Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Feagles’

My high school’s most famous graduate is either an actress featured in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” or a homicidal maniac.

I thought for sure it was the maniac, until I Googled the person I thought was going to be the runner-up, which led me to my high school’s Wikipedia page, which under the heading “Notable alumni” listed two: the person I Googled and the actress.

All of this was prompted by one of those questions that pop up on social media (which you should never answer, by the way, because it’s all just data mining, not harmless fun): Are you your high school’s most famous graduate?

Almost no one would be able to answer yes to that. But it made me think about what the answer for my high school might be.

I went to a small, Catholic high school in Phoenix, Arizona (I’m not Catholic, but the school was practically around the corner from my house, so I chose to go there). One of the school’s graduates who achieved a sort of fame actually came from my circle of friends and my graduating class, Robert Walesa, but he was more notorious than famous. A few years ago, after being stopped for drunken driving and sent home in a cab (not hauled to jail), he got mad, grabbed a rifle, drove his other car to a spot near the DWI checkpoint, shot a sheriff’s deputy from a distance and drove away. Eventually, they figured out who did it and came to his house. He met them at his front door and fatally shot himself on the spot.

He made national news, but it was of a routine sort of shocking news nowadays. I doubt many people remember him.

Better known, I hope, was Jeff Feagles, who graduated a year behind me. He was a football player and made it to the NFL, where he played 22 years as a punter and twice was named to the Pro Bowl.

It was while Googling Feagles that I learned that an actress named Catherine Hicks graduated from my high school in the late 1960s. Among other things, she is known for playing Dr. Gillian Taylor, the whale biologist in “Star Trek IV.” That’s certainly the role I recognize her from, but she had many more, including Marilyn Monroe in the 1980 TV movie “Marilyn: The Untold Story,” for which she received an Emmy Award nomination.

I think Hicks gets the edge over Feagles.

But I think the best-known person who graduated from my high school, disturbingly, might be another infamous member of my own graduating class, though thankfully not from my circle of friends. He did not seem to any of us like a homicidal maniac, but a little more than 16 years after graduation, Armand Chavez made national news and lingered in the headlines much longer than my former friend.

You might recognize him better by the alter ego he adopted after being expelled from medical school, Diazien Hossencofft. He claimed to be a thoracic surgeon and geneticist, and he sold bogus cancer treatments and anti-aging injections for thousands of dollars. And he probably would have gotten away with all of that for a long time had he not also convinced a girlfriend to murder his wife.

The murder story has been the subject of TV episodes of “Crime Stories,” “Court TV,” “American Justice,” “The Investigators,” “Snapped,” “Monstresses,” “Sins and Secrets,” “I’d Kill For You” and “Charmed to Death,” according to Wikipedia.

There is unlikely to be any other graduate more famous or infamous. The school closed in 1989 because of declining enrollment, so even the youngest graduates already are in their 50s. If any of us are going to make it big, we are running out of time.

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