When I was a little girl I always desired to attend Taylor Allderdice High School. I’m not sure why, but there was something about the building. We would drive by it from time to time after dropping my late father off at his job at Sealtest Foods on Brownshill Road.
Quite by accident I attended Taylor Allderdice. It was the era of desegregation and I was in the seventh grade at Lemington Elementary School. The Black children from that area were bussed to Regent Square and Swisshelm Park Elementary. I was the only eighth grader bussed to attend Swisshelm Park which made me the first Black child to graduate from that school. When I completed eighth grade I matriculated to Taylor Allderdice the school of my dreams.
It is so funny, I lived in a city zip code, but our home was actually located in Penn Hills. Technically I should have attended Penn Hills, but we can’t rewrite history.
On Nov. 7, I was inducted into the Taylor Allderdice Hall of Fame, it was the Fifth Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and it was held at the high school. Bernie Newman nominated me; we had become Facebook friends after I was encouraged to join the Swisshelm Park Alumni page by my friend Hassan Jamal. Newman was in kindergarten when I started at Swisshelm Park and really did not know me. He started to see me in commercials and did some research on my career and decided to nominate me for the hall of fame.
Bernie, I just want to say thank you, this was a tremendous chapter to add to my book of life. The night was so special and I was inducted with some very special people. My drama teacher Lenore Mussoff was inducted, she received the William Fisher award that each year is presented to a former teacher.
Along with Sy Holzer, president, PNC Bank; Larry Lucchino, president and CEO, Boston Red Sox; and Farrell Rubenstein, CPA, Touche Ross & Company. I was in great company.
The plaques were beautiful and during the reception we each had our own sheet cake. Never have I been so excited by a cake. Lucchino’s cake was decorated with a baseball glove. Mine was green and white (the TA colors) and had beautiful white roses.
I want to thank my good friends, LaMont Jones Jr., Donald Patterson, Lolly Jackson, Charlene Foggie Barnett and Joseph Bailey Sr. for attending that evening. I am now on the wall of fame with people like Sharon Epperson, Marty Allen, Herbert Douglas, William Fisher, Curtis Martin, Douglas Holloway, Bob O’Connor, Richard Caliguiri and Myron Cope. Yes they are all Allderdice graduates or in the case of Fisher he was the principal from 1971 to 1991.
As an inductee I am given the opportunity to record a segment for the schools living library and tell them all about what I have accomplished since my high school days. I can’t wait. Thanks to the Hall of Fame Committee for putting together such a great night and remember nobody shakes the “Dice.”
(Email the columnist at debbienorrell.com)
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