The 19th class of the Wall of Honor at Hutchinson High School features a trio of HHS alumni.
The 2018-19 honorees are Kay Alden, class of 1964; Dick Heitschmidt, class of 1970; and Skip Wilson, class of 1976.
Sponsored by the HHS Alumni Association, in cooperation with HHS Student Council, the group wer3e honored this fall in a banquet and during the Homecoming Football Game Sept. 14, 2018, at Gowans Stadium.
Brief biographies of the honorees follow.
Class of 1964
After graduating from Hutchinson High School in 1964, Alden received her bachelor’s degree from Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University).
Upon graduation, she taught speech and English and coached debate at Central High School in Springfield, Mo. She then attended Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State University), where she completed her Masters’ degree. While pursuing her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Alden seized a remarkable opportunity, which led to her illustrious writing career.
For 40 years, Alden wrote for the CBS daytime dramatic serials The Young and The Restless and The Bold and The Beautiful. Beginning as a script and outline writer, she ultimately was named head writer.
During this time, Alden received many honors, including six Emmys, two Writers’ Guild of America Awards, and distinguished alumni awards from both her universities. She credits Hutchinson High School’s debate and theater departments with providing the foundation that would ultimately lead to her successful career.
In her storytelling, Alden has often addressed changing societal values and attitudes with the goal of increasing tolerance and acceptance of others. Alden is grateful for a career which enabled her to offer new perspectives about relationships and social issues to millions of daytime television viewers. She hopes she has affected lives in a positive way. Most of all, she thanks her husband and three children, who have always been her strongest supporters.
Class of 1970
After graduating from Hutchinson High School in 1970, Heitschmidt attended semesters at Hutchinson Community College and Kansas State University. In August 1972, Heitschmidt began work with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. He continued to serve the Reno County Sheriff’s office in many positions, including jail deputy, patrol deputy, patrol sergeant and detective captain. He was the undersheriff of Reno County from 1980 to 1985.
As director of administrative services, Heitschmidt planned and implemented the countywide E-911 system and the consolidation and automation of criminal records in Reno County.
In 1992, Heitschmidt became Hutchinson police chief. In September 2018, he retires after 47 years of public service to the community.
Heitschmidt has also supported his hometown through the Hutchinson Community Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs and Leadership Hutchinson. Heitschmidt and his wife, Kaye, are members of Union Valley Bible Church. Both are lifelong residents of Hutchinson.
Class of 1976
Growing up as a young boy with hip perthes (a form of polio), Wilson learned very early to never take things for granted and to enjoy and embrace the things he loved and cherished. It also helped form his belief in positive thinking and that giving up is not an option.
After graduating from Hutchinson High School and Hutchinson Community College, he attended Wichita State University. As member of the WSU bowling team, Wilson helped secure a national championship, which then propelled him to the Professional Bowling Association.
After bowling professionally for five years, Wilson realized that some of the best people are in Reno County. He returned to work as the recreation director for the Handicapped of Reno County, which taught him a lot about respecting individuals for who they are and to always stress the ability of individuals, never the disability.
Currently, as the chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson, Wilson works with the youth of this community, who, in turn, influence his career and life on a daily basis. He sees how dedicated mentors, the teaching of life skills and providing numerous opportunities to the youth of our community can and does have a positive impact in their lives each day.