestigious “Better Life Award.”
His leadership skills and commitment are not limited to his career. As a community leader, he has been active in many local boards and clubs, including serving as President of Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, being a board member of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, serving as President of the Melton Hill Industrial Board, and being a member of the Knox County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Bostic has been President of the Clinton Rotary Club and a board member of the Knoxville Museum of Art. In 2009 he was elected to the Anderson County Hall of Fame Business Division.
“Teaching was a full-time commitment and the most important thing in my life.” With those words, Susan Fowler expresses the drive and the focus that helped her achieve excellence in her profession.
Fowler’s parents were from Tennessee, but her father’s job forced numerous moves, in fact, she was born in Detroit, Michigan. She graduated in 1969 from the University of Michigan with a double major in history and journalism. She did a sports reporting internship with the Detroit Free Press before moving to Tennessee.
In 1972, Fowler found her first teaching position at Lake City High School. The following year she moved to Clinton Junior High School. When that school became a middle school in the late 80’s, she moved with the ninth graders to C.H.S. She would also complete her master’s degree at the University of Tennessee.
Fowler’s excellence in the classroom is only part of her story. She was an advisor to the Student Government Association, a chaperone for numerous class trips to Washington, D.C. and to European countries, a Teacher of the Year recipient, and a valued assistant to Elizabeth “Liz” Cobb at graduation ceremonies and athletic events.
For 25 years, Fowler was a dedicated and tireless worker on behalf of the Anderson County Education Association, serving as Chief Negotiator and President.
She was also the coach of a mock trial team that, during a ten year stretch, won nine regional championships. They competed for seven state championships and won five. They had four top 10 national rankings, including a second place finish.
Fowler spent 32 years teaching in Anderson County, the vast majority at C.H.S. She continues to help educators by supervising student teachers for Tennessee Tech University.
Most Clintonians know the story of the Clinton 12 and the 1956 integration of Clinton High School. Many may be aware that, in 1958, the school was bombed. What many may not be aware of is the person charged with leading C.H.S. through those turbulent times. That leader was William Dudley “W.D.” Human.
Human was born in 1905. Many of his personal notes and records have been lost, but what is known paints a picture of leadership and courage.
He received a Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee Tech and a Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee. He began his teaching career in 1927 in a one-room schoolhouse in the Pine Orchard Community of Morgan County.
During World War II Human joined the army serving in the quartermaster department where he achieved the rank of captain. After the war he joined the Foreign Liquidation Commission for China, India and Burma.
When he returned to education he was a principal at Lacing and Coalfield and then superintendent at Morgan County. He was selected as a delegate to the White House Education Conference under President Eisenhower.
In 1957 Human left Morgan County to become the principal at Clinton High School. It was hoped that calm had been restored after the integration, but a year into his principalship that calm was shattered by dynamite.
Human’s daughter, Linda Thompson, was ten years old at the time. She says, “I will never forget that early Sunday morning in October when dad was notified that he was needed at the site of the destruction. It was such a loss of innocence for so many – myself included.”
A principal is notified his building has been destroyed. The immediate concern for the safety and welfare of his staff and students and the logistical concerns are immense. Thompson recalls not being allowed to answer the phone or the door for fear of what might happen.
Many are of the opinion that his military background served Human well as he led the school back to “normalcy.” Oak Ridge would play a major role in that area. Students were bussed to the vacant Linden Elementary School. The Oak Ridge High School band would play the Dragon’s fight song as the busses arrived on that first day. It would be two years before Clinton High School could be rebuilt.
Human served as principal from 1957 – 1968. Students like Alvin Taylor recall him as being very strict – strict in a way that might not be appreciated at the time, but would be greatly respected in adulthood.
Teachers like Robert Jameson also remember the strictness, but also his fairness and a deep concern for his students. Jameson would spend four decades at C.H.S., becoming a Wall of Fame member in his own right. He states, “Whatever success I may have had as a teacher, I credit much of that to what I learned from W.D. Human.”
There is one other characteristic worth mentioning. Linda Thompson was Human’s only child. She was adopted at the age of six, an action that would be life changing. She notes her father’s main goal was to run an orderly, disciplined school and create conditions so teachers and students could work and learn. That is what he did under stressful conditions. Thompson adds, “No one meant more to me. He was the best father – I am so proud of him.” He also told her that, “The mark of an educated man is freedom from prejudice.”
After his retirement from C.H.S., Human returned to Wartburg where he served as a county commissioner, county historian, and director of the industrial board. He died in 1987. His military service, his business skills and leadership, and his selfless commitment to his community are exemplary.
William “Bear” Stephenson is a 1966 graduate of Clinton High School where he was President of the state 4H Club and a delegate to Boys State. He was ultimately elected to the position of Boys State Governor – an honor few if any other Clintonians have shared.
Stephenson earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Tennessee Technological University. He served as President of his freshman class and as a student government officer. He was also a member of the U.S. Army R.O.T.C. program. Upon graduating in 1970, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army combat engineers. He served a two year active duty commitment which included a tour in Vietnam. He returned as a 1st Lieutenant.
Following his military service, Stephenson held several different positions at various local banks. In 1976 he began a career in real estate which eventually led to his establishing the Stephenson Realty and Auction Company in 1982. He continues to work there today.
In addition to his business skills, Stephenson is noted for another talent; that of auctioneer. He graduated from The Nashville Auction School in 1983 and became a certified auctioneer from the Certified Auctioneer Institute at the University of Indiana in 1988 – the first Anderson County resident to do so. He has used that talent to conduct more than 50 auctions each year – auctions that benefit numerous civic and charitable organizations. He has never charged for his services because he feels it is a way to give back to his community.
He has found other ways to give back as well. He has been a leader or director in myriad organizations – from the United Way to Rotary International to the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce. He has served on numerous boards and committees. In 2004 Governor Bredesen appointed him to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission where he was elected chairman in 2012. He has been inducted into the Tennessee Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame, and earlier this year he received the “Good Scout Award” for his work with the Boy Scouts of America. His military service, his business skills, his leadership, and his selfless commitment to his community are exemplary.
Two Clinton High graduates who went on to excel in the areas of business, leadership, and community service are being inducted. Two non-graduates who left indelible marks on the school are also being inducted. That is the essence of the Clinton High School Wall of Fame.