Topeka High inducts public administrator, Shakespearean scholar, 35-year security officer to Hall of Fame

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– Topeka High School is honoring alumni and staff who are doing great things after high school on Sunday.

Of those alumni, a public administrator, a Shakespearean scholar and a grandpa inspiring his granddaughter.

The Topeka High School Historical Society has done more than keeping the Trojan’s memory alive. For 38 years, they’ve honored distinguished alumi and staff, from senators to scientists, all the way to teachers, for the Topeka High School Hall of Fame. It’s not just anyone who is added.

“Somebody who’s taken their education, their experience at Topeka High, and taken it out into the world to make the world a better place,” Joy Dodd said with the Topeka High School Historical Society.

This year, two alumni students, two staff members and an honorary degree were given to lifelong Trojans.

David Overmyer, an artist, was given an honorary degree. David attended Topeka High School, but the school isn’t sure he formally graduated. David founded three pieces of art at Topeka High School, where they are now hanging around the school. David’s son received his father’s degree in David’s honor.

One of the alumni, the city manager of Dallas, T.C. Broadnax, had a chance to be home one more time.

“I’ve been to a lot of cities,” T.C. said, who graduated in 1987. “Worked in a lot of cities. But there is nothing like being back in Topeka. I’m enjoying it, and I’m feeling blessed and humbled to have been honored today.”

T.C. was on the Topeka High School 1986 state basketball championship team. After graduation, he went on to attend Washburn University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications. He then received his master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Texas Denton. T.C. is the second City Manager of Dallas to be inducted into the Topeka High School Hall of Fame. The first was George Schrader, class of 1949.

One of the other 2019-2020 inductees is a Shakespearean scholar, Gary Taylor, class of 1971, who said he wouldn’t be where he is today without his high school teachers.

“Everything I needed to know, I learned at Topeka High School,” Gary said. “I was a poor kid from North Topeka and Topeka High School opened the world to me.”

Gary is a professor at Florida State University. He went to high school and college wanting to study politics. Once he got to the University of Kansas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree, he learned politics weren’t for him. He instead studied English Classics.

Gary traveled to England for his doctorate, attending Cambridge University. During his time in England, he discovered a long lost work written by Shakespear that earned him international notoriety. Gary is the Dahl and Lottie Pryor Professor of Shakespear Literature at Florida State University.

One of the Hall of Fame staff members, Michael Homan, got to walk the Topeka High halls one more time, with his granddaughter and family at his side. Michael was a security guard for 35 years. He graduated from Silver Lake High School and entered the Air Force in the Air Police. Michael retired in 2013 as the Coordinator of Campus Police Sergeant.

“Very humbling,” Michael said. “But it’s quite an honor to be recognized for doing something I enjoyed. All the students I ever had were just so super. Even the ones who got in trouble on a regular basis were fun.”

The second distinguished staff member to be honored was Donald Madl. Donald was an English teacher who received a bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University, getting a master’s degree from Fort Hayes State University. He started teaching at Topeka High School in 1958, and later Jardine Middle School. Donald retired in 1985 and passed in 2005.

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