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Nine Great Graduates from 2020 & 2021 was honored during homecoming game Oct. 14

Every fall, the Broken Arrow High School Alumni Association selects a group of “Great Graduates” who exhibit strong leadership skills and remain dedicated to service within their community, bringing honor to their alma mater through personal and professional accomplishments.

This year, the Broken Arrow High School Alumni Association will recognize nine outstanding men and women who have earned the right to be called Great Graduates. 

The 2021 honorees include the following individuals:

  • Kenny Schwab, Class of 1984
  • Carla Dobbins Crow, Class of 1970
  • Steve Fulps, Class of 1970
  • Brigadier General Thomas H. Mancino, Class of 1998

Five of the nine Great Graduates actually received their awards last year but could not be formally recognized because of restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 Great Graduates include the following individuals:

  • Dr. William L. Baker, Class of 1952
  • Rev. A. Leroy Gerner, Class of 1975
  • John L. Ross Jr., Class of 1980
  • James Meadours, Class of 1986
  • Darrin Davis, Class of 1987

Each will be recognized during the homecoming game on Oct. 14.

“It’s so wonderful to witness Broken Arrow graduates go on to do great things in the community and beyond,” Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Vinson said. “There is no better time than homecoming week to recognize and celebrate the successes of our alumni.”

The Broken Arrow High School Alumni Association was revived in 1999, starting the tradition of the Great Graduates. Nominations are solicited throughout the Broken Arrow community for alumni who have modeled a selfless life of achievement and service to others for at least 20 years.

The Broken Arrow Alumni Association is pleased to introduce the following Great Graduates. Bios are written by Bob Lewis.

2021 Great Grads

Kenny Schwab, Class of 1984

Kenny Schwab has the distinction of being one of the few people in city government who directly impacts the lives of everybody who lives, works and plays in Broken Arrow.

That’s true because as Assistant City Manager for Operations, Schwab has authority over some 400 employees in seven different departments; Community Development, Emergency Management, Engineering & Construction, Parks & Recreation, Streets & Stormwater, Solid Waste & Recycling and Utilities.

A life-long BA resident, this year’s Great Graduate from the Class of 1984 was a letterman in both football and basketball and was active in a myriad of student organizations, including the National Honor Society, COLABASH, VICA and the Senior Executive Board. Following his days as a Tiger, Schwab attended Southwest Baptist University on both an academic and athletic scholarship. He later transferred to Oklahoma State University where he earned bachelor and master’s degrees in civil engineering and a Master of Arts in administrative leadership from Oklahoma University.

Since becoming part of the city management team in 2008, he has overseen some $400 million in public infrastructure projects and is currently involved in overseeing an additional $600 million in planned expansions and improvements.

Along with his city duties, Schwab serves as a trustee of the Regional Metropolitan Utility Authority and represents his hometown in a regional cooperative partnership between Tulsa Owasso, Jenks, Bixby and Broken Arrow.

Carla Dobbins Crow, Class of 1970

Few people have had a more distinguished career in education than Carla Dobbins Crow, but she is the first to admit it got off to a rocky start.

Crow delights in telling friends how she and a friend were placed on the wrong school bus on their first day as first graders. After touring parts of Wagoner County, the driver delivered them to the district bus barn at Kirkland Field. Both girls walked home, crossing Haskell Park where they were met by Crow’s older brother, Charles, who insured their safety during the remainder of their trek. 

Perhaps it was ordained that Crow would enter the education field since her grandfather used to call her a “schoolmarm.” Due to not having a car she was unable to attend vo-tech which led her to enroll in business courses, learning typing from Lois Maples, bookkeeping from Barbara Lewis and shifting her major in business. 

After graduating from Northeastern State University, she launched her career in Lenapah, Okla. where she spent one semester before being hired by Broken Arrow Public Schools.  Her job was to teach typing using manual typewriters. Forty years later in 2013 she retired as Chair of the Business Education Department. Along the way she taught fellow teachers how to use computerized gradebooks and Microsoft Office products, served as an education instructor at NSU and Bacone College and as a computers and accounting teacher at Tulsa Tech and Tulsa Community College.

She is best remembered as a teacher at BAHS. Her dedication extended beyond the classroom as sponsor of the 12-year breakfast for graduating seniors or PTA member for her great nieces and nephew’s elementary school.  Tiger alums are thankful for her tireless work for the Alumni Association and Broken Arrow Foundation.

Steve Fulps, Class of 1970

One part lifelong Broken Arrowan, two parts business owner, three parts baseball coach, four parts bass fisherman…too many parts? Not if you know Steve Fulps, and if you’ve been around long enough, you know ‘em. Well beyond retirement age, Steve just keeps on going…his friends and classmates say this is because he lives for competition – among his hobbies are tournament bass fishing, bird hunting, raising cattle, and giving back to the school system and community that mean so much to him, in an effort to make them the very best.

A BA graduate in 1970, for at least 40 years Steve Fulps has served the community well. He co-founded Abatement Systems, Inc in 1986 an environmental remediation company that not only provides environmental safety to BA Public Schools but also around Oklahoma and neighboring states. He also manages his family’s 70 year old business, Arrow Exterminators, founded by his late father, Bud Fulps, which is located on Main Street. Under his watch, Arrow was named 2020 Business of the Year by the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce.  Both businesses have experienced many successful decades due to Steve’s business expertise and determination for excellence.

Examples of Steve’s commitment to BA range from service as a Broken Arrow Youth Baseball board member, longtime youth baseball coach, and BA High School Baseball Booster Club president, BA FFA booster and lifetime member and he took the lead in building the Broken Arrow FFA Alumni Barn on 101st Street and County Line Road. It was also Fulps who donated labor and materials to construct the BA baseball stadium outfield fence, dugouts and backstop and initiated construction of the indoor baseball and softball practice facility.

Professionally, he served as President, and remains a life director of the Tulsa Home Builders Association.

Fulps and his wife Cindy have three children – Steven, Farrah (his favorite daughter) and Tyler.  All three graduated from Broken Arrow High School.  The Fulps also have 6 grandchildren, Evan, Shelby, Makenzie, Easton, Grayson, and Grady.

Brigadier General Thomas H. Mancino, Class of 1998

Brigadier General Thomas H. Mancino is a true American hero.

Known as Tommy to friends, associates and classmates, Mancino now holds the distinction of being a Great Graduate from the Class of 1998.

Following high school, Mancino earned a B.A. degree in political science from Oklahoma State University and M.B.A. and Juris Doctorate degrees from Oklahoma University. For 10 years, he served as associate dean of the northeast campus of Tulsa Community College before accepting a fellowship to attend Harvard’s Kennedy School of International Studies.

Mancino first became involved in the military when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the ROTC at Oklahoma State and held dual responsibilities as an educator and Guardsman. 

One of his first full-time military assignments was in the 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, which happened to be the same unit as his brother, Chris, who served as a supply sergeant, and his father, General Tom Mancino, who commanded it in Afghanistan. In 2003, he once again served under his father who commanded the 45th Infantry Brigade during its deployment in Afghanistan. Along with these two deployments, he served a year-long combat tour in Iraq.

The senior Mancino, who became president of the board for the Oklahoma Military History Center in Broken Arrow, said he was proud of his son’s accomplishments despite the extra scrutiny he received as a general’s son. 

Military officials obviously agreed and promoted him to the rank of general in 2019. Making that event extra special was the fact it marked the first time a familial legacy of general officers had ever happened in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.

2020 Great Graduates:

Dr.  William L. Baker, Class of 1952

During a long and distinguished career, the late William Leroy Baker gained considerable recognition as an outstanding “people doctor.” But that wasn’t his goal following graduation from Broken Arrow High School in 1952.

This Great Graduate entered Oklahoma State University with every intention of becoming a veterinarian. 

The lure of serving people, however, won his heart and led him to the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. After graduating, he specialized in helping veterans deal with a number of mental health issues. The importance of his work gained widespread news media recognition following the Oklahoma City bombing. 

After retiring, Dr. Baker devoted a great deal of time working with young people, teaching art and sharing with them his nationally acclaimed passion for model airplanes. An active birdwatcher, he was especially proud of the rare falconer’s certificate he received. During this same time, he also learned how to whittle and look pride in the skill level he achieved.

Rev. A. Leroy Gerner, Class of 1975

Rev. Leroy Gerner, last year’s Great Graduate from the Class of 1975, has devoted himself to spreading the word of God anywhere and everywhere his calling takes him.  

Today, that is Omaha, Nebraska, where he is Care Pastor and Director of Care Ministries at King of Kings Church, Director of Core-Omaha, a counseling and spiritual formation agency, and Chaplain of the Omaha Fire Department.

In his career, this proud Tiger has served churches in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Tennessee and Nebraska and has undertaken a number of mission trips to locations as varied as Germany, South Africa, Sudan and Ethiopia. At the start of his career, he played a key role in organizing Broken Arrow’s Camp Bandage, a safety awareness program that has gained national acclaim. Also, on his resume is Camp Lutherhoma which he served first as a Youth Counselor and later as Director.

John L. Ross, Jr., Class of 1980

The story of 2020’s Great Graduate from the Class of 1980 is filled with accomplishments at home and around the world. 

Now a Ph.D., John Ross is a former Captain and Gulf War Veteran with the United States Air Force and a seasoned practitioner of maintenance and reliability with more than three decades of field and plant experience. A published author and internationally recognized public speaker, he currently serves as President of Maintenance Innovators, Inc., an international reliability consulting company, and is sole proprietor of State Line Group headquartered in Kansas City.

In addition, he is a senior consultant with the renowned Marshall Institute, an asset management consulting and training company dedicated to helping organizations on a global basis.

James Meadours, Class of 1986

2020 Great Graduate from the Class of 1986 has devoted his adult life to advocating for the rights of individuals, like himself, who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of his most powerful and influential campaigns came in 2018 with airing of the National Public Radio series “Abused and Betrayed.” In it, he shared his own experience to help shed light on the fact that both men and women with disabilities face physical and sexual abuse at higher rates than most people know. A tireless worker, Meadours has served as President of People First of Oklahoma and as a VISTA volunteer. He was Chairman of the national organization Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and was recently appointed President of Texas Advocates, a statewide self-advocacy group.

Darrin Davis, Class of 1987

At first, it seems like a joke when a musician as skilled as Darrin Davis says he hates tooting his own horn. But the reality is this Great Graduate from the Class of 1987 would much rather have the spotlight shine on the district’s award-winning 1,500 band students and 15 instructors. 

Since he began teaching band at his alma mater in 1993, national acclaim for the district’s music department has never been greater. Among its accomplishments are three Bands of America Grand National championships, 15 regional championships and 21 state titles, including the last 18 in a row.

Davis has led his students as they performed during the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2005, the Parade of Roses in 2009, 2013 and 2017 and in New York’s fabled Carnegie Hall in 2015. In recognition of his accomplishments, Davis has been inducted into the Bands of America Hall of Fame and is one of only 300 people to become a member of the American Bandmasters Association. 

Here at home, he has been named Broken Arrow Citizen of the Year, the Tulsa Signature Symphony’s Signature Champion of Education, and a 2021 inductee into the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association Hall of Fame.