HALL OF FAME
The Woodlake High School Foundation established a Hall of Fame for its distinguished staff and alumni. The Foundation Spring Dinner, May 3, 2019, will host the third induction class into the newly established Woodlake High School Hall of Fame. Candidates are eligible based on their contributions in areas such as academics, the community, athletics, professional occupations, and the arts.
More information to follow.
If anyone is worthy of being in the Woodlake Hall of Fame it is Frank Ainley. He is the only one of this first group of Hall of Fame inductees who hits all of the criteria landmarks. He is a graduate of Woodlake High in the 1950’s. He worked as a teacher and coach at Woodlake High in the 1970’s until his retirement in 2006. He has been an outstanding representative of all things Tiger for nearly his entire life in every element of his activities. Frank would be the first to tell you that it is the spirit of Woodlake that makes him do what he does. He claims “Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger” is not only a catchy phrase but it is a way of life. You are never a stranger once you became a Tiger. Frank’s work on the field of athletics or in the classroom classroom makes him one of those teachers you never forget. Along with his beloved wife Barbara, they had 4 children who attended Woodlake High School and who all still live in the local area. It you don’t know Frank just find him and get acquainted with him but be advised, chisel out a little time because he is going to get to know you and you are going to get a good dose of Tiger common sense. Which is going to take a while.
What do you do when you live in South Dakota and graduate from college with a teaching credential? In the case of Louise Achenbach, you come to small California town and you start teaching. Along the way the administration asked her to coach. She coached tennis, a sport she knew nothing about and that led to volleyball and other sports. Her teams domination in the sport of volleyball is legendary in Tulare County. Line up any Yosemite division school and her teams would beat them. It came from hard work and attention to detail. The classroom is also something she loved. When students recall what they learned from her in class they speak of life lessons and important personal insights through great discussions of events of the day. Mix common sense, hard work, personal integrity and good old South Dakota hospitality and you get Louise Achenbach. Thinking about Woodlake in the 1970’s through the first decade of the 21st century without thinking of her imprint into the sands of student life is near impossible. Her influence will go on through her former students, now adults, and how they raise their children. It is impossible to calculate her influence on her students and athletes, just know that she is worthy of her selection into the Hall of Fame.
Jim Barton was born April 30, 1924 and raised in Three Rivers from birth. His father was a cattle rancher and citrus farmer. Hot summers of his childhood were spent in the high country of Mineral King along with their cattle, supplying the rest of the campers with milk and beef. Jim attended Three Rivers Union School through the eighth grade, then attended WHS, serving as student body president his senior year. After graduation in 1942, he attended Visalia Junior College. He enlisted in the Army and was called to active duty in WWII from 1943 – 1946, serving in the Signal Corps in the U S Army’s 89th Infantry Division. He returned to Three Rivers, graduated from Visalia JC, Fresno State and UC Berkeley. He married Jeanette Tario in Three Rivers and they celebrated 66 years of marriage this last year before her death.
A move to Seattle with two young children, Sarah and Mark, allowed Jim to work on his Master’s degree at University of Washington in 1962. Jim continued to work as a ranger in the summer months, for a time in Yellowstone. Upon returning, Jim was hired as a math professor by the newly renamed College of the Sequoias. In 1977 Jim was elected to the WUHS Board of Trustees, where he served for nearly 15 years.
Six generations of Bartons have lived in Three Rivers. Four generations have graduated from Woodlake High School, including Jim’s father, daughter and two grandchildren. He is grateful and humbled to be added to the WHS Hall of Fame.
Ernie Garcia was born on June 12, 1927 in Arizona. His family migrated to Los Angeles then moved up to the Central Valley, settling in Farmersville before moving to Woodlake. They lived north of town until his father died; his mother moved them to Seville where Ernie graduated from the eighth grade. During high school they lived and worked in Redbanks, picking fruit, working in the packing house, driving truck.
His older brother, Augie entered the war, leaving Ernie as the head of the household. He attended WHS for three years and would have graduated with the class of 1946. He married Ernestina in 1945 and was drafted into the Army, where he served from 1945-47. He remains active with AMVETS Post 22 in Visalia. In 2014, he took the Honor Flight to Washington DC and Channel 30 featured him on commercials for several years.
Ernie and Ernestina had four children: Robert, Joe, Ernie and Erlinda. He purchased the property on Magnolia Street and built the house where he lives now. It started out with only one bedroom and enlarged it as his family grew. He worked a variety of jobs, joining the staff of Woodlake Veteran’s Memorial Building 1963-79. Then he worked at FJWhite Learning Center from 1979 until retiring in 1991. Wondering what to do after retiring, he went back to work for the Memorial Building until 2004. He has given countless hours of volunteering to the community. He always loved sports, and served as a member of the chain gang every Friday night during football season.
Ernie has been honored as Grand Marshall of the Woodlake Lions Rodeo Parade. He was honored as Man of the Year in 2003. His name is synonymous with service and love for Woodlake schools.
When Sally Pace came to Woodlake for a prospective Home Economics teaching position in 1971, the current teacher told her she was crazy to want the job. Two weeks later, she signed the contract and WHS has never been the same. She taught all freshman girls, had four lab classes, taught cultural foods, sewing, “On Your Own” and interior design. She created costumes for Dennis Connor’s Mexican Folk Dance class, having students help sew the yards and yards of ribbon on skirts that seemed to go on forever. She also started a child care class for Tulare County Organization for Vocational Education (TCOVE).
Sally is married to Michael Pace, who was also a teacher. She took a break after their two children Ryan (WHS 1992) and Natalie (WHS 1994) were born and resumed teaching in 1976. The next year, she and Margaret Wolfe started working with students in the Woodlake FHA –HERO organization. It was one of the largest and most successful chapters in California. In 1985 – 86, Sally and Dennis took over the Counseling program with Pearl Clarke, Jacinto Gardea and Mercy Herrera. Sally is responsible for many of the programs in force today: Career Day, Senior Exit Interviews/Portfolio Review, the Community Service Graduation Requirement, On-Site College Study Trips, the School to Career Program, Peer Counseling, High Risk Student Study Teams, 8th Grade Registration and Parent Night, and Financial Aid and College Application Workshops for parents and students.
All this hard work earned Sally many school, state, county and community honors. She continues to strive to draw in others to help make Woodlake a wonderful place of opportunity for students and parents alike. The community recognizes her amazing energy and contributions to the lives of many who have had the pleasure to live and work with her.
Coach Robinson began coaching and teaching at Woodlake High School in 1959 straight out of Fresno State College. He held many positions in his 43 years teaching at Woodlake High but his main position was physical education. He was also baseball coach for 27 years, football coach for 41 years, and athletic director. His obvious achievements are inscribed in record books, 290 football victories, 3rd all time among coaches in California and number 1 in the Valley, his induction into the California Football Hall of Fame in 2002, but he contributed so much more- the lasting effect he had on so many young people’s lives, the lessons on teamwork, sportsmanship, and character building. He showed them they could make a difference and that they could achieve so much more than they ever thought possible. You don’t spend 43 years in coaching without loving the game. You don’t spend 43 years teaching without loving teenagers. You don’t spend 43 years in a town of 7,000 without loving the community. Coach Robinson was a true tiger.