ALUMNI OF THE YEAR AWARD
Darren Welch - class 0f 2022
Darren Welch, BHS Class of 2002, was named Alumnus of the Year for 2021 at school graduation ceremonies in early June.
Welch’s long history of serving Bearden began with various Student Government positions including SGA President his senior year. He went on to earn a degree from the University of Tennessee before starting his professional career with Hilliard Lyons Financial, now RW Baird.
Alongside his career and family, Welch has continued to show a commitment to the Bearden community through his work on the BHS Foundation Board. He has served as Treasurer and helped organize numerous fundraisers.
With his hard work, the Foundation has been able to ensure that staff and students are supported and receive the financial assistance they need. In the words of his former teacher and advisor, Amy Shipley, “He has always had a serving heart, one which did not go away after he graduated.”
It is that spirit and commitment to Bearden High School that makes Welch an outstanding member of our alumni community and deserving of this recognition.
Beverly Dickerson Anderson, Class of 1980 and currently a counselor at BHS, was named Alumnus of the Year for 2020. Beverly was recognized at graduation ceremonies and her picture will be displayed in the Alumni Hall of Fame at the front entrance to school. Susan Bolinger, Director of College Counseling at Bearden, offered these thoughts about her friend and colleague:
Beverly Anderson - Class of 1980
“A truly dedicated professional, Beverly Anderson is an excellent
advocate. Beverly was my trainer in the Undergraduate Admissions
Office at UT when I started as an admissions counselor. We worked
together in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at The University of Tennessee and now are
colleagues in the school counseling office. Beverly has always been a model for others to follow. Her integrity and wit as well as her impeccable work ethic have never been equaled by anyone else with whom I have worked.
Beverly spends countless hours trying to improve school counseling as a profession for counselors in our area. She worked tireless hours as President of SMCA and for her high school. She is a college faculty member teaching others in her field. She runs a large department at Bearden of over ten staff members and several interns. It is difficult to comprehend how she manages to balance her family life with a special needs son and a working husband, but Beverly manages to do it all with skill and grace.
Beverly always goes out of her way to try to improve whatever she is working on and always provides valuable feedback for other counselors. I have personally seen her go to great lengths to make accommodations for a student simply because it was in the best interest of the student. She puts students first and makes a difference for those she is around. She is a trailblazer and helps lead the path for others.
On the iconic “Torchbearer” statue at Beverly’s alma mater, the University of Tennessee, reads the motto, “One that beareth a torch shadoweth oneself to give light to others.” This is the epitome of Beverly Anderson. She is always striving to make professionals in our field better. She makes others around her better. I cannot think of a more worthy and deserving candidate for Bearden Alumnus of the Year.”
In fact, Pelot liked school so much, after graduating from Bearden, he spent eight more years in class, receiving a B.A. from UTK, a M.Ed. in Public Policy from Vanderbilt; and a J.D. from UTK. He currently practices law in Knoxville with Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, P.C.
Pelot has served on the Bearden High School Foundation Board since 2009 with roles that included Grant Committee chairperson, Vice President, and President. Over the years, Pelot has also served on the City of Knoxville Greenways Commission, the Board of CASA of East Tennessee Inc., as president of the Blue Grass Baseball League (and coach), and as a certified referee for the Greater Knoxville Area Interclub Swimming Association. He was also a candidate for the Knox County School Board in 2016. Pelot is married to Judith who served as PTSO president for two years at Bearden. They have three daughters who are all Bearden alums. Buddy Pelot would be most proud to tell you that all three daughters were voted “Best All-Around” their senior years at Bearden.
"My family has been extremely blessed to be a part of the Bearden community, and we are so thankful for all that our time at Bearden has meant to us."
Buddy Pelot, class of 1982, was recognized as the Bearden High School Alumnus of the Year for 2019 at Bearden’s graduation ceremonies in May at Thompson-Boling Arena.
“I am honored – and surprised – to receive the award,” said Pelot. “I know my teachers from Bearden would have found it even harder to believe. When I graduated from UTK, I happened to sit next to another Bearden alum, Judy Houbler, and afterwards her dad, Major Houbler, my government teacher at Bearden, wrote me the kindest note. But I got the impression he was surprised I even went to college."
Buddy Pelot - Class of 1982
Dr. David Harris - Class of 1971
Dr. David Harris, Jr, class of 1971, was recognized as the Bearden High School Alumnus of the Year for 2018 at Bearden’s graduation ceremonies in May at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Harris was his class Salutatorian, an Eagle Scout, and a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. After obtaining BA and MD degrees from the University of Tennessee, he served on active duty in the United States Navy from 1979 to 1989, culminating with research on high altitude eye disease on Mount Everest. He returned to Knoxville and transferred to the Navy Reserve, retiring as a Captain in 1999. During his military career, he was awarded the Navy Commendation, Achievement, Expeditionary, and Expert Rifle Medals.
Harris is now Clinical Professor and Chief of Ophthalmology at UT Medical Center and Medical Director of the East Tennessee Lions Eye Bank. He frequently volunteers with Knoxville Interfaith Clinic and Remote Area Medical. He is a Charter Member of the Bearden High School Foundation Board, serving since 1997, and since 1999 has been heard throughout the year as PA announcer for the Bearden boys and girls soccer teams.
Tim Burchett - Class of 1982
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett said he thought it was a joke when he first learned that Bearden High School would honor him with its 2017 Alumni of the Year Award.
“I was incredibly humbled. I went to school with some wonderful, wonderful people, had some great teachers. I can think of a lot more people that were a heck of a lot more deserving than me,” said Burchett. “They’ve accomplished more in the world than I have and so I was just kind of caught off guard.”
After graduating from
Bearden High School in 1982, Burchett attended the University of Tennessee and earned a degree in education. His political career began with his election to the Tennessee State House of Representatives in 1994. In 1998, Burchett was elected to the first of three terms as a Tennessee State Senator before being elected Knox County Mayor in 2010.
Burchett received the award at Bearden graduation ceremonies on May 18 in Thompson-Boling Arena on the UT campus. “I was honored. I looked at the kids who were there and I thought about which one of them looked like my buddies and there were several,” said Burchett. “I guess what I should have said in my acceptance speech is C students do actually run the world, at least on the county side.”
Pictured: Amy Shipley, Class of 1979
Pictured L to R: Amy Shipley with 2016
Senior Committee President,
Amy Shipley - Class of 1979
Graduation is a time for reflection, recognition, and for honoring the hard work and dedication put forth by the graduating seniors. Bearden has an ongoing tradition that makes tribute to those who have contributed to the successes and educational experiences of their students—from parents and other family, to the teachers and administration, recognizing the individuals whom have played a viable role in Bearden students does not go without mention. One particular honor that has hailed for 6 years is the recognition of alumni who has positively impacted and contributed to the wealth of Bearden High School students and their education. During this year’s commencement ceremony, Amy Shipley was awarded the 2016 Alumni of the Year.
Amy is a proud member of the Bearden High School Class of 1979. After graduating from Bearden, she earned a B.S. Degree in Business Education and a M.S. Degree in Technological & Adult Education from the University of Tennessee; along with an Ed.S. Degree in Educational Leadership & Administration from Lincoln Memorial University. She has served in many different roles as an educator in Knox County Schools for 27 years. Amy has taught several Business courses with Knox County high schools (13 years at Bearden). In addition, she also served as an Assistant Principal at Powell High School and as a Supervisor of Career and Technical Education.
Amy is now a dedicated teacher at Bearden High School where she teaches Web Design and Information Technology. In addition, she serves as an Administrator for the Knox County Schools Night Alternative Program.
In 2014, Amy took over the sponsorship of the Senior Committee where she dedicates long and tireless hours to the students of the Bearden High School Senior Class. This year, through her leadership, the 2016 Senior Committee took on the challenge to raise funds for a renovation of the Bearden High School Auditorium. Due to her efforts, along with the Senior committee, over $400,000 has been raised and secured from Knox County Schools, BHS Foundation, PTSO, alumni, and friends of Bearden High School. Amy has served on the BHS Foundation Board of Directors since 2012.
Pictured: Amy Moskal receiving the Alumni of the Year award from Dr. Bartlett
Doug Harris - Class of 1978
Doug Harris, Knox County School Board Member, had more than one role to play at the 2015 Bearden High School graduation ceremony. His son was graduating, he was representing the Knox County School Board, and little did he know that he was going to hear his name called as the recipient of the Bearden High School Alumni of the Year Award.
Doug was a 1978 graduate of Bearden and played an active role in Student Government as Vice President of his class. Also, he was a member of Key Club and DECA. Doug’s favorite teacher was Mrs. Ann William, Marketing/DECA teacher. Through his experience with DECA, he participated in the national marketing championship in Washington, D.C. During his high school career, he worked at Jerry’s Restaurant where he earned the title of Manager his senior year.
When asked about some of his greatest memories in high school, Doug reflected on the times that he spent with his friends. Harris stated, “Several of us (Paul Koonce, Steve Turner, Rick Hensley, Buddy Heins, and Dean Anderson) were named the ‘Road Crew’ from all of the trips that we took our senior year. From Key West for spring break, Atlanta to watch the Vols play UCLA in basketball, Gainesville to watch Vols play Florida in football, Bearden school trip up the east coast to NYC, Boston, Plymouth and many fishing trips as well. We all worked after school to fund these trips. Most of this group has stayed in close contact over 37 years later.”
Doug Harris is a Knoxville native and a University of Tennessee graduate. Upon graduation from UT, he moved to Nashville to pursue medical sales. While in Nashville, he met his wife Carla and they began their life together by starting their own business. To date, the Harris Restaurant Group has 23 restaurants located in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana. They moved back to Knoxville in 1995.
Since his return to Knoxville, Doug has maintained an active role in Bearden High School and his community. Dr. John Bartlett stated, “Doug is a very effective advocate for Bearden High School and public schools in general. He has used his position on the Knox County School Board to advocate for further funding, accountability, and increased technology in all schools. His behind the scenes leadership in public education has helped build coalitions within Knox County and the State of Tennessee to help increase the need for a student centered approach to education. Doug has privately given back to Bearden High School throughout the years, both monetarily and with his very valuable time and influence. It was fitting to recognize him as Alumni of the Year because of his efforts to promote Bearden High School and the needs of every student within Knox County.”
Doug’s involvement in the community entails his work with the Compassion Coalition, Emerald Youth Foundation, and Brittney Place Neighborhood Association. Two of Doug and Carla’s three children have graduated from Bearden. He has stayed actively involved with the 1978 alumni events. Carla is the secretary of the BHS Foundation Board of Directors and organizer of the annual BHS Foundation Golf Classic.
Internationally, Doug co-founded the World Water Project where he serves as President. The World Water Project provides clean drinking water to over 100,000 people through a filter (TivaWater) that he and his partners invented. His team has also built a sustainable poultry farm in Uganda that is training and funding young men to be farmers. In 2010, he was elected to the Knox County School Board. Buddy Heins, President of BHS Foundation and longtime friend of Doug said, “Since graduation, Doug has flourished in business and life. He has unselfishly given back to his community in more ways than we’ll ever know.”
Pictured: Doug Harris, Class of 1978
Pictured L to R: BHSF President Buddy Heins with 2015 Alumni of the Year Recipient, Doug Harris
Pictured L to R: Dr. John Bartlett, Principal
with 2014 Alumni of the Year, Jack Tate
Jack Tate - Class of 1978
Bearden High School honored one of its own recently at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony at Thompson Boling Arena. Jack Tate, teacher and graduate of Bearden (Class of 1978), was recognized and received an award for Alumni of the Year.
Dr. Bartlett stated, “This year, Coach Tate was the obvious choice”. Jack Tate is a native to Knoxville and attended the University of Tennessee, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education, and specializing in Social Studies. Twenty-six years of his life have been devoted to educating and coaching our youth, 19 of those years were spent at Bearden High School, while 7 years were dedicated to the students of Bearden Middle School.
Jack Tate has inspired students inside and outside of the classroom, by his willingness and passion to serve as an assistant and junior varsity coach for the Bearden Baseball Team. He was the varsity head coach for the Bulldogs from 2010 – 2012. In 2012, Coach Tate led the baseball team to it’s most successful season ever - Regional Champion (beating Farragut in the finals) and State Runner-up. He was named Knoxville News Sentinel Coach of the year in 2012. His dedication to Bearden was even more evident with his commitment to keeping accurate and up to date stats for the baseball team expanding over the past 25 years, as well as, assisting the football team with their stats for more than 33 years.
To date, Coach Tate expressed that his greatest memories of Bearden are personified by his experiences with the students, teachers, administrators, and support staff that he has worked with throughout his teaching career. When Coach Tate was asked what advice he would give to new teachers entering this profession, he stated the following:
“Make sure your players and students always know how happy you are to see them and to be with them. Never take a single game, day, or class for granted. Remember, you and your students are teammates, not opponents.”
Bert Bertelkamp - Class of 1976
The creation of the Bertelkamp Center for Academic Excellence was announced in a ceremony at Bearden High School. Bert Bertelkamp, the benefactor, was a basketball player at Bearden, graduating in 1976. His jersey was retired before a Bearden game in February.
His center will offer tutoring and ACT prep for student-athletes struggling with their grades. All student- athletes with a “D” or an “F” in any class, after each grading period, will be required to attend academic assistance sessions. The sessions will run Monday through Thursday from 7-8 a.m. in the learning center. After a student enters the program, he or she must attend all sessions until weekly progress reports demonstrate that the student has attained a “C” in the appropriate subjects. If an athlete fails to show up to a required session, he or she will be considered ineligible to play in an athletic contest that week. The Bertelkamp family will donate $10,000 for the 2011-12 academic year. “It is $10,000, but the first year is kind of an experiment,” said Bertelkamp, a former Tennessee basketball player and current color analyst for Vol Network broadcasts. “If it does help, we could do more. You can count on us to support [the program].”
The Bertelkamp family had the original idea to do a scholarship of some type for Bearden students. Bearden principal Dr. John Bartlett and athletics director Mr. Scott Witt hashed out the details of the plan. Their idea was to have a place at Bearden to give academic assistance to student athletes like the Thornton Center at the University of Tennessee. “I liked the idea right off the bat,” Bertelkamp said. “I could have tweaked it, but [Dr. Bartlett and Mr. Witt] are the professionals.” While the idea for the center is to help out struggling student- athletes, it will be made available for any Bearden student. “We will have tutors in the center for almost any subject,” Dr. Bartlett said. “If a kid doesn’t play sports, I’m not going to deny that kid tutoring. If a kid needs tutoring and we can get them plugged in from 7-8 in the morning, then that’s what we’ll do.” Bertelkamp would have liked to have seen a program like this when he was a Bearden student. “It would have been helpful,” Bertelkamp said. “I could’ve used the help on the ACT and SAT, just learning how to take them.”
This is an asset of the program that shows a lot of promise. The help with classes, though, is what Bearden’s coaches are excited about. “We’re hoping that if they fall behind, they will get tutoring,” Bearden boys basketball coach Mark Blevins said. “Not just for eligibility reasons, but for their graduation.” While volleyball coach Jennifer Allen hopes not to have too many of her athletes in the center, she is happy to have the resource available. “You do have the one or two kids,” Coach Allen said. “It keeps you up on how they’re doing. This gives them another opportunity.” Bearden is the first school in Knox County to implement such a center for their students. “We want [our athletes] to have the best education humanly possible,” Mr. Witt said. “We want to be a leader in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Southeast.”
According to Karen Carson, the vice chair of the Knox County School Board, the center also serves as a statement to the community. “What’s important is getting people in our community to realize that both athletics and academics are important,” Carson said, “and that Bearden promotes both.”