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Wall of Honor inducts three

The 18th class of the Wall of Honor at Hutchinson High School features a trio of HHS alumni.

The 2016-17 honorees are Dr. Tom Cairns, class of 1949; Elsie Gomez Wickliffe, class of 1959; and John L. Corey, class of 1963.

Sponsored by the HHS Alumni Association, in cooperation with HHS Student Council, the group will be honored during a banquet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the HHS Career and Technical Education Academy, 800 15th Circle.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend as the groups celebrate three individuals who have dedicated their lives to making Hutchinson and the world a better place.

Tickets must be purchased in advance for the banquet. Tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased weekdays at the HHS main office, 810 East 13th, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and at the district’s Administration Center, 1520 North Plum, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Sept. 19.

The three honorees formally will take their place on the Wall of Honor prior to the Homecoming Game at about 6:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, at Gowans Stadium. In addition to the game, the three individuals will be honored during the Homecoming Parade at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.

For more information, call (620) 615-4119.
Brief biographies of the honorees follow.


Tom Cairns
Tom Cairns

Dr. Tom Cairns

Service to Higher Education

Class of 1949

Father of two and devoted husband, Tom Cairns graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in physics, a master’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in mathematics. He also served a two-year stint in the United States military.

Dr. Cairns went on to be a faculty member at the University of Tulsa where he has served for more than 50 years in both teaching and coaching. Friends note his contributions to the future of humanity through his work with the National Security Agency in computer development. Dr. Cairns, however, believes his greatest accomplishments are in the successes of his students at the University of Tulsa both during their time in school and after graduation. His contributions toward making competitive athletics available to women both at his university and elsewhere will always be invaluable.

Elsie Gomez Wickliffe

Service through Compassion

Class of 1959

Elsie Wickliffe
Elsie Wickliffe

The mother of three children, all of whom have chosen a career that serves their communities, and wife of more than 50 years, Elsie Gomez Wickliffe has lived a full life with a “never quit” attitude.

After 30 years of service at Hutchinson’s First National Bank, Mrs. Wickliffe finished her associate degree at Hutchinson Community College in 1985 and then returned to Wichita State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2005.

Even after a full career, Mrs. Wickliffe returned to the halls of HHS to serve as a paraprofessional, teaching students life skills and compassion for one another. Additionally, she has served as a CASA volunteer, as well as going out of her way to find resources to provide for families of students who she knows are struggling.

John Corey

Service to Community

Class of 1963

After graduating Hutchinson High School in 1963, Mr. Corey went on to complete an Associate of Arts degree at Hutchinson Community College and a bachelor’s of political science from Kansas State University. 

John Corey
John Corey

In 1977, Mr. Corey was elected mayor of Hutchinson – the youngest person in the town’s history to be chosen for that position. Ultimately, Mr. Corey served three terms as mayor and 12 years on the City Council. During his tenure on the council, he helped propel Hutchinson forward in economic and industrial growth.

Mr. Corey owned and operated his own insurance agency for 40 years using that as another way to give back to the community by mentoring young entrepreneurs. He also found time to be an active member of the Rotary Club, a sponsor and supporter of the Reno County Catbackers and a member of both Leadership Reno County and Leadership Kansas. Mr. Corey also is a devoted father, husband and grandfather.